Homemade chocolate brownies are topped with a thick layer of peanut butter fudge and a rich chocolate topping before being sliced and served. These buckeye brownies are even more decadent than the classic no-bake candies!

Two Buckeye brownies stacked on top of each other.

Buckeyes are a simple no-bake candy that’s especially popular around Christmas. They’re essentially peanut butter balls that are only partially coated in chocolate to make them look like the nut of a Buckeye tree.

Buckeye candies are incredibly delicious, but I have to say, I think that these Buckeye brownies are even better.

My classic homemade brownies form the base of this recipe. Once the brownies are baked, they’re topped with a thick layer of soft peanut butter fudge. To give the same chocolate-coated feel as a classic Buckeye candy, the peanut butter layer is then topped with a layer of chocolate.

While there are a few steps to these brownies, they’re actually pretty easy and you don’t even need a mixer to make them. This recipe is also baked in an 8-inch square pan, but the brownies are so decadent that you can easily get 16 generous servings from one batch!

An overhead view of the ingredients needed for Buckeye brownies.

Ingredient Notes

These brownies have three layers: a chocolate brownie base, a peanut butter layer (similar to the filling from my homemade peanut butter eggs), and a simple chocolate topping.

I won’t go into detail about every ingredient needed to make these brownies, but below is an overview of the key items:

  • Cocoa Powder: Either natural or Dutch process cocoa powder will work for these brownies, so feel free to use whichever you have on hand! If you’re curious about the difference between the two, I highly recommend reading through my post on natural vs. Dutch process cocoa powder.
  • Eggs: You must bring the eggs to room temperature before adding them to the brownie batter. If you forgot to set them out on your counter beforehand, submerge them in a bowl of warm tap water for about 5 minutes and then proceed with the recipe.
  • Sugar: You’ll need granulated sugar for the brownie batter and powdered sugar for the peanut butter fudge layer.
  • Peanut Butter: Use a creamy, no-stir peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. Natural peanut butter that’s made with just peanuts will not work as well.
  • Butter: I suggest using unsalted butter because the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between brands.
  • Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet chocolate chips are best for the chocolate topping so the brownies don’t wind up being too sweet. If you love dark chocolate chips, feel free to use those instead!

How To Make Buckeye Brownies

  1. Prepare the brownie batter: Whisk together the melted butter and sugar until well combined, then add the eggs and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt (this will help remove any lumps) and mix until just combined.
  2. Bake the brownies: Scoop the brownie batter into a foil-lined and greased 8-inch baking dish. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  1. Make the peanut butter layer: Melt the peanut butter and butter together in the microwave. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then add the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until fully combined.
  2. Top the brownies with the peanut butter mixture: One the brownies have cooled completely, scoop dollops of the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownies, then spread into an even layer using an angled spatula.
  1. Make the chocolate topping: Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth.
  2. Assemble and chill: Pour the chocolate topping over the peanut butter layer and smooth it out using an angled spatula. Refrigerate the brownies for at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving. This will give the chocolate topping time to firm up and make the bars easier to slice.
An overhead view of two Buckeye brownies turned on their sides to show their layers.

Storage Instructions

The great thing about these buckeye brownies is that they do not have to be refrigerated. The chocolate topping holds up and stays firm at room temperature!

Once they’ve firmed up in the fridge, you may either cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or transfer the sliced brownies to an airtight container. If stored properly, they should keep for up to 5 days.

Or, you can freeze the assembled brownies for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat them, let them thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on your countertop.

Layered peanut butter fudge brownies, seen from the side.

Baking Tips

  • These brownies are plenty rich as is, but you’re welcome to add up to 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit, M&M’s, etc. to the brownie batter for even more texture and flavor.
  • The peanut butter fudge mixture will be very thick once all of the powdered sugar has been added. You might need to use your hands to finish ‘mixing’ it together to ensure no lumps or streaks of powdered sugar remain.
  • The brownies must be completely cool before adding the peanut butter fudge on top otherwise it will begin to melt and you won’t achieve a clean, even layer.
A stack of two buckeye brownies, the top brownie has a bite missing.

Buckeye Brownies

5 from 1 rating
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Homemade chocolate brownies are topped with a thick layer of peanut butter fudge and a rich chocolate topping before being sliced and served. These buckeye brownies are even more decadent than the classic no-bake candies!


Servings: 16 brownies

Brownie Layer

  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled (115 grams; 1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (45 grams)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (65 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Fudge Layer

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (250 grams; Jif or Skippy is best, avoid natural pb)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter sliced into pieces (70 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (180 grams)

Chocolate Topping

  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (90 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter sliced into 3 to 4 pieces (43 grams)


  • To make the brownie layer: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal. Spray the foil/parchment paper well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar until well combined, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Sift in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt and continue whisking until just combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it around into one even layer.
  • Bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack.
  • To make the peanut butter fudge layer: Add the peanut butter and sliced butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Add the powdered sugar in three additions, ½ cup (60 grams) at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. The mixture will be really thick when you add the last ½ cup, if needed work it together with your hands until you no longer see any streaks or lumps of powdered sugar.
  • Scoop large spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture from the bowl, gently flatten it out with your hands, and place it on top of the brownies, making sure to fill in as many gaps as you can. Once all of the peanut butter mixture is on top of the brownies, use an angled spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out into one even layer.
  • To make the chocolate topping: Add the chocolate chips and sliced butter to a microwave-safe dish.
  • Microwave in 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring well after each increment, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  • Pour the melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter layer and use an angled spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out into one even layer.
  • Refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the chocolate layer has hardened.
  • Lift the brownies out of the pan using the overhang from the foil/parchment paper, slice into bars, and enjoy.


Storage Instructions: Brownies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Storage Instructions: Brownies will freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the fridge. 
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle Rye
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