Buckeyes (Peanut Butter Balls)

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Buckeyes, also known as Peanut Butter Balls, have a smooth peanut butter center and chocolate shell. You’ll want to make this simple buckeye recipe for your Christmas treat trays and holiday food gifts.

This post has a ton of tips and tricks to making buckeyes (aka Peanut Butter Balls). Be sure to read through it all in order to make the perfect buckeyes!

buckeyes dipped in chocolate

As an Ohio girl, I consider myself somewhat of a buckeye expert. In addition to that, Buckeyes have been a classic and absolute favorite for my family for Christmas ever since I can remember.

I’ve updated this post in a FAQ style to answer all your buckeye questions. Consider this your ultimate guide to making buckeye candy.

What is a Buckeye?

In Ohio, the state tree is the buckeye, and the nuts from the tree (Which are actually poisonous if eaten raw) look exactly like these candies.

Fortunately, Buckeye candies taste a whole lot better and these peanut butter balls are beloved by everyone.

buckeyes dipped in chocolate

Peanut Butter Balls

In most recipes, the only difference between Peanut Butter Balls and Buckeye Balls is how they are dipped in chocolate.

Buckeyes are only partially dipped in chocolate, leaving the peanut butter showing on the top. That way they look like the nuts from the buckeye tree.

Peanut Butter Balls are traditionally covered in chocolate. (see the picture below.) Peanut butter balls made with rice krispies and peanut butter ball made with graham crackers are both popular favorites too.

Peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate with a fork

How To Make Buckeyes

The actual process is simple, cream the peanut butter and butter until smooth. Then beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Roll into balls. Chill.

Dip the chilled peanut butter balls in chocolate. Chill and enjoy.

Despite how simple these are to make, I have a few handy tips to pass on to you that might make the process even easier.

First, use an electric mixer. It makes beating the powdered sugar in much easier. I use a Kitchenaid stand mixer and it does the trick nicely.

In the past, I’ve also used a large bowl, wooden spoon, and some arm muscle with good results. If you have an electric mixer, this is the time to use it.

buckeyes on a christmas candy plate

Why are my buckeyes dry and crumbly?

First, carefully measure the ingredients to get the correct ratios. This recipe is tried and true for thousands, so don’t try and change it.

The trick is to keep beating it until it’s smooth. Don’t quit too early. It can take 5-10 minutes of beating, depending on your mixing method to completely combine the peanut butter and powdered sugar. Keep beating the mixture and it will eventually come together.

The humidity and quality of ingredients can also make a difference, so if it isn’t smooth after beating well, add just a tablespoon of peanut butter at a time until it is smooth.

Why are my buckeyes sticky?

This could be because it’s a very humid day or the brand of the ingredients. To fix this, add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until it is firm and dry enough to roll between your palms.

Peanut Butter Balls

Freeze the peanut butter balls before dipping. It makes them much easier to work with and keeps them from melting when dipped in the warm chocolate.

Also, have everything set up with plenty of space before you begin. Have a cookie sheet lined with wax paper to set the buckeyes on after dipping.

How to melt chocolate for buckeyes

There are several ways to melt the chocolate and dip the buckeyes.

You can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth. Or you can use a double boiler to melt the chocolate on the stove over low heat.

My favorite method is to use a crockpot little dipper melting pot. This melts the chocolate in 20 minutes and keeps a consistent temperature the whole time you are dipping. It’s also a fairly narrow and deep container, which allows you to use less chocolate.

Also, it is worth repeating that you must chill your peanut butter balls or even take the time to freeze them before dipping.

Chilling the peanut butter balls beforehand prevents them from melting when they are dipped in the warm chocolate. Much easier to work with.

dipping buckeyes in chocolate

Best Method for Dipping Buckeyes In Chocolate

My favorite way to dip buckeyes is with a toothpick. Simply stab each ball with a toothpick and dip it in the melted chocolate. This works best if the peanut butter balls are frozen first. Otherwise, they will tend to fall off the toothpick when pulling them out of the chocolate.

This method does make holes in the top of the buckeyes. But after the chocolate has set on the buckeyes, you can pinch the holes closed if you care.

Can you do this without toothpicks? Yes.

I’ve used a fork with moderate success. Simply place the peanut butter ball on the fork and lower into the chocolate.

However, it can be tricky to get the right amount of chocolate coverage for buckeyes when using a fork. It really is worth adding a box of toothpicks to your shopping list, friends.

buckeye being dipped in chocolate with a fork

Buckeye Recipe with Paraffin Wax

Paraffin helps the chocolate melt smoothly and set up nice and firm. You can make the buckeyes without if you prefer.

I’ve made these countless times and continue to use the paraffin. It makes the chocolate easier to work with and doesn’t affect the taste at all.

How To Store Buckeye Candies

Some people say buckeyes are sugary enough to leave on the counter. However, I prefer storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.

These will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for several weeks.

Do Buckeyes need to be refrigerated?

Yes, storing them in the fridge is best. After dipping, let them set and the move them to a tightly covered container before placing in the fridge.

The finished Buckeye Balls will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can I freeze Buckeyes?

Yes, they will keep several weeks in the freezer. Simply, let the chocolate set, and then move them to a tightly sealed container in the freezer.

They will keep longer, but the quality starts to decline after several weeks.

How long will Buckeyes stay fresh?

A day or two on the counter. Up to a week in refrigerator. Or up to two months in the freezer.

Buckeyes are a great make-ahead Christmas candy because they store so well.

Let me know if you try this recipe and how it turned out! Buckeyes are a family favorite for us.

buckeyes on a plate
buckeyes dipped in chocolate

Buckeyes (Peanut Butter Balls)

4.56 from 18 votes
Buckeyes, also known as Peanut Butter Balls have a smooth peanut butter center and are dipped in chocolate for a fun treat.
Prep Time: 1 hr
Additional Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs
Cuisine: American

Ingredients 

  • 12 oz 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces semi sweet chocolate you can use chocolate chips or your favorite brand of dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup shaved paraffin wax.

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a mixer, beat peanut butter and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. This may take several minutes
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
  • Place the chocolate and paraffin wax in a deep bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals, until melted. (you can also use a double boiler or chocolate melting pot to melt the chocolate).
  • Dip the chilled peanut butter balls three fourths of the way into the melted chocolate and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet until chocolate is set.
  • Store in the fridge or the freezer.

Recipe Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1buckeye · Calories: 127kcal · Carbohydrates: 19g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 6g · Saturated Fat: 4g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g · Cholesterol: 6mg · Sodium: 22mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 18g
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

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{originally published 12/1/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/25/21}

Buckeye Ingredients

I have several other fun buckeye inspired treats on my blog. Be sure to try these too!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Buckeyes

Peanut Butter Pretzel Buckeyes | Salty Sweet Christmas treats perfect for christmas candy, cookie exchanges and swaps and just to eat year round.

Buckeye Brownie Bites

Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns, just like buckeyes, only shaped like acorns!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns | Peanut Butter Balls for fall | Buckeye candy only an acorn shape | A perfect kids dessert for thanksgiving

For more peanut butter and chocolate recipes check out:

Peanut Butter Stuffed Rice Krispie Treats – How fun!

This delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

and these totally addicting Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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  1. Kelli Alverson says

    Hi Mallory! These are one of my favorite treats as well. I have been making making them for years, but never thought of putting them in the freezer. I’m just wondering how you dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate? Yours look so perfect, and there are no toothpick holes or fingerprints. Also, how do you get your peanut butter balls to come out so uniform in size?

    • Mary Haroldsen says

      My mom used to use a double boiler in the bottom pot water in the top she’d put the chocolate chips. Seems to work the same. I never knew you could use the microwave.

  2. Deb says

    Once you dip the buckeye in chocolate, wait for them to set and then you simply go over the toothpick hole with another toothpick.

