Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars — Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING! Lives up to their dreamy name!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Bars — Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling!! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING!! Lives up to their dreamy name!!

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert

If you’re a chocolate and peanut butter dessert lover, you’ve found your end-all-be-all dessert. If you’ve tried ‘lush’ desserts like lemon lush or ‘better than…’ desserts, this recipe is a chocolate-peanut butter version.

Licking the bowls kept getting better and better with each step and layer in the recipe. The dream bars truly live up to their dreamy name.

It’s an almost no-bake recipe (the crust bakes for 10 minutes) that’s easy, goof-proof, rich, decadent, and guaranteed to be raved about by your friends and family.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Bars — Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling!! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING!! Lives up to their dreamy name!!

There are so many textures and flavors that make the bars irresistibly dreamy. There’s a crunchy, salty-and-sweet Nutter Butter Cookie crust, topped with silky chocolate pudding, topped with a peanut butter-cream cheese-COOL WHIP layer. I could just eat a bowl of just that.

Finally there are peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and Nutter Butters for added crunch and a boost of peanut butter flavor.

Call these bars what you will — chocolate peanut butter dream bars, chocolate peanut butter lush, or chocolate peanut butter lasagna — so long as you make them!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars - Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling!! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING!! Lives up to their dreamy name!!

Ingredients in Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars

For this decadent chocolate peanut butter lasagna, you’ll need: 

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Unsalted butter
  • Instant chocolate pudding 
  • Milk
  • Cream cheese
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Cool Whip Whipped Topping
  • Chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter chips 

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

A Note About the Ingredients

Use full-fat cream brick-style cheese because lite can be thinner, runnier, and won’t set up as well. 

I used regular JELL-O Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix rather than sugar-free.  

I used Fat-Free COOL WHIP with success.

I recommend using regular, no-stir peanut butter and not homemade or natural peanut butter.

Recipe Video Tutorial

How to Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars

This chocolate peanut butter dessert does require some layering and active prep work, but it’s incredibly simple to make. 

The layers go in the following order: crust, chocolate pudding, PB-cream cheese mixture, Cool Whip.

  1. First, you’ll need to make the peanut butter cookie crust and hard pack it into an 8×8-inch pan (the crust is just crushed cookies and melted butter).
  2. Bake the crust for just 10 minutes, then let it cool completely. 
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the instant chocolate pudding and pop it into the fridge to set.
  4. Then, make the peanut butter-cream cheese layer. 
  5. Once the crust is completely cool, all that’s left to do is layer the instant chocolate pudding dessert!
  6. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with more crushed Nutter Butters. 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Bars — Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling!! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING!! Lives up to their dreamy name!!

Recipe FAQs

Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance? 

Yes, you can make the bars in advance. I made it four days in advance of a party, froze it, and took it out to thaw 2 hours before the party.

My family actually preferred it when it was frozen solid and said it was like eating an ice cream sandwich bar. I prefer it softer and creamier at room temp. Either way, you’ll find yourself going back to straighten out the rows.

Can This Recipe Be Doubled? 

Yes, simply double the ingredients list and assemble the layered peanut butter chocolate lasagna in a 9×13-inch pan. 

Can I Use Natural or Homemade peanut butter in this recipe?

No, I recommend using old-fashioned peanut butter rather than natural types which are too oily, runny, and thin for this recipe.

Can I Use Homemade Whipped Cream Instead of Cool Whip?

Technically yes, but whipped cream deflates and loses its fluffiness after a few hours (even if stored in the fridge), which can affect the texture of the peanut butter dream bars.

If making this dessert in advance, Cool Whip will hold up the best! Or, you can make homemade stabilized whipped cream, which to be honest I never mess around with because I just can’t be bothered! But use whatever is best for your family.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Bars — Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling!! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING!! Lives up to their dreamy name!!

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4.48 from 36 votes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars

By Averie Sunshine
Nutter Butter crust, chocolate pudding, and peanut butter cream cheese filling!! Easy, almost no-bake, and beyond AMAZING!!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients  

