Old-fashioned peanut butter balls are an easy recipe that is a holiday tradition at my house. It only takes 4 ingredients to make this no-bake recipe. The two classic flavors of peanut butter and chocolate create the most loved Christmas candy - chewy chocolate-covered old-fashioned peanut butter balls.
Creamy sweet peanut butter centers drenched in semi-sweet chocolate are my favorite way to enjoy these two flavors. This is the ultimate chocolate and peanut butter dessert. This peanut butter ball recipe is simply the classic confection version that has been around even longer than I have been making it.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls are a Holiday Classic
This easy no-bake peanut butter ball recipe is a holiday classic. They are so delicious and a family favorite. The Christmas season is not allowed to start in my house until the peanut butter balls, Biscoff truffles, and homemade toffee are made. They are perfect for potlucks, parties, and office gatherings, and they make great gifts.
For over 3 decades I have made these every year and they are still the #1 requested and craved item by my family and friends every December. Just a few ingredients bring so much joy to so many people each year. This is on the goodie plates that I deliver to our neighbors every year. My neighbors are some lucky people if I say so myself.
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls are a Holiday Classic
- Peanut Butter Balls vs Buckeyes
- Ingredients for Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls
- Best Peanut Butter for Making Peanut Butter Balls
- How to Make No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls
- Substitutions & Variations
- Best Christmas Homemade Food Gifts
- How to Store Peanut Butter Balls
- OLD-FASHIONED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Peanut Butter Balls vs Buckeyes
Many people make buckeye balls which are similar. The only difference is they are not dipped and coated on all sides. Buckeyes are traditionally dipped in chocolate leaving a top section of peanut butter exposed, thus looking like a buckeye. (nuts from the buckeye tree common in Ohio).
I like more chocolate peanut butter ratio, so fully drenched is how I roll. Peanut butter balls are coated with chocolate on all sides. That makes them different from Buckeyes. These are more like a truffle, like my Biscoff Truffle Recipe they are drenched in yummy chocolate.
Ingredients for Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls
This is a 4-ingredient old-fashioned peanut butter balls recipe. There is no reason to alter this simple yet perfect recipe in any way. These old-fashioned peanut butter balls are easy to make with powdered sugar, a little butter, and of course chocolate and peanut butter. The centers of these are creamy & delicious like peanut butter fudge.
What are Peanut Butter Balls Made of? Just a few simple staples you likely have in your home already are all you need.
- Peanut Butter - a creamy one that type works best & do not use a natural kind.
- Powdered Sugar - (also known as confectioners or icing sugar)
- Salted Butter - this needs to be soft at room temperature
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips - milk or dark works but semi-sweet is our favorite to pair with peanut butter
Why salted butter? Why not! The salt content in the butter is low enough to not make it taste "salty". Rather the salt just balances out all that sugar and is a flavor enhancer. You can also use salted vegan butter and vegan chocolate to make these delicious peanut butter balls.
Peanut butter balls also need plenty of powdered sugar. Not to be confused with regular white granulated sugar. This not only makes them sweet but also acts as a binder for the creamy peanut butter and butter. As they combine, the mixture holds up well to roll and eventually coats in the melted chocolate.
These are not made with crispy rice cereal (Rice Krispies), cornflakes, oatmeal, or graham crackers. If you want a holiday treat with Rice Krispies, try another 4-ingredient recipe - Rice Krispies with M&MS. The peanut butter balls are also made without vanilla like other recipes. They are plain in the center like a peanut butter truffle. This easy peanut butter balls recipe is no-bake & gluten-free.
Best Peanut Butter for Making Peanut Butter Balls
Use your favorite brands such as Skippy, Jif, Trader Joe's, or others to make these peanut butter balls. Do not use natural peanut butter. The consistency will not be the same and the oils in natural peanut butter do not blend well with this recipe.
