Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These no-bake peanut butter cookie bars are my favorite treat! A fudgy cacao topping covers a decadent peanut butter chocolate chip layer.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

These peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars… where do I even start!? If you make one dessert/snack recipe from this blog, I highly recommend this one! 🙂

There’s a delectable peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough layer underneath a rich cacao-date-walnut layer. That all sounds fancy, but these peanut butter cookie bars are actually very easy to put together. You won’t be able to stop eating them, and that’s ok! They’re made with some wonderful wholesome ingredients and a few (delicious) superfoods like cacao and maca powder. They store well in the fridge and freezer, but good luck keeping them for any great length of time. I’ve been trying to hide them everywhere, but, in my house, they have a way of quickly disappearing!

Mixing peanut butter with dry ingredients Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars Ingredients

So what the heck are cacao and maca? Cacao is the most pure form of chocolate, and it’s packed with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium (read: chocolate is healthy!). Maca is powder from the Peruvian maca root, and has a malty, vanilla-y, butterscotch-y flavor that’s insanely delicious in this cookie dough layer. It’s known to naturally support the body’s ability to adapt to stress and improve energy, vitality, and stamina.

Peanut Butter cookie bars recipe ingredients

While I love using these ingredients, they’re often hard to find and can be expensive at regular stores – which is why I’m SO excited to partner with Thrive Market today. If you haven’t heard of Thrive Market, it’s an online marketplace whose mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable.

Fancy superfoods aside, I found that so many of my kitchen staples – rolled oats, almond flour, nut butters, dates, organic maple syrup, and more – are all a fraction of the cost of the brands I find in the grocery store.

The last thing I’m going to gush about is the personal obsession I have with their peanut butter. I know it seems like peanut butters would all be created (somewhat) equal, but theirs has the best texture and flavor I’ve ever tasted – just look at the photo near the top of this post to see how oozy it is.

And speaking of that oozy peanut butter, you really need smooth, creamy peanut butter here, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar of natural peanut butter. If you store your peanut butter in the fridge, allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour before making this recipe.

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Once your peanut butter is nice and soft, it’s time to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars! First, make the cookie dough layer by simply stirring the ingredients together and pressing them into the pan…

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars Recipe Ingredients in a food processor

Make the cacao layer by pulsing the above ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Then the best part – layer them together! So yummy… I’m having trouble not drooling all over my keyboard right now.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars with chocolate topping

To make them extra pretty, sprinkle the peanut butter cookie bars with a little flaky sea salt.

From here, you can dig these peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars out of the pan if you need your snack NOW… otherwise let them firm up in the freezer for 20 or so minutes so that you can neatly cut them into squares. Store the finished bars in the fridge. For longer term storage (yeah right), they can be frozen. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Vegan cookie bars with flaky sea salt

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Variations

The maca and cacao powder add extra nutrients and delicious flavor to these peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars, but if you can’t find them, that’s ok! Try one of these easy variations instead:

  • Skip the maca. No maca? No problem. These soft and chewy peanut butter cookie bars are still great without it.
  • Use cocoa powder. If you don’t have cacao powder, don’t worry! Regular cocoa powder is also delicious here.
  • Make energy balls! If you’re not in the mood to blend up the top layer of these bars, just mix up the bottom layer and roll it into balls. Store them in the freezer for yummy, on-the-go snacks!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

More Favorite Dessert Recipes

If you love these peanut butter cookie bars, give Thrive Market a try! They’re offering 25% off your first order and a 30-day free trial. No discount code needed, just check out their site! Then, try one of these treats next:

