Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (Date-Sweetened!)

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These Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls remind me of the “buckeyes” my mother-in-law used to make for us each Christmas, but these healthy peanut butter balls are naturally sweetened with dates!

chocolate peanut butter date balls

I’m actually SHOCKED at how authentic they taste.

My mother-in-law’s recipe calls for powdered sugar to create a thick peanut butter truffle, with crisp rice cereal mixed in for texture. I tried recreating a healthy grain-free version years ago, but the “crunch” was never quite the same as the original, so this year I decided to try adding in some crisp rice cereal to my date-sweetened batch.

peanut butter date ball recipe

The result is amazing.

These peanut butter balls are slightly salty and sweet, with a satisfying crunch that isn’t too overpowering. When you coat them in a layer of melted dark chocolate, they’re downright irresistible!

chocolate covered peanut butter balls

They’re naturally gluten-free, dairy-free (as long as you use vegan chocolate chips), and are also loaded with fiber and protein to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. I think they’d be fun to bring to a holiday cookie exchange, and we gave them as teacher gifts for my son’s school this year.

I hope they’ll help make your next special event a little sweeter, too.

healthy peanut butter balls with sea salt

chocolate peanut butter date balls
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5 from 11 votes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (Vegan & Date-Sweetened)

SPECIAL TREAT  |  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free, Vegan
These peanut butter balls have a crisp center and are coated in dark chocolate, for a healthy buckeye copycat. Sweetened with dates, they're loaded with fiber to help balance your blood sugar!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 114kcal


  • 1 cup Medjool dates , pitted (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter , all-natural and drippy in texture
  • 2 tablespoons flax or chia seeds , ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal*
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (about 6 ounces)


  • Place the pitted dates in the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, and process until broken down. (Mine usually forms a big, sticky ball.)
  • Add in the peanut butter (you want it drippy in consistency, so I like to use it at room temperature, rather than from the fridge), the ground seeds, and salt, and process again until a crumbly, uniform dough is created. I usually watch the mixture turn into a big ball first, and then it breaks down into crumbles if you continue processing for a minute or so. Scrape down the sides if necessary. 
  • To the crumbled mixture, add in the crisp rice cereal and process briefly again, just until the cereal is broken down slightly. You still want some texture from the cereal, so don't turn it to dust. You should be able to pinch the dough with your fingers and roll it into a ball easily with the cereal inside. 
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and roll it between your hands to create 20 balls. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet and place them in the freezer to firm up. 
  • Arrange a heat-safe bowl over a small saucepan filled with an inch of water to create a double-boiler. Bring the water to a boil and place the dark chocolate in the bowl to melt. Stir well, and remove the pan from the heat once melted. 
  • Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer and coat each one with melted chocolate. You can coat just the tops of each ball, or you can use the spoon to coat the bottoms, too. Place them on parchment paper to ensure that they will be easy to remove and serve later. 
  • Sprinkle coarse sea salt on top of each chocolate-coated ball, if desired, while the chocolate is still warm. It should firm up quickly.
  • Serve chilled from the fridge or at room temperature. For best texture, I recommend storing these in the fridge until 30 minutes before you plan on serving them. They should keep well for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge, if you don't eat them all before then. 


*Kellog's Rice Krispies are NOT gluten-free, but Erewhon, Nature's Path, and Enjoy Life brands all offer certified gluten-free options.


Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Recipe Notes:

  • Kellog’s Rice Krispies are NOT gluten-free, but Erewhon, Nature’s Path, and Enjoy Life brands all offer certified gluten-free options.
  • Feel free to swap out the nut butter in this recipe, if you don’t care for peanut butter. I have a feeling almond butter or sunflower seed butter would work well.
  • If you don’t want to use dates, try using this recipe instead.
  • If you’d prefer to make your own naturally sweetened chocolate coating, use this recipe.

As always, if you make any modifications to this recipe, please leave a comment below so we can all benefit from your experience.

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite holiday cookie or treat to make each year? 

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Thanks for sharing

Cindy Secrist

Thanks for posting this Megan! It looks awesome! Just want to wish you & your family a very Merry Christmas! I am sure it will be fun at your home with two cute little ones!!! Have fun and enjoy! LOVE your recipes! Oh! and thank your son for those “healthy donuts”! We love them! 🙂


Nailed it! (And, having grown up in Ohio, I’m particular about my buckeyes 😉


This is my favorite recipe yet! They came out looking just like the photos and taste DELICIOUS. Thank you for these- I will be making them again!


Instead of the rice cereal, I used unsweetened coconut and another time with loosely ground almonds and both were excellent. Thank you for a great recipe!

vanessa stuardo

I made this today and is very yummy! everyone loved the crispiness and sweetness. I added coconut on top of the chocolate because my family loves coconut.


Thank you for this delicious, easy, and fun recipe. My two teenagers loved them. They usually turn their noses up at ‘healthy’ desserts, but not this time. Thank you!

Annabel MacDonald

I’m new to food combining..and so far my stomach is grateful. Question. I’d like to try making this but when can I eat it? After a starch/veggie meal?

Or ever according to the food combining restrictions. appreciate you suggesting anything I can have for a dessert following this food lifestyle. Thx.

    Megan Gilmore

    You’d have to leave the cereal out to make this properly combined as a nut/fruit meal, so you could enjoy that after a salad with a tahini based dressing (like my Kale Caesar salad) and some roasted vegetables. All of the recipes in my cookbooks are labeled for food combining and the meal plans in those books are all properly combined if you need some more guidance, but the recipes on my website are not always combined because I also try to encourage people to simply eat more whole foods without worrying too much about all the “rules” which can be overwhelming at times.


I don’t care for crisp rice cereal. Can you recommend an alternative? Perhaps rolled oats? Thank you!

Dale Gustitus

These are DELICIOUS!!! I am a junk food junkie, trying hard to curb my sweet tooth and these fit the bill! Thank you! I recently found your website and just ordered your Detox cookbook the other day. I’m so excited to get it 🙂


I am interested in eating healthy food but not wanting to totally vegan or gluten free. We have a big family- in some of your recipes can I substitute honey for maple syrup or will that alter the taste too much?

    Megan Gilmore

    I’d use a little less honey when making that swap, since honey is sweeter and has a stronger flavor. But you should be able to use it in most recipes no problem!


I just made these and they are so delicious!! They taste great and adding the Rice Krispies for texture is genius. I covered mine completely in chocolate and then coated in shredded coconut and they’re just what I wanted. I only got about 13 balls out of the mixture with my small cookie scoop, but they’re a nice size. Thanks for this great recipe!


OMG love this cashew twist on Buckeyes – my Ohio pride side is proud of you for this creation.


Instead of the Rice Krispies cereal, I used 4oz of dates and 4oz of figs. Awesome crunchiness, grain-free!

Lauren M. Frost

I left out the Rice Krispies, I don’t eat grains. I do not eat maple syrup and I am allergic to coconut. I added 1/2 teaspoon of 100% cacao powder. I also added a splash of unsweetened almond milk to help me blend in the chocolate.

Not buckeyes, but satisfying my craving for them. I wish I could get a chocolate coating on them.


Being too lazy to roll these into balls. I pressed it into an 8×8 pan and poured the melted chocolate on top. It made thin, but incredibly delicious, bars and I’m happy knowing there are quality ingredients in there. Thank you!


These peanut butter balls are absolutely delicious! You would never know they are sweetened with dates and the rice cereal adds a nice crunch. Thank you for a treat everyone can enjoy!

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