This buckeye recipe is so easy to make with just 5 ingredients! Peanut butter & chocolate candies that are so good to eat or give as gifts!
Today I’m sharing one of the easiest treats you’ll ever make: buckeye candy!
These cute little bonbons look just like the nut from a buckeye tree, but they’re made from peanut butter and chocolate.
Unlike so many other candy recipes, this buckeye recipe requires zero cooking. It’s just a matter of mixing, rolling, and dipping. So fun!
If you’re looking for a special treat for the holiday season, whether it’s for your own family, to adorn your cookie trays, or to give as gifts, try your hand at a batch of sponge candy, homemade toffee, or peppermint bark.
Or, give this easy buckeyes recipe a go!
Table of Contents
- What is buckeye candy?
- Why this is the best buckeye recipe
- What does buckeye candy taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make this buckeye candy recipe
- How to serve
- Expert tips
- Frequently asked questions
- A few more of my favorite peanut butter recipes
What is buckeye candy?
Buckeyes are named such because they look just like the fruit of a buckeye tree.
But really they’re made from a mixture of peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar, rolled into balls and then dipped in melted chocolate.
They’re soft and sweet and really peanut-forward. The texture is a little bit like fudge, but the chocolate coating adds a nice contrast.
Why this is the best buckeye recipe
- Tastes amazing: These are not overly sweet. They have a bold peanutty flavor and a little hint of savoriness.
- Few ingredients: You’ll only need 5 basic ingredients to make them.
- Easy to make: This recipe is practically foolproof! It’s so simple you really can’t mess it up.
- Cute: These candies are just the cutest! They’ll look so tempting on your dessert buffet.
What does buckeye candy taste like?
If you like Reese’s peanut butter cups, you’ll love this buckeye recipe!
It’s a lot like Reese’s, but smoother and softer.
The filling just about melts in your mouth, and the sweet milk chocolate coating that contains it is the perfect counterbalance.
Peanut butter: I use regular creamy peanut butter. My favorite brand is Jif. I haven’t tried this recipe with natural peanut butter, so I can’t say for sure how that might work. If you prefer, you can use crunchy peanut butter, but this is not the traditional way of making buckeyes.
Butter: I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result. For a vegan or dairy-free buckeyes recipe, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1. This recipe works best if you allow the butter to come to room temperature first. You can set it out on the counter a few hours ahead of making your recipe, or you can microwave it for 10 seconds, turn it over, and microwave it again for another 8 seconds.
Sugar: Powdered sugar is best here because it’s milled so finely it will dissolve easily into the other ingredients and yield a velvety-smooth filling. If you have an alternative sweetener that can sub 1:1 for powdered sugar, that should work too!
Salt: I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store. I like a little bit of a sweet/salty edge to my peanut butter desserts, so I use a little more salt here than what’s probably typical in other buckeye recipes. You can use less if you prefer!
Chocolate: For me, nothing beats the combination of milk chocolate and peanut butter! So I’ve used milk chocolate melting wafers. As long as they’re really good quality, I love melting wafers because they’re so user-friendly. Unlike chocolate chips, they’re made to melt smoothly and easily. If you like, you can use dark chocolate or white chocolate instead, and finely chopped baking bars would also work well here.
- Measuring cups and spoons: For measuring ingredients accurately. Follow this guide: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.
- Mixing bowls: One large for the filling, and one smaller, heat-safe bowl for the chocolate coating.
- Electric mixer: The peanut butter mixture is very stiff, so you’ll want either a stand mixer or a powerful hand mixer.
- Parchment paper sheets: For lining the pans.
- Baking sheet: On which to chill the candies.
- Forks: I used 2 forks. One to lower and dip the balls, and another to help slide the candies off and onto the baking sheet.
How to make this buckeye candy recipe
These sweet little babies come together in just a few simple steps!
Step 1: Blend the butter and peanut butter
Place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl and whip them together until smooth.
Step 2: Add powdered sugar
Next, start working in the powdered sugar.
It’s best to add about a cup at a time. At first, the mixture seems very dry, but as you keep mixing, it will come together to form a stiff dough.
Step 3: Roll into balls
Scoop out about 1 1/2-teaspoons at a time, and roll it into perfectly round spheres with your clean hands.
Step 4: Chill
Place the peanut butter balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and whisk them into the fridge to chill and firm up for about an hour.
Step 5: Dip in melted chocolate
Melt the chocolate in the smaller, heat-safe bowl.
You can either do this in the microwave in quick, 20-second bursts, stirring, or you can set the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, double-boiler style.
Once the chocolate is smooth and liquid, drop in a peanut butter ball and give it a little bit of a roll-around, coating it right up to its “shoulders.” By this, I just mean that the bottom 2/3 to 3/4 should be coated in chocolate, leaving a little circle of bare filling at the top.
Then, fish it out with a fork, allowing any excess chocolate to drip away.
And use a second fork to lightly push the buckeye candy off and back onto the tray.
As soon as the chocolate is set, this buckeye recipe is ready to enjoy!
How to serve
I will be displaying a bowl of buckeye candy prominently this holiday season! This way, they can tempt any passers by and be popped into hungry mouths whenever the craving strikes.
These are also fantastic on a cookie tray, as just that little extra-special offering.
And they work very well tied up in cello bags with a pretty ribbon and a cute gift tag. Who wouldn’t love to receive such a thoughtful homemade gift? Plus they’re naturally gluten-free.
Add the powdered sugar in increments: If you dump in all the powdered sugar at once, it’s going to fly everywhere and it will be difficult to get it all incorporated. Add about a cup at a time (maybe even less as you’re getting to the end) and allow each addition to fully incorporate before adding the next.
Knead, if needed: You want this filling to be very stiff so that it holds its shape. If it’s too much for your mixer, you may want to get your clean hands in there, and knead the powdered sugar in like you would with bread dough.
Use high-quality chocolate: Cheaper brands of chocolate chips contain stabilizers to help them keep their shape. These additives can make it tricky to melt them. Melting wafers or chopped up baking bars work much better.
Practice makes perfect: Dipping can feel a little awkward at first, but if you keep at it, you’ll get the hang of it!
Frequently asked questions
You can use any kind of nut butter in place of the peanut butter. Almond butter or cashew butter would be nice alternatives, or sunflower seed butter if tree nuts are also an issue. Another good option would be cookie butter spread.
This can happen if your butter is too cold. Be sure to allow it to soften to room temperature before adding it to the peanut butter. At first, you will most likely still see lumps. But if you keep whipping with your mixer, they should blend out.
If your balls are slumping and losing their shape, or if the filling is too sticky to roll into balls, try kneading in more powdered sugar until you get the right consistency. It should be like very stiff cookie dough.
If the mixture is sticking to your hands, try dusting them with powdered sugar or misting them with non-stick spray first.
If your chocolate is too gloopy, try whisking in some vegetable oil to thin it out.
A few more of my favorite peanut butter recipes
As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Place the peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl and whip together with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Work in the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is similar to a stiff cookie dough.
- Stir in the salt.
- Using clean hands, roll about 1.5 teaspoons at a time into balls.
- Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and chill for 1 hour minimum.
- Melt the chocolate (in the microwave for 20-second bursts, or over a double boiler), stirring, until smooth.
- Drop the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate, and coat their bottom 2/3 to 3/4, leaving the tops bare so the peanut butter filling is visible.
- Transfer the buckeyes back to the baking sheet and allow the chocolate to harden before serving.