A bowl filled with buckeye candy rests on a countertop alongside buckeye ingredients.

A lot of the hubbub that goes along with Christmas can be really time-consuming. Shopping and wrapping can take forever. Cooking that special holiday meal can require a full day (or two!) of effort. But here is one Christmas to-do that won’t suck away your entire afternoon—making Buckeye Balls!

These super simple, chocolate peanut butter candies are a classic here in the Midwest because they are stupendously easy (and fast) to make. Plus, they are absolutely delicious! This is my family recipe for buckeyes, and I know you’re going to love them just as much as we do. Let’s get cooking!

Why are they called buckeyes?

Buckeyes are a traditional midwestern treat. They are named after the state tree of Ohio, the buckeye tree. In fact, they look just like the nuts from the Ohio state tree!

What are buckeye balls?

Sometimes considered a candy, and sometimes deemed a cookie, buckeyes are a delicious sweet peanut butter ball coated in a chocolate layer. You leave just a bit of the peanut butter exposed, so that it looks like a true buckeye nut.

Overhead of peanut butter buckeyes arranged along a countertop.

What do I need for this buckeye recipe?

One of my favorite things about this recipe is its simplicity: you only need five ingredients! You’ll need:

  • Creamy peanut butter, obviously.
  • Unsalted butter. You’ll use some in the peanut butter ball, and a touch in the chocolate coating.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Powdered sugar to give the peanut butter ball the right consistency.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips for the outside coating.

How do I make buckeye balls?

You’ll be making your buckeyes in two parts: making the peanut butter balls, and then dipping them in melted chocolate coating.

To make the peanut butter balls, you mix together all of the peanut butter mixture ingredients in a large bowl until they have the texture of fresh Play-Doh. It should be a little squishy and elastic, but not too soft—it will still hold its shape well when you roll it into balls.

Once you’ve formed all the peanut butter dough into balls, you stick them in the freezer while you make the chocolate coating. Then just dip each ball about ⅔ of the way into the chocolate, shaking off the excess chocolate.

Congratulations, you’ve just made buckeyes!

Close-up of a bowl piled high with chocolate peanut butter balls.

How long do buckeye balls last?

We recommend eating them within a week, but they also freeze beautifully. So stick any uneaten buckeyes in the freezer for an easy treat!

Do candy buckeyes have to be refrigerated?

They’ll store the longest in the refrigerator, but they will do just fine sitting on the table during your celebrations. They do get a little soft at room temperature (especially during a Christmas party with lots of bodies and a fire going), but they are still delicious!

Overhead of buckeyes in a bowl with chocolate chips and a spoonful of peanut butter.

Can you freeze buckeye balls>?

Buckeyes freeze really well! Just freeze them flat on a baking sheet. Once frozen, pop them into a zip-top freezer bag or glass food storage container for up to six months. Eat them frozen for an icy treat, or let them thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes before enjoying.

Want more great gift recipes like this one?

We have over 60 great food gift ideas for you, including six flavors of soup mixes, popcorn seasoning sets, and the best cut-out sugar cookies for icing and decorating with festive sprinkles.

A bowl filled with buckeye candy rests on a countertop alongside buckeye ingredients.

Buckeye Balls Recipe

Yield: 3 dozen
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Buckeyes are a classic Midwestern candy for a reason—they're a breeze to make, and they taste like peanut butter and chocolate heaven!


For the Peanut Butter Ball

  • 1 2/3 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural/unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

For the Chocolate Coating

  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


buckFor the Peanut Butter Ball

  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract until very smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add as much powdered sugar as it takes for the mixture to form a non-sticky, but solid dough—about the texture of fresh-out-of-a-new-container Play-Doh. Depending on the oil content of your peanut butter, you might need as little as 3 cups of powdered sugar, or as much as 4. Remember, you can always add more powdered sugar, but you can’t take it out.
  4. Using wet hands, form the dough into 1 1/2” smooth balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet. When all the balls are formed, pop the baking sheet in the freezer to set the balls while you make the chocolate coating.

For the Chocolate Coating

  1. In a double boiler on low or in a mixing bowl fitted over a small saucepan with simmering water on low heat, combine the chocolate and butter. Stir frequently until melted and smooth.
  2. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, take a wooden toothpick, and insert it into the middle of one of the balls. Dip the ball in the chocolate about 2/3 of the way up the side of the ball. Return the ball to the baking sheet, dropping it off the toothpick. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter balls.
  3. To close the toothpick holes, dip a finger in water, and smooth over the hole. Once the chocolate is set, remove the buckeyes from the baking sheet, and store in an airtight container in the fridge. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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