No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan)


Can you guess who requested these?

PB-bars

When it comes to desserts, my husband’s favorite combination is peanut butter and chocolate. We have quite an arsenal of peanut butter and chocolate recipes in our home already, including homemade peanut butter cups and peanut butter chocolate chip blondies, but this time around, I wanted to make something even easier.

And these bars fit the bill.

They can be whipped up with just about 15 minutes of effort, without turning on the oven or filling up individual wrappers. Just pour the layers into a pan, then freeze, slice, and serve!

Of course, if peanut butter isn’t your thing, these bars can be easily adapted by using almond butter, cashew butter, or even sunflower butter for a nut-free filling. (You could use ground sunflower seeds to make the crust, too.) The options are endless, so feel free to get creative!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan)
Makes about 15 bars

Ingredients:

Chocolate Crust:

3/4 cup ground almond meal
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set.

To prepare the filling, you can use the same bowl to stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Depending on whether you’re using salted or unsalted peanut butter, you may want to add more salt to taste. Store-bought peanut butter cups are quite salty, so I like to add a generous pinch of salt to mimic that flavor. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.

PB-bar-layers

Rinse the mixing bowl, and use it again, if you like, to make the final layer. Combine the cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about an hour or two.

Once the bars are firm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. (The bars become very firm if frozen for too long, so I prefer serving them from the fridge after the initial firming-up time.)

cut-bars

4.8 from 40 reviews
No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan)
Author: 
Serves: 15
 
Quick and easy bars that taste like your favorite chocolate peanut butter cups!
Ingredients
Chocolate Crust:
  • ¾ cup ground almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
Peanut Butter Filling:
  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
Chocolate Topping:
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set.
  2. To prepare the filling, you can use the same bowl to stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Depending on whether you're using salted or unsalted peanut butter, you may want to add more salt to taste. Store-bought peanut butter cups are quite salty, so I like to add a generous pinch of salt to mimic that flavor. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.
  3. PB-bar-layers
  4. Rinse the mixing bowl, and use it again, if you like, to make the final layer. Combine the cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about an hour or two.
  5. Once the bars are firm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. (The bars become very firm if frozen for too long, so I prefer serving them from the fridge after the initial firming-up time.)

Notes:

  • As always, if you don’t care for coconut oil, you can try using real butter as a substitute, as it also solidifies when chilled. (But, the recipe won’t be vegan anymore.)
  • You can also try using honey or coconut nectar, instead of maple syrup, if you prefer.

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite flavor combination when it comes to desserts? I personally love mint + chocolate anything.

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organsβ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

203 thoughts on “No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan)

  1. Patricia Buchanan

    Unfortunately the overall taste is COCONUT then chocolate and peanut butter. Maybe I used the wrong kind of coconut oil?

    Reply
    1. Lana Z

      Or, maybe try a different type of peanut butter. Maranatha makes an incredibly flavorful, delicious, organic peanut butter. I made these and they were an absolute hit!

      Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I always use unrefined coconut oil, but I do love the taste of coconut. I’ve heard the refined version is almost tasteless.

      Reply
  2. Carolyn

    Absolutely incredible (as usual)!!! I made homemade PB cups very similar to this recipe that were also delicious, but I prefer this recipe because the almond flour mixture tones down the overall richness/sweetness. Also, I used coconut PB which was all the more satisfying! Thank you for sharing this wonderfully simple and delicious treat!

    Reply
  3. Sydnee

    After eyeing this recipe EVERY time I browsed this blog for the past few weeks–and seeing as PB + chocolate is my ultimate favorite–I finally decided to up and make these bars one afternoon. Oh my goodness, they were delicious!!! Everything about them was perfect! I especially loved how each layer was slightly different and yet they all paired together perfectly. I was thinking (and desperately hoping!) that my dad wouldn’t care too much for them but much to my disappointment, he loved them!
    I was out of maple syrup so I had to substitute raw honey, and that did give them a bit of a honey flavor, but it didn’t alter the texture or make these bars any less delectable! I will definitely be making these again. Thanks for the awesome recipe, Megan!

