No Bake Peanut Butter Bars with Pretzels

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars with Pretzels are a delightful combination of sweet, salty and crunchy! This twist on peanut butter squares is covered in a chocolate layer and served cold. Easy to make, these Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars make a delicious dessert for sharing with family and friends. Makes 16 bars.  

A stack of five chocolate covered peanut butter bars on parchment on a pink countertop

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Today is one of my favorite days of the quarter – it’s Freaky Friday!

And this one is special because it’s our last of this lovely collaboration that I have gotten the opportunity to participate in for a few years now.

I’ve made new friends and tried a lot of wonderful recipes.

And today, I get to share a recipe from a dear friend of mine.

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    Julie from Hostess at Heart is just lovely, and her No-Bake Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares are something special…

    The BEST No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

    I’m a sucker for peanut butter-chocolate desserts and this one truly hit the spot.

    It’s a 5-ingredient quick recipe that calls for simple ingredients that you might already have in your pantry. While it requires a little bit of patience so the bars can set, they could not be easier to make.

    And honestly, I just love how Julie added crushed pretzels to the bars to give them some delightful salty crunch. The combination is SO GOOD.

    Why I love this recipe:

    Y’all know I am a huge fan of peanut butter and chocolate together. (Hello, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites.)

    Here are some things to adore about these no bake dessert bars:

    • The flavors are ON POINT. This is perfect for peanut butter lovers.
    • They’re easy to make. The longest part of this recipe is waiting for them to firm up in the refrigerator.
    • These bars call for no egg or flour, so they can be made gluten free (with the right pretzels) and egg free!
    • You can make ‘em in advance for the easiest entertaining.

    More no bake desserts to try: No Bake Avalanche Cookies | Blackberry Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles | Cheesecake Dip | Chocolate Pudding Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

    Need more dessert ideas? Head on over to my Dessert Recipe Index for more recipe ideas.

    Graphic that says Freaky Friday a good old fashioned blog hop

    Let me tell you about Julie and Hostess at Heart

    Julie is the mastermind behind Hostess at Heart. And like me, she loves to entertain.

    Whether it’s hanging out with friends and family or planning a special event, Julie keeps her recipes simple, inexpensive and impressive enough to make her people feel special.

    Julie is a mom and grandmother. She started her blog to share her love of cooking with family and friends.

    Her site has so many different recipes on it, and she has so many delicious recipes that choosing what I made for this collaboration was a challenge.

    I am particularly impressed with Julie’s dedication to making homemade bread because hers always turn out beautifully!

    Since it’s summer… should I make her Peach Crisp? Or perhaps her Peach Crumble with Oats?

    I also drooled over her Homemade Blueberry Pie recipe and her 6-ingredient Blueberry Lemonade Pie because they both feature those amazing summery flavors.

    In the end, I chose her Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares, and I am so glad that I did. They were simple but impressive and highlight some of my all-time flavors.

    What Is Freaky Friday?

    Freaky Friday is a collaboration between bloggers.

    It’s a fun way to connect with other people who are doing the same work as me, as well as a fun way to introduce our readers to new bloggers.

    Michaela from An Affair from the Heart founded this quarterly collaboration.

    She secretly assigns everyone another blogger. We choose a recipe from this assigned blogger and make it, photograph it as if it were our own, write a post about it and then share our posts on the same Friday.

    We hope that you discover some amazing new recipes, as well as find new bloggers to follow!

    Some recipes I’ve made for previous collaborations include:

    More recipes from our Freaky Friday collaboration:

    Looking for more sweets? Check out this scrumptious Ice Cream Cookie Cake and Honey Bun Cake recipe! I can imagine this Orange Poppyseed Cake would also be heavenly.

    Want a more savory baked good? These Honey Biscuits are ON POINT!

    Love summer ingredients? You’ve got to try this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad recipe, as well as this Easy Poblanos Chiles Rellenos Casserole recipe.

    Want to mix something to sip? This White Tea Shot and Grapefruit Crush would both be so refreshing!

    Ingredients to make no bake peanut butter bars in bowls on a pink countertop

    What you need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Unsalted butter – you’re going to need a stick and a half of this goodness. It does not have to be at room temperature.
    • Pretzels – you can use whatever type of pretzel you’d like to use. I used the twists because they were easier to measure before crushing up.
    • Powdered sugar – also known as confectioner’s sugar, this adds sweetness to our dessert. I do not recommend using brown sugar or granulated sugar because the texture of the powdered sugar makes it so it blends in better with the peanut butter-pretzel mixture.
    • Creamy peanut butter – your favorite brand will work like a charm here! We use unsweetened smooth peanut butter.
    • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – you can also use dark or milk chocolate chips if you prefer that chocolate flavor. This is my one variation from Julie’s recipe, as her recipe calls for milk chocolate and milk chocolate is not my fave.

    Ingredient Substitutions

    If you want to change out some things in this No Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars recipe, here are a few ideas:

    • Use almond butter or chunky peanut butter instead of creamy peanut butter. Natural peanut butter should work, but the texture might be a bit different.
    • Swap out the pretzels for crushed graham crackers or even digestive biscuits.

    How to make No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars with Pretzels

    Prepare. Line a 9-inch pan or baking dish with parchment to prevent sticking. You could also do this with foil, though I prefer parchment for this application.

    Crush the pretzels in a plastic bag or in a food processor. I placed the pretzels in a plastic bag and crushed them unevenly so there would be chunks of pretzel in the bars, but you can blend them to make them a finer situation if desired.

    The base for peanut butter bars in a square metal pan
    Transfer the peanut butter mixture to the prepared pan

    Make the peanut butter mixture. Combine the crushed pretzels, powdered sugar, 1 cup of the peanut butter and melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula until well combined.

    Press the peanut butter mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.


    Make the chocolate topping. Combine the chocolate chips and remaining ¼ cup of peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl.

    Heat in the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and when stirred, the mixture is smooth.

    Gently spread the melted chocolate mixture on top of the peanut butter layer with an offset spatula.

    Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting.

    Slice and enjoy!

    How to store

    After slicing, transfer the bars to a platter or airtight storage container. If using a platter, wrap in plastic wrap.

    Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

    Julie also suggests that these bars freeze well, too! Simply freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost them in the fridge before enjoying.

    Sliced Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars on parchment before they are placed on a plate

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Real talk: No bake desserts like these here Peanut Butter Bars are WONDERFUL for entertaining, so long as you have no guests who have a peanut allergy.

    Here’s how I’d make these bars to share:

    • Double the recipe. If you’re feeding a crowd, you can make a double batch of this goodness to share.
    • Make them in advance and keep them cold in the fridge for up to 5 days. You could also make them earlier and pop them in the freezer and then defrost them before serving.
    • Add a sprinkling of sea salt to finish the no bake bars.
    A scalloped plate holds a stack of Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I use all-natural peanut butter?

    You certainly can, though the texture of the peanut butter base might be little runnier.

    Can I use a different nut butter in these bars?

    If you can’t eat peanut butter, I bet you could swap peanut butter for almond butter or cashew butter. Sun butter might also work, too!

    Can I make these bars dairy free?

    Yes. Swap the butter with you favorite vegan butter to make these dairy free. Also use dairy free chocolate chips.

    A hand holds a bitten-into Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar above a platter holding more

    Quick tips and tricks to making the best Peanut Butter Bars

    • Be patient. The waiting is the hardest part on this recipe for sure.
    • Involve the kids. Depending on their ages and skill sets, they can help make these bars from start to finish!
    • Swap out the chocolate. If you prefer milk chocolate, use that. If you like dark chocolate, use that. I’ve used semisweet because that is my go-to chocolate chip. 😉 

    More no bake dessert recipes:

    A scalloped plate holds a stack of Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

    No Bake Peanut Butter Bars with Pretzels

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    No Bake Peanut Butter Bars with Pretzels are a delightful combination of sweet, salty and crunchy! This twist on peanut butter squares is covered in a chocolate layer and served cold. Easy to make, these Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars make a delicious dessert for sharing with family and friends.
    5 from 11 votes
    Servings 16 bars
    Calories 278 kcal
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Chilling Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    • 2 cups pretzels crushed (100g)
    • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (170g, 1 ½ sticks)
    • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 188g
    • 1 ¼ cups creamy peanut butter divided (331g)
    • 1 ½ semisweet chocolate chips 300g

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Line a 9” square baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
    • Crush the pretzels. You can do this in a food processor to make more uniform chunks or you can place them in a plastic bag and crush them unevenly.
    • Combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter, powdered sugar and 1 cup of peanut butter in a medium bowl. Stir until well combined.
    • Press pretzel mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9”x9” baking pan.
    • Combine chocolate chips and remaining ¼ cup of peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.
    • Spread over pretzel peanut butter mixture.
    • Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting.
    • Slice into bite-sized pieces and enjoy!

    Video

    Notes

    This recipe originally appeared on Hostess at Heart and was adapted very slightly as a part of the Freaky Friday collaboration.
    How to store: After slicing, transfer to a platter or airtight storage container. If using a platter, wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
    How to freeze: Freeze the bars in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost them in the fridge before enjoying.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 5gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 175mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14g
    Keyword chocolate peanut butter bars, chocolate peanut butter dessert, dessert, easy dessert recipe, no bake bars, no bake dessert, no bake dessert recipe, peanut butter bars, peanut butter squares
    Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    9 Comments

    1. Erin this recipe sounds like summertime perfection! I am with you and peanut butter, chocolate, and pretzels are a match made in heaven PLUS no bake?! Yes, please! I am so delighted that you joined Freaky Friday all those years ago. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and to have been able to bake and cook from your website. Thank you, my sweet friend! xo~Michaela

    2. omg this is the perfect combo of flavors and textures. I’m a huge peanut butter lover, and love pretzels in desserts, so this is a complete much make this week. They look so easy to make too! Thank you!!!!

    3. These peanut butter bars are delicious! I made a batch for a potluck and I should have made two batches. They were devoured. I think the adults ate the most – haha! This is a keeper for sure.

    4. I think you made this recipe just for me with that combination of flavors! Making these as often as possible

    5. Well these were just perfect for a hot weekend when I didn’t want to turn on the oven. Thank you for this recipe!

    6. So crunchy and creamy all at the same time! And you can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate!

    7. These were a hit for our friends tonight! So easy to prep this afternoon and serve after dinner. I’ve made these before without the pretzels, but the pretzels were such a fun addition!

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