Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars — These peanut butter candy bars are no-bake, easy, loaded with bold peanut butter flavor, and plenty of chocolate. They’re super soft, very dense, and chewy!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars Recipe
I haven’t posted a no-bake cereal bar recipe in ages. From 2009 to 2011 that was my blog’s apparent specialty. Just scroll through some of the vintage recipes under the Related Recipes section for a reminder.
These peanut butter candy bars are no-bake, easy, loaded with bold peanut butter flavor, and plenty of chocolate. There’s both a layer of melted chocolate and assorted candy bar pieces adorn the top.
If you need a way to use up that random assortment of Halloween (or Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, etc.) candy that you have on hand, these peanut butter chocolate bars are perfect. Snickers, Milky Way, Payday, you name it, use it up.
The bars are super soft, very dense and chewy, and they’re total comfort food for me. Caramely, peanut buttery, brown sugary goodness. Trust me when I say I prefer a cereal bar like a Rice Krispies Treat or a Special K Bar over a fancy cupcake and I couldn’t stop eating these.
What’s in Peanut Butter Candy Bars?
To make these no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars, you’ll need:
- Creamy peanut butter
- Corn syrup
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Special K cereal
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Bite-sized candy bar pieces
How to Make Peanut Butter Candy Bars
To make these chocolate peanut butter candy bars, you first need to melt the peanut butter, corn syrup, and sugars in a large bowl in the microwave. Stir in the vanilla and the Special K, then turn the mixture into a greased 8×8-inch pan.
In another bowl, melt the chocolate chips and more peanut butter in the microwave. Pour the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter bar layer and spread into an even layer.
Sprinkle as many crushed candy pieces over the top as you’d like. These peanut butter candy bars will need to sit for roughly 4 hours at room temperature to set.
What Type of Peanut Butter Should I Use?
Although I love making Homemade Peanut Butter, I don’t recommend using it in these no-bake peanut butter bars. You’ll need to use creamy peanut butter from a brand like Jif, Skippy, or similar.
Is There a Corn Syrup Substitute I Can Use?
I’ve had European readers report success using golden syrup, but to my knowledge there are no other substitutes you can use. Honey and maple syrup don’t have the same binding properties as corn syrup and won’t work in this recipe.
Tips for Making Peanut Butter Candy Bars
Make sure you’re using light colored corn syrup for these bars and not the darker stuff. Otherwise these bars will be far too dark in color.
After prepping these no-bake peanut butter bars, I don’t like to refrigerate them because the chocolate topping and the candy bars can sometimes turn color (bloom) or experience condensation droplets when brought back to room temperature. However, these are purely cosmetic issues, won’t effect taste, and will speed up the cooling process if you’re in a hurry.
Note that these no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars
- 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter, use Jif, Skippy, or similar; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter
- ½ cup light-colored corn syrup
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups Special K Cereal
- 1 ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- about 1 cup bite-sized candy bar pieces, I used Rolo, Reese’s Pieces, mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Butterfinger Cups; substitute with your favorite candy as desired
- Make the Bars
- Line an 8×8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large microwave-safe bowl, add 1 heaping cup peanut butter, corn syrup, sugars, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir.
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 30 more seconds on high power. Stop to stir. (That was 2 1/2 minutes total microwave time)
- Stir in the vanilla. (1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons, use less if you prefer less vanilla flavor)
- Stir in the cereal.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down somewhat firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top; set pan aside.
- For the Topping
- To a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and heat on high power for 30 seconds. Stop to stir. Heat in increments of 20 to 30 seconds, stopping to stir after each 20 to 30 second increment until chocolate has melted and can be stirred smooth. It will probably take 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total.
- Evenly pour chocolate mixture over Special K layer, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Evenly place the candy pieces over the top. Add as many as you like (I’m generous) and use your favorite candy including Snickers, Turtles, Milky Way, 3 Muskateers, Payday, etc.
- Cover pan with foil and allow bars to cool at room temp until chocolate has set, likely 4+ hours. I don’t like to refrigerate them because the chocolate topping and the candy bars can sometimes turn color (bloom) or experience condensation droplets when brought back to room temp however these are purely cosmetic issues, won’t effect taste, and will speed up the cooling process if you’re in a hurry.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Adapted from my Chewy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Bars.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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More No-Bake Desserts:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Kit Kat Crunch Bars — If you like KitKats you’ll love these easy, no-bake bars that are topped with a thick layer of them! Along with more chocolate and peanut butter!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls — EASY, NO-BAKE chocolate peanut butter balls that are a holiday favorite!! They have it all: Salty, sweet, crunchy, with chocolate and peanut butter! Great for cookie exchanges or impromptu parties!!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cereal Bars — Peanut butter with marshmallows and cereal is a gooey, chewy, wonderful combination!
Peanut Chewy Payday Bars — Like the famous Payday candy bars but homemade always tastes better! Easy and almost no-bake!
White Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls — This Oreo balls recipe uses just 4 simple ingredients! If you’re looking for an easy no-bake dessert for cookie swaps or gift exchanges, this is it!
Holiday Special K Bars — Super chewy, gooey, FAST, easy, no-bake cereal bars loaded with peanut butter, chocolate, and sprinkles!! Like scotcheroos but with Special K! Great for impromptu hostess gifts or cookie exchanges because they’re irresistible!!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks — If you need a ridiculously easy, no-bake dessert for a party, holiday cookie exchange, or just have a spur of the moment craving for chocolate and peanut butter, this is a perfect recipe.