Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are an easy, no-bake dessert! They taste like a peanut butter cup, are naturally-sweetened, and totally irresistible.
Why You’ll Love Them
They’re delicious. If you love chocolate and peanut butter, this combination is hard to resist. They taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups, without the processed sugar.
They are easy to prepare. All you need is 6 simple ingredients! Each layer can be stirred together in less than 5 minutes. The hardest part is waiting for these no bake chocolate peanut butter bars to firm up so you can eat them.
They are perfect for special diets. If you need a gluten-free, egg-free, or dairy-free option, these are for you! You can also swap the peanut butter for almond butter or sunflower seed butter, if you prefer.
They’re easy to customize. If you want to use a different topping, such as melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, or you prefer a graham cracker crust, feel free to modify this recipe as you like!
They are naturally sweet. Instead of using powdered sugar, the chocolate and peanut butter layers are sweetened with pure maple syrup. (This is not to be confused with a processed pancake syrup, which won’t give you the same results.)
Ingredients You’ll Need
The coconut oil acts as a binder in this recipe, because it is solid when chilled. It’s what will give these bars structure, but if you don’t care for a coconut flavor, use refined or expeller pressed coconut oil, which has zero coconut taste. Or, you can use regular butter, if you don’t need a dairy-free recipe.
Almond flour offers a gluten-free option that you don’t need to bake, but feel free to experiment with other options, if you don’t mind a little trial and error. If you’re not a peanut butter fan, you can also use almond butter, tahini, or sunflower seed butter for another variation.
How to Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1. Make the chocolate crust.
In a medium bowl, stir together the almond meal, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and coconut oil until a thick, uniform mixture is formed.
Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (or similar size baking pan) with parchment paper, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place it in the freezer to set while you make the next layer.
2. Make the peanut butter filling.
In the same bowl, stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and a pinch of salt.
Remove the chocolate crust from the freezer and spread the peanut butter mixture over the crust evenly, smoothing the top with a spatula. Return it to the freezer while you make the last layer.
3. Make the chocolate topping.
In the same mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, cacao powder, and maple syrup. Make sure the maple syrup is at room temperature, otherwise it may cause the mixture to thicken. (This can also happen in a cold kitchen, which happened while I was taking photos!)
Remove the loaf pan from the freezer, and spread the chocolate on top of the peanut butter layer. Return the pan to the freezer and let the bars set until they are firm, at least 1 hour.
4. Slice & enjoy!
When the peanut butter chocolate bars are frozen, use the parchment paper to remove them from the pan. Use a sharp knife to slice the bars into squares, and then they are ready to eat.
These bars will soften and melt if you leave them at room temperature for too long, so be sure to store them in an airtight container and keep them chilled in the fridge or freezer. They should be served chilled for the best texture. (They are softer from the fridge, and firmer from the freezer– you can pick the texture you prefer!)
Chocolate peanut butter bars will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unsalted butter would be the most similar replacement, but if you need a dairy-free recipe, try using your favorite vegan butter, instead. The fat you use needs to be solid when chilled. If you’re trying to avoid a coconut flavor, use a highly refined coconut oil, instead.
I usually spoon the solid coconut oil into an oven-safe measuring cup, and place it in a warm oven to melt briefly while I measure everything else. However, you can also place it in a microwave-safe bowl and use the microwave to melt it in 30 second intervals, or melt it in a pan on the stove top.
I haven’t tested this recipe with a different flour yet, but you might be able to use another ground nut with similar results. Or check out my oat flour pie crust, if you want to try using that as a base, instead. (You could probably use half of that recipe.)
Of course! If you don’t mind a thinner bar, you can use an 8-inch square pan. Or, you can double the recipe if you’d like the layers to remain thick.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Peanut Butter Filling:
- ½ cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (at room temperature)
- Line a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside. (Tip: Spray the pan lightly with oil to help the parchment paper stay in place.)
- In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until the dough sticks together. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set.
- To prepare the peanut butter filling, stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Remove the crust from the freezer, and add the peanut butter filling on top. Smooth with a spatula, then return the pan to the fridge.
- To make the chocolate topping, combine the cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. (Make sure the maple syrup is at room temperature, so the topping doesn't thicken up.) Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, smooth the top with a spatula, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about 1 hour.
- To serve, remove the pan from the freezer and grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan. Use a sharp knife to slice the bars into small pieces. (You can get anywhere from 15 to 20 pieces from this batch.)
- These bars will melt if they sit at room temperature for too long, so be sure to serve them chilled. I like to transfer them to the fridge, so they aren't too hard to bite into. (They also have more flavor when served from the fridge, instead of the freezer.) You can store these in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Nutrition information is for 1 of 20 bars. This will change if you make bigger or smaller slices, and is automatically calculated, so it’s just an estimate, not a guarantee.
- For zero coconut flavor, use a coconut oil that is refined or expeller pressed. Virgin and extra-virgin coconut oil will have a stronger coconut taste.
- See more substitution ideas in the FAQ section of this post.
If you try these no bake peanut butter bars, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like them.