4 Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Bars

By Lilian Dikmans

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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.

4 Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Bars cut up
Decorate the peanut butter bars with drizzled melted chocolate and crushed peanuts

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 no bake bar and slice recipes

If you want some more no bake bar and slice recipes, this Chocolate, Raspberry and Chia Slice has been a favorite for a while. It’s vegan, gluten-free and filled with a raspberry chia jam layer that looks super pretty. The slice is also nut-free, so handy if you’re cooking for people allergic to nuts.

If you enjoy choc mint desserts, you have to try this Vegan No Bake Chocolate Mint Slice. It’s a healthy version of a peppermint slice, and the creamy mint filling is so good.

This Easy No Bake Vegan Slice is another delicious no bake recipe that’s like a healthy caramel slice. It has three layers: a biscuit-like base, a sweet and creamy filling and a thick chocolate topping. All you have to do is mix up the layers, press into a container and chill in the fridge.

You can find all of my bar and slice recipes in one place on the new Real Food Healthy Body Bar and Slice Recipes page. As I add more bars and slices to the website, you will be able to find them all there. Just use the menu bar at the top of this page and navigate to Recipes, Dessert, then Bars and Slices.

4 Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

Serves
16 bars

Prep time
15 mins

Cook time
1 hour chilling

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 1
    Line a 20 x 20 cm / 8 x 8 inch square cake tin or dish with baking paper.
  • 2
    To 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.
  • 3
    To 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.
  • 4
    Chill 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.

Watch how to make the bars

Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 bar (made with 85% cocoa dark chocolate)
Energy: 1062kJ (254Cal)
Protein: 7.8g
Total Fat: 17g
Saturated Fat: 4.5g
Total Carbohydrate: 17.1g
Sugars: 8.1g
Dietary Fibre: 1.8g
Sodium: 58mg
Potassium: 146mg

Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.

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Lilian Dikmans

Lilian Dikmans is an Australian model, Muay Thai fighter and founder of Real Food Healthy Body

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