Save Recipe

Sign in and save recipe to your profile.

Sign In
Get free recipes sent straight into your inbox!

Featuring a peanut butter fudge center and a generous amount of homemade chocolate fudge frosting, lunch lady peanut butter bars are a classic childhood favorite! You’re going to love them!

Close up view of peanut butter bars.

While most kids looked forward to recess, we preferred lunchtime! Once a week, our beloved lunch ladies would whip up these delicious old fashioned peanut butter bars, and we just couldn’t ever get enough of them! We have such fond memories of those days (and those ladies!) that we knew we had to share their recipe with the world. Whip these up to have on hand for snack time, or wow your guests and bring them to your next potluck. No matter when you serve them, we guarantee that the peanut butter lovers in your life will swoon!

Peanut Butter Options:

Peanut butter is everywhere in lunch lady peanut butter bars! It truly is the star of the show. That said, if you have an allergy or simply don’t like the taste of it, you can replace it with your favorite nut butter. Here are some yummy ideas:

  • Sun butter
  • Cookie butter
  • Almond
  • Cashew
  • Hazelnut
  • Walnut

No matter what kind of nut butter you decide to use, it’s important that you go for one without any added sugar. For all-natural versions, make sure to give it a good stir so that the oils mix together well. No one wants runny peanut butter bars!

Gluten-Free Options:

Our lunch lady peanut butter bars can easily be made gluten-free if needed! Simply replace the all-purpose flour with your favorite GF version, and make sure to go with GF oats. 

Baking Dish Options:

You can use an 18×13 baking tray (as we have), or you can use a 9×13 baking dish instead. Just be aware that if you use a smaller pan, you’ll likely have leftover crust, filling, and frosting.

Topping Suggestions:

While lunch lady peanut butter bars aren’t typically served with a topping, we love the idea of adding some fun extras to the homemade fudge frosting. Here are some suggestions to get you inspired:

  • Reese’s Pieces candy
  • Crumbled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peanuts
  • Any other type of nut
  • Chocolate chips
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Chopped pretzels

Troubleshooting: Can I Use Instant Or Quick Oats For The Crust?

Our lunch lady peanut butter bars recipe calls for old fashioned rolled oats as they are known for holding their texture even when baked. You can use instant or quick oats in a pinch — they may affect the texture, but it won’t make a difference as far as taste goes!

Crust Variations:

The classic version of this beloved dessert is made with an oat-filled crust. We love the old fashioned peanut butter bars recipe, but you can also get creative with the crust. Try replacing it with a:

  • Graham cracker crust
  • Oreo crust
  • Saltine crust 
  • Sugar cookie crust
  • Brownie crust
Overhead view of a baking sheet of peanut butter bars.

Freezing Instructions:

These old fashioned peanut butter bars freeze up wonderfully! You can feel free to make them in advance, then store them in the freezer for a later date. Simply follow the recipe instructions and let the dish cool completely. We recommend that you cut the bars and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Place the bars in a freezer-safe bag, and they will keep for up to 2-3 months! When you’re ready to eat them, make sure to let them thaw in the fridge overnight. 

Storage Instructions:

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or on the countertop, depending on whether you like your lunch lady peanut butter bars chilled or at room temperature. Simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and they will keep for 5-7 days.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious peanut butter recipes:

Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

24 bars

Close up view of peanut butter bars.
Featuring a peanut butter fudge center and a generous amount of homemade chocolate fudge frosting, lunch lady peanut butter bars are a classic childhood favorite! You're going to love them!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Crust Chill 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Fudge Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup salted butter melted

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 18x13 baking sheet with non-stick spray.


  • In a large bowl or upright stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
  • Add peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • Add oats, flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until well combined.
  • Add the dough to the greased baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes.

Peanut Butter Fudge Layer

  • In a bowl combine powdered sugar, and melted butter. Mix until smooth.
  • Add in peanut butter and mix until smooth.
  • Once crust is cooked and while still warm, drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter fudge across the warm crust. Let melt a bit then spread across the crust. Let cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting

  • Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer or upright stand mixer until combined, smooth, and a bit fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Spread frosting onto cooled peanut butter fudge layer. Slice into bars and enjoy!


Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 604IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Become a Member

Sign up to save recipes in your recipe book, write reviews and more!

Sign up with

By signing up you agree to's terms of use and privacy policy.