How to Make No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls
Making homemade peanut butter balls is simple but it does take time to complete the full recipe. It is a great one to make with the family and get all the hands rolling up that sweetened peanut butter filling or help dip them into melted chocolate.
1 - Mix the Peanut Butter Filling
Making the filling is easy but requires a bit of muscle. Start by making sure your salted butter has had time to come to room temperature. Once it is ready, combine the softened butter with the peanut butter and half of the powdered sugar.
Stir to combine. Add the remaining sugar and combine thoroughly. It may be hard to stir so use some real muscle and get in there. Make sure there are no clumps of powdered sugar or butter that are not mixed in evenly.
2 - Chill the Peanut Butter Mixture
Once the peanut butter mixture is ready, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. While it is chilling you can prepare a few baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
3 - Roll the Peanut Butter Balls
Using your hands, roll the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls. The mixture will be a little bit sticky but roll easily and hold the round shape. Place each on the prepared baking sheet with parchment or foil There will be about 30 balls on the baking sheet once complete.
TOP TIP - dust your hands with a bit of powdered sugar if the mixture is a bit sticky.
Place the baking sheet of peanut butter balls into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to set the balls. This will ensure they hold up once they start to dip into the warm melted chocolate later.
4 - Dip Peanut Butter Balls in Chocolate
In a double boiler melt the chocolate until smooth. Be sure to do this over a low simmer to ensure the chocolate does not seize up. I do not have your own one and you do not you can easily make one at home if you have the right items. I use a glass bowl over a saucepan, as seen below.
I like using Ghirardelli, Nestle, or Guittard chocolates for melting. There are many chocolates great for melting, so find one you love the taste of and enjoy.
Once the chocolate is melted, remove the peanut butter balls from the refrigerator.
Begin coating each ball one at a time in the melted chocolate. I use two spoons to roll and move the ball back and forth to coat all sides.
By twisting the spoons over and under the peanut butter ball, the spoon not only coats the balls but also helps keep the round shape. Work quickly or get some help. You want to do this with warm chocolate before the peanut butter balls start to come to room temperature.
5 - Rest the Candies
Let the peanut butter balls cool as the chocolate hardens at room temperature. Or you can put the baking sheet back into the refrigerator if your house is relatively warm.
They are ready to eat, store, or package as a gift once the chocolate outer shell is hard around the peanut butter ball center. They may lose some of their shine once placed in the refrigerator or freezer. That is natural when chilling chocolate and it does not alter the taste at all. Trust me, they will still be to-die-for.
Substitutions & Variations
Make it modern? Add Rice Krispies or cornflakes, no. These peanut butter balls are creamy and do not have any crispy rice cereal. I LOVE this just as they are.
But if you want to make some with a different twist to have a few different kinds of peanut butter balls, here are some great recipe ideas. Here are some modern takes on the more traditional peanut butter balls.
- Rice Krispies Cereal - Stir 1-2 cups into the peanut butter mixture
- Cornflakes Cereal - Stir 1-2 cups into the peanut butter mixture
- Graham Cracker Crumbs - Stir 1-2 cups into the peanut butter mixture
- Chocolate Chips - you can use milk, semi-sweet, & dark chocolate chips
- Peanut Butter - use crunchy instead of creamy
Best Christmas Homemade Food Gifts
These peanut butter balls, similar to buckeyes, make a thoughtful gift to give at Christmas. They also go great with other holiday sweets and treats that can be made ahead of time and wrapped up to give as homemade presents later.
Try these Christmas cookie and candy gift-giving recipes. Also great for cookie exchanges and holiday platters. I recommend the M&M Christmas cookie bars which are a holiday favorite.
How to Store Peanut Butter Balls
Wondering how long can you refrigerate peanut butter balls. I say as long as they last before you eat them all because they go fast. Ok ok, really. Peanut butter balls can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
The chocolate-covered peanut butter balls will be stored for even longer in the freezer. They freeze well. Place them in an air-tight Ziploc freezer bag. Remove the air, seal, and store for up to 6 months.