    Reply
  4. Anna

    This was the first (of many) recipes I have tried from here and let me just tell you…if you’re thinking about making them JUST DO IT!!!! They really are that good. We made ours with home made almond butter instead and it was just delicious. Will make these a go to for dinner parties when I need to razzle and dazzle an audience. Thank you!! Looking forward to trying more!

    Reply
  5. Fallon

    Wow, these are pretty special! I too love any peanut butter/chocolate combo so these are absolute heaven! And with only 5 natural ingredients, you can’t go wrong! I’ve made them twice now and they’ve disappeared as quickly as they came together! I’ve surprised even the most conventional eater in my office πŸ™‚
    The recipes on this blog are just genius! I’ve also tried the cauliflower pizza crust and avocado truffles. Can’t wait to try the vegan mac’n’cheese! I can see many of these recipes becoming permanent fixtures in my cooking repertoire!
    Thank you for sharing and I look forward to hearing more about your cookbook!

    Reply
  6. Christina

    I just made this yesterday and everyone from the one year old (I wasn’t the one that gave it to her!) to teenagers and skeptical healthy-but-yummy adults loved it!!

    Reply
  7. Shelley

    Hi I’m finding it very difficult to find certain recipes on your new web site. You use to have different categories of cookies, vegetables etc. perhaps I’m not using the new web site properly. Can you instruct me further. I love the recipes. Thanks so much.

    Reply
      1. Shahne

        Hi Megan, do you have an alternative to coconut oil?? I’m allergic & no one ever really has an answer for me… Thanks 😊

        Reply
        1. Megan Gilmore Post author

          If you can tolerate dairy, the best substitute for coconut oil is real butter. It needs to be a fat that is solid at room temperature to work correctly.

          Reply
  8. jeri lynn

    I want to try this recipe! however, my kids are not big fans of coconut oil (we are not strictly paleo–tho we are getting there!). is there something I can sub for it in this and other sweets recipes? thanks a bunch!

    ~~jl

    Reply
  9. Benni

    I’ve made these twice & I found them to be better than any commercial chocolate bar I’ve ever tried. I copied you on another recipe & sprinkled ground unsweetened coconut on top. (I ground flaked coconut in a coffee grinder). Makes them pretty & adds a little coconut flavor & texture to the bars. Delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Reply
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  11. Janet J

    A friend of mine made these for me and I absolutely love them so she gave me the recipe. Any chance that you can provide the nutritional information? Carb count is of particular interest. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  12. Catie

    Soooo these actually take hours, not 15 minutes. πŸ™ Would’ve been good to note before I embarked on this quest with only an hour before Hallowe’en company arrives…

    Reply
  13. Mary

    Tried it last night and the 3 combo layers were so complimentary to each other. So lovely! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am currently on 2nd week of HCG Phase 3.

    Reply
  14. Todd

    I’m a recent vegan convert with a huge sweet tooth. But I’m also trying to watch my sugar (refined) intake. With halloween (candy) on us, I had to find a recipe before I ate a whole bag of mini candy bars. I whipped this up the day of our party. Oh man, these have changed my life. The flavor and sweetness are there, and how. I wound up cutting them into about 1/2 inches squares-plenty for a sneak taste here and there. I left them in the freezer, and LOVED them that way. I’m so making these again. THANK YOU!!!

    Reply
  15. Tammy

    These are really good and they only take a few minutes to make. I would really like the nutritional analysis. Carb count is also important to us. Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Laura Black

    Megan, these are by far the easiest, yummiest vegan bars yet. I’ve made them for my husband, twice, in four days!!! He can’t stop eating them. And easy to make….yes, and to me the easier and yummier the better. Thanks for your creativity and for sharing!

    Reply
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  18. Stephanie Wilson

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for this recipe! I’m not very knowledgeable around the kitchen but I’m attending a function/party with a lot of friends who have food allergies/intolerances/preferences and really wanted to share something that most anyone can have! I appreciate that this recipe is gluten-free on top of it being dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan! This is an amazing contribution you’ve made when people only recently seem to be wrapping their minds around all of the awareness involved with these new dietary restrictions!

    Reply
  19. annu

    Hi, I cannot have sugar or maple syrup. Is there a way to make this without using sugar & with Dark Chocolate or pure raw cacao.
    I have high cholesterol, high BP & am pre-diabetic. Can’t have sugar & egg yolks.
    Thanks,

    Reply
  20. Dena

    These are amazing! Taste very similar to PB cups with more of a fudge-like texture. Incredibly easy to put together (took about 20 minutes total) and taste great!

    Reply
  21. Laura

    Love it! Use some glad wrap (plastic wrap) over your hand to help squish the chocolate crust flat without it getting all sticky!

    Reply
  22. Colleen B

    I just made these today for a party tonight…SO very good (I kept a little out to try!). I doubled them and put in an 9×9. I used raw cacao and only about 1/2 – 2/3 the sweetener. Even with only that much maple syrup, they were still very sweet to me. Needless to say this paleo way of life has changed my tastebuds and I really don’t need as much sweetener anymore!! Thanks for a delicious recipe!! I can’t wait to see what everyone says at the party!!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I would use a little less honey than what’s called for, because I find that it’s sweeter and has a stronger flavor when compared to maple syrup. But peanut butter + honey is a tasty combo, so I imagine it will be good!

      Reply
  23. Kalesha Bastion

    I want to make these for a Vegan friend who is allergic to Coconut. I do have a lime olive oil though. Do you think that will work?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      No type of olive oil will work for this recipe. You’ll need to use some sort of shortening or butter substitute that is firm with chilled to keep it vegan.

      Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I wouldn’t use coconut flour– it’s too different. However, any other ground nut or seed should work, and I believe some comments above have mentioned trying oat flour, but that would require more substitutions.

      Reply
  24. Kelly

    Do you know the carb count? Nutritional info may not be important if you don’t count calories but it is extremely important if you have to count carbs if I am a diabetic who enjoys making healthy treats and likes to know my healthy limit serving wise when it comes to carbs. Thank you!

    Reply
  25. Sandra

    I would like to complain about this recipe, it is in the freezer right now and I am having a hard time waiting. Ha ha ha thank you so much for all you do and I just can’t hardly wait until it’s time to get it out of the freezer!

    Reply
  26. Debbie

    I did not have any almond meal, so I ground up raw sunflower seeds. I doubled and put into a 9×9 pan. My natural peanut butter was crunch, no salt. I thought they were very good! The coconut oil I used was organic, extra virgin (unrefined).

    Reply
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  28. Suzanne

    YUM! Made these for a small gathering with friends. They are full of flavor this recipe size was perfect to cut into 3/4″ squares for one-bite goodness. Just the right amount of sweetness and nice to have no leftovers from a huge pan of bars. I’m looking forward to making the crust with finely ground unsweetened coconut for a different flavor mix and texture (and looking at your Mounds recipe filling).

    Reply
  29. Anna

    These are so good! And what a gift to have a delicious treat for my kiddo who needs to avoid so many things! Thank you!

    Reply
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  32. Sarah

    My foodprocessor broke, so I used some coconut flour I had in place of the almond meal. Big mistake. The crust was way too try and crumbly and pretty much stuck to my throat and made it really hard to even swallow!! The top and middle layers turned out yummy though! Will try again with ground nuts or some other substitute! Thanks!

    Reply
  33. jill

    These pb bars were delicious! One problem I had though was the top layer. It kept getting clumpy and kind of “hardened” up before I could pour it. I ended up spreading it on and it looked like the bottom layer. I used all the correct ingredients and ended up making it twice. It doesn’t seem anyone else had this problem…help!?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      It would harden if your maple syrup was chilled from the fridge. If that happens again, you can gently warm the mixture over the stove so it becomes liquid again!

      Reply
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  36. Aenia

    I know that I am quite late, but I finally made these bars after intending to for a while!! While mine didn’t look as professional as yours, they were delicious πŸ™‚ I ran out out maple syrup in the bottom layer; so I ended up subbing stevia and honey for the remainder two layers. I am a peanut butter (AND nut butter+chocolate AND dark chocolate addict), and these hit the spot. Very filling, easy to make with minimal cleanup, and few ingredients! Thank you for your wonderful recipes and knowledge that make healthy eating and healthy lifestyle easy and enjoyable πŸ™‚

    Reply
  37. Rose

    I’ve made these, and they taste absolutely fantastic. They’re better than Reese’s peanut butter cups, because the chocolate actually tastes like chocolate, instead of solidified sugar lard πŸ™‚ My only difficulty is getting things smooth and even in the pan. I’m sure I’ll make these often enough that I’ll get better at it.

