No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars To Wow At The Church Potluck


You won't be allowed back without these in hand.

Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars cut on a plate to serve with a glass of milk

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Chill Time:
4 hrs
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 20 mins

Peanut butter bars are the crispy, crunchy, decadent dessert you may have never had but will instantly want again and again after your first bite.

A layer of peanut butter-coated cornflakes sits on the bottom. It's topped with a bittersweet chocolate layer that has a hint of peanut butter, too. Finally, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt is sprinkled on top to balance the whole dessert with an irresistible salty-sweet note. In short, this is so good, you won't be allowed at your next potluck or party without these in hand.

What You'll Love About Peanut Butter Bars

In my family, the menu for get-togethers is fairly consistent. We don't stray far from the standards, especially at holidays. That is, until one year, my cousin's new wife showed up with a tray of Peanut Butter Bars.

These salty-sweet bars are what dreams are made of for the (many, many) people who love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. (That's me!) And for my new cousin, they were especially great for the family gathering because they're no-bake, easy to make, and won't be messed up by the bumpy roads between your house and your potluck or family dinner.

Now, whenever we have a family dinner, we know what we want: Bev's Peanut Butter Bars.

This recipe is nearly identical to her recipe, but made even easier. Some similar recipes (hers included) also use graham crackers in the crust. We made it easier (and I'd argue better) with just cornflakes.

If you ever ate Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies as a child, you're going to instantly recognize this bar's flavors and textures—and you're going to want more and more of it.

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Bars

The good news for your sweet tooth—or for those parties where you need to bring food but certainly don't have time to bake—is that this is a no-bake recipe, and the ingredients are probably in your fridge and pantry right now. No, really! Go check!

To make these Peanut Butter Bars, you'll need:

  • creamy peanut butter
  • cornflake cereal
  • powdered sugar
  • bittersweet chocolate chips
  • butter
  • flaky sea salt
Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars ingredients

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

How To Make Peanut Butter Bars

The full recipe is below, but here's a brief outline.

  1. Make the cornflake crust: Combine 1 cup of the peanut butter, melted butter, powdering sugar, and cereal. Press this into an 8-inch pan that's lined with parchment paper. (Using parchment paper instead of cooking spray makes it easier to get the squares out of the pan when ready to serve.)
  2. Make the chocolate topping: Warm the chocolate and peanut butter together, and stir to combine. Spread evenly over the cornflake crust.
  3. Sprinkle with salt: Grab your favorite flaky sea salt, and give the top a good sprinkle. The burst of salt against this rich bar will help balance the whole dessert.
  4. Chill: Put the bars in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight). When you're ready to serve, bring the pan out of the fridge, and let it warm slightly at room temperature. Use a warm knife to cut the bars into 4 rows, and then 4 rows again for a total of 16 squares.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you freeze peanut butter bars?

    You can freeze these peanut butter bars. After they're cut into individual squares, wrap them in plastic wrap, and slide them into a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Store in the freezer up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy one, remove it from the freezer, and let it warm to room temperature.

  • How long can you keep these bars?

    In an airtight container, peanut butter bars will keep for 5 to 7 days. In a freezer, if wrapped properly, they're good for about 3 months.

More Bars Recipes To Love:

Looking for a dessert to feed a crowd? Consider these favorite bars recipes:

Editorial contributions by Kimberly Holland.


  • 1 1/2 cups cornflakes cereal, lightly crushed

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) cup salted butter, melted

  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter, divided

  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish


  1. Make cornflakes layer:

    Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Stir together cornflakes, powdered sugar, butter, and 1 cup of the peanut butter in a medium bowl until combined.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars cereal and peanut butter mixture stirred together

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Press mixture evenly into prepared pan.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars peanut butter layer pressed into pan

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  2. Make the chocolate layer:

    Add chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH in 30 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until chocolate chips are melted, about 1 minute.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars making the chocolate topping

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Stir to combine. Spread evenly over cornflakes mixture.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars chocolate mixture spread onto cereal mixture

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  3. Chill and serve:

    Chill bars, uncovered, until firm, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

    Remove from refrigerator, and cut into squares.

    Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars cut to serve

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

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