If you’re a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups aficionado, you’ll love these old-fashioned peanut butter balls.
Peanut butter makes me happy, but these peanut butter balls make me even happier.
Just because they’re old-fashioned doesn’t mean they’re outdated! These classic treats are, always and forever, a favorite.
They’re the key to my heart! One bite of these treats, and all my problems disappear.
A sweet, salty, and creamy peanut butter dough is shaped into bite-sized balls and coated in melted chocolate.
The chocolate hardens and forms a crunchy outer shell, giving the soft filling a wonderful textural contrast.
These holiday-worthy desserts are perfect for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or whenever!
When I see these balls on the table, I just know it’s gonna be a good day.
Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls
Old-fashioned peanut butter balls are a timeless treat. Peanut butter and chocolate are combined to make rich and decadent sweets!
The best part is, it’s one of the easiest desserts to make. You won’t even need to bake!
You’ll only need six ingredients, a fridge, and a microwave. It couldn’t get any easier than that.
- Peanut Butter. Stick to creamy or chunky peanut butter. Natural peanut butter is runny and won’t make a firm dough.
- Butter. For this recipe, I don’t mind using salted butter. After all, that sweet and salty combo is what we’re after. Use softened butter for easier mixing.
- Powdered Sugar. For sweetness. Don’t use granulated sugar, or the balls will be gritty.
- Crushed Graham Crackers. It binds the ingredients, giving you a firmer dough. Crushed digestive biscuits, Rice Krispies, and oatmeal work, too.
- Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips. For dipping the filling. High-quality baking chocolate is key! Ghirardelli and Bakers are my top brands. If budget allows, try Callebaut and Belcolade. Use semi-sweet chocolate for a more intense chocolate flavor.
- Shortening. It’s melted along with the chocolate to make it smoother and more manageable.
Tips for the Best Treats
- Feel free to adjust the peanut butter-sugar-graham cracker ratio to suit your taste.
- You can also use whatever chocolate wafers you want – dark, semi-sweet, milk, or white. Stick to high-quality brands such as Ghirardelli, Callebaut, and Belcolade for best results.
- Pop the balls in the fridge or freezer for 15 to 30 minutes to firm up. This will make them a lot easier to dip in chocolate later.
- If the dough is still too soft, add more graham crackers to help it set.
- Warm hands and weather will soften the dough quickly. If it happens, just pop it back in the fridge or freezer.
- Once the chocolate is melted, you’ll have to work quickly. The chocolate sets fast, so the balls and toppings (if using) have to be ready by the time you’re done melting.
- If the melted chocolate starts to thicken, simply pop it back in the microwave and melt for 10 seconds.
- If you want to make Ohio Buckeyes, use the exact same recipe, except don’t dip the balls entirely in chocolate.
- For yummy Easter treats, shape the dough into eggs instead of balls.
- Use a fork for easier dipping. Place a ball on top of the fork, then dip. Tap the fork on the side of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate.
- Don’t skip the shortening. It helps give the melted chocolate a smoother, more manageable consistency.
- You can also add food-grade paraffin wax to the chocolate for a glossier finish. If using, use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate. Paraffin wax won’t melt well in the microwave. For every 8 ounces of chocolate, add 3/4 ounces of paraffin.
- Store the peanut butter balls in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- You can also freeze the balls, dipped or undipped, for up to 3 months. Place the balls on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for an hour. Transfer them into a freezer-safe bag and label accordingly.
Tips for Melting Chocolate
There are two ways to melt chocolate, and they’re both very easy.
Pro-tip: be sure the bowl you’ll be using is dry. Any liquid will affect the melting process.
Place the chocolate and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave at 30-second intervals at medium power until completely melted. Stir thoroughly in between intervals.
Double Boiler Method
Place the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler. Stir constantly for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until melted and smooth.
If you don’t have a double boiler, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan with simmering water. Stir chocolate until melted.
What to Add to the Recipe and How to Top Peanut Butter Balls
With endless toppings and variations, the fun never stops!
I personally prefer a simple sprinkling of sea salt sprinkling on top, but if you want more creativity, here are some options to choose from:
- For crunch: crushed nuts, Rice Krispies
- For more chocolaty goodness: mini-chocolate chips (white, milk, or dark), chocolate drizzle
- For added color: sprinkles. It’s also perfect for dressing up the balls according to a theme.
- For more of that sweet-n-salty contrast: peanut butter chips, caramel drizzle
- For extra sweetness: powdered sugar
- For texture: shredded coconut
Pro-tip: be sure to add the toppings right away, as the chocolate dries fast.
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