I am one of those people that LOVES frozen peanut butter and chocolate treats. I warn you that you may need to hide these since they will be eaten fast if discovered. Enjoy and share with your loved ones. Nothing says I Love You and Merry Christmas like homemade old-fashioned peanut butter balls!
If you love peanut butter and chocolate too, then you will probably also not want to miss my recipe for FROZEN PEANUT BUTTER CUP PIE.
This is a traditional old-fashioned recipe because it uses classic ingredients that have been staples in the American kitchen for decades. There is no modern take on these such as cereal or cookies added.
This candy is simply how they have been made since 1919 when the first Buckeye candy was believed to be invented. This recipe uses those same ingredients.
If your peanut butter mixture is too sticky or will not roll it could be from one of two things. Try to refrigerate the peanut butter mixture for an additional hour. If that doesn't do it, the mixture does not have enough powdered sugar in it.
To stiffen your peanut butter ball mixture, add another ½ cup of powdered sugar and stir. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and test again. Continue this until it is no longer sticky and easy to roll.
Some peanut butter ball recipes are protein-packed or keto-friendly snacks. They are low in sugar and high in protein or good fats.
However, this is not that kind of recipe. These peanut butter balls are loaded with sugar. They are absolutely a dessert and are not meant to be eaten often. They are a sweet treat to be enjoyed for special occasions.
Peanut butter balls store best in a cool dry place such as the refrigerator or freezer. However, they can be stored on the counter or pantry in a cool dry location. Make sure they are in an air-tight container and do not store them for more than 2 days this way. Move them to the refrigerator if stored for 3 days or more.
You can but why would you? All kidding aside, some people are allergic to or do not like chocolate. For that reason, you may want to make peanut butter balls plain that has no chocolate.
This recipe can be a 3-ingredient peanut butter ball without chocolate. Follow the recipe as is and stop once the balls are chilled and refrigerated. You will want to store the peanut butter candy balls in the refrigerator or freezer at all times. Store them in a single layer of parchment in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. This will keep them firm and from sticking to one another.
These peanut butter balls are dipped in semi-sweet chocolate chips that have been melted. This is the best kind for dipping. It is a balance of sweet and dark so it is not overly sweet when combined with the sweetened peanut butter filling.
You can also use semi-sweet chocolate bars chopped up and melted. Or see the substitution section above for other kinds of chocolate chips you can use. These are all the best chocolate coatings for peanut butter balls.
This is a great make-ahead recipe. Peanut butter balls store very well in the refrigerator or freezer. Because of this, I often make these in early December for my Christmas gifts.
You can even make them months in advance. Simply place them in an air-tight Ziploc freezer bag. Remove the air and seal. Freeze peanut butter balls for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 2 days before enjoying.
Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls PIN[/caption]
Product Recommendations for this Recipe:
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OLD-FASHIONED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
- 1 C peanut butter
- 6 TB salted butter softened
- 2 C powdered sugar
- 1 12oz-pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, softened butter, and half of the powdered sugar. Mix to combine. Add the remaining 1 C of powdered sugar and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate about 30 minutes so the mixture is not so sticky and soft.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Roll peanut butter mixture into 1-inch sized balls and place them on the baking sheet. It should make about 30 in total.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to set.
- In a double-boiler bring the water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to low to have a very low simmer on the water under the top boiling pot. Add chocolate to the top of the double-boiler and stir constantly until the chocolate is evenly melted. Do not turn the heat up, it should melt slowly. Once completely melted remove from the water and turn off the heat.
- Remove the peanut butter balls from the refrigerator and dip one at a time coat in the melted chocolate. I use two spoons that I rotate back and forth and over the peanut balls as the chocolate coats it.
- Place each coated ball back on the lined baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator until chocolate hardens.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. They can store for up to a month or even longer in the freezer. (but NO WAY they are not enjoyed much faster than that)