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These simple 6 ingredients Buckeye Crunch Bars are just like the classic balls of chocolate peanut butter “Buckeyes” but in bar form. A sweet, super creamy peanut butter filling, covered entirely by a thick layer of milk chocolate, then topped with salty pretzels for an extra special CRUNCH. These are SO easy to make. They call for only 6 pantry staple ingredients and require zero baking. You cannot go wrong with these Buckeye Bars. They’re sweet, salty, peanutty, extra chocolatey, and yes, addicting…it’s that salty pretzel crunch. And the best part? These bars are fun to make no matter what your age. The perfect treat to bring along to your next summer party.

overhead photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars

It’s become somewhat of a tradition that I share yet another chocolate peanut butter dessert on the Friday before Father’s Day weekend. Why? Because it’s my dad’s favorite sweet combination. Can you blame him? It’s a delicious combo and my personal favorite too.

In all honesty, I was going to share another recipe today. More of a breakfast recipe, and I am really excited to share it with you all. But at the eleventh hour, I made these Buckeye Bars and my heart told me to share them today. Not only do these satisfy my dad’s love of chocolate and peanut butter, but they’re perfect for Father’s Day. There also that Friday dessert, the one we all just really want the most.

The one we crave.

The one that’s EASY to make.

And potentially, and maybe most importantly? The dessert we have all the ingredients for. Because when it’s Friday we just need to be able to make a quick dessert to satisfy the craving and kick the weekend off right.

Yep, this is your new summertime staple dessert bar.

overhead prep photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars before chilling

The inspiration.

Ohio Buckeyes of course!

If you’re unfamiliar with Buckeyes (the candy), they’re simply chocolate peanut butter balls. They’re meant to look like buckeyes, the seeds from a buckeye tree. They’re called buckeyes because they resemble a buck’s eye. Buckeyes, are also the very unusual mascot of Ohio State University. Buckeyes the candy, are often served when tailgating at Ohio State football games.

But…you certainly don’t need a football game to enjoy these delicious chocolate peanut butter balls. Growing up in Cleveland, I had plenty of Buckeyes. To this day, they’re still one of my favorite desserts.

So, I thought, why not make Buckeyes, but try to make them easier and top them with pretzels?

Yum, bars are always a good idea. And I am currently obsessed with salty pretzels, so I was sold the minute I thought of adding them.

overhead close up photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars after cutting

Here are the (EASY) details for these Buckeye Crunch Bars.

With only six ingredients, these bars are easy. I’m talking ten to fifteen minutes of prep time and not much else.

The trickiest part? Waiting for the bars to fully chill. Well, that and cutting into the bars, but more on that below.

To start, you need to line your pan with parchment paper. The paper will help you to lift the bars out of the pan and cut them into squares. There’s really no sub here. You’ll need to line the pan with either parchment (my first choice), wax paper, or tin foil.

Once you have the pan all set, make the peanut butter filling. Simply beat together softened salted butter, creamy peanut butter, a splash of vanilla, and confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Now, here’s the thing, I didn’t want overly sweet bars, so I prefer to use only two and a half cups of confections sugar. My family and I all found this to be the perfect amount of sweetness.

BUT using a lighter amount of sugar will leave you with a “looser” peanut butter filling that will soften quicker at room temperature. If you’d like a thicker, more dense bar, that’s also sweeter, use anywhere from two to three cups of sugar.

overhead close up photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars

Spread the peanut butter filling in the prepared pan, then freeze until set up.

While the peanut butter is in the freezer, melt the chocolate. For the chocolate, the key is to melt the chocolate together with a spoonful of peanut butter. This keeps the chocolate from cracking when you go to cut through the bars. Why does this matter? Well, the peanut butter filling is so light and creamy that if the chocolate is difficult to cut through, the filling will just squeeze right out of the center.

Next, spread the chocolate over the peanut butter layer, then top with an even layer of pretzels, and chill until firm.

And that’s it. Simple. Easy.

SO. GOOD!

side angled photo of Buckeye Crunch Bar with bite taken out of bar

A few notes and tips for success…

While these buckeye crunch bars are easy to make, I do have some helpful tips.

Cutting the bars can be tricky, especially if you use a lesser amount of sugar. What I like to do is to place the pretzels in even rows on top of the chocolate, then freeze until firm. Once the bars are firm, cut them into squares using a sharp knife.

This is the point where I like to use those tiny pieces of crushed pretzels you see. I sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the cut bars, then drizzle with additional chocolate to make them really stick to the top of the bars. Doing this is not needed, but I love the look it gives the bars. Messy, but cute.

overhead close up photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars

The most important thing to note about these bars is that they really need to be kept chilled at all times. They’re not the kind of bar you want to leave out. They taste best straight out of the fridge or freezer. If you’re planning to serve at a picnic, keep these in the cooler.

