Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls (“Buckeyes”)

~ These no-bake “buckeye” cookies will be the stand-out favorite on your Christmas cookie platter this year! Totally simple and more healthy than most cookies, this recipe for chocolate-covered peanut butter balls will be the go-to for all of your holiday parties! ~

This Recipe Is:     Freezable    Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}

I’m not from Ohio. Originally.

But I’ve lived here almost as long as I lived north of Pittsburgh. And my family now constantly makes fun of my Ohio “accent” – even though I totally don’t have one. (I definitely don’t speak Pittsburghese … that’s for sure. N’at.)

So even though I’ll always have a special place in my heart for PA, I think I’ve fully embraced my Ohio-ness.

O – H!

(And this is where all of the people who were, are, or will ever be from Ohio yell, “I – O!”)

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}

People don’t call out “P – E!” and then someone yells “N – N – S – Y – L – V – A – N – I – A!” Doesn’t happen.

So Ohioians for sure have that going for ’em.

And ya know what else Ohioans have going for them??

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}


Not the nut. Or Ohio State’s mascot.

Nope. I’m talking the delicious, chocolate-covered, peanut butter, ball-shaped goodness that makes an appearance on Christmas cookie trays every year.

Pure awesomesauce.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}

I recently saw a hilarious video where they had people from California (another state that doesn’t have a chant to spell its name. Just sayin’ …) try foods native to Ohio.

Some foods didn’t go over as well as others … but pretty much everyone agreed that the buckeyes were fantastic (and they even asked for more)!

I grew up with buckeyes on our Christmas cookie platter every year. I must have lived just close enough to the Ohio border to have them. And thank goodness I did! What a void I’d have in my life if I didn’t have the creamy peanut-buttery scrumptiousness … all nestled inside a chocolaty shell. Ahhh … bliss.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}

To coat the peanut butter balls in chocolate, I like to use a fork and spoon. The excess chocolate runs through the tines of the fork. Simply pass the “buckeye” back and forth until completely covered.

I remember they were always the first to be eaten off the cookie plate. And they’re definitely still the most popular with my family!

Since Shelley and I started THK, I’ve had buckeyes on my mind.

The originals … while totally delectable … are pretty lacking in the nutrition department. I knew there had to be a way to enjoy our beloved buckeyes without all the butter and sugar.

THK Buckeyes8

For a more traditional, Ohio-style buckeye, simply dunk the peanut butter balls in the chocolate, leaving the top of each ball uncoated.

You know we put our recipes through lots of trial runs here at THK … to be sure they’re totally maxed out on both deliciousness and nutrition! But, honestly, these babies were practically perfect from Round 1!

I did experiment with crunchy vs. regular peanut butter. And well, it’s super good either way. Our taste-testers honestly couldn’t decide! So use what you’ve got on hand! Just make them!

These nuggets of candied joy are wonderfully dense and satisfying … rich and so decadent that no one will ever guess they’re healthier, too. Seriously, nobody missed all the butter and powdered sugar. Nobody. The biggest complaint … there simply weren’t enough of them!

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}

Our husbands couldn’t stop eating them. Our kids couldn’t either. My dad came by for lunch one day, and he couldn’t stop eating them … before lunch (silly, Dad!).

So, yeah … you’re gonna want to make up a few extra batches of these.

They’ll certainly be the healthiest treats on the cookie platter. Unless you’re also making our Pistachio-White Chocolate (No Butter!) Butter Cookies. Or maybe our No Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars. But yeah. These bites of yum will let you enjoy the cookie buffet without feeling guilty.

You’ll be the hero of the holiday party!

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls ("Buckeyes") Recipe {}

Even better, though … wanna be a real hero? Known for more than just your phenomenal cookies?

You may remember back in September, when Shelley and I were involved in a terrific project that helped raise money for the Feeding America food bank network. We loved creating a recipe for a wonderful cookbook (which is still for sale and makes an amazing gift … with all proceeds benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank!).

Well, we’re helping out again – and you can, too! Join us in supporting food banks nationwide this holiday season, in their campaign to make milk more widely available to those in need.

Did you know that milk is the most requested item at food banks? Still, families that depend on Feeding America food banks receive less than one gallon of milk … per year.

Help those in need. Give the gift of milk through The Great American Milk Drive. From now until December 31st, every donation that is made will be 100% matched. Even better? The donation will go to a food bank in your area. You can make a difference for a family in your own community.

We’ve made our donation … and we hope you will, too!

And, you never know … maybe people will start spelling your name cheer-style wherever you go! You are a hero, after all!

THK by Gretchen

Want More Easy, Healthy Candy and Cookie Recipes for Your Holiday Cookie Plate? Check Out:

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Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls (“Buckeyes”)

Preparation 30 min. (plus chilling) 2017-08-17T00:00:00+00:00 Cook Time 2-3 min. 2017-08-17T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 2 - 2½ dozen     adjust servings


  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (see note)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil (optional, see note)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine quick oats, peanut butter, honey, flax, and vanilla. Stir until mixed very thoroughly.
  2. Using your hands, firmly press and roll into 1-inch balls.
  3. Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (so they're firm enough to hold their shape while dipping).
  4. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil (if using) in the microwave for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. (See note.)
  5. Coat each ball with chocolate. (See note.)
  6. Return each peanut butter ball to the parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is set.
  7. Once fully set, store peanut butter balls in an airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.


Recipe Notes

Peanut butter: This recipe has been tested using both creamy and crunchy peanut butter. Both work well; use what you have on hand or whichever you prefer.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil helps the chocolate to flow and coat the peanut butter balls more easily. If you choose to omit the oil, you may need to rewarm the chocolate in the microwave more often during the process of coating all the balls, in order to keep it free-flowing enough to coat smoothly. Whether or not you use the oil, if too much time passes, you may still need to rewarm the chocolate. Just be gentle with it and only microwave the chocolate for a few seconds at a time so that it doesn't seize up or scorch. Remember, too, that microwave times and cooking powers vary, so we always recommend that you check often while microwaving chocolate, especially near the end of cooking time.

Dipping and coating the balls: Everyone has their own preferred method for doing this. As shown in the photo, we generally place each peanut butter ball on a fork and drizzle chocolate over it from a spoon, allowing the excess chocolate to fall through the fork's tines. Then, we pass the ball between the fork and spoon once or twice until the ball is coated completely.

Make-ahead tips and storing: These freeze beautifully after the chocolate is set in the refrigerator. Place in an airtight container.

We'd love to see your photos of this recipe! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and tag @TwoHealthyKitchens!



Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls (“Buckeyes”) — 19 Comments

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  3. I love Buckeyes! I know that’s Ohio State’s mascot…but I never realized Buckeyes were an Ohio tradition. A lady at church always makes Illini Bars and I’ve always wondered if they were associated with the University of Illinois. How funny. Merry Christmas, you two! 🙂

  4. Hi, girls! Wow, very impressive! I just love that these are so healthy. Plus one of my favourite flavours is peanut butter – especially crunchy! Interesting to hear your stories about the chanting and accents in different states. Wow, coming from the UK this is a whole new world! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  5. My grandparents were born and raised in Ohio, so every year, my grandma would make us buckeyes for Christmas! And then my mom discovered that she was really allergic to peanuts, so that tradition stopped… But seeing your gorgeous candies is making me crave them all over again! Pinned!

    • Hi, K.B.! I have a couple of ideas for you. First of all, you can try just leaving the ground flaxseed meal out altogether – if the peanut butter mixture seems to loose as a result, then maybe add in a bit more of the oats to help it firm up a bit. Also, you could try swapping in something like toasted wheat germ, if you can find that. Wheat germ definitely doesn’t have the same nutritional profile as flax, but it’s nutritious in its own way and could help achieve that thicker texture in the peanut butter mixture.

      Lastly, I was wondering if you’re able to find whole flaxseed? Is it just the ground flaxseed meal that you can’t track down? If so, it’s really easy to grind flaxseed yourself at home, if you happen to have a spice grinder (like a coffee grinder). Just make sure all the spices are cleaned out from the last use, and then give your whole flax seeds a quick little whir in the spice grinder to make your own flaxseed meal.

      I hope those ideas help a bit! I’m so excited for you to try these! 😀 ~Shelley

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  7. OMGoodness! I made these for the weekend and am back to the recipe to make more. Delicious! And the ingredients are good and clean. Thank You!

    • Hi, Mary Beth! We just can’t tell you how much it means to us that you took the time to stop back and let us know how much you liked these! We’re so thrilled! Aren’t they just such a delightful surprise?!?! You look at the list of so-much-healthier ingredients and wonder if they can possibly be wonderfully, deliciously decadent … and then you taste one and realize that nutritious AND delicious really can go perfectly together! We just love when that happens! Thanks again, so very much, for your comment! Happy holidays to you and your family! 😀 ~G&S

    • Oh, Kristi … you’re not alone! My family clamors for more of these! And seriously – when G and I were testing these and plaguing our families with questions about “Could they be better in some way … Did everyone prefer smooth or crunchy PB … etc … etc” pretty much the one complaint was that we just hadn’t made enough! These were a smash hit right out of the box! I don’t have to IMAGINE people eating dozens … I’ve actually SEEN it happen, lol! Merry Christmas, my friend! 😀 ~Shelley

    • Thanks, Trish! Gretchen has been so excited to give her beloved, family-favorite buckeyes a healthier makeover, and I’ve gotta hand it to her – she totally rocked this one! We’re not kidding when we say that everyone just loves these, and doesn’t care a bit about whether they’re healthier or not! They’re just so good! I hope you give them a try this year! Happy holidays!!!! 😀 ~Shelley

  8. These look amazing! I think I’ll make them for hubby to bring into work for a Christmas treat! Of course, I’ll eat a few before sending them, but at least if I plan to send most of them off, then I can’t eat them all!

    • Lol, Magie! Yes, you MUST be sure to save a few for yourself! And not to worry – no guilt here, since these are loaded with so many nutritious ingredients! They taste indulgent but are stealthily so much healthier! A double win, for sure! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! 😀 ~G&S

  9. I love anything with chocolate and peanut butter. My neighbors always bring me a dish with some goodies and I have never made anything for them. Maybe I could surprise them this year with these! Thanks for sharing.

    • Awwwww … Michelle … what a really lovely idea! It’s so sweet of your neighbors to share their goodies with you, and we’re honored to think that our buckeyes might be the yummy treat you pick to share with such special people! Best of all, you’ll be able to feel good knowing that you gave them something that was both delicious and a little bit healthier for them, too! Happy holidays! 😀 ~G&S

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