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.
Anyone else have trouble with too much powdered sugar? I could only add half the amount of powdered sugar because the peanut butter dough was becoming too tough. Good recipe otherwise!
I would refer to my post on how to measure flour. The same will apply to powdered sugar. It sounds like there may be a little too much sugar going in. You’ll also want to make sure you butter is soft enough, but not melty soft. I hope this helps. 🙂
First thank you Sam for sharing your recipes I bake with confidence when I use any of your recipes. I’ve made these buckeyes at least a dozen times and have never had a problem with them being gritty but I always use domino light brown sugar. The last time I made them I had to buy an off brand light brown sugar (happy belly distributed by Amazon through whole foods) and they were super gritty! So maybe the brand of light brown sugar is what makes the difference?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Samantha! We’re so glad you love this recipe. Yes, it could be that off-brand brown sugar was the problem. Different types of powdered sugar can also cause this. Hopefully they still tasted good! 🙂
I used sugar instead of powder sugar for my buckeye cookies HELP is there anyway to fix it
Oh no! Unfortunately if granulated sugar has already been added I don’t know how it could be fixed other than starting over, I’m sorry 🙁
I’m considering making these in advance while I’m making holiday cookies. How long do you think I can store them in the freezer? Thanks!
Hi Marti! They should last for a couple of months in the freezer so a few weeks will be just fine. 🙂
😋 Thank you amazing dessrt my daughter loved making these an we all enjoyed them.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Dominic! 🙂
me too I enjoyed making them and sharing them with my friends
These are really good, though next time I will leave out the brown sugar and add a little salt. I just don’t like the brown sugar crunching in my teeth.
Made this for my adult children. My 19 year-old daughter remarked that some are too sweet, or too gritty, or too heavy, or the peanut butter is the only thing you taste. This was (in her words) divine! She also said she thinks it is the best dessert I have ever made (and we’re not shy with desserts), so, thank you!
That is so awesome! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed them so much, Lisa! 🙂
Just made these? So easy and delicious. Thanks for making something easy so delicious I’ll never buy a reese’s egg again😋
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Laura! 🙂
I have made these before but using crushed up Graham crackers instead of brown sugar and it’s so good too.
I’ve never had Buckeyes or used a stand mixer before, so I was a little intimidated going in. They turned out sooo good and I’m not even a huge fan of peanut butter! (Made them for my family.) Thank you for the recipe. ☺️
I am so glad you enjoyed them so much, Amy! 🙂
Friends and family loved these! Would I be able to half the recipe next time?
Hi Dana! That will work just fine. 🙂
theses taste just like reece’s! the texture of the peanut butter and the dark chocolate are so good wow.. the only thing i would change to my personal preference would be to put a little less powdered sugar, but either way these are so delicious!
I am so glad you enjoyed them so much, Isabella! 🙂
How long do the buckeyes keep if refrigerated?
Hi Amy! They should last for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Make sure to store them in an air tight container. 🙂
Super super yummy and easy to make!!!
I used vegan butter and vegan chocolate to make them vegan and my non-vegan family couldn’t taste the difference!
My only complaint is that they were a tad too sweet and they needed more peanut butter but that is also a personal preference! Next time maybe I would add less powdered sugar or no brown sugar?
Anyways, great recipe!!
I’m so glad you ultimately enjoyed them, Natalie! You could leave the brown sugar out if you’d like. 🙂
Took the BUCKEYES to work and shared them. Everyone loved them.
Two thumbs up!!
Here in the Netherlands, I struggle to find truly creamy peanut butter like Skippy, but since my southern-raised husband couldn’t have his mom’s buckeyes this year, I wanted to try making them myself with the semi-creamy peanut butter we have here.
I used two extra tablespoons of butter to accommodate for the texture plus a bit of salt to balance the sweetness, and husband said they were the best buckeyes he’s ever had! While I don’t usually love buckeyes, I have to admit I’ve had my fair share this year, too.
Thanks so much for the great recipe—it gave both of us a little bit of home for the holidays.
I am so glad everyone enjoyed them so much, Kait! Thanks for your feedback using your substitutions. 🙂
Mine were delicious
Ours turned out ugly but delicious!
Perfect as written. Nice dipping hack I use is to melt in the Instant pot/slow cooker and then fill an ice cream scoop with melted chocolate. Dip peanut butter balls in that. No need to swirl around and risk losing a buckeye into the chocolate. Thank you for sharing. Made a double batch last night in no time.
Really really delicious 🤤,but they were a little messy with my family but other wise they were easy and good!