These 4 Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Bars are a healthy version of old fashioned chocolate peanut butter bars. Made with simple ingredients, the bars are no-bake, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free. They still taste like a treat, similar to chocolate peanut butter cups.
Classic chocolate peanut butter bars are usually made with regular peanut butter, which contains refined vegetable oils and sugar. They also normally include butter and graham cracker crumbs, which means that they aren’t dairy or gluten-free. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you want to make something a little healthier, give this recipe a try.
Healthy peanut butter bars
I make these 4 Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Bars with peanut butter, brown rice syrup, coconut flour and dark chocolate. That’s it. Just a handful of ingredients that I usually have in my pantry. The recipe is a good option if you want to avoid processed foods.
First, I use natural peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter. You can find natural peanut butter at most supermarkets in the health food section. Many people also make their own by blending roasted peanuts in a high-powered food processor. To check whether a peanut butter is natural, read the ingredients list on the jar. It should just list peanuts and sometimes salt as well.
Second, I use brown rice syrup instead of sugar to sweetens the bars. Brown rice syrup, also called rice malt syrup, is made from rice and is low in fructose. Its thick texture also helps to give the base a deliciously soft texture.
Third, I make the chocolate topping with a mixture of melted dark chocolate and some extra natural peanut butter. Adding the peanut butter to the chocolate makes the chocolate set softer, so you get a fudge-like chocolate topping that is also easier to slice.
Peanut butter bars without graham crackers
Old fashioned peanut butter bars are usually made with graham cracker crumbs in the base. Instead of graham crackers, I use coconut flour. The coconut flour absorbs some of the moisture from the peanut butter and syrup to bring the base to a dough consistency. Using coconut flour also keeps the bars gluten-free, grain-free and provides additional fibre.
You can buy coconut flour at most supermarkets these days in the health food section. One thing I have found with coconut flour is that different brands absorb varying degrees of moisture when added to a recipe. So it’s a good idea to start with half the amount needed, then gradually add the rest until you reach the desired dough consistency.
Ingredients for Vegan Peanut Butter Bars
Natural peanut butter: Natural smooth peanut butter works best in this recipe. You want it to be runny in texture. If your peanut butter doesn’t contain salt, you can just add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the base mixture.
Brown rice syrup: Brown rice syrup, also known as rice malt syrup, works well in this recipe due to its thick texture. You could use maple syrup instead. If using maple syrup, you may need to add slightly more coconut flour to firm up the dough since it’s thinner in texture than rice syrup.
Coconut flour: Used to bring the base to a dough consistency and give it some structure. I haven’t tested the recipe with a substitute to coconut flour, but I image you could use oat flour, or rolled oats processed into a powder, instead. If you try this, I would start with a small amount of oat flour and keep adding it gradually until you get a soft dough.
Dark chocolate: I use 85% cocoa chocolate to make the bars, but you can use any chocolate you like. If you need to keep the recipe strictly vegan and dairy-free, check that your dark chocolate doesn’t contain milk solids. Most good quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa doesn’t contain dairy.
More vegan no-bake recipes
This Vegan No Bake Chocolate Mint Slice is perfect if you enjoy choc mint desserts like me.
For a caramel slice vibe, this Easy No Bake Vegan Slice has a creamy vegan caramel filling.
This Vegan White Christmas Slice has a creamy white chocolate-like base, studded with cranberries, pistachio nuts and currants.
For a healthy alternative to cheesecake, this No Bake Vegan Lime Cheesecake is super creamy, zesty and delicious. It’s also gluten-free and paleo friendly.
You can find all my no-bake desserts on the No Bake Recipes page.
4 Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Bars Recipe
1 hour chilling
- 1 1/2 cups / 360ml / 360g natural smooth peanut butter (see Note 1)
- 1/2 cup / 120ml / 172g brown rice syrup
- 3/4 cup / 84g coconut flour
- 6.3oz / 180g dark chocolate
For decoration (optional)
- Extra dark chocolate, melted for drizzling
- Handful of roasted peanuts, crushed
1Line a 20 x 20 cm / 8 x 8 inch square cake tin or dish with baking paper.
2To make the base, mix 1 cup / 240ml / 240g of the peanut butter with the brown rice syrup. Stir in the coconut flour gradually until you get a soft dough (see Note 2). Press the mixture into the lined tin.
3To make the topping, melt the chocolate in a microwave or using a double boiler. Stir through the remaining 1/2 cup / 120ml / 120g peanut butter until you get a smooth mixture. Pour the chocolate mixture over the base, spreading it out evenly with the back of a spoon.
4Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or until set. Once set, remove from the tin and cut into bars. Decorate with a drizzle of extra melted chocolate and crushed peanuts if desired.
1. Peanut butter – Smooth and runny natural peanut butter works best here. The ingredients should just list peanuts and salt, with no added oils or sugar. If your peanut butter doesn’t contain salt, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the base mixture.
2. Coconut flour – Different brands of coconut flour sometimes absorb more or less moisture when added to recipes. To avoid drying out your dough, I recommend starting with half the amount of coconut flour then gradually adding the rest until you get a soft dough.
3. Storage – Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge. The peanut butter in the base will soften as it comes to room temperature, so I like eating the bars straight from the fridge. Alternatively, the bars freeze well so you can freeze them and defrost in the fridge as needed.
Serving size: 1 bar (made with 85% cocoa dark chocolate)
Energy: 1062kJ (254Cal)
Total Fat: 17g
Saturated Fat: 4.5g
Total Carbohydrate: 17.1g
Dietary Fibre: 1.8g