You only need a few ingredients and a few minutes to make this easy Buckeye recipe. These classic candies are partially cloaked with a snappy chocolate shell around a creamy peanut butter center. Mine also include a special secret ingredient!
The Best Buckeye Recipe
Buckeyes are among the easiest candies out there. They call for only a handful of ingredients, require no oven, stovetop, or candy thermometer, and request a modest 15 minutes of chilling before you can coat the creamy peanut butter centers in dark chocolate.
My buckeye recipe yields candies with a rich and creamy a center thats reminiscent of peanut butter fudge or a toned down peanut butter frosting. Thanks to the salty flavors of the peanut butter and the semisweet chocolate coating, they’re not at all too sweet, and you can easily find yourself downing half a batch on your own (guilty!).
Why You’ll Love This Buckeye Recipe
- Quick & easy.
- No fancy ingredients or equipment needed.
- Sweet, but not too sweet; definitely satisfies any sweet tooth craving.
- My recipe is extra special and flavorful, thanks to a subtle secret ingredient!
What You Need
The ingredients for my buckeye recipe are simple and straightforward, but let’s discuss them before we jump in.
- Peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter is the classic, recommended choice (not crunchy, which would mess with our texture!). Unfortunately I don’t recommend using natural peanut butter, which could make the buckeyes too oily.
- Butter. This is essential for creating a rich and creamy texture. You can use salted butter or use unsalted and add salt.
- Brown sugar. This is the secret ingredients that sets my buckeye recipe apart from so many out there. Brown sugar contains a bit of molasses, and, when beaten into the creamy peanut butter filling, this deepens the flavor of this buckeye recipe just beautifully. However, a few commenters mentioned they could taste the grit from the brown sugar. I’ve never been able to detect this (nor have my taste-testers), but if this concerns you feel free to simply leave out the brown sugar without any other additions.
- Powdered sugar. This allows us to form the buckeyes into balls and stabilizes them (while adding sweetness!).
- Chocolate. You can make things easy on yourself and use melting wafers or almond bark or just use your favorite chocolate chips. If using chocolate chips, follow my instructions on how to melt chocolate in the microwave, and consider adding a bit of coconut oil or vegetable oil to make the chocolate smooth and easy for dipping.
SAM’S TIP: You could also use tempered chocolate to dip your buckeyes, I have a tutorial on how I temper chocolate in my hot chocolate bomb recipe and in my chocolate covered strawberries post!
How to Make Buckeyes
- Cream. Beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth, then stir in your brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. The mixture should be smooth and creamy.
- Stir. Gradually stir in powdered sugar until it’s thoroughly combined.
- Roll the batter into smooth round balls.
- Dip. Spear each buckeye with a toothpick and use the toothpick to hold the ball as you dip it most of the way into the chocolate (don’t dip it all the way! Aim for about 75%). Transfer to a wax paper lined baking sheet to allow the chocolate to harden. Smudge the mark from the toothpick with your finger to conceal it.
SAM’S TIP: Add the powdered sugar gradually. If you add it all at once, it will be difficult for the peanut butter mixture to absorb the sugar and the batter will be dry and unmanageable, meaning you won’t be able to form it into smooth buckeye balls.
Frequently Asked Questions
These chocolate-dipped peanut butter candies resemble the buckeye nut of the American Buckeye tree. This tree is native to Ohio, and Ohio State even named their football team after them. Because of this, buckeye candies tend to be extra popular with Ohio State football fans. Here’s a detailed guide into the origins of the buckeye candy, if you’re interested!
If the powdered sugar was added too quickly and not allowed to incorporate properly, this could make your dough crumbly and difficult to roll into balls. Add the sugar slowly and stir well after each addition. Even if you did add the sugar too quickly, you can usually fix this if you just continue mixing (it will just take some time).
Also consider if you may have accidentally over-measured your sugar, unfortunately this is easy to do when measuring with cups rather than by weight (which is why I always recommend using a kitchen scale). To properly measure sugar, gently stir it and then scoop into your measuring cup and level it off. Never pack it into the cup. All of my tips on how to measure flour properly apply to measuring sugar, too.
