I love soft, dense, really chewy peanut butter cereal bars.
To the point these bars are having a case of de ja vu.
I made similar bars in June, and in August, and there’s two recipes for no-bake peanut butter cereal bars in my cookbook. One uses Corn Flakes and the other uses Special K.
The common theme on all of these recipe are: No-bake, Chewy, Gooey, Caramely, with Peanut Butter, Cereal, Chocolate Topping.
I keep recreating versions on a theme because remaking the exact same thing doesn’t make for good food blog material, but adaptations, twists, and tweaks are fair game.
I made them in Aruba and as long as your house isn’t 89F, they won’t be quite as soft and melt-prone as mine.
You can whip them up in 15 minutes in one bowl. I love fast, easy, no-bake desserts that deliver big time flavor.
These just happen to be vegan and gluten-free.
There’s no butter used in these very buttery tasting bars. But there is peanut butter used three times.
It’s used in the saucy mixture that holds the bars together, it’s melted with chocolate chips to create a chocolate-peanut butter fudgy topping, and it’s swirled into said topping.
Did I mention I wrote a cookbook with 100 peanut butter recipes? I can never have too much peanut butter, so three times in one recipe isn’t even over the top.
Corn flakes give the bars their shape and form, and Kellogg’s brand is accidentally vegan. Erewhon flakes are vegan and gluten-free. There are so many brands of corn flakes and many will likely be both vegan and gluten-free, but make sure to read labels.
The bars taste nothing like corn flakes, which I equate to the boring, bland, sog-prone cereal I grew up with. Just as Rice Krispies cereal and Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats taste nothing alike, these bars are even less reminiscent of corn flakes than RKTs are of Rice Krispies.
The corn flakes soften enough to become packed down into the pan to create the bars, but retain tons of chewy, dense texture to give your jaw a workout. Nothing soggy about these flakes.
The peanut butter flavor is strong and robust, and because it’s mixed and melted together with brown sugar and vanilla, the bars have caramel undertones, which I love.
The chocolate-peanut butter fudgy topping adds just the right amount of chocolate to balance and complement the peanut butter. Peanut butter is so much better when chocolate is involved.
Definitely the best that corn flakes have ever tasted.
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No-Bake Triple Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chewy Cereal Bars (vegan, gluten-free)
These easy, no-bake bars are made in one bowl in minutes, and they’re vegan and gluten-free. Peanut butter is used 3 times in the recipe, and the peanut butter flavor is strong and robust. Because it’s mixed and melted together with brown sugar and vanilla, the bars have a caramel undertone. They’re soft, moist, gooey, and very chewy. Although they’re made using corn flakes, the bars taste nothing like the bland cereal you’re used to. This is the best corn flakes have ever tasted.
- 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural or homemade, it’s too runny to glue the cereal together)
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup (light colored, not lite)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups corn flakes cereal
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirled Topping
- 1/2 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1/4 heaping cup creamy peanut butter, melted with the chocolate
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, for swirling on top
- Bars – Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 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.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- 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.
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirled Topping – In a large microwave-safe bowl (the same one is fine, no need to wash it provided you scraped it with a spatula fairly clean) combine chocolate chips, heaping 1/4 cup peanut butter, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Chips may not be completely melted. Return bowl to microwave and heat in 10 to 15-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture over bars, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula or knife; set aside.
- Add 1/4 cup peanut butter to a small microwave-safe bowl and heat to melt, about 30 seconds. Stir peanut butter smooth.
- Evenly drizzle peanut butter over the chocolate and swirl it lightly with the tip of a knife or toothipick. To create the marbled pattern shown, drizzle peanut butter over the chocolate in 5 wide, evenly spaced, parallel lines, each spanning the width of the pan. Like 5 rows of long train tracks.
- Rotate pan 90-degrees. With a toothpick, starting at the top of the pan, “draw” 5 evenly spaced lines through the peanut butter. You’re dragging the toothpick perpendicularly through the first set of lines to create the pattern.
- Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until chocolate layer is completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Take care all ingredients used are appropriate for your dietary needs, reading labels and selecting brands that are appropriate. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are vegan, Erewhon Corn Flakes are vegan/GF.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 31gProtein: 9g
Chewy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Bars (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free)
No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cereal Bars (gluten-free)
Triple Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Bars
Peanut Chewy Payday Bars (almost no-bake)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF)
Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars
Double Chocolate Caramel Corn & Cocoa Rice Krispies Candy Bars
Nutella and Peanut Butter Graham Bars with Chocolate Frosting
Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats – The best RKTs I have ever had. Double the butter and it’s browned, for great flavor and soft, buttery, chewy bars
No-Bake Nutter Butter Special K Bars
Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars (almost no-bake)
What’s one of your favorite recipes that you make over and over or like to adapt?
I have made these often. They are always a hit. I have used several different gluten free cereals and every one of them were yummy. Thank you so much for your great recipes.
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you!
Can you use agave or honey in place of the corn syrup without affecting the recipe?
I haven’t tested for sure, so can’t speak absolutely, but I think you will be fine with either.
My daughter was ecstatic when she ate this. It put me in mind of a butterfinger-ey dessert. I only had bittersweet chocolate chips available and I think I’d prefer the semi-sweet ones but desperate times call for desperate measures. :) Thanks for another good dessert that I can add to my gluten-free and don’t-heat-up-the-kitchen options.
gluten-free and don’t-heat-up-the-kitchen options <--- AMEN And yeah I think b-sweet would be a little too bitter and semi-sweet would be better but as you said, use what's in the pantry. Always, yes! Glad you're happy with these - I love these bars too!
Oh, cornflakes!! One of my fav cereals now in bar form – this just made day. :D
I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get these out of my head until I make them. They look amazing!!
And thanks for the pin! :)
You certainly are the peanut butter queen! Theses bars look incredibly delicious and would be very dangerous for me to have at home!
Peanut butter three times? I’m hooked! I could eat the whole pan by myself!
I LOOOVE how simple and quick and intensely peanut butteryyyyy these look!! Totally the perfect thing to bring to the pool in the summer at my grandma’s house :D
They’re super fast and easy to make and your grandma’s pool sounds like a great time! :)
These bars look delicious! I can’t get enough peanut butter, so these are right up my alley! Your swirl looks so pretty!
Dude, that swirling/marbling is done so perfectly! You gotta teach me your skills man!
to make these gluten free, be sure to use gluten free cereal!!! kellogg’s corn flakes aren’t gluten free (they have barley malt in them, which for wheat free is fine, but for gluten free is not). just wanted to make note for those that may not know. thanks!
This almost looks like fudge! YUM!
love pb and chocolate. yum!
Ha – the swirl was the first thing I noticed too! Another peanut buttery delight Averie!
holy cow those look lethal!! so yummy! i’m drooling! haha happy new year!
Did someone say no bake! I’m in! These Bars look so peanut buttery and chocolaty. Have a happy new year!
Oooh. I’m tired of Christmas cookies. This sounds like a good way to switch things up. I have a similar recipe which uses melted chocolate and butterscotch chips as the topping, with peanut butter in the cookie base. Yum. And I’m not at all sorry for you for having to endure hot weather in Aruba. ;)
Wow! I love that they are gluten free and packed with protein. Beautiful pics per usual. Pinned!
Delicious! The swirls of peanut butter are beautiful! I’m hosting a NYE party and these may just have to go on the menu! :)
Who would have thought to use Corn Flakes? I use them to cook with but this is ingenious! These look divine!
It’s such a versatile cereal!
Shoot girl, three times?! You are a little obsessed with pb, but I like it ;) 89F inside the kitchen is hooooot!! We’ve had some heat while you’ve been gone, was up to 84F the other day!! Hope you’re having an nice time!!
Just got back at midnight last night and was standing in a 38F taxi line at SAN waiting to go home and read this comment. Thank god it’s been warmer out during the day :)
That swirl is perfect and who could resist a triple dose of PB!
I’m kind of in love with peanut butter. I mean, I keep a jar in my desk at work so I can snack on it. I eat it right out of the jar. I want these bars in my life! Waking up to these each morning would be fantastic!
I love that you keep a jar in your DESK! That is awesome! Years ago when I used to have a desk job, I used to keep a jar in mine too. And a spoon :)
I seriously need to try your cereal bars recipe. These look fantastic! Love the sound of triple PB!! Pinned!
thanks for pinning, Anna!
I LOVE corn flakes and smothering them in peanut butter and chocolate sounds DIVINE.
There’s also a recipe for similar bars in my cookbook which I know you have, too! :)
These look so chewy! I love it, and I love that you spoke about the fact that even though something is pretty spot on, you’ve gotta keep mixing it up for the blog, sometimes I just want to reiterate how good that recipe was by making it again. Although the revamps are always amazing if not better!
I think I’m gonna try this with Almond butter!
If you try with AB, lmk how it goes!
These look great! My husband is crazy for anything no-bake, so I’m definitely going to have to make these.
Great! LMK what he thinks!
The texture of these bars look amazing. So jealous you are in Aruba again. Send warmth to Michigan please… please!
I cannot resist chocolate and peanut butter and the fact that these are no bake means that they will get into my mouth that-much-faster!! They look irresistible!
These bars are soooo perfect! Delicious!
Cornflake balls will always be my favorite Christmas treat. I didn’t see any on any of the treat plates this year, but I still vividly “taste” them in my mouth, even without actually eating them. Delicious!!
And the attention to detail in your photos = the swirled peanut butter on that spoon?! You’re incredible.
Ahh you noticed that swirl? Thanks :) I had so many sticky, PB covered fingers to get it just right, and then…it would melt in the heat :)
I love the PB/ricekrispies/specialK/cornflakes treats SO MUCH. So midwest and just so…homey :)
I have yet to make bars like these with cornflakes. I so need too – these look so gooey, chewy, and delicious. Don’t you have air in Aruba? 89 degrees is seriously stifling!
In the bedrooms but not the kitchen. Central air is NOT common really anywhere in the Caribbean and window units in the bedrooms (if any) is the norm!
You know I love this combo of peanut butter, karo syrup, sugar and chocolate! To this day it is still probably one of my families favorite desserts. That giant swirl of peanut butter on top look so good! Love these bars!
I knew you’d love these. It’s just a variation on the theme we both love :)
I love the texture of cereal bars–and the more PB the better! I can’t help noticing your swirls on this batch. They remind me of tulips–especially the one right above the recipe. I must have spring on my mind already–the only flowers I see now are in the floral dept. at Kroger! I have probably made more variations on microwaveable mug cakes than anything else–if it turns out badly, well, it’s only a mug full of ingredients. So far so good. Nut/raw cookie dough balls are right up there too.
if it turns out badly, well, it’s only a mug full of ingredients <-- that is such a great attitude and I wish more people thought that way about recipes in general! Mine are always on the small-ish batch spectrum of things and sometimes people will write with very detailed what if I do this type questions and will it work or won't it, and I always say...try it, you have nothing to lose other than maybe $3 bucks worth of ingredients! Tulips. GREAT comparison and I can totally see that too :) I want spring/summer all year!
One can never have too many variations on delectable themes! Case in point? Deviled eggs (with horseradish and crisp crumb topping!): http://www.scrumptiousgruel.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/you-an-never-have-too-many/
I have never made deviled eggs! That’s crazy you have lots of versions and I’ve never attempted! I should change that!
Cereal, peanut butter, and chocolate… you really can’t go wrong there! ;) Sounds amazing and I love how you actually created a swirl design in the topping! So neat!
Thanks, Heather! I like to jazz things up when possible :)
I can tell how chewy those bars are from the photos, and I am all for easy no-bake desserts. Pinned. I tend to make adaptions from a vegan cookie base of mine over and over because it just works, and it’s nice to know you can go into something and likely have it turn out every time. However it sure takes some work to get to those base recipes, and it looks like you’ve got a winner here!
Thanks for pinning and having that one go to base (especially for cookies!) is awesome. What cookie base is it? Having a vegan cookie base that you know works every time is like gold!
It’s the base used in these cookies http://katyskitchen.ca/chocolate-coconut-cookies/ and again in these http://katyskitchen.ca/thin-crispy-granola-cookies/. Minor modifications made for both but the ratios are always the same and I’m always happy with the result. Took me months to find the right ratios but yes, once you have it it’s like gold!
After you left that comment I went to your cookies page and stalked about 5 recipes and figured it had to be those coconut choc cookies! I guessed correctly :) Thanks for the info that the base always works. There’s lots of recipes in vegan cookbooks for cookies that sometimes work and sometimes, well, don’t. In cookbooks no less!