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I don’t think there is any better Hollywood couple than chocolate + peanut butter. I mean, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Easily the best candy. And that’s only one reason why these Crispy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate are a bomb dessert. The second reason? They are no-bake. These babies come together in like, 15 minutes. Soooo easy, and minimal ingredients! No eggs, no flour, no butter. You do want to chill them for a bit to let the chocolate top set but you’ll be stuffing your face with them in no time. The THIRD reason?? There are oats in them. So they are…. healthy?? Lol. Maybe not so much, but oats make me feel like I’m offsetting my sugar intake JUST a bit. They’re still dessert, after all. (The fourth reason could be that they’re gluten-free, if you’re into that!)
Natural peanut butter vs. processed peanut butter
In most instances, I try to err on the side of less processed ingredients. But not peanut butter. You can pry Skippy out of my cold, dead hands. Something about natural peanut butter is just so… peanutty. Haha. I’m talking about the peanut butter that only has peanuts and salt in its ingredients. I just can’t do it. I need sugar. That being said, I made this recipe with delicious processed Skippy, BUT you absolutely can use natural peanut butter if that’s what you prefer/have. If you are going to use natural peanut butter, I recommend doubling the sweetener in the recipe. Or maybe not—taste as you go and do what tastes right to you. All natural peanut butters are different, so if your mixture (in step 2) is dry and crumbly, you may need to add a little bit of coconut oil to smooth it out so that you can mix the oats & Rice Krispies in. I haven’t tested the recipe with natural peanut butter, but similar recipes use it and it seems to work fine.
- Smooth peanut butter: I am a Skippy girl, but you can use natural peanut butter for this recipe if you want, with a little adjustment. See the paragraph above.
- Maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup: If you are using a peanut butter like Skippy and that’s sweet enough for you, you could omit sweetener altogether. Any of these sweeteners will work great, but keep in mind that agave syrup is considered sweeter than the others so make sure to taste as you go.
- Vanilla: Adding vanilla to the peanut butter/sweetener mixture is a tasty touch, but can also be omitted if necessary.
- Old fashioned/rolled oats: Oats give these bars a heartier texture. Plus, they are gluten-free and good for you! They are rich in fiber and lower cholesterol. Can’t hurt to have a healthy ingredient in dessert. I have not tested this recipe with quick or instant oats, but I think they could be substituted just fine.
- Rice Krispies: These are the “Crispy” part of No-Bake Crispy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars! Rice Krispies give an awesome crunch to these bars.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips: I think the sweetness level of semi-sweet chocolate chips is perfect for this recipe and offsets the rich sweetness of the peanut butter layer, but feel free to play around with different types of chocolate.
- Coconut oil: I add a little bit of coconut oil to my chocolate layer to make the bars easier to cut once it’s set. Coconut oil makes it so that the chocolate doesn’t set as hard. If you want to omit it, it’ll be fine. The bars just might not cut as nicely. (If you’re planning on sneaking slices of it alone, at your house, all day, who cares how pretty it is? Speaking from experience here.) Prefer butter? That works too.
- Flaky salt like Maldon: Also optional, but I love salt on my desserts. Especially a pretty salt like Maldon. But any coarse or flaky salt will do.
How to Make No-Bake Crispy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate
Easy-peasy! This recipe comes together in about 15 minutes. No baking, no hard-to-find ingredients, and barely a mess to clean after. Love that!
- Prep. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper if you plan to cut and serve these bars so that they’re easier to remove from the pan. If you are just going to eat them straight from the pan at home (like me), you don’t really need to do this.
- Make the peanut butter layer. Mix microwaved peanut butter, sweetener of choice, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth (don’t forget to taste and adjust to your preference if needed!), then mix in oats and Rice Krispies until combined. You may get a bit of an arm workout here. Press the mixture into the pan until it’s a nice even and packed down layer.
- Make the chocolate layer. Mix microwaved chocolate chips and coconut oil in a large bowl until melted and smooth, then pour on top of the peanut butter mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle flaky salt on top, if desired.
- Chill. Pop it in the fridge for an hour or so, until chocolate layer is set. Then you can store it on the counter at room temp after that. If you want pretty-cut pieces, wait until the bars come back to room temp before cutting.
If you like this recipe, try my other desserts!
- No-Bake Mango Lime Pie with Malibu Whipped Cream Another no-bake dessert for the win!
- Pecan Crunch Rice Krispie Treats If this recipe leaves you wanting more crispiness in your life, I recommend these bad boys—they are HIGHLY addictive.
- Oreo Cheesecake Brownies I mean… need I say more?
- Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Whoppers This recipe has been a family favorite for years—it’ll never fail you!
Questions about No-Bake Crispy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate, Answered
You can just leave them right on the counter, covered in plastic wrap or a plastic bag.
Probably like a week, and then the chocolate might start looking “dusty.” They’ve never lasted that long in my house so… unsure. But nothing in these bars will go bad quickly so don’t worry too much about it.
Made as written, the bars are slightly crumbly, but they shouldn’t be completely falling apart. If you’ve used natural peanut butter or omitted sweetener, maybe a little bit of butter or coconut oil is needed to make the mixture less dry.
No-Bake Crispy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Chill Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No-Bake
These crispy oatmeal peanut butter bars are no-bake, naturally gluten-free, topped with chocolate, & easy to make, not to mention delicious!
- 1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter (I use Skippy)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup Rice Krispies
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or more, if needed)
- flaky salt like Maldon (optional)
- Prepare an 8×8-inch pan by lining with parchment paper.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add 1 ¼ cup peanut butter and ¼ cup syrup of choice, if using. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp vanilla and mix until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust sweetener if needed. If the mixture is not smooth and easily mixable, add 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted), or more if needed, until the mixture is smooth.
- Add ⅔ cups oats and ⅔ cups Rice Krispies to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until everything is evenly combined and oats & Krispies are fully coated in the peanut butter mixture.
- Press peanut butter mixture into the 8×8-inch pan with the back of a spoon or a spatula until it is an even and packed-down layer.
- In the same bowl (or a clean one if you want), add 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 tbsp coconut oil. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, then microwave again at 30 second intervals if needed until chocolate chips are melted.
- Pour melted chocolate over peanut butter mixture and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with flaky salt and refrigerate for an hour until chocolate sets.
- Let bars come to room temperature before slicing if you want nice perfect slices.
- I like how sweet Skippy + maple syrup is, but if you prefer less sweetness, you can omit the syrup.
- If you prefer natural peanut butter, you may want to double the sweetener—just taste as you go in step 2.
- See the “Ingredients” header above for more modifications.
Keywords: chocolate, peanut butter, salty sweet, no bake, oats, gluten free