Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls are the ultimate no-bake holiday treat! Inside these decadent treats you’ll find a mixture of chunky peanut butter, crushed rice cereal, melted butter, and sweet powdered sugar. We roll the filling into balls, dunk it in milk chocolate (or dark if you want!), and inhale them faster than an elf chugs maple syrup.
Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls
The amount of savory recipes versus sweet recipes on Cooking for Keeps is no mistake. I try to stay true to what I cook on a regular basis, and the bottom line is, I am a savory gal through and through. However, when it comes to Coconut Cream Pie, Pecan Bars, or Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls, all bets are off.
As the name implies, Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls are very forward in their peanut butter flavor, and as you can see, they’re also covered in chocolate. And we all know the best combination known to man is peanut butter + chocolate. It’s just a fact.
I think everyone has their own version of peanut butter balls, but I’m willing to bet, ours reign supreme. Our peanut butter balls are soft and decadent on the inside, with plenty of peanut-y flavor and the perfect amount of texture from the crispy rice cereal. And with a crunch chocolate exterior, these are pretty much a dream.
My Mom, myself, and my late Grandmother have been making these Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls for years around this time of year. While the ingredient list has remained the same, the process has evolved over time to be super streamlined and quick, even though the yield is near seven dozen.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients in Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls
Butter. Melted, unsalted butter adds a little bit of richness to our peanut butter balls. And keep in mind, these make about 80 peanut butter balls, so the amount of butter in each ball is minimal.
Peanut Butter. Obviously the star ingredient in our peanut butter balls, is of course peanut butter. What we love most about our version of peanut butter balls is the texture in the filling, and to start, we achieve that with chunky peanut butter. It’s a must for our recipe. You’ll need close to four cups (we’re making a lot of peanut butter balls), which is about about a 40-ounce container. We prefer Jif.
Rice Krispie cereal. The cereal is another element that gives our peanut butter balls a lovely crunch. Any brand of rice krispie cereal will work. And just to clarify, the recipe calls for eight cups, crushed. This means you measure eight cups of the cereal, THEN put it in the food processor to crush.
Powdered Sugar. This is what gives our peanut butter balls their sweetness. Six cups may seem like a lot, but it’s needed to add the right amount of sugar, and to bind the ingredients together.
Salt. The luster of sweet and salty is never lost on me. I always add a heavy hand of either kosher salt or my favorite flakes Maldon salt. You can find it on Amazon here.
Chocolate chips. We choose to use milk chocolate chips for the coating, it’s what I grew up with and what I prefer to this day. However, if you wanted to use semi-sweet, for a less sweet coating, you could also do that route.
Chocolate bar. While you could use all chocolate chips for the coating, chocolate bars actually melt a little bit better and have a nice sheen to them. We use Hershey’s milk chocolate bars.
Parafin wax. Okay, this admittedly seems like a strange ingredient to add, but it works. If you want a true glossy chocolate coating, you would need to temper the chocolate, which is advanced skill in baking/cooking. Parafin wax achieves the same outcome, giving you that glossy gorgeous exterior without all the work.
Let’s make Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls
Mix the peanut butter and butter. For years, my Mom, Grandma and I struggled to stir the dough together. Our mistake? Dumping everything in a big bowl and having to use every ounce of arm grease to bind the filling together. In the last few years, we’ve figured out the most efficient way to mix everything together without breaking a legit sweat.
First up, mix the warm melted butter with the peanut butter until combined.
Crush the cereal. Add the Rice Krispies to a food processor. Pulse until they are crushed. You don’t want them blasted into smithereens, four to five pulses should give you the right texture. There should still be a few larger pieces amongst the crushed pieces.
Mix in the cereal. Add the cereal to the peanut butter + butter mixture. Stir until combined.
Mix in the sugar. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until you have a cohesive filling. You want the filling to be rolled into a ball. It should be ever-so-slightly tacky, but not super sticky and wet. I usually use about 5 1/2-6 cups of powdered sugar.
Form into balls. Line a few sheet pans with parchment. Use hands to roll into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on the sheet pan. Obviously the bigger you make them, the less you will have. Totally a personal preference.
Freeze. We’ve learned over time that if you freeze the filling for about 20 minutes, they are much MUCH easier to dip in chocolate.
Make the chocolate. While the balls chill, melt the chocolate and wax. We add everything to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between each until all of the chocolate and wax has melted. Be careful to not overcook, both the chocolate and the wax will continue to melt after it comes out of the microwave.
Dip in chocolate. Use a fork to dip the chilled balls in the melted chocolate. Let any excess chocolate drip off the fork. Place back on the parchment. When you’re done dipping the balls, use the excess chocolate to drizzle chocolate on top. Let the rest for 20-30 minutes until the chocolate is set.
How to store Peanut Butter Balls
While we love Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls room temperature, we prefer them chilled. Like the size of them, it’s really a personal preference on if you should serve them room temp or cold.
Either way, you can store them in airtight containers in one layer. Place a piece of parchment on top and add another layer without overcrowding. If you do like them cold and live in the midwest and make them during the winter months as we do, store outside or in the garage to keep cool.
You can keep them in the fridge or freezer (we love them frozen!).
How long do Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls last?
They will last one to two weeks at room temperature or in the fridge. You can also freeze them in airtight container for up to three months.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Add your powdered sugar slowly. There is nothing worse than adding too much powdered sugar and having an impossibly hard time forming the filling into balls.
- Do not skip freezing the balls before dipping in chocolate. I like my center on the softer side and if you dip a room temperature peanut butter ball in warm chocolate, it will simply disintegrate into the chocolate.
- Use parchment paper! Making peanut butter balls is messy. There’s chocolate everywhere. Using parchment paper on hour baking sheets makes cleanup super easy.
- Make sure you use chunky peanut butter. I like one of the reasons our Rice Krispie peanut butter balls are so delicious is because they have plenty of texture.
- If your chocolate starts to harden while dipping, simply microwave it for 15-20 seconds until it loosens up again.
- 8 cups rice crispy cereal, crushed (I like to blend them in the food processor, but you can also put them in a plastic baggie and crush them as well)
- 4 cups chunky peanut butter
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 6 cups powdered sugar, plus more if needed
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 4.4 ounces Hershey milk chocolate bars, roughly chopped
- 17 oz milk chocolate chips (1 1/2 11.5 ounce bags)
- 7 oz paraffin wax, roughly chopped
- Food processor
- Mixing bowl
- Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Add peanut butter and melted butter to a very large bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Stir in crushed cereal. Mix until combined. Stir in three cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Add another two cups of powdered sugar, mix until combined. Add in remaining sugar. Stir to combine. If the mixture is still very sticky, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar at a time untul you can easily form the mixture into a ball.
- Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined pans. Place in the fridge or freezer to chill for 15 minutes. (If it's winter, I just put them outside.)
- While the peanut butter balls chill, make the chocolate coating. Add chocolate and parrafin wax to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between each untilt the chocolate and wax are both completely melted. Do not over heat.
- Working in batches, drop each peanut butter ball in the chocolate and use a fork to let any excess chocolate drip off. Put back on the parchment-lined baking sheets. If the chocolate starts to set up before all the peanut butter balls are coated, place back in the microwave in 15-30 second increments until it's melted again.
- Use the leftover chocoalte to drizzle over the finished peanut butter balls. Let them set up for two hours and then transfer to an airtight containter. If you need to have several layers, seperate with parchment paper. Store in the fridge.