Buckeyes can be stored for a day or two at room temperature but my preference is to refrigerate them. Refrigerated in an airtight container, they’ll keep for at least two weeks. They also freeze well, for several months.
I think you’ll love this classic, chocolate coated, creamy peanut butter treat. If you try my buckeye recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Easy Buckeye Recipe
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter (not “natural” peanut butter) (475g)
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened (113g)
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar firmly packed (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar (405g)
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (340g)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or vegetable shortening
- Combine peanut butter and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until well-combined.
- Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir well.
- Gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined. Scoop into Tablespoon-sized balls and roll with the palms of your hand until smooth and round.**
- Place on wax-paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
- While peanut butter balls are chilling, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil (or vegetable shortening) and heat in the microwave in 25-second intervals (stirring well in between) until chocolate is smooth and completely melted. Pour into a deep dish (I use a wide cup).
- Remove peanut butter balls from freezer, spear the top of each peanut butter ball with a toothpick and, holding the toothpick, dip each buckeye ball into the melted chocolate.
- Return to cookie sheet and remove toothpick. Use the pads of your fingers to smooth over the toothpick mark.
- Allow chocolate to harden before eating and enjoying (placing them in the refrigerator will speed up the process of the chocolate hardening!).
Brown SugarSome people have commented that the addition of brown sugar makes the cookies taste a bit gritty, I have not personally found this to be the case but if you are worried about this you can leave the brown sugar out without adjusting any of the other ingredients
ButterIf using salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe.
Sticky DoughIf dough is too sticky to roll, add more powdered sugar, a Tablespoon at a time
ChocolateInstead of the chocolate chips and coconut oil or shortening, you can use 12 oz of chocolate melting wafers instead. Note that you can also omit the coconut oil or shortening but the chocolate may be thick and difficult to neatly dip the buckeyes into this way.
StoringBuckeyes should be stored in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, or in the freezer for several months.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Julie A Daniels
Living in the UK and had the same recipe as you posted except for brown sugar. The enthusiasm for this candy was wild. They ask for it a lot and especially my doctors’ office staff loves them. They seem to love American food in the area I live in. Thank you for the recipe as I lost my recipe book in our recent move.
Kind Regards, Julie D.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy our recipe is such a hit, Julie! Hopefully you find your recipe book soon ❤️
OMG! I made these for Christmas and they were a hit! My boyfriend had found your recipe and sent it to me.. he and his family are from Ohio and they thought they were amazing! A co worker had tried one and can’t believe it was my first time making them.. the only thing that didn’t go .y way was the time.. it took me an hour and a half of hand stirring because I did not have a stand mixer nor did I realize how difficult the mixture would be.. I’m going to get one so I can make some for a friend’s wedding coming up <3
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Oh no! Yes, this is definitely a stiff dough that needs a mixer. You’re a trooper Heather! We’re so happy you enjoyed them and plan on making them again though ❤️
Why do you use vanilla extract? I grew up in Ohio where all my family and friends and their families make these every Christmas. I have never heard of doing this until this year I was trying to find a recipe to share and all of them have this. (I grew up making them and so I don’t even measure or have a recipe)
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Missy! The vanilla adds a really nice flavor to the buckeyes. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t included it before! 😊
What is wrong with natural peanut butter?
It tends to separate and that can cause issues with your buckeyes.
My grandmother has made these for years and she swears by using paraffin for them to set firmly. Thoughts?
Hi Alexa! I wouldn’t add it if you are using melting wafers, because it wouldn’t be necessary. If you are using chopped chocolate bars you’d probably want to add it in. 🙂
Can I use milk chocolate chips?
Hi Linda! That will work fine. You may need to thin the chocolate a little bit with some shortening. 🙂
Super easy to make and so yummy! I didn’t experience any grittiness from the brown sugar but I did beat the heck out of the mixture before adding the powdered sugar. I’ve made buckeyes in the past but this is by far the best recipe ever!
