This recipe for healthier crispy peanut butter balls are not just better for you – they taste amazing! Sweetened with honey (no powdered sugar!), using natural nut butter, coconut oil, and coated in dark chocolate, these delicious candies are also EASY. They are perfect for gifting, parties, and holiday goody plates.
These luscious little balls of chocolate-nut-butter goodness are one of my family’s favorites. I’ve made chocolate peanut butter balls for years and years (and years, but who’s counting?) the “regular” way (meaning lots of powdered sugar), but decided to experiment with the recipe.
Not only did I add some crispy rice, I also made them healthier! Notice how I don’t go so far as to call these crispy peanut butter balls healthy, just healthier?
They are still a melt-in-your-mouth, candy worthy treat, just packed with a bit more nutrition and less sugar. Because we could all use a bit of that, couldn’t we?
What’s the difference between chocolate peanut butter balls and Buckeyes?
They are essentially the same recipe, but when you coat the chilled peanut butter ball in chocolate, you leave the top uncoated. I guess that makes them look like an eye? Buckeye’s tend to be a southern thing, