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You only need six ingredients to make this easy Buckeye recipe. My homemade Buckeyes feature a melt-in-your-mouth creamy peanut butter center partially coated in a crisp chocolate shell.
Fun fact: buckeye candies and I go way back! All the way back to 2011 when I was asked to make a groom’s cake for an Ohio State University alum.
It was then that I got my very first Buckeye lesson, and in order to fully appreciate what these peanut butter candies are, you might appreciate a little lesson on the Buckeye state.
BUCKEYE CANDY ORIGIN
Ohio’s state tree is the buckeye tree, which produces nuts that resemble chestnuts. The nut of the buckeye tree is referred to simple as a buckeye, as are the people of Ohio and Ohio State University (whose mascot is the buckeye).
Ohio loves their buckeyes so much, they make these amazing buckeye candies that looks like the buckeye nuts, which are really just round balls of peanut butter partially coated in chocolate to look just like a buckeye.
That groom’s cake wound up having buckeyes made from fondant, but the cake was a hit, the groom was so surprised, and ever since then, I made it a mission to visit Ohio State at some point in my life and get an authentic buckeye. I had to know what the hype was about!
Fast forward to January 2015, my dream came true and I got my hands on an authentic buckeye, both the actual nut and the actual peanut butter buckeye ball.
WHERE TO FIND AUTHENTIC BUCKEYE CANDY
The concierge of my hotel directed me to Schmidt’s Fudge Haus in downtown Columbus where I found the small display case of buckeyes and bought a box with the intention of trying some and then taking most of the rest home, and it took ALL of me not to eat that entire box.
Their texture was unbeatable. I was expecting something like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but the inside was more confectionary and sweeter. The creamy peanut butter balls were perfectly peanut buttery and the chocolate coating was perfectly snappy but also melted perfectly alongside the peanut butter.
A truly delicious experience that you can absolutely create at home with my best Buckeye candy recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR PEANUT BUTTER BUCKEYES
The ingredient list for this buckeyes recipe is very short– only 6 pantry staple ingredients you likely already have.
To make Buckeyes at home, you will need:
• creamy peanut butter (not natural)
• confectioners’ sugar
• vanilla extract
As far as the coating, you’ll just need your choice of chocolate. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate… That choice is totally up to you!
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR BUCKEYES
These easy buckeye balls could not be easier. The hardest part is the time it takes to roll the dough into balls and all of the waiting for things to chill. The peanut butter dough is uncomplicated, easy, and fairly forgiving.
I’ve also created for you a buckeye ball recipe without shortening, because that’s not my favorite thing to put into confections unless totally necessary, and in this case, it is not necessary at all.
MAKE AND CHILL THE PEANUT BUTTER FILLING
Bringing the filling together is truly as simple as mixing it all up in a bowl, and you don’t even need a mixer.
Stir together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon or sturdy plastic spatula until butter is completely blended. You may need to put your bowl in the microwave for 5-10 seconds if you find your butter is not blending well.
Next, add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition. If mixture becomes too thick to stir, blend together with your hands or a mixer (I can usually get it done with just a spoon and my hands). When you have added all of the powdered sugar, chill peanut butter mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up the butter.
MAKE PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Remove the peanut butter mixture from freezer and roll into balls about 1″ in diameter (I always weigh mine and find that 0.6oz is the perfect size). Work quickly so the heat of your hand doesn’t melt the peanut butter too much, and don’t worry if they’re not perfectly round.
ADD A “HANDLE”
When all of the peanut butter mixture is rolled into balls, insert a toothpick into the top of each ball, pushing the toothpick the whole way through to the baking sheet.
Pop the baking sheet in the freezer and allow peanut butter balls to harden for 45 minutes.
TURN INTO CHOCOLATE-DIPPED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Grab the chilled peanut butter balls and give each one a generous dunk in the melted rich chocolate, almost the whole way in, leaving a small circle of peanut butter exposed on the top.
Voilà! A peanut butter buckeye ball.
Continue with the dipping process with the remaining peanut butter balls, then allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. I have the best results after 12 hours.
REMOVE TOOTHPICK AND ENJOY THIS EASY BUCKEYE RECIPE
STEP #6 (OPTIONAL)
When all of the buckeyes are set, remove the toothpick, and if you would like, smudge the toothpick hole with the toothpick or your (clean) finger.
As you can see in the photos, the authentic ones leave the toothpick hole, so if you’d like to stick to that, be my guest!
These buckeyes are oh, so peanut buttery, with just a touch of saltiness to complement the smooth, creamy chocolate shell that encases them. The perfect bite-size snack for dessert, a cookie tray, or any chocolate peanut butter lover (like, everyone in the world, right?).
This buckeye recipe is easy, straight-forward, and the result is dangerously delicious. Don’t tell any of my Penn State friends (which is just about all of them), but… GO BUCKS!
Can’t get enough of the combination of peanut butter and chocolate? Try these recipes next: chocolate chip peanut butter bread, triple chocolate peanut butter bites, dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, monster oatmeal cookies, classic peanut butter blossoms, and peanut butter cookie brownies!
Buckeye Candy Recipe
- 1 cup (264g) creamy peanut butter1
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 and ¼ cup (270g) powdered sugar
- 10 ounces (140g) semi-sweet chocolate2 coarsely chopped
- Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, foil, parchment, or wax paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon or sturdy plastic spatula until butter is completely blended. You may want to put your bowl in the microwave for 5-10 seconds if you find your butter is not blending well.
- Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition. If mixture becomes too thick to stir, blend together with your hands or a mixer (I can usually get it done with just a spoon and my hands). When you have added all of the powdered sugar, chill peanut butter mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up the butter.
- Remove from freezer and roll peanut butter mixture into balls about 1" in diameter (I always weigh mine and find that 0.6oz was is perfect size). Work quickly so the heat of your hand doesn't melt the peanut butter too much, and don't worry if they're not perfectly round.
- When all of the peanut butter mixture is rolled into balls, insert a toothpick into the top of each ball, pushing the toothpick the whole way through to the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and allow peanut butter balls to harden for 45 minutes.
- When there are a few minutes left for the peanut butter balls, prepare the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 20 seconds on HIGH, stir, and heat again as necessary in 20-second increments until completely melted. Set aside.
- Remove peanut butter balls from the freezer. Pour some of the melted chocolate into a small prep bowl (or a mug) so there is some depth for dipping the peanut butter balls. Working with one peanut butter ball at a time and using the toothpick as a "handle," dip each peanut butter ball into the melted chocolate, allowing a small circle to remain exposed at the top of each ball. Place back on baking sheet. When all of the peanut butter balls are dipped, place baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. I have the best results after 12 hours.
- Once the buckeyes are completely set, remove the toothpicks. If desired, use your finger to smudge the peanut butter together on the top of the buckeye to cover the hole made by the toothpick. Store buckeyes in an airtight container with parchment or wax paper between layers in the refrigerator up to 1 month. They may be kept at room temperature up to 1 week, but know they fare better in the fridge. At room temperature, the peanut butter starts to separate from the chocolate after a few hours. Un-dipped peanut butter balls freeze well, up to 2 months.
- Creamy peanut butter: do not use natural peanut butter, and do not use crunchy peanut butter.
- Chocolate: it is best to use bar chocolate or melting wafers. Feel free to use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or even white chocolate.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.