5.0 from 29 reviews

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These peanut butter cookie bars are one of my all-time favorite treats! They have a delicious peanut butter chocolate chip layer with a rich cacao-date layer on top.
Recipe type: Dessert, snack
Serves: 25
Cookie Layer
Cacao Layer
  • 1½ cups walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 soft medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top, optional
  1. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until combined. Add the almond flour and maca and stir to combine (the mixture will be thick). Fold in the chocolate chips and press into the pan. Place in the freezer so that it firms up a bit while making the next layer.
  3. In a small food processor, pulse the walnuts, cacao powder, and sea salt until the walnuts are well chopped. Add the dates and pulse to combine, adding 2 tablespoons water if the blade gets stuck. Process until smooth, then spread onto the cookie layer. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Freeze for 30 minutes (this will help them firm up, making them easier to cut). Remove and slice into bars. Store remaining bars in the fridge.
  4. Finished bars can also be frozen. Let each bar thaw for about 15 minutes at room temperature.
*Look for creamy peanut butter with a smooth consistency to make this recipe, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar of natural peanut butter. If you store your peanut butter in the fridge, allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour before making this recipe.

This post was created in partnership with Thrive Market. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thank you!!!

  1. shay grady from

    These are definitely on my list to make next!! They sound amazing and look so delicious!

  2. Christy

    Looks amazing…do you ever post nutritional values? I’m watching sugar intake and know that dates are high, just wondering??? Thanks for your great recipes!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Christy, I don’t… counting calories, etc, has personally led me to unhealthy eating habits in the past. These bars are definitely meant to be an indulgence, so probably not low in sugar 🙂

  3. Sanja

    Jeanine, what would you recommend as a walnut substitution in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sanja, pecans would be delicious!

      • Matt

        I was also looking to substitute walnuts, do you think that I could use macadamia nuts?

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          Hi Matt, I’m not sure, I can’t say without trying. Pecans would be my first choice since they have a similar texture.

  4. Vanessa

    I’d love to make this, but unfortunately can’t use dates (or raisins or prunes for that matter). Are there substitutes (more nuts? other dried fruit?) that would be a preferred alternative / should I just remove the dates and use a different paste of some sort for the same texture?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’ve only tested these with dates, let me know if another fruit works for you!


    Hello Jeanine, Thanks very much for sharing this yummy recipe! With recent reports on coconut oil being the new “bad guy” AGAIN, what oil would you recommend I use as a substitute? Can I just use good oil olive oil or peanut oil? Cheers!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I think another oil could work, I haven’t tried… I still consider coconut oil to be healthy enough.


        Thanks very much for your prompt response, Jeanine!

    • Cathie

      Sorry about typos. I used my phone and hit post prematurely. I can’t figure out how to edit here.

  6. Marco Pereira

    Can you provide the nutrition numbers?? For example how many calories, sugar, protein, fat and carbs does one square or one piece contain?

    Does anyone know how to calculate macros when making home made foods? I’m assuming you jog down how much you use of each ingredient then add all the macros up and then devide them by # of servings?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Marco, I don’t calculate nutrition info, calories, etc, because it’s contributed to unhealthy eating habits for me personally in the past. These are a yummy indulgent treat 🙂

      • Marco Pereira

        Good point i like that way if thinking. I’m definitely going to try making these, thanks for the recipe.

  7. Alison

    Yum! Can’t wait to make these!!!

  8. Steph

    Any substitutes for maca powder? I have everything else.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Steph, you can use extra almond flour… hope that helps!

  9. Gaby Dalkin

    OMG! I *really* need these in my life!

  10. Susan

    These bars sound wonderful, but I would have to omit the maca powder. It is probably fine for most people, but if, like me, you are sensitive to stimulants, it’s best to stay away from it.

  11. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite

    These look absolutely insane! I love having no-bake treats on hand in the freezer pretty much at all times…these are next on my list of things to make! 🙂

  12. These look fantastic! My daughter is allergic to peanuts, what nut butter would you recommend for the cookie base that would still taste great?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Karen,

      Almond butter is delicious in these!

  13. Angela

    Hi Jeanine–do you think the peanut butter layer would stand well alone as a treat? Thank you!

