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Buckeye Candy Recipe

Traditional Buckeyes are delicious peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate to form the perfect treat. I take it two steps more and add a touch of bourbon and stuff them with a buttery, toasted pecan!

white pedestal platter with peanut butter buckeyes on top

Buckeye Balls

I’m going to get a bit personal here.

I want to share a little bit of my past with you that I am not proud of, but I feel that you should know anyway.  I didn’t eat peanut butter cups for 12 years.

The reason I gave up those delicious, creamy, satisfyingly perfect treats comes down to one unfortunate day in 11th-grade Physics class.

I used to fall asleep in Physics class all the time, not because it was boring for a science-loving nerd like me, but because it fell right in the middle of the morning.

To make a long story short, I ate 12 packages of Peanut Butter Cups (24 PB cups!) during that boring class because I had them available to me via school candy fundraisers.

Once I was able to eat chocolate and peanut butter at the same time, I still couldn’t look at the cup form, but I did start drooling at the sight of chocolate peanut butter balls or Buckeye Balls.

These are super easy to make like my no bake avalanche cookies!

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cookie sheet with peanut butter buckeyes on it

These Peanut Butter Buckeyes are an addicting addition to a cookie or dessert tray because they are easy to make, perfectly sized, gluten free, and are absolutely adorable to look at!

Especially if you are a fan of The Ohio State sports teams!

Why are they called Buckeye Balls?

The Buckeye tree produces a nut that is a dark, rich brown color with a light brown/tan circle on top. Much like a peanut butter ball that is mostly covered in chocolate!

hand holding a buckeye with a bite taken out of it

Ingredients Needed

  • peanut butter
  • butter
  • powered sugar
  • vanilla
  • salt
  • chocolate (milk or semi-sweet)
  • dark chocolate *optional
  • bourbon *optional
  • toasted pecans *optional

What kind of chocolate do you use for buckeyes?

The best type of chocolate to use for dipping the peanut butter balls is one that melts easy, coats evenly, and hardens back with a nice glossy shine. I would stick with a good quality bar of chocolate or melting wafers.

I prefer dark chocolate to cut the sweetness but go with what you like.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend using chocolate chips that you would use for cookies, muffins, or breads because they add stabilizers to the chips to help them keep their shape when baked. You don’t want them to stay the same shape you want them to melt and coat your buckeye ball.

How to make Buckeyes

First: Combine the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar.

Second: Scoop into balls and chill for 5 minutes.

Third: Melt chocolate, dip in the buckeyes, and chill. Enjoy!

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Once the center is mixed, formed into balls, and dipped in chocolate simply chill and enjoy. I take my buckeye candy three steps further by using dark chocolate instead of milk or semi-sweet, add a toasted pecan to the center, and BOURBON!

Tips for Dipping Buckeye Balls

When you are ready to dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate, start with a little prep.

  1. Melt your chocolate in a bowl and keep over a pot of simmering water and stir occasionally to keep the chocolate smooth and easy to dip in.
  2. Make sure your balls are chilled completely. This will make it easy to dip and allow the chocolate to start setting instead of running off.
  3. Only remove a small batch of balls at a time to keep the peanut butter from warming up before getting dipped.
  4. Insert a toothpick far enough in to keep the toothpick from sliding out from the weight of the chocolate.
  5. Dip just once making sure to coat most of the peanut butter ball, leaving the small circle on the top open. Feel free to rotate the ball in the chocolate if the bowl is shallow.
  6. Be sure to shake off the excess chocolate using a knife edge, or edge of the bowl, or by twirling the ball. Too much chocolate will run down the side and form a pool at the base of the buckeye messing up the “ball” shape.
  7. Don’t forget to return the coated Buckeye Balls to the refrigerator to chill for an additional 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Once they are set, store them in an airtight container.

Do Buckeyes have to be refrigerated?

The buckeyes are stable at room temperature as long as the peanut butter is shelf stable. You can check by seeing if the peanut butter itself requires refrigeration after opening. Usually natural nut butters require refrigeration.

How long do they keep?

Jokingly, I would say not very long because they are so delicious. In all seriousness, they will keep for 2 weeks at room temperature or up to a month in the refrigerator.

buckeyes cut in half

Can you freeze buckeyes?

Once the chocolate is set on the final chill, you can transfer the buckeye balls to a zip-top bag or other airtight container and store in the freezer.

How long do they last in the freezer?

If stored correctly, the peanut butter balls will last for 3 months.

This buckeye candy recipe is a must make for the holiday season. For more holiday spirit they have Kentucky bourbon!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

pinterest image of buckeyes

These Bourbon Buckeyes are easy to make and fun to take to a party. Not too many people dislike the chocolate and peanut butter combo, unless you slip and have a tragic PB cup “hoovering” incident like me, that might land you in PB cup addicts support group, so take a tray!

tray of buckeyes

Bourbon Buckeyes

Classic Buckeyes are given a makeover with some dark chocolate, a hint of bourbon in the mix, and a salted, toasted pecan in the middle to make Bourbon Buckeyes!
4.79 from 37 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sweets, Desserts and Shooters
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 60 buckeyes
Calories: 303kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart


For the peanut butter filling

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup Perfectly Toasted Pecans

For the chocolate coating


Make the peanut butter filling

  • Combine the peanut butter, butter, salt, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until fully incorporated.
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar.
  • When mixed in, add the bourbon.
  • Mix until combined.
  • Scoop into 1 inch balls (I use aI use a mini ice cream scoop) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Chill for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and add a pecan half to the ball. I push the pecan in slightly and then roll the ball in the palm of my hand. The peanut butter will naturally move over the pecan and cover it.
  • Freeze balls for 30 minutes.

Coat your Bourbon Buckeyes

  • While the peanut butter balls are chilling, melt your chocolate chips.
  • I added my chocolate wafers and oil to a small metal bowl set on a pan of simmering water (double boiler method) but you can melt yours in a microwave at 30-second bursts.
  • When the balls are set, insert a toothpick (not deep because of the pecan hidden inside) and dip in chocolate.
  • Return the dipped balls to the lined baking sheet and put back into the freezer or refrigerator until chocolate is set.
  • Remove toothpick and smooth over the hole with a slightly wet finger.
  • Keep stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Enjoy for up to 1 month if they last that long.



*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars.  Thank you!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 194mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g

More Party Appetizers

*Take Two Tapas is not responsible for any actions taken by the consumer after eating these tasty Bourbon Buckeyes, but certainly wouldn’t miss the chance to laugh at said antics*

{Originally published in August 2015. Updated and refreshed in November 2019 with more new photos, a video, and recipe tips}

© Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

4.79 from 37 votes (13 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Sunday 22nd of November 2020

O. K., I am going to make these today. If I'm found passed out on the floor; someone is going to have to pick me up!


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Good luck!


Wednesday 27th of November 2019

I'd never made buckeyes before stumbling across this recipe, and oh my word, this will be the only one I ever make. They're perfect! And the addition of bourbon is SO so so so lovely.


Tuesday 26th of November 2019

These are on my must make for the holidays list! So so good!

Michaela Kenkel

Monday 25th of November 2019

I made thee for Friendsgiving this weekend and they were ALL GONE!! Good thing I kept a few at home, or I wouldn't have gotten any!! They are so amazingly delicious!!


Monday 25th of November 2019

I can't wait to make these!!! What a great homemade gift too for the holidays~!