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No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

If you are a Reese's person--and who isn't--you are going to flip for these easy, no-bake peanut butter and dark chocolate bars that are gluten-free ( if you use gluten-free oats), free from refined sugar and vegan. In addition, they are beyond fabulous and come together in 15 minutes or less. Patience and a few hours in the freezer to set up is all that's required.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword dark chocolate, gluten free, peanut butter, vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Set up time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 16
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet in Santa Fe adapted this recipe from the Gluten Free Healthy Family


  • 1 cup natural peanut butter or other nut/seed butter of your choice, I chose Trader Joe's organic crunchy salted pb
  • 1 cup ground oats
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life brand
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.

  2. In a small saucepan, place peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in the pan over medium heat. As peanut butter melts into the syrup, stir well to combine.

  3. After about 2 minutes, when the mixtures are blended, remove from the heat.

  4. Add the cup of ground oats and stir well to blend thoroughly. It will be thick, but continue blending the mixture until you can no longer see any flecks of ground oatmeal.

  5. Transfer peanut butter-oat mixture into the parchment-lined dish and, using a spatula or wet fingers, press evenly into the dish. 

  6. Once it's spread out, you can use the back of a measuring cup so it's packed into the dish and flat on the top.

  7. Wipe out the saucepan, if necessary, and add the chocolate chips and coconut oil and place over medium low heat. 

  8. Once the chocolate and coconut begin to melt, stir constantly to combine until it is silky smooth.

  9. When the chocolate is completely melted, pour on top of peanut butter mixture. 

    no bake pb bar melted chocolate layer
  10. To spread the chocolate, simply tip the dish left and right and front and back so the chocolate covers everything.

  11. Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or overnight, until firm.

  12. Remove from the fridge and let bars rest at room temperature for about 10  minutes before cutting. If they are cold, the chocolate may crack a bit when cutting.

  13. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

For added crunchy texture, consider adding 1/4 cup cacao nibs to the melted chocolate or sprinkle on top once the chocolate layer is in place.