This Buckeye Recipe is a tradition in our house. Peanut butter balls are dipped in chocolate to look like a Buckeye nut & they’re O-H so good!
Are you ready for game day?! We are! In just 8 short days, The Ohio State Buckeyes will take on that team up north. While we cheer on Ohio State all season long, this is the only game that really matters during the NCAA football season. We could be 0-11, but if we beat Michigan all is right with the world.
In honor of our beloved Buckeyes, I’m sharing my family’s recipe for buckeyes with you! I took over making this recipe when I was 19 and it’s perfection.
I’d put them up against the buckeyes you buy in the gift shops in Ohio any day. Homemade will totally crush the pre-made ones.
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All our friends from Ohio rave about this buckeye recipe. They say taking a bite like being back home again. Food memories for the win!
This super delicious peanut butter and chocolate buckeye candy is a tradition at our house every year for the Ohio State v Michigan game. Just like watching The Rivalry the night before the game. It’s one of only two times during the year I make buckeyes – the game and Christmas.
The requests start coming in for them at the end of October and continue through the end of the year. I’m not even kidding.
My husband’s co-workers ask. Our friends who aren’t even Ohio State fans, but have had these buckeyes before come out of the woodwork. Our neighbors. It’s crazy, and I love it! They’re a hug in your mouth.
What is a Buckeye?
- Buckeyes are a tree species commonly found in Ohio and are the official state tree. The nuts from the Buckeye tree are small, shiny, and dark brown with a light tan patch and are poisonous if eaten.
According to folklore, buckeye nuts resemble the eye of a deer and carrying a buckeye is said to bring good luck.
Buckeye Candy Recipe Ingredients
- Peanut butter – You want to use creamy peanut butter so the balls have a nice shape. Chunky peanut butter will have pieces of peanut sticking out in places and your buckeyes won’t be as pretty.
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered Sugar – You don’t need to sift the powdered sugar. If you want to, go ahead, but it’s not necessary.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips – Don’t use milk chocolate chips. The semi-sweet is a better balance to the sweet peanut butter filling.
- Paraffin wax – Find this in the canning section of your local grocery store. You’ll need 1 quarter of 1 block. (There are 4 blocks in a box.) The paraffin wax sets the chocolate coating at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about it melting. Or taking the time to wait for the chocolate to harden in the fridge. Time save
You can omit the wax if you feel the need to, but it makes things so much easier when gifting or you take a big batch to a friend’s house to watch the game.
How to Make Buckeyes
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. I use my stand mixer for this, but a mixing bowl and hand mixer works just fine too. Make sure the butter is completely mixed in. You don’t want to bite into a buckeye and get a nub of butter.
Add the confectioner’s sugar to the peanut butter base 1 cup at a time. Then mix the sugar is just incorporated after each addition. Keep adding sure until it’s all mixed in. The peanut butter mixture should have a dough-like texture and not be too sticky. The “dough” will pull away from the sides of your bowl and the side of the bowl will be mostly clean.
After that, roll the peanut butter dough into 1-inch balls. One level tablespoon will give you a ball about the size of a small bouncy ball. I portion the dough by feel after so many years, but there’s nothing wrong with using a measuring spoon to get them right.
I recommend washing your hands every 10 buckeyes or so to remove any residue and keep the outside of the peanut butter balls smooth. You’ll notice the dough will start to have a tacky look if you don’t wash up periodically.
Place peanut butter balls onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, waxed paper, or parchment paper. This lining makes it easy to remove the finished buckeyes from the baking sheet later. Chill the peanut butter balls in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
When the hour is almost up, place a glass bowl over a medium saucepan with 1 to 2-inches of simmering water. (You’re making a double boiler.) Add the chocolate chips and paraffin wax to the bowl. Stir the chocolate occasionally until it is completely melted and the wax is mixed in. The chocolate will be all the way melted before the wax. Let the chocolate help melt the wax.
Insert a toothpick into the center of one peanut butter ball. Use the toothpick to dip the ball into the melted chocolate. Be sure to leave a circle of peanut butter showing at the top of the candy for the signature buckeye look.
- Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl before placing the candy back onto your lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining peanut butter balls.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until ready to serve. If you like, use your fingertips to smooth over the toothpick hole in the top of each buckeye. I usually leave the hole, but it’s your call.
The recipe yield varies! I usually get between 50 and 70 buckeyes from this recipe. Yield really depends on how big you make the peanut butter balls.
If your peanut butter dough is really sticky to the touch, add a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar Then mix the dough. Your dough should be moist, but not stick to your fingers. You should be able to roll a piece and have it keep its shape.
Why are they called buckeye balls?
- It’s a name mashup. They are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Since they look like buckeye nuts, the names got smushed together. Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls is kind of a long name so it got shortened to Buckeye Balls instead.
How long are buckeyes good for?
- They’ll easily last in your fridge for 7 to 10 days. That is if they make it past the initial swarm to gobble as many buckeyes as possible.
Do buckeyes need to be refrigerated?
- If you use paraffin wax, you don’t need to refrigerate them. The chocolate won’t melt and you can leave your buckeyes out at room temperature.
- If you don’t use paraffin wax, you should keep the buckeyes chilled so the chocolate stays set. (AKA not melty)
Definitely store your buckeyes in the fridge in an air-tight container until you’re ready to serve them or if you need to store leftovers.
Can you freeze buckeyes?
- You sure can! Place the trays of buckeyes in the freezer right after you dip them in chocolate. Once the buckeyes are frozen, you can pop them in a ziploc bag or keep them in a tupperware with waxed paper between the layer. (This is how I transport them to parties normally.)
You’ll think you have enough buckeyes to go around. Please know you will definitely need 2 batches to meet the demand. I’ve made a double batch of the peanut butter dough before and it came out just okay. Making the single batch of the dough twice has better results. The mouthfeel is creamier and melts on your tongue with the chocolate. I don’t know the logic, but trust me on this one. Then you can roll the peanut butter balls and dip them in chocolate like an assembly line. Grab the family to help too! It’ll become a tradition.
Now that you’re buckeyes are made, you’re ready to wear scarlet and gray, throw on some Buckeye beads, and start yelling O-H! (Just be sure to answer I-O!)
More Chocolate and Peanut Butter Goodness
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
- Peanut Butter Crack
- Rolo Brownie Pizza
- Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Pie
- No Bake Chocolate Lasagna
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies
- More dessert recipes…
Our Holiday Dessert Traditions
- Scottish Shortbread Cookies
- Homemade Brownie Mix
- Bourbon Fudge
- Christmas Cookie Tree
- More Christmas ideas…
- In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until smooth.
- Add confectioner's sugar to the peanut butter 1 cup at a time. Mix until almost combined after each addition. Continue until all sugar has been incorporated. The peanut butter mixture should have a dough-like texture and not be too sticky.
- Roll peanut butter mixture into balls (1 level tablespoon - about the size of a small bouncy ball). Place peanut butter balls onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, waxed paper, or parchment paper. Chill peanut butter balls for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place a glass bowl over a medium saucepan with 1 to 2-inches of simmering water. Add the chocolate chips and paraffin wax to the bowl. Stir occasionally until everything is melted and the wax is mixed in.
- Insert a toothpick into the center of one peanut butter ball. Use the toothpick to dip the ball into the melted chocolate. Be sure to leave a circle of peanut butter showing at the top of the candy for the signature buckeye look. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
- Place the candy back onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining peanut butter balls. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
- Recipe yield varies! I usually get between 50 and 70 buckeyes from this recipe. Yield really depends on how big you make the peanut butter balls.
- Paraffin wax can be found in the canning section of your local grocery store. The wax sets the chocolate at room temperature so you don't have to worry about it melting or waiting for it to harden in the fridge. You can omit the wax if you feel the need to.
- If peanut butter "dough" is sticky to the touch, add a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix until desired consistency is reached.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.