Sooooo good!!! I’m not a huge peanut butter fan but this recipe hit the sweet spot for my family and I. My 10 year old daughter and I prepared your recipe for her class Christmas market day/party that is in a couple days. We kept eating the prepared peanut butter out of the bowl.. lol! The taste reminded us of Nutter butter cookies. I lost my original recipe and so happy I found your fantastic recipe! Thank you for sharing it. This is my new go to!❤
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We are so happy you found our recipe, Susan! Hopefully they were a hit for your daughter’s class too 😊
Growing up in the midwest, this is a very familiar treat and I’ve tried lots of recipes to recreate. I admit to surprise at the addiction to brown sugar, it’s the only recipe I’ve seen with that addition and I followed thr ingredient listing in my attempt. I must admit to being a bit laissez faire in throwing in ingredients and i partially melted butter as I didn’t pre plan and butter was refrigerated. I dont know if the butter having been partially liquidized caused the brown sugar to better disolve therefore eliminate grittiness issue, or just not noticeable to me but the results are what matter….and the peanut butter portion of the buckeye is perhaps some of the best I’ve ever had, homemade or professional. Take the time to make sure everything is well mixed and no lumps of confectioner’s sugar remains and it seems to be pretty fool proof. I would note…the chocolate coating quality will depend on the type and quality of chocolate you choose.
Thank you for this recipe, I will definitely be looking at your site for additional things to try! Btw if you are familiar with Mrs. Wicks, and specifically their Sugar Cream Pie, I have yet to find a sugar cream pie recipe that can compete, and now live on West Coast and it is so not a known thing out here lol
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Christy! I am not familiar with Mrs. Wicks, but I can add a sugar cream pie to my list of things to do. It sounds delicious. 🙂
My first time trying this recipe it turned out amazingly good. the Buckeyes tasted the great and it’s easy to make not a lot of ingredients.the website is not complicated you can find the ingredients at almost any store and you most likely to already have a lot of the ingredients in your kitchen.
I made them last night
Made these exactly, they are perfect! Adding in a bit of extra powdered sugar helps if its too soft at first. This is now a go-to recipe!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you enjoyed them, Jennifer! Thanks for giving our recipe a go. 😊
Easy enough for my ten yo granddaughter to make herself. Delish. I just told her cream butter n sugars first, then the vanilla(she knew this) then the pb was incorporated Then the powder sugar. Smooth as could be.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Sounds like she did a great job! Thanks for sharing our recipe with your granddaughter, Cynthia! We hope you made some sweet memories together 😊
Way too soft using these measurements, a lesson I learned the very hard way.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so sorry to hear this, Judith! We’ve never had a problem with the buckeyes being too soft. Did you chill them long enough? Or could it be that you didn’t use enough powdered sugar? Adding more powdered sugar is an easy fix to sticky/soft dough, so you can still save them. We hope that helps 🙂
I had the same problem! My butter was mostly melted, so I don’t know if that might’ve been the root cause of the problem for me. I added probably another half cup of powdered sugar and even some corn starch, but my mixture never stopped being the texture of peanut butter, no matter how long I mixed for.
Oh yes if the butter was melty that would definitely be the issue. Pop it in the fridge for an hour and that should help.
Never made Buckeyes but will try them and don’t be too hard on me I like Carmel so I am going to use Carmel instead of chocolate.. Will let you k ow how they turn out. I am also interested in Ames. Wicks Cream Pie, moving out west I haven’t had a good cream pie and I have been here 50 years.
Seem extra sweet to me. They are good, but wow, the sugar.
This recipe is far too sweet for me. I’ve always added a box of graham crackers run through a food processor.
What do you do if the mixture ends up too fine to roll and it crumbles?
Hi Julie! I think I would try adding a spoonful of peanut butter, stirring in and adding more until you reach the right consistency. 🙂