    Reply
  38. Amanda

    Wow, my 11 year old and I made this last night! It was fab!! We didn’t have maple syrup and used local honey instead. Thanks!!!

    Reply
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  40. Kimberley

    Could I substitute local organic honey for the maple syrup? I’m not a huge fan of the maple flavor! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Yes, but I’d use slightly less honey because it’s sweeter than maple syrup.

      Reply
  41. Connie

    I made these today. They are wonderful! A big hit with my grandkids, like all of your recipes that I have tried.
    Thank you!

    Reply
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  44. anke

    Wauw,
    A big thank you from the Netherlands. I am a mom and try every day to teach my childeren to eat healty, thats not always easy when you want to eat something sweet.

    Reply
  45. Cindy

    Hi! I just discovered your blog and absolutely love it – I could live off these ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa, and of course, peanut butter! This recipe looks absolutely delicious and I am just dying to make it as soon as possible. The only problem at the moment is that I don’t have almond meal, and I don’t have access to a blender. Is there anything I can replace the almond meal with? Do you think some spelt flour or quick oats would work?

    Reply
  46. Kim

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe, our oven is broke!!! I’ve been trying to think of delicious treats to make that don’t require an oven and just saw this on Facebook. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply
  47. Colleen

    These went fast, made them last night, we had to have just one more square! They also were incredibly fast and easy to prepare, thank you. Crunchy pb is what we used.

    Reply
  48. Dorian

    These bars are great. I used carob powder in place of cocoa, and a mix of coconut sugar and maple syrup, I also sunflower seed butter. All easy substitutions that worked well.

    Reply
  49. Valentina

    I have a question! Does the chocolate topping melt if stored at room-temperature?

    I am looking for any recipe of chocolate topping that allows me to make different truffles and candy and store them outside of the refrigerator, but it’s impossible to find.

    I’ll prepare a bachelorette’s party for a diabetic friend and I am on paleo diet, and here where I live is very hard to find diet dark chocolate to simply melt and use.

    Than you so much!!!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Making your own chocolate that won’t melt at room temperature requires using a special ingredient, like raw cacao butter, and you’ll probably also have to look into “tempering” the chocolate. I prefer to use ingredients in my pantry, which is why I always make the refrigerated version. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  50. Amanda

    This is an excellent recipe! I have made it a handful of times and I have used maple syrup and honey, both are amazing. I have used whatever pb I have on hand, I did like the Skippy natural crunchy as well with it. Thank you!

    Reply
  51. Jessica

    I’m so glad my sister shared your page and recipes with me.. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for and its amazing, so good even my 5 boys love them …

    Reply
  52. Cindy

    WOW! Can I give this recipe 10 stars?? These are totally awesome! Easy to make, not too many dishes, and DELICIOUS!! Just don’t eat too many, as they are pretty rich. You just might end up with a little tummy ache. (I may or may not be speaking from experience.) The only problem I see is that it’s supposed to make 15 servings. I would say it could feed 8 people with some self-control. If they have no self control, it might only feed 4-5… and stomachaches might ensue. But they’d be worth it!
    I’m wondering how these would turn out using dates in place of some of the maple syrup as sweetener. I hate to experiment the first time I make something because I like to see how it’s supposed to turn out before I start messing with a recipe. But this one is so perfect I’m not sure I’ll take on the risk of experimenting!

    Reply
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  54. Patrick

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 32 g
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 158Calories from Fat 112
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 12.5g19%
    Saturated Fat 6.0g30%
    Trans Fat 0.0g
    Cholesterol 0mg0%
    Sodium 72mg3%
    Potassium 166mg5%
    Total Carbohydrates 11.0g4%
    Dietary Fiber 1.7g7%
    Sugars 7.4g
    Protein 3.5g
    Vitamin A 0% β€’ Vitamin C 0%
    Calcium 2% β€’ Iron 8%
    Nutrition Grade C+
    * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

    Reply

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