    • Angela

      I’m going to reply to myself! The peanut butter layer could definitely stand on its own, especially to make a very fast treat, but the date/walnut layer makes the bars that much better. I followed the recipe as is, and it’s wonderful! I cut mine into app. 30 squares.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Ah! So sorry for missing your first comment!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the peanut butter part – I make that layer by itself most often since it’s so quick, sometimes I roll them into little balls 🙂

  14. Oh my oh my these look utterly scrumptious! I will have to give these a go.
    Just came across your blog now, I love the content, so many delicious recipes to get busy with 🙂
    Love, Kate x

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kate, welcome!!

  15. Claudia from

    Helpful tips, thanks 🙂

  16. Eve-Marie

    I made these yesterday and they are incredible! They really taste like cookie dough only they are so much more nutritious 🙂 I love how simple and healthy the top layer is – I added a little extra water to the food processor because it wasn’t getting smooth and spreadable, and that helped a lot. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!!

  17. Ali from

    These are the perfect trail snack for our active mountain lifestyle and my two year old loves them! Love that they have superfood ingredients, protein, and natural sugar. I may have snuck a bite or two after dinner, too … 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yay, I’m so glad the whole family loved them!

  18. Bryan

    These would be the perfect snack when I need a little pick me up. I just sent it to my girlfriend so we can go to the market tomorrow morning and get all of the ingredients!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I hope you enjoy them!

  19. Jacqueline Jacques

    These turned out amazing. Topped mine off with unsweetened shredded coconut and used chopped tart cherries instead of chocolate chips. Mmmmm.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jacqueline, I’m so glad you loved them!

  20. Yay!! I just bought some Maca a couple weeks ago. These look fabulous! I just wish my food processor wasn’t broken. I better get it fixed so I can whip these up! 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Maca has such a wonderful flavor! Good luck with your food processor 🙂

  21. Jenn from

    I love that they are naturally sweetened. I might have to throw these in the kids lunches! Thanks for the idea.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Let me know if you give them a go!

  22. Jen

    Can I use whole wheat flour instead of almond flour?

  23. Tina K Hamilton

    I made this without the Maca, amended as suggested. I used an ice-cream scoop to portion out the cookie layer into parchment baking cups. After freezing placed a smaller scoop of the cacao layer on top, sprinkled with Maldon salt. This way I have portion control (ha-ha) and an easier way to store and share. Thanks Jeanine for a yummy recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Tina, I’m glad you loved them! Thanks for the tip about the ice-cream scoop method!

  24. Beth C from

    My husband and I made these last night after dinner. SO YUM!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Beth – so glad you both loved them!

  25. Wendy from

    Made these the other day, they turned out great! I don’t have a food processor so I just soaked the dates in hot water first and blended the ingredients for the topping with about 2tbsp extra water. I love how filling it is as a snack but easily satisfies a sweet afternoon craving!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Wendy, I’m glad you loved them! Thanks for the blender tip!

  26. This dish certainly got my attention just by looking at the photos, Jeanine! The recipe shows exactly the ingredients and what to do on them. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  27. Oh my! Just made these and they are off the charts YUM!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      yay, so happy to hear! Thanks for coming back to let me know!

  28. Jen

    What would be a good replacement for coconut oil?

  29. Lex

    What can I do to replace the Maca powder? Unfortunately I’m allergic to this

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lex – you can just leave it out, it has no affect on the texture, they’ll still be terrific without it!

  30. stacy

    I love your blog. These look great. Can I use avocado or some other oil for the coconut oil?

  31. Jacqueline Jacques

    My son and I make this recipe all the time – we absolutely love it. We often sub dried cherries for the chocolate chips – which is really delicious. This last time, I was got to making the Cacao Layer and to my horror had only about 1/4 cup of walnuts. But I did have a whole bag of raw pine nuts. I have to say I will make it this way on purpose in the future!. The pine nuts added a depth of flavor that was surprisingly delicious.