Personally, I like to store the bars in the freezer and remove five minutes before serving. The bars soften within minutes, plus, we love the bars when they’re extra chilled. Perfect summer treat.

That said, you can store the bars in the fridge, they’ll just be a little softer.

Other than that, these are the easiest, sweetest dessert. If you need something last minute for Father’s Day, or just a Friday night dessert that takes very little effort to make, this is your bar.

So very delicious…enjoy!

close up side photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars

Looking for other peanut butter desserts? Here are a few of my go-to’s. 

Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

Triple Layer Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

The Best Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirled Cookie Bars

Crinkle Top Chocolate Peanut Butter Skillet Blondie

Lastly, if you make these Buckeye Crunch Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Buckeye Crunch Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories Per Serving: 217 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
    2. in a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, 1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter, vanilla, and 2 cups confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more confectioners sugar to your liking. The more sugar you add, the firmer the bars will be.
    3. Spread the mix out into the prepared pan in an even layer. Transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes to set.
    4. Melt the chocolate and remaining 3 tablespoons peanut butter in the microwave until melted. Pour the chocolate mix over the peanut butter layer. Press the pretzels into the chocolate. Transfer the bars to the fridge and chill 1 hour, until set (or 30 minutes in the freezer). Cut into bars (see tip below). We like these best when kept in the freezer, but they can also be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

Tip For Cutting:  First, make sure the bars are really cold and the filling is completely set. I'd recommend freezing the bars for 15 minutes to really give them a good chill. Then, run a really sharp chef's knife under hot water, quickly dry the knife off and cut into the bars. 
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overhead horizontal photo of Buckeye Crunch Bars

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I mean, what’s not to like?! I made these for my dad for Father’s Day and I think it’s his favorite gift he’s ever gotten from me! Great right out of the freezer.

  2. 1 star
    While I LOVE the simple ingredients and taste, this recipe may be just too simple? Peanut butter base melts in minutes out of the fridge, let alone attempting to hold it in your hand to eat. Maybe something like this does need some kind of cooked base to keep it together. Or, you MUST keep them frozen, as chilling them in the fridge (2+ hours) does not “set” these bars. Recipe needs something else for these bars to turn out as expected.

    1. Hi Katie! I am sorry these did not turn out as expected for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can help with! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Just made these today for my dad for Father’s Day since his favorite desserts are anything chocolate and peanut butter. They came out sooo good! Thanks for sharing!

  4. 4 stars
    Delicious combination! I made a thin crushed pretzel crust and the proceeded with recipe as presented. This made the softer low sugar, version easier to control.
    Not quite the whole foods recipe you are known for, but sooo good I can see why you included it.

    1. Hi Sally,
      Yes 12 ounces of bakers chocolate will work. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. This looks amazing but I’m not the hugest fan of peanut butter (weird I know)…is there a way I can substitute almond butter in this recipe instead of peanut butter? Also, I love your recipes so much! They have influenced me to find my love for baking especially in quarantine!

    1. Hi Isabella,
      Yes almond butter would work, you may have to add more or less powdered sugar depending on the consistency of the almond butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Amanda,
      Yes that is okay to use, you may have to add more powdered sugar depending on the consistency of the peanut butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  6. Hi! I love how you have so many chocolate peanut recipes. It is the best flavor combination! These look amazing and I can’t wait to make them, but I was wondering if adding peanut butter powder instead of more confectioners sugar would help it firm up more? Also what do you think about using dark chocolate or a mixture of milk and dark to lessen the sweetness?

    1. Hi Teresa,
      I have never worked with peanut butter powder so I’m honestly not sure how this would turn out, but you could use a mix of dark chocolate! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  7. Do you think you could swap in some flour for sugar to cut the sweetness but make the texture thicker?

    1. Hi Anna,
      You could do this but it will affect the flavor of the bars. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  8. I love Buckeye’s too! Our family trick, as we also prefer them a little less sweet, is to add a Tbsp. or so of coconut flour to the peanut filling along with the powdered sugar. You can’t taste the coconut and it helps to bind it so it isn’t as loose. I can’t wait to make these this weekend!!

  9. 5 stars
    I make a bar really similar to these, but use crunchy peanut butter, and the pretzels get crushed up and go INSIDE the peanut butter filling instead of on top. Then salted chopped peanuts get sprinkled over the top of the ganache. If I’m out of pretzels, sometimes I’ll use potato chips or any other cracker like saltines. Can’t go wrong with any of them but pretzels are my fave! The proportions of ingredients are the same as mine so I can tell yours are great!

  10. Oh I LOVE buckeyes. Great idea to make them into bars. What about adding a bottom to these? I realize that a cookie bottom renders them not buckeyes but what about a layer of chocolate on the bottom..so more of a sandwich…think that would work?

    1. Hi Brook,
      I haven’t tested this, but if you wanted to add a bottom layer I would say go for it! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan