Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)

Photography Credit: Irvin Lin

The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is an obvious winner for anyone who has ever tasted a peanut butter cup, and buckeyes are no exception.

Named for their resemblance to the nut of the buckeye tree, these chocolate-dipped peanut butter treats are easy to make at home with very little work.

Even though I grew up in the Midwest, where Peanut Butter Buckeyes are popular, I was strangely oblivious to them until I moved to California. One day, a coworker at my day job brought a tray of buckeyes into the office, and I quickly devoured a few too many, rendering myself relatively useless from the sugar aftershock for the rest of the afternoon.

I remember going home and proclaiming my love for this new confection to my partner. He gave me the side eye. “How have you never heard of these before?” was his response. Apparently I have been missing out all my life.

2016-07-08-Buckeyes-5These chocolate-coated rounds of sweetened peanut butter look nearly identical to the nut from a buckeye tree, a tree native to the midwestern United States and the state tree of Ohio. This explains why the confection is so popular in Ohio and the surrounding states like Indiana, where my partner is from.

The candy looks so much like the nut that, when he was a kid, my partner’s parents would always instruct him, “Now, remember, you can eat these peanut butter candies, but don’t eat the actual nuts on the ground!” To this day, he still remembers that warning and repeats it every time he eats one.

My own warning is to to limit yourself to eating just a few buckeyes at a time. Otherwise, you may find yourself falling into the same sugar aftershock that I did when I initially discovered my love for them!

Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes) Recipe

  • Prep time: 12 minutes
  • Chill Time time: Chill Time
  • Yield: 48

It may sound fussy, but make sure to sift the powdered sugar into the peanut butter using a strainer or you'll wind up with clumps in your buckeyes.

Also, keep in mind that you need to chill the peanut butter balls after forming them, and again after you dip them in the chocolate, so plan accordingly.


  • 1 1/2 cups (390 g) smooth peanut butter (not "natural")
  • 1/2 cup (115 g / 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (400 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 cups (525 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips


1 Make the peanut butter filling: Place the peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and stir until well blended. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into the bowl using a fine-mesh strainer and stir until the sugar is absorbed. Sift the remaining powdered sugar and mix in and a smooth stiff paste forms.

2 Shape the filling into balls: Scoop up a small portion of dough and form 1-inch balls. Place on a rimmed baking pan lined with a piece of parchment paper. Repeat until all the peanut butter filling is gone.

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

3 Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator so the balls become firm enough to dip.

4 Melt the chocolate for the coating: Once the peanut butter balls have chilled, place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments on high power, stirring between each cook cycle, until the chocolate has melted and is smooth.

5 Dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate: Skewer one of the peanut butter balls with a toothpick and dip it in the melted chocolate until 3/4 of the ball is covered in chocolate. Leave the top of the ball uncovered so you can see a little of the peanut butter. Place back on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining balls.

6 Chill the buckeyes: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight for the chocolate to solidify. Once the chocolate is solid, wet your finger and smooth over the hole the toothpick has formed with your finger.

7 Store buckeyes in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Irvin Lin

Irvin Lin is an IACP award-winning photographer, food writer and recipe developer, blue-ribbon baker, public speaker and occasional social media consultant. His blog is Eat the Loveand his first cookbook is Marbled, Swirled and Layered.

More from Irvin

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • Angela

    Can you freeze these?

  • Nancy Brandt

    I love Buckeyes! And love the photography! I followed the recipe exactly but the dough was crumbly, very hard to make into smooth balls. What did I do wrong or how to do it differently next time? Add more butter?

  • Elizabeth @ Pineapples and Polka Dots

    These are a favorite at holiday parties, for sure, but I’ve always been intimidated to make them for some reason. This post explains it all, and makes them seem easy!

  • Tess

    If you are trying to go “low carb” aka “low sugar” could you possibly add a little stevia and maybe corn starch or arrow root powder instead to firm them up?!

  • Linda Slayton

    I just returned from Ohio, where I had a Buckeye candy for the first time. Vowed I would make some, and then your recipe appeared. Fate. Tomorrow.

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