  32. Kelly from

    AMAZING!!!!! I’m obsessed and will make this again and again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you loved them!!

  33. Nikki

    Made these delicious bars last night for friends. Everyone loved them. Even her husband who doesn’t care for sweets went back for seconds.

  34. Monkey Baker

    Super yummy!! I used sunflower butter instead of peanut butter and they turned out great!

  35. helena

    have these changed since the original? I seem to recall making them differently and melting chocolate to put on top!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      nope, they’re the same!

  36. Sarah J Lazzaro

    This is a great recipe! I wanted to make something sweet, but not too terrible for my wife and me for our quarantine date night dessert. My only suggestion to those trying this out is to add a little more liquid to the bottom layer as ours came out very crumbly.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed them – thanks for the feedback!

    • Sonja

      Ours came out so crumbly, they would not hold together at all – more like dry sand or streusel even after an extra 1/4 cup of coconut oil was added. Even baking them at 350 for 15 minutes did not make them stick together.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Sonja, I wonder if your peanut butter was as smooth as mine was? (you can see it in the picture above). Different brands of peanut butter can vary in consistency. I’d recommend adding water, next time, until it sticks together, or less almond flour if your peanut butter is thicker than mine.

  37. Kiersten

    Made with coconut flour! So good!!

  38. Amanda

    They taste wonderful!! I really enjoyed making this recipe 🙂 it was super quick and easy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Amanda, I’m so glad you loved them!

  39. Glen

    Loved this recipe! I substituted the almond meal and used oat flour instead. Turned out really good!! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  40. Maria

    What can I sub almond flour with? It’s not something most people have lying around so a more accessible flour would be good.

  41. Rosemary

    This recipe was delicious! Thank you

  42. Rosemary

    Another note: for people looking to sub ingredients, you can’t sub regular flour or flours that need to be cooked since this is a no bake recipe. We ran out of almond flour and ground peanuts in the food processor and that worked fine (other nuts would too). But I wouldn’t try say chick pea flour for example.
    Also, we didn’t have coconut oil so we used organic shortening, also fine, and didn’t have dates but since it seems she’s trying to get both the binding and the sweetness from the date, you could use dried figs or raisins. Cherries might be too tart. My two cents!

  43. Alessandra

    I’m excited to try this recipe! If I’m allergic to nuts (not peanuts), do you have a recommended substitute for the walnuts?

  44. Laura

    Love your recipes, would be great if you could put the grams measurements as well.

  45. Josie

    I made this yesterday and they turned out amazing! I followed the recipe but just left out the maca powder. It was so easy to make.
    A little tip that might help people with the consistency…I microwaved my peanut butter for about a minute before mixing it in with the other ingredients. That made it a little bit more runny. Thanks for a great recipe, I’ll definitely make it again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      thanks for the tip! I’m glad you enjoyed these.

  46. Mr.Baker Guy

    WOW these are SOOO good. Probably the best recipe in the blog. I didn’t have maca powder, and they were still great!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yay, I’m so glad you loved them!

  47. Sam

    Hi…this looks delicious.!! Can you use dried apricots instead of dates? Anyone tried any other substitute?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sam, dried apricots aren’t as big and sticky, so I’d stick with dried dates (for structure) for this one.

  48. Hiya

    Lovely recipe!
    Can I make this with oat flour or wheat flour since I don’t have almond flour?
    Can’t wait to make it!

  49. None from None

    This is the best recipe ever !

  50. Anne

    Can I use applesauce instead of coconut oil?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Anne, I haven’t tried that.

  51. nimrit

    This really looks so good, I am so excited to make this healthy cookie that I can eat guilt-free with my morning coffee

  52. Kay from

    Made it! Just didn’t have the Dates, so I used freeze dried raspberries! Yum. Thank you for this recipe.
    Trying to find more vegan friendly snacks. Major props.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.