Let’s make gluten-free lunch lady peanut butter bars! These easy no-bake gluten-free peanut butter bars are topped with a layer of chocolate for a delicious finish that’s perfect for peanut butter lovers!
It’s definitely too hot for much baking, so it’s the perfect time for a no-bake dessert recipe!
One of my all-time favorite nostalgic recipes is no-bake peanut butter bars (sometimes called lunch lady peanut butter bars!). Did you ever have these in school? I’m a 90s kid, so in a pre-peanut-allergy-friendly era, these sometimes showed up in school cafeterias as a fun treat. (Hence, that “lunch lady peanut butter bars” nickname!)
As an allergy mom myself, I’m super glad these aren’t on the menu at school any more, but they sure are fun to make at home!
Made from a sweet peanut butter middle topped with a layer of chocolate, they taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups in bar form. They’re like a homemade candy bar that’s perfect for peanut butter lovers. That chocolate peanut butter combination gets me every time!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make them, and best of all, you don’t even need to turn on the oven!
Here’s what you need to make this gluten-free peanut butter bars recipe…
Easy Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bars Recipe, At A Glance:
Here’s What You Need To Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Creamy Peanut Butter. I love natural peanut butter for everyday use, but you really need to use a brand like Jif, Skippy, or PB&Co that contains oil. If you use natural peanut butter, the bars will be on the dry, crumbly side and won’t hold together as well. Also, stick with smooth peanut butter, as it will give you the best texture.
- Butter. This will help bind the peanut butter layer together.
- Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crumbs. Instead of flour, we use gluten-free graham cracker crumbs for amazing flavor and texture. We’re using Pamela’s gluten-free graham crackers today, but don’t miss this list of gluten-free graham cracker brands if you need other options!
- Powdered Sugar. Confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) helps provide structure and sweetness.
- A Pinch of Salt. My secret to the BEST gluten-free peanut butter bars is a generous pinch of salt! These bars are definitely sweet and a little salt brings out the best in the other flavors and provides just enough balance without making them salty.
- Chocolate Chips. Last, but not least, you need a chocolate layer! I use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can absolutely swap in dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips.
Ingredient Check: Gluten-Free Graham Crackers!
If you’re gluten-free or baking for someone with Celiac disease, you MUST use gluten-free graham crackers for this recipe. Regular graham crackers are NOT gluten-free, but there are tons of delicious gluten-free graham cracker brands out there to try. I’m using Pamela’s today!
How To Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, Step By Step:
- Prep Your Pan. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 metal baking pan or line with parchment paper (my preference).
- Crush The Graham Crackers. If you haven’t already, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor or a zip-top bag with a rolling pin. (You don’t want any large pieces for these bars.)
- Assemble Bar Ingredients. Add the graham cracker crumbs to a large mixing bowl, along with powdered sugar, and salt. Add the peanut butter.
- Melt The Butter. Next, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 15-20 second increments until it’s fully melted. (You can also do this on the stove in a saucepan over medium heat) Pour the melted butter over the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and peanut butter. Stir to combine until the mixture is smooth and uniform.
- Pat It Out. Transfer the peanut butter bar mixture to your prepared pan and gently spread it into an even layer or pat the mixture out with your hands or a flexible rubber spatula. (Using a little bit of parchment paper can make this easier!)
- Melt Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chips. Add 2 Tablespoons peanut butter and the chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 20-30 second intervals until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour & Spread. Next, pour the melted chocolate mixture over the peanut butter bars and smooth into an even layer.
- Chill the bars until set, about 2 hours or so.
- Serve & Store. Cut into squares or bars with a sharp knife and enjoy immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week.
Dress Them Up!
For a fun finish, you can add some sprinkles on top, if you like. I usually go for nonpareils (the little ball sprinkles), but you can use your favorites! (Check out our Sprinkles 101 post to learn all about the different kinds fos prinkles) This is an extra cute option around the holidays! Or, for an elegant finish, you can use a few flakes of flaky sea salt.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bars:
Cut Small Squares! These no-bake peanut butter bars are definitely on the rich side, so smaller bars are a great way to go! I usually cut them into 9 large squares, then cut each square in half for a total of 18 small rectangles.
Try A Metal Pan. Since this is a no-bake recipe, the material of the pan is less important, but a nice metal pan will give you crisp, beautiful edges that make really satisfying squares or bars. If you don’t have a metal baking dish, a ceramic or glass pan will work fine, too!
Don’t Use Natural Peanut Butter. In case you missed this tip up top, this recipe works best with regular creamy peanut butter (like Skippy, Jif, or PB&Co) rather than natural peanut butter. Natural PB can make these bars dry and crumbly. Save it for your toast!
Can You Freeze Peanut Butter Bars? Yes! Transfer set, chilled bars to an airtight bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper to avoid sticking. Freeze up to 2 months and thaw in the refrigerator when you’re ready to enjoy them.
Make Them Dairy-Free! These no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars can absolutely be dairy-free with a few swaps. Use vegan butter, dairy-free chocolate chips, and make sure your graham crackers are dairy-free.
🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!Print