  3. dominic Grillo says

    I use same recipe to make peanut butter EASTER EGGS . ( All SIZES ) BEEN doing it for years . Tried many different Chocolate coatings, and found one few years ago at BATH and BEYOND which works great. FOUNTAIN FORMULA Ready Microwaveable. Dominic Grillo Dunedin Fl.

  4. Lisa says

    Have you ever used shortening to thin the chocolate? I’ve seen this used a few times, but I never have when making truffles (and this is so similar!) What are your thoughts?

  5. Julie says

    I have used shortening to thin the chocolate and it wasn’t good. It changed the flavor of the chocolate and no one in my office would eat them. We pitched most of them. 🙁 I haven’t made them since and that was 5 years ago. I’m trying again this year this recipe. Hope it turns out better.

    • Jenn McCarty says

      I’ve been making them for years. I put about a 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil in the chocolate and it makes them super smooth and shiny, also doesn’t change the taste.

  6. Smith says

    This recipe needs more peanut buttter and more butter or less powered sugar.
    1 pound is like 3 1/2 – 4 cups. That’s a lot compared to other recipes. I had to add a couple more spoons of peanut butter and a half a stick more of butter. The combination just doesn’t work out. Probably could have used 2 sticks of butter, like others I found.
    Just add the powdered sugar slow an d stop when it gets clumpy. It taste good, but all peanut butter and chocolate does!!!

  7. Brenda says

    My centers turned out very soft. I probably didn’t add enough powdered sugar. My sugar was in a storage container (not the original bag) and I don’t have a scale so I had to estimate. Can you tell me about how many cups the 1 pound would be?

  8. Karen says

    I thought I would try these since the recipe looked so simple. Needless to say I was disappointed. I followed the recipe word for word and just ended up frustrated and actually tossed them out. The chocolate wax way to thick when I tried to dip the peanut butter balls they fell apart. I even made my peanut butter balls up last night and left them in the refrigerator over night.

  9. Marcia Loftin says

    I found the easiest way to dip candy was not with a toothpick but with a plastic fork, ( you break the center two prongs off, leaving the two outside prongs, set candy ball on fork and dip, the extra coating will drip back into the bowl. then just set it on waxed paper. (NO HOLE) It also works good for dipping pretzels, you can hook the pretzel over a prong. I make bon bons this way too.

    • Peggy Hathcock says

      That is an awesome idea! I have had problems in the past trying to cover them with chocolate. This will alleviate the headaches.

  10. Brittany says

    I agree with some of the other comments, the ratios were not right. My mix ended up way too powdered almost like sand. So I decided to press it into the pan and see if it will make bars. Also, the peanut butter texture could make a difference, or melting the butter might help.

  11. Ginger K. says

    I have made these for years. I have used a different recipe of 1 lb butter, 2 lbs peanut butter, and 3 lbs of confectioners sugar. It comes very close to perfect every time except when the humidity is high. One person asked about a 6 dozen batch, this will do it. For those too sticky, ass more sugar and if it is crumbly, you’ve added too much sugar. Also when you melt your chocolate, melt paraffin was with the chocolate. This gives it a beautiful gloss and does not change the flavor. Hope this helps.

  12. Patty Fisher says

    I just made the balls, and the mixture was very powdery. I had to really work to form a ball. What did I do wrong?

  13. Gloria M says

    Your story is funny because I have a brother who married somebody from the Buckeye State and he’s from New England and we have of course called them peanut butter balls I guess that happens more often than not. It is definitely one of our favorites

  14. Sabrina says

    These are a Christmas staple for us to have around the house but I really don’t want to wait that long this year! Too good!

  15. Sarah says

    5 stars
    I love peanut butter anything and I have seen recipes for Buckeye Balls all over but I love how you’ve taken the time to explain so much about the process and best practices. These were so easy to make with all of your tips! Thank you!

