Thick and chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars have the irresistible consistency of a brownie with the flavor of a peanut butter cup! These easy to make treats are great additions to lunch boxes and care packages. Bake a batch this weekend and enjoy them all week long.
If you like peanut butter recipes, next time try Toffee Peanut Cookies, one of my favorite cookie recipes.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Making bar cookies is super easy and time saving. Whether you are baking for care packages or lunch boxes, saving time is a bonus.
Instead of scooping individual cookies and baking in batches, bar cookie dough is just pressed into a pan, baked and sliced. A delicious treat in no time at all!
Bar cookies are thicker than most cookies, which helps them stay fresh longer.
Leaving the baked pan uncut and well wrapped, will keep the bars soft and fresh even longer. That can be especially helpful for the long travel times of some military care packages.
Did you know that many cookie recipes can be baked as bar cookies? Following a few simple rules you can!
This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until color lightens (about 3 minutes).
- Gradually stir in the flour mixture just until a smooth, thick dough forms.
- Fold most of the chocolate chips into the batter.
- Use your finger tips to press the batter into a parchment lined 9” x 13” pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining chips on top and gently press them into the dough.
- For chewy bars bake for 18 minute or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. For fudgy bars bake for a few minutes less.
- Cool in the pan then use the parchment to lift the rectangle onto a cutting board and cut into bars.
Tips and variations
- This peanut butter chocolate chip bar recipe makes a thick dough that may be difficult to spread with a knife or spatula. Use finger tips to spread and press evenly into the pan.
- This dough makes fantastic chewy peanut butter cookies too. Use a large (2 tablespoon) or medium (1½ tablespoon) scoop to make dough balls and bake for about 10 minutes.
- I use jumbo milk chocolate chips from Whole Foods 365 brand. The larger size and creamy flavor are ideal for this recipe. I love this brand for their fairly traded, ethically sourced ingredients and high quality products. Regular milk chocolate chips can also be used.
- Be sure to reserve some chips for adding on top. Though all the chips can be mixed in, the bars look extra delicious with chips scattered across the top.
- These bars are wonderfully chewy when baked for a full twenty minutes. Bake these bars a few minutes less (17-18 minutes), until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, and they are dense and fudgy in texture. Bake to taste.
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A 9” x 13” baking pan is a kitchen must. This size pan is often the size called for in recipes for brownies, sheet cakes, and one pan dinners. I have a variety of sizes of the Rachael Ray brand bakeware, because it’s thick and sturdy, nonstick, and inexpensive.
One of the first purchases I ever made for my own first kitchen, way back in college, was a set of nesting Pyrex mixing bowls. Literally decades later, I am still using that very first set! The Pyrex material is substantial, so it stays in one place while you are mixing. Plus it is microwave and dishwasher safe.
FAQ’s about converting cookie recipes to bar cookies
Choose a recipe for drop cookies that makes a thick dough that can be scooped and handled with bare hands.
An 8” or 9” square pan should be used for recipes that makes 4-6 cups of dough.
A 9” x 13” pan should be used for recipes that make 6-8 cups of dough.
The dough should be ¾” to 1” thick in the pan.
The best baking temperature of cookie bars is 350° F.
If converting to bar cookies from a drop cookie recipe, bake the bar cookies 2- 2.5 times the amount of time called for in the cookie recipe, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the pan comes out almost clean.
More cookie bar recipes
Black and White Squares are deliciously chewy brownies made with both chocolate and vanilla dough.
This Oatmeal Bars recipe is bursting with sweet and chewy dried fruit. Enjoy them as breakfast oatmeal bars for dip them in chocolate for an amazing dessert.
Root Beer Float Bars are like an ice cream soda you can pack in a lunch box or care package! All root beer lovers with adore these easy cookie bars.
Do you want to know how to make Strawberry Brownies from scratch? This recipe makes soft, moist and fruity bars.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar packed
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups jumbo milk chocolate chips I use Whole Foods fairly traded 365 brand
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking dish and line with parchment paper with a 2” overhang on the long sides of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until the color lightens, about 3 minutes.
- Gradually stir in the flour mixture just until a smooth,thick dough forms.
- Fold ¾ cup of chocolate chips into the dough.
- Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan using fingertips.
- Scatter the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips on top and gently press into the dough.
- For a chewy bar, bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few to no crumbs and the top is golden brown. Bake a few minutes less for a more fudgy bar.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- Run a knife along the edges touching the pan to loosen. Use the parchment overhangs to lift the rectangle out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into bars.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Use your favorite kind of chocolate chip in these bars. Substitute with dark chocolate or semisweet chips.
- Natural peanut butter is not recommended for this recipe. Conventional peanut butter contains hydrogenated vegetable oil which helps it maintain its consistency while baking.
- Using crunchy peanut butter is not recommended. Creamy peanut butter is required for a smooth, fudgy texture.
- Use wax paper squares between bars in small stacks of 2-4 bars each.
- Wrap the stacks in plastic wrap then place in columns in an air tight container or ziplock freezer bag.
First published: March 29, 2013. Last Updated: August 12, 2021. Updated for additional information and better reader experience.