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Classic – but updated, Healthier Buckeye Brownies. Think fudgy, rich chocolate brownie, layered with creamy peanut butter, and sweet salted chocolate on top. All made with simple wholesome ingredients: almond flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, eggs, pure maple syrup, natural peanut butter, and dark chocolate. They’re sweet, salty, heavy on the peanut butter, extra chocolatey, gluten-free, and butter-free. Every last bite is truly delicious and just as yummy as a sugar-filled buckeye ball (if not more so).

Healthier Buckeye Brownies |

Happy Friday everyone! We’re celebrating a long week with a new favorite dessert that just so happens to be pretty good for us, dare I say healthy?

To me, with no added sugar and large amounts of dark chocolate, I’d say these brownies can actually be considered a rather wholesome treat! Of course, everyone has their own opinion, but for me personally, knowing that I’m using real, wholesome ingredients makes me happy!

I usually hate to use the word “healthy” because I really don’t believe in labeling food as healthy or not. But I couldn’t come up with another word that really got the point across clean and simple.

Healthier Buckeye Brownies |

To me, these are buckeye brownies without the sugar and with the addition of lots of rich dark chocolate. I really love them!

I actually made these with just one person in mind, my mom. It was her birthday this week and I knew the only thing I could make her was a sugar-free dessert. She’s no longer interested in consuming any added sugars. So instead of giving her an unwanted birthday sugar overload, I made her these.

They’re not cake, but she didn’t care. Like me (my dad, and every other person in my family), my mom loves chocolate peanut butter anything.

Healthier Buckeye Brownies |

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, the two of us would make buckeyes (chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls) during the football season. They were always everyone’s favorite.

Traditionally they’re loaded with powdered sugar and lots of butter, so I definitely wanted to skip the sugar. Brownies sounded yummiest to mom, so I did a buckeye brownie, but made all with real food – wholesome ingredients!

Healthier Buckeye Brownies |


To my surprise, these healthier buckeye brownies actually come together rather easily. For the brownie base, you need eggs, coconut oil, milk, maple syrup (for sweetness), vanilla, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

Mix all of the above together, then bake away. Nothing fancy and no hard-to-find ingredients either. The only thing I want to note is that this is not a sweet brownie recipe. If you need something sweeter, I would skip the dark dark chocolate and use semi-sweet.

While the brownies bake up, make the peanut layer. Just peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil lightly boiled together to thicken the mix. The secret to making this layer really delicious is to use a peanut butter with just peanuts and salt. Don’t use a no-stir peanut butter that contains oils and/or sugar. You just want a natural peanut butter. This will give you the best flavor and texture.

Healthier Buckeye Brownies |

Once the brownies cool, pour the peanut butter layer overtop, then freeze the bars. You only need them to freeze for 30 or so minutes. This helps the peanut butter set up quickly. Just make sure the peanut butter is really set before you pull them out. 

Once the peanut butter has chilled and is stiff, pour some melted chocolate overtop to finish the layers up. My one piece of advice here is to slice the bars before the chocolate top becomes too hard. This will make the bars much easier to cut and prevents the peanutty filling from getting squished out.

If the bars do firm up before you cut them, run a sharp knife under hot water, then wipe it dry. Quickly cut half of the bars, then repeat. Keep in the fridge.

The final review? Very rich and fudgy with a perfect brownie layer on the bottom and the creamiest peanutty filling – that’s perfectly salted – on top. The chocolate top adds a nice “crack” with every bite. 

Delicious! And great for parties too. Perfect for January game nights ahead!

Healthier Buckeye Brownies |

Looking for easy party desserts? Here are a few ideas: 

Crinkle Top Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies

Homemade Vegan Peanut Butter Twix Bars

Caramel Butter Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Lastly, if you make these Healthier Buckeye Brownies 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!

Healthier Buckeye Brownies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings: 24 bars
Calories Per Serving: 175 kcal

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




  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1 minute until bubbly on top. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix in the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the brownies are just set. Let cool.
    3. Meanwhile, make the peanut mix. In a medium pot, mix 3/4 cup peanut butter, the maple syrup, and coconut oil. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Pour over the brownies. Freeze 30 minutes, or until firm.
    4. Melt together the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave. Let cool 5 minutes and then spread the chocolate over the peanut butter mix. Return to the fridge to set, about 10 minutes, then slice. The chocolate will not be totally set, but slicing is easier this way. Keep in the fridge.


If Having a Hard Time Slicing: run a sharp knife under hot water, then wipe dry and quickly cut half the bars, then repeat. Keep in the fridge.
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Healthier Buckeye Brownies |

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  1. 5 stars
    Loved these so much! Made these for
    Super Bowl and about to make again for
    Problem!! Can I substitute honey in the PB mix? I don’t have enough maple syrup and don’t have enough time to run to store!!!

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks a lot for trying this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well:) Totally, honey will work well for you! Happy Sunday! xT

  2. 5 stars
    Love these! Have made them numerous times. Only had one time where the brownie part didn’t do well but we ate them anyway. Every other time they have been perfect.

    1. Hey Teri,
      Love to hear this!! Thanks so much for making this recipe and your feedback! Have a great day! xT

    1. Hi Hope,
      So sorry, I haven’t tested this, but you could certainly give it a try! I hope you love these brownies, let me know how they turn out! xT

  3. 5 stars
    This has become a go to recipe on our house. We currently have lots of dietary restrictions (no gluten/soy/dairy) and this recipe ticks all the boxes and is so tasty! Good balance of flavours and textures, not too sweet, creamy, chocolatey, & salty! Perfect combo!

    1. Hey Nicola,
      Happy Monday!! So glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it:) xT

  4. These are my favorite brownies and go-to dessert when I’m craving something sweet. Being the only gluten-free eater in my family, it’s great to find a recipe that satisfies all of us. To make them a little sweeter, I use half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate for the final layer – it’s delish!!

    1. Hey Debbie,
      Happy Monday!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it! Thanks for sharing what works well for you! xx

  5. 5 stars
    We love these brownies over here and have had them on constant repeat. I have made these brownies probably 8 times since you posted them back in January. These are so good and never last more than a day and a half when I make them. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Alyssa,
      Happy Sunday!! 🍉🍓🫐 I am thrilled to hear that this recipe always turns out well for you, thanks so much for making it so often and your comment! xT

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for this amazing HEALTHY version of Buckeye brownies! They were delicious and I did not feel guilty eating them! My family enjoyed them as well!

    1. Hey Kim,
      Fantastic!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it and sharing your review:)

  7. 5 stars
    These were so easy to make, not too sweet, and so good! I kept some of them in the freezer and they kept really well/had a great consistency. Definitely would make again!

    1. Hey Rita,
      Fantastic!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it and sharing your review:)

  8. Just so yummy!! While I am not a chocolate fan, my husband is and I knew this would be a hit for him. With the salt on top, I must say I love this desert, also! I have made this recipe multiple times!!

    1. Hi Tina,
      Happy Easter!! 🐰🐣🌈 Thank you very much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your comment, I’m so glad it turned out well for you! xT

  9. Love these! After I spread the peanut butter layer I added Rice Krispies and then chilled it. I did the chocolate/peanut butter layer on top. The Rice Krispies add a nice crunch!

    1. Hey Jen,
      Fantastic!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out, I’m thrilled to hear that it turned out well for you:)

  10. Thank you for the recipe! I love the healthier spin on this classic treat! Although, the brownie recipe proportions are off. The batter was very thin upon completion, but I thought that maybe that was how it was supposed to be, so I went with it and stuck them in the oven. After 15 minutes of baking, the batter was still entirely liquid. After adding five minute increments several times, the batter was not set at all and actually bubbling liquid. I pulled it out and removed a large portion of the coconut oil, which had separated entirely from the batter. I stirred the batter in the pan, which still seemed too oil-heavy, and stuck it back in the oven. It took doing that two more times for the brownies to cook. To be determined on how they taste, but fingers crossed the bars come out well in the end!

    1. Hi Kenzie,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback. I’ve checked and all of the measurements are correct. Was there anything you may have adjusted in the recipe? Let me know how I can help! xx

  11. 4 stars
    These came out yummy, but it took me ages to get the brownie to set. In fact, it never really did and when I added the peanut butter mix to it, it was kind of a chocolate-y peanut butter mess. (Not the worst thing in the world!) I made the best of it, but then I decided I better check to see if I had missed a step. I re-read the ingredient list and I’m sure I included everything BUT I did find one discrepancy. In your article you mention that the brownie base has milk in it. There is no milk in the ingredient list, though, so I didn’t put any in mine. Is there really supposed to be milk? Even with my mess and a little improv these were delish!

    1. Hey Margaret,
      Happy Friday!!⛄️ Thanks a bunch for giving this dish a try, I love to hear that it turned out well for you:) No milk is in this recipe. Did you happen to use a glass baking dish? xx

  12. My peanut butter layer was not nearly as liquidy as yours. It was already well mixed when I poured it out of the jar, but it would never have poured like yours did. When I checked for a substitute for coconut oil, they suggested vegan butter so I used that along with the maple syrup. Do you think that was the issue?

    1. Hi Caroline,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try! I’ve never tested this with vegan butter and maple syrup. I would have just used another neutral oil like avocado oil. I hope this helps! xx