  • one 16-ounce package peanut butter sandwich cookies, like Nutter Butter Cookies, divided
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • one 3.9-ounce package JELL-O Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix, not sugar-free
  • 1 ½ cups cold milk, use cow’s milk; pudding won’t set up with soy, almond, cashew milk. I used 1% cow’s milk
  • 4 ounces PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, softened (not lite)
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • heaping 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter, not ‘natural’
  • one 8-ounce tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed and divided
  • ¼ cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • To the canister of a food processor, add 24 peanut butter cookies and process on high speed until broken down into very fine crumbs; set aside.
  • To a small microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the melted butter to the peanut butter cookie crumbs and process on high speed to combine, about 30 seconds.
  • Turn mixture out into prepared baking pan and using the back of a spatula, hard-pack the mixture to form a even, flat crust.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven; set aside to cool. While crust bakes, you can move onto the next steps.
  • Add remaining 8 peanut butter cookies to food processor and pulse to break up cookies into bite-sized chunks, about 10 pulses or as necessary. Reserve cookie chunks in a small covered bowl or ziptop bag for use as a topping.
  • To a medium bowl, add the pudding mix, milk, and whisk vigorously for at least 1 minute, making sure powder is fully dissolved and mixture is smooth. Place bowl in fridge to chill.
  • To a large bowl, add the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, and beat for about 1 minute using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, or until smooth and combined.
  • Add half the tub of COOL WHIP and beat for about 1 minute using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, or until smooth and combined; set aside.
  • To the crust (make sure it’s cooled), add the pudding (make sure it’s thick and set up) in a smooth, even layer.
  • Add the creamy peanut butter mixture in a smooth, even layer. I find it easiest to add it in golf ball-sized dollops staggered around the pan and then using a spatula, blend the dollops together to create a seamless layer. Take your time so you don’t disturb the layers underneath.
  • Add the remaining half tub of COOL WHIP in a smooth, even layer.
  • Cover and refrigerate pan for at least 2 hours, or until dessert is fully set-up. I made it 4 days before a party and placed dessert in the freezer at this point, and 2 hours before the party, I took it out, garnished with the remaining ingredients, and served.
  • Before serving, evenly sprinkle with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and reserved Nutter Butter cookie chunks.

Notes

Storage: Dessert will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months, noting that crust and sprinkled cookies on top may lose crispness as time passes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 412kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 256mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 27g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Chocolate Pudding Dessert Ideas: 

Quadruple Chocolate Pudding Cookies — These pudding cookies are packed with cocoa powder, chocolate chips and chunks, and chocolate pudding mix to deliver seriously chocolatey flavor!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Lasagna — A chocolate chip cookie base topped with cream cheese, chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and mini chocolate chips!! An EASY layered dessert that tastes so AMAZING!!

Chocolate Poke Cake – A FAST and EASY cake that’s perfect for all the chocaholics! Moist and tender chocolate cake, filled with chocolate syrup, and topped with whipped chocolate frosting! A no-fuss chocolate cake that everyone will adore!

Chocolate Poke Cake - A FAST and EASY cake that's perfect for all the chocaholics! Moist and tender chocolate cake, filled with chocolate syrup, and topped with whipped chocolate frosting! A no-fuss chocolate cake that everyone will adore!

Mississippi Mud Pie Bars – An EASY, almost no-bake dessert with a chocolate chip cookie base, chocolate pudding, sweetened cream cheese, Oreos, and hot fudge!! RICH, decadent, indulgent, and a great party dessert that you can MAKE-AHEAD!!

Mississippi Mud Pie Bars - An EASY, almost no-bake dessert with a chocolate chip cookie base, chocolate pudding, sweetened cream cheese, Oreos, and hot fudge!! RICH, decadent, indulgent, and a great party dessert that you can MAKE-AHEAD!!

Caramel-Stuffed Quadruple Chocolate Cookies — The cookies are thicker, bakery-style cookies that are bold and rich, and are oozing with melted chocolate and stuffed with Rolos. 

Oreo Brownie Lush – A rich and decadent dessert with fudgy brownies, cream cheese, chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and Oreo cookies!! EASY, great for parties, and it’s a chocoholics dream!! 

Oreo Brownie Lush - A rich and decadent dessert with fudgy brownies, cream cheese, chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and Oreo cookies!! EASY, great for parties, and it's a chocoholics dream!! 

Chocolate Candy Bar Cake — An easy frozen dessert with graham crackers, chocolate pudding, whipped topping, chocolate chips, PEANUT BUTTER CUPS and SNICKERS!! Perfect for when you don’t want to turn on your oven!!

Originally posted May 22, 2015 and reposted September 8, 2023 with updated text.

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Words can’t describe this deliciousness!!  I doubled it and used a 9×13 pan (not on the crust though, as I don’t like it too thick).  Absolutely divine and everyone loved it.  Super simple to make ….  I thought it would be difficult to spread the cream cheese pb mix on top of the pudding, but Averie said to drop dollops and then connect them. It works well!!  Thank you Averie!!  ❤️

  2. 5 stars
    Words can’t describe this deliciousness!!  I doubled it and used a 9×13 pan (not on the crust though, as I don’t like it too thick).  Absolutely divine and everyone loved it.  Super simple to make ….  I thought it would be difficult to spread the cream cheese pb mix on top of the pudding, but Averie said to drop dollops and then connect them. It works well!!  Thank you Averie!!  ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for Father’s Day for my husband who’s a huge peanut butter/chocolate fan. It’s going to be a new favorite! I used real whipped cream in place of Cool Whip, my only change to the recipe . While the crust was delicious, it was extra thick and difficult to cut while eating. I’ll probably half the ingredients (for the crust only) to make it thinner/easier to cut The foil lined pan was great, something I thought about skipping, but I’m glad I didn’t because it lifted out easily.

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for Father’s Day for my husband who’s a huge peanut butter/chocolate fan. It’s going to be a new favorite! I used real whipped cream in place of Cool Whip, my only change to the recipe . While the crust was delicious, it was extra thick and difficult to cut while eating. I’ll probably half the ingredients (for the crust only) to make it thinner/easier to cut The foil lined pan was great, something I thought about skipping, but I’m glad I didn’t because it lifted out easily.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this is a new favorite! Glad the foil trick helped you out in the end, too.

  5. Can I make the chocolate peanut butter dream bars in a 9 x 13 pan would I double the reciepe

  6. 4 stars
    This was so yummy and light! I took it to our lifegroup the other night and everyone loved it. I think next time I would double the chocolate pudding and add a little more to what the recipe calls for. Otherwise it was a hit and so delicious!

  7. 4 stars
    This was so yummy and light! I took it to our lifegroup the other night and everyone loved it. I think next time I would double the chocolate pudding and add a little more to what the recipe calls for. Otherwise it was a hit and so delicious!

  8. 5 stars
    This was more than a crowd pleaser. It had family
    Members sneaking into it for just a bite in the middle of the night. Great tasting peanut butter/ chocolate delight.

  9. 5 stars
    This was more than a crowd pleaser. It had family
    Members sneaking into it for just a bite in the middle of the night. Great tasting peanut butter/ chocolate delight.

  10. Same thing happened to me with the pudding mix, the recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 cup of milk right? My pregnant brain might have been reading it wrong. It came out watery from the start. I put it in the fridge for about an hour but it was still runny. :(

    1. Yes that is correct 1.5 cups of milk. One-and-a-half. That it unusual that pudding won’t set if it’s cold milk and real cow’s milk. Maybe you had a bad box of pudding? That stuff is made to set up though in my experience, sorry your brand didn’t.

  11. Tried to make this recipe last night for guests but the chocolate pudding section never went thick- any ideas on what we could be doing wrong?

    1. Did you use REAL milk? Alternative milks such as soy, almond, etc will not work. Also the milk has to be very cold. You’re just making basic pudding with instant pudding mix and milk. Not sure why yours didn’t set. And then later adding the other ingredients. Pudding needs to be set before carrying on and adding those.

  12. I love peanut butter any way you use it. I love all the recipes you have on the iPad and want to save all of them .

  13. Is there any way to make the cool whip layer thick without using peanut butter? We are doing a cookie exchange and I found out after going to buy the ingredients that some people had nut allergies.

    1. Just omit the PB then, maybe add a bit more Cool Whip if need be, use your judgment, it will be fine though. This isn’t an overly ‘technical’ dessert.

  14. Hi Averie! I would love to make these bars as one of my Christmas desserts this year. I’ve got a ton of baking to do in preparation for the weekend, so I love that you mentioned making this ahead and freezing it. I do have one possibly silly question though. Did you freeze it in the pan you baked it in? As in, did you just remove from oven and once cool, place directly into the freezer? Or did you remove it and slice it before you freeze it? I’d like to freeze and then slice the day of the get together, but worry about the crust portion freezing to the foil in the pan. Looking for your suggestions. Thanks!! 

    1. Somewhere in between fully thawed and fully frozen is where I sliced it. If you use a high quality foil and spray it, it won’t stick or rip. Enjoy!

  15. Hi Averie!  Question….can you explain the foil?  Do you overlap it or cut it to just the bottom?  Did you use a glass or metal dish?  Did you serve out of the same dish with the foil?  Have you tried in a disposable foil pan?  Bringing this for a get together and just thinking of presentation.  Thank you so much!  Can’t wait to try it!!!  Have a great day!

    1. I use a metal pan and I line with foil with overhang so that I can lift the entire batch out and place on a cutting board to slice neatly. For food photography (and for presentation purposes for everyone!) I highly recommend doing it this way. Not to mention, makes cleanup of your pan a breeze. I will give you a heads up though that this is a messier type of dessert (Cool Whip and pudding are never easy to ‘slice’) and is a little trickier to slice perfectly and neatly but it’s possible.

  16. These were AMAZING!! everyone in my office thinks I’m a great baker because of the recipes I’ve tried from your blog so thank you =P

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And glad everyone thinks you’re a great baker, that’s always a great feeling :)

  17. OK, I saw this and had to make it. I love PB & Chocolate. Although it is good, it is a bit to sweet for me. Any suggestions to tone it down a little. I might try graham cracker crust next time.

    1. Between everything going on in this dessert, yes, it’s sweet! It’s a recipe from the Kraft site and so I did what they did to share it with my readers. You could omit the PB and choc chips on top, or omit the final crumbling of cookies on top; those would be ways to tone it down a bit.

  18. Averie, these look SO good.  Perhaps your best bars yet!  I love all the layers.

    1. Wow, that’s high praise and thank you! Nothing can top those donuts I’ve been seeing on your IG and FB feed though! Hope you guys are having a great time in SF!

  19. Now I know why these are called dream bars! Can’t wait to try this recipe out.
    We love what you’re doing here. Are you interested in becoming our recipe partner?

  20. oooooh these bars ARE a dream-a magical chocolate peanut butteryyyy dream!

  21. These look incredible! Definitely pinning these now. I love your blog!

  22. Just following up, it was DELICIOUS!!  My girls, 7 and 4, helped make it – they love baking projects they can make with me.  Everyone enjoyed it and I’m not ashamed to say I grabbed a little bite before I left for work this morning :)

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!

      This would totally make a great breakfast bite to get the week started right after the long holiday weekend :)

  23. Wow! Those bars definitely look dreamy! I love all things peanut butter & chocolate so I bet I would totally love these! Yum!

  24. Amazing! I don’t think one can ever have too much peanut butter and chocolate! I’ve had some Nutter Butters in the pantry waiting for the perfect recipe, and this one could finally put them to use!

  25. Um, why don’t I live with you? I’ll do your dishes for a pan of this!! Seriously the best dessert ever!

    1. Thanks for pinning!

      And this reminded me of some of your lush desserts, those really soft, fluffy, luxurious ones that you can eat a half pan, but feel like you could eat more, but have already eaten like a million calories, but it’s just.so.good. I loved these way too much :)

  26. I really don’t eat enough Nutter Butters…this recipe is the perfect excuse to buy some!! So dreamy! <3

  27. These bars really do look like a dream! I love all the different textures you used in here too!

  28. Dreamy indeed! These look so fluffy and perfect. I cannot resist something coated in peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and Nutter Butters! 

    1. They kind of remind me of something you’d make :) They were SO GOOD…omg I loved these things!

  29. YUM! I have a very simular recipe but it has a graham cracker crust. But using peanut butter cookies in the crust? I love that!! Need to try it!

  30. Oh.My.God.

    I feel like there are always a lot of hyperbolic responses to these kinds of recipes, and most of the time the recipes are great but not deserving of a billion exclamation points and ALLCAPITALLETTERS enthusiasm.  BUT.  

    THIS IS DESERVING!!!!!

    LOVE.

    1. I cannot even tell you how perfect these were. The Nutter Butter-butter based crust, just that alone, omg. Then the pudding, then the silky fluffiness of the cream cheese/PB mixture. This is one of those classic midwest, potluck, graduation, baby shower, etc. type desserts that everyone goes nuts for. I seriously loved this. If there is ever a recipe that I would say cheat on your gluten and dairy for, THIS ONE is it!

  31. Stunning photos (as usual) and this is a perfect combination of all my favorite flavors. Love it, Averie!

  32. Sounds and looks SO good, Averie! Creamy desserts and of course peanut butter are my weaknesses! 

  33. This sounds sooooo good! I could just eat that peanut butter layer alone too!! I love how you used Nutter Butters in the crust awesome idea!!

  34. These do look dreamy!! Nutter butters are one of my favorite commercial cookies and every layer looks so good. I always love more than 1 flavor and different textures going on. This will be perfect for summer!

    1. Paula I cannot even tell you how perfect these were and that basically old-school things like Cool Whip and Nutter Butters and choc pudding can do no wrong :) If you have an event this summer, you have to make these! They’re crazy good and after 6 years of this, it takes a lot to get me excited!

  35. I was just looking up recipes for an icebox cake for this weekend and now I know exactly what I’m making…I love old school nutter butter cookies…can’t wait to try this.

    1. Please LMK how it goes! Seriously I loved loved loved these bars and I think you have some very lucky friends and family who get to eat this if you make it!

  36. I’m crying at my computer screen right now because I really want to reach through and eat the entire plate of these dream bars. You just combined all of my favorite things into one delicious treat. :D

    1. I was crying while editing the pics knowing it was all gone and I missed it! I loved this dessert!

  37. When do I NOT want a PB/chocolate dessert? Um, never. It’s always the thing. In fact, posted one just today. It’s hard not to bake with PB and chocolate all the time because it’s the best!
    This recipe is definitely THE one. I’d marry it if I could! Looks so phenomenal!

    1. This was a showstopper and I highly recommend it, just all the textures, the PB/choc, omg you will LOVE it!

  38. What?! You just blew my mind. I need this in my belly right now! Consider this recipe pinned! Yum Yum. Thanks for posting this. Now my weekend is complete. x

  39. Absolutely heavenly! Your images do these sweet treats proud, will definitely try these,

    Thanks
    Joe