Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Exactly 9 days post-New Year’s my aforementioned aversion to sweets disappeared like a puff of smoke. The holiday sugar cloud has lifted and I am ready to dive into butter, chocolate, sugar and, of course… peanut butter! These peanut butter cup bars are nothing new to the blogosphere, but I am thrilled to finally have them back in my kitchen. I had my first encounter with these bars waaaaaay back in college. I was at a cookout/bonfire and a girl brought a pan of these. I’ve been a peanut butter fanatic pretty much since I uttered my first words, so needless to say I fell in love with these immediately. As soon as I wiped the peanut butter and chocolate crumbs off my mouth, I asked for the recipe. I got it, and then promptly lost it before I ever got a chance to make them. I have lived without these for way too many years, so I must make amends. And share with you of course.

I was the kid on Halloween that dug through the candy to get to the Reese’s peanut butter cups. They were gold. On Easter, I was always thrilled when the bunny left a Reese’s peanut butter egg or, as I got older and more appreciative of good sweets, a Sarris peanut butter meltaway egg. So imagine how insanely excited I am that these taste just like a giant peanut butter cup. I could get even more authentic with a thicker layer of chocolate, or actually encasing a cup-shaped version in chocolate, but this recipe is super easy and darn-near perfect. If it ain’t broke…

Three years ago: Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes (active), 30 minutes (inactive)

Total Time: 15 minutes


½ cup unsalted butter
1¾ cups powdered sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup milk chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)


1. Line an 8x8-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides, then butter the foil. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the ½ cup of butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs until completely combined and smooth. Spread the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

3. In the now-empty saucepan, melt the ¼ cup unsalted butter. Add the chocolate and stir until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.

4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set. Remove from the pan using the foil overhangs and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to slice into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

(Recipe adapted from Stylish Cuisine)

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154 Responses to “Peanut Butter Cup Bars”

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  1. Christina @ Sweet Peas Kitchen on April 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I made these over the weekend and they were incredible!! Thanks again for another amazing recipe! :D


  2. Kristin on April 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I am planning on making these for Easter. I was thinking of taking the peanut butter mixture and forming them into oval or “egg” shapes and then refrigerating for a little while to firm up and then dipping them in chocolate. So I have 2 questions:

    1.) Do you think this peanut butter mixture will be ok to do this?
    2.) Would you recommend using the same chocolate/butter in this recipe to coat them or should I use your recipe using chocolate and shortening?

    Thanks for your help!


    • Michelle on April 20th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Kristin,

      Love the idea of the peanut butter eggs! I think I would recommend the peanut butter mixture that I use for buckeyes ( only because I have experience rolling and shaping it, and I haven’t tried that with this filling. I would definitely use the chocolate and shortening mixture to coat. Enjoy!


      • Kristin on April 21st, 2011 at 10:35 am

        Hi Michelle,

        Thanks for the quick response as I did make these last night. I actually just made them according to your recipe but used the chocolate / shortening to pour on top. I just preferred having a thicker chocolate top. I cut them this morning in the shape of eggs and they came out looking really cute. They are wrapped up good in the freezer now and then on Sunday, I am planning on serving them in my deviled eggs platter and bringing them to Long Island!

        I did have to taste test them, (of course) and they are amazing!

        Thanks again, Happy Easter!


  3. Emily on May 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I LOVE these. I use a milk chocolate/80% dark chocolate mix for the topping. Way better than a reese’s and totally addicting. I made them twice in one week!


  4. Jaime on July 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    They complete me.


  5. Dena on August 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Made these in a 9×9 pan, didn’t do the foil, but probably should have. They stuck a little. I used semi sweet chips and did about 1 1/2 batches of the chocolate part as 1 didn’t seem like enough to cover adequately. They were delicious and everyone loved them! Thanks much! Will make again!


  6. Jess on August 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    This is the best and easiest dessert – it is my go-to recipe for any party or get-together. I’ve made them at least 6 times in the last few months and they’ve been a huge hit every time!


  7. Ashlee on August 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I found your recipe via Pinterest and finally got around to making these. They were tasty. I shared the link to them in my blog. I look forward to spending more time here browsing your recipes. Thanks and have a wonderful day!


  8. Emily on August 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

    As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to try to make them. To my (pleasant) surprise they turned out just like yours did in the picture! I did notice that once they were out of the fridge (they chilled overnight) they started melting/getting very soft almost immediately. I was thinking of adding more graham cracker crumbs to make it more solid. Any suggestions? Thank you :)


    • Michelle on August 21st, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Emily, Were they at room temperature (68-72 degrees)? Or was it significantly warmer in your house? They should not melt at room temperature if they came right out of the refrigerator after chilling overnight. I would hesitate to add more graham crumbs, as it could make the filling dry and crumbly.


  9. Genevieve on September 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I am a HUGE peanut butter/chocolate fan! These are some of the best! Making them again!! Love your recipes!