  16. Amanda says

    This recipe ratio is way off… I follow the measurements exactly and still have crumbs.. Adding peanut butter has not helped.. UGHH! Just wasted money…

  17. Lrs says

    In your post, under “Do Buckeyes need to be refrigerated?” You said they will keep several weeks in the fridge, but under “How long do Buckeyes stay fresh?” You said up to a week in the refrigerator. Which is right? Thanks!

  18. Cindy veness says

    I don’t use Hershey chocolate bars, nor paraffin. I use merckens chocolate wafers , it has the paraffin it

  19. Kara says

    5 stars
    These are so easy and sinfully delicious! I didn’t have paraffin, so I added a little coconut oil instead. Worked perfectly!

  20. Rebecca Orr says

    5 stars
    Mine are headed for the freezer right now! I was following the recipe exactly until I was adding the powdered sugar in gradually and realized I wasnt going to need 4 cups. I am pretty aure I used 2 1/2 cups or maybe 3. They rolled up great. Not too sticky and crumbly at all. I will be adding a bit coconut oil to my chocolate when I melt it instead of parafin wax. But that is just a personal preferance.

  21. Nancy C says

    5 stars
    I just finished the Buckeyes. I used a candle warmer to heat the chocolate and paraffin. It worked well for me. Better than the dance with the microwave. I used my newly acquired scale to weigh the paraffin but I think I will reduce the amount by a small amount next time. The coating seemed a little to waxy. My peanut butter mix really worked my mixer but I had no trouble rolling the first balls. As I got to the last of the bowl they didn’t want to be smooth so I held the ball in the palm of my had to warm it a little and it did the trick, nice and smooth. I did double dip in the chocolate with some of the larger balls so the chocolate ratio would be more like the smaller ones. I found that the toothpicks that were tapered worked best with the larger end in the p-nut ball. The one with the thinner end fell off the toothpick as I dipped them.
    Thank you for this recipe. I lived in Ohio for many years but had never made Buckeyes because so many other people made them I didn’t have to.

    • Mallory says

      Hi Christine, did you try adding a a couple more tablespoons of peanut butter? That can help. See the post for more instructions. I also recommend using a stand mixer, because most of the time when I get complaints that they are too dry it is a simple matter of them needed more mixing time.

  22. Chelsea Shepherd says

    5 stars
    These turned out super well!
    I tempered the chocolate by heating 2/3rds of the chocolate in the microwave at intervals until all smooth & melted and then added the remaining 1/3rd (finely chopped) chocolate until that melted, which helps bring down the temperature so your cold PB balls aren’t compromised, plus it won’t get the white bloom/streaks after it hardens and cools. No paraffin wax needed (though I did add about a tsp of coconut oil).
    The recipe ratio amounts were perfect (just the right amount of chocolate to pb balls).
    For those who are addicted to their kitchen scales to make sure all the balls are the same size, a 1 inch ball mentioned (that comes out with approximately 40 balls total) weighs 20 grams each.
    Thanks for the tasty & easy recipe!

  23. Meaghan says

    5 stars
    Really glad I tried the paraffin wax. I hate when you see homemade treats leaving chocolate splotches all over your guests’ fingers and hands. Little bit of wax makes it like a professional candy that ppl can pick up. Just wanted to leave a comment b/c the cake decorating store I bought it from had food grade paraffin wax Beads and I really couldn’t find a conversion online from the wax cake to the beads. 2-3 Tbsp seemed right. It was $8 at a high end store and will make 8-10 batches I’d guess. The texture of the balls with that amount of sugar worked but I might try to see if I can get away with a little less and still roll em, just for more peanut butter flavor. Thanks for the recipe and making my first Buckeye-making experience a success!

Trackbacks

  1. […] butter balls (not much difference, but it’s a state treasure so we won’t argue). These little balls of chocolate and PB are melt-in-your-mouth good and so easy to make—just try not to eat the […]

  2. […] of those old coal and steel towns. There would be plates of cookies and plenty of ginger ale and Buckeyes, the best candy on earth. There were jars of pretzels and nuts here and there, a sprinkling of […]

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