These peanut butter cookie bars are soft, chewy and filled with a combo of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Made in a 9×13 inch pan, or you can easily half the recipe for an 8×8 inch pan.
You can never have enough easy dessert recipes. And these peanut butter cookie bars are what happens you have a jar of peanut butter on hand and a serious craving for something delicious. They turn out thick and chewy like your favorite peanut butter cookies. They have big peanut butter flavor, and tons of chocolate chips throughout. You can actually pack them more full of chocolate chips that regular cookies because unlike drop cookies – you don’t need to worry about the cookies spreading too thin.
Soft, chewy, peanut butter cookie bliss.
They’re Like Peanut Butter Cookies – But Easier
What I love most about making cookie bars instead of regular cookies is that there are no sticky fingers, no need to chill the dough, and you save a ton of time because you don’t need to scoop out all the cookies.
For this recipe, you’ll start by beating together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until softened and no longer lumpy. Then in goes the peanut butter. Always in baking I recommend using regular, smooth peanut butter – the kind you made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a child. Something like Skippy, Jif or Kraft – essentially, nothing where the oil separates at the top.
You’ll beat in 2 eggs for tenderness and a little vanilla extract. Then in goes the dry ingredients: flour a little baking powder and salt. It’s very important to measure the flour correctly, otherwise the bars can get a little dry. Give it a whisk, spoon it into a dry measuring cup, then level off the top.
Then in goes the chocolate chips. I used a combo of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips – but feel free to use your favorite. M&Ms, chopped peanut butter cups, or Reese’s Pieces work too.
The batter then goes into a lined 9×13 inch pan, spread the top smooth, and pop the pan in the oven to bake.
Pro Tip: It can often be hard to spread the batter into a pan that’s lined with parchment paper because the paper will slide around. To keep the paper in place, lightly spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray first then line with parchment. The cooking spray will glue the parchment paper in place.
Baking Tips & Variations
- If you’d like to make a smaller batch – cut all the ingredients in half and bake in an 8×8 inch pan. The baking time will be slightly shorter – about 20-25 minutes.
- This recipe is designed for cookie bars. If you try to turn it into cookies, they can spread too thin. If you’d like to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – I’d use this recipe instead.
- Feel free to use chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, or whatever your heart desires.
- You could also frost the bars with peanut butter frosting or chocolate frosting.
Note: If you’re wondering what the difference is between these peanut butter cookie bars and my peanut butter blondies – they’re both delicious, but the blondies are gooier and they’re definitely sweeter. Whereas, these cookie bars are more like the texture of a cookie – soft, chewy and not quite as rich. You can think of it as kind of the difference in texture between a cookie vs. a brownie.
If you love these Peanut Butter Cookie Bars, be sure to try:
Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
- 9x13 inch (23x 33 cm) pan
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter* do not use homemade or natural
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chocolate chips*
- ¾ cup peanut butter chips* or replace the peanut butter chips with more chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
- Lightly spray a 9x13 inch (23x28 cm) pan non-stick cooking spray and then with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges. Lightly greasing the pan first stops the parchment from sliding around.
- In a large bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until no lumps remain.
- Beat in the peanut butter until smooth. Then mix in the eggs and vanilla extract.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Turn of the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Place in the preheated oven in the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs. It may take anywhere between 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool, keeping the bars in the pan. Cool for at least 45 minutes, or cool the pan is room temperature for clean cuts (what's pictured).
- To slice the bars, lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang. Place on a cutting board and slice. Store cooled bars in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature.
- Make sure to use a commercial, smooth peanut butter - something like Jiff, Skippy or Kraft work perfectly. Do not use a peanut butter that separate (ie has oil sitting on the top in the jar).
- Feel free to use your favorite chocolate chips, or other candies - such as M&Ms or Reese's Pieces.
- For a smaller batch, cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) pan for around 25 minutes.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cooled bars can be frozen for up to 2 months, thaw in the fridge, then bring to room temperature before enjoying.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 bar, assuming the pan is cut into 15 equal pieces.