  10. Trimble on September 19, 2011 at 10:31 am

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I made these last night and I’m in heaven! I don’t eat chocolate so I made these with the peanut butter chips and it made them so rich and divine. Yum, yum, yum and thank you!


  11. Gracie on September 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    These are so yummi and such an easy, basic, no-bake recipe! Too good to be true (:


  12. Natalie on November 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I made these, and wow, AMAZING!


  13. Raven on November 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I have a question. I’d like to make these gluten-free for a friend’s birthday. What would happen if I left out the graham cracker crumbs? Or what would be a good alternative to graham cracker crumbs (but wheat-free)?
    Thanks for any suggestions,


    • Michelle on December 2nd, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Hi Raven, The graham cracker crumbs gives the filling the texture it needs. I wouldn’t leave them out, but you could look for a gluten-free graham cracker alternative and use that. (I’m not familiar with gluten-free foods so I’m not sure what’s out there.)


  14. cristi on December 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Love, love, love this recipe!!! It’s so easy and inexpensive to make. I had every ingredient in my pantry :) I didnt mess with any measurements, followed it to the “T”. It took longer than 30 min. to set (an hour) but it was no big deal. This recipe hit the nail on the head down to the very last crumb. I had a different recipe that required lots more ingredients but this one works sooooo much better. Love that it’s no bake since i live in the desert and it can get pretty hot here. I wouldn’t recommend these for a summer picnic because they do get to even room temp. really fast. I did use a 9X9 pan bc thats what i had but even then the chocolate coating was enough. Im taking these to a potluck today, i found the recipe last night and wanted to get up and make them at 1am lol. Thank you for this recipe, it’s definately a keeper!


  15. Kaylee on December 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I needed to make a dessert for a party that wasn’t some type of cookie so I went with these, but I added a bottom layer of the sugary crushed-pretzel crust from the Strawberry Pretzel Squares recipe. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I went for it anyway because I figured you can’t go wrong with a salty-sweet combo, and they were absolutely delicious! Kind of like a homemade Take5 candy bar. I strongly suggest it if you’re considering making these (although I’m sure they’re just as delicious by themselves without any pretzel crust too!) Thanks for the great recipe – I know I’ll be making these again!


  16. susie on December 19, 2012 at 9:26 am

    These have been a long standing tradition for my family during the holidays. My dads favorite!


  17. joyce on January 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

    what are graham cracker crumbs, and what if you cant get them what can i use instead ( from Australia) that’s why


  18. Nuui on February 8, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I know the gluten-free related topic started months ago, but I just had to share my gluten-free variation of this recipe. First, the proportions are perfect, and this was incredibly easy for my daughter and myself to make. Instead of the graham cracker crumbs, We used half a cup of crushed gluten-free Rice Krispies, and a quarter cup of crushed corn chex, and instead of a cup and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, I went with 2 cups, considering we weren’t getting any sugar from the Krispies and chex like we would have from the graham cracker. They turned out really good! You could probably use lots of different substitutions for the graham crackers, this recipe would be hard to mess up.


  19. Dana on February 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    hi – i’m slow to find these but they look incredible! any idea how far in advance i can make them? (would wednesday night be ok for friday?)


    • Michelle on February 11th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Dana, Yes, Wednesday night for Friday would be fine!


  20. delicious on March 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm
  21. Ellen on April 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    WOW!!!!! These are out of this world! I made these yesterday, they’re gone! Everyone has loved them and I have gotten so many compliments, thanks for sharing! My special touch was sea salt in with the peanut butter mixture (I was using unsalted, natural PB) and then a sprinkle on top of the chocolate. Looked great and tasted even more phenomenal. Thanks again!


  22. Robin on April 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Wow, these are crazy! They are just like peanut butter cups. They’re very rich and sweet – just one square is plenty for me. I’m bringing them to a party tonight and have a feeling that one pan cut into little squares will be just perfect.


  23. Nicole on August 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I made these today. AWESOME! I linked the recipe from my blog to yours. Hope that is okay. I will remove the entry if you are not okay with it. Thanks.


  24. Lauren on October 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I must say, one of my best friends in college made these all the time and they are absolutely amazing. when she made them they would not even last a week before they were gone!


  25. rose on December 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Can butter be substituted with margarine?


    • Michelle on December 5th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Rose, I have never tried melting butter with margarine, and am not sure how it would set up. I certainly recommend the butter, but if you substitute, please let me know how it turns out.


  26. Caroline on February 18, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Would these ship okay? They are not going far and it’s winter. Thanks.


    • Michelle on February 20th, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Caroline, Yes, I think they would ship just fine!


  27. Courtney on August 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I MADE these and give them 5 stars. I don’t think I’ll make special K bars ever again.


  28. Josh on September 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Finally, a variation of what I may have been searching for. Of and on for the last 20 years I’ve been looking for something like this that i had in my grade school café. This looks like it might be it. I can’t wait to try it, like I said, there are different variations and not everyone is the same when it comes to making goodies. Hopefully when I attempt to make these they at least taste like they did in school, but it has been 20 years-taste buds don’t fail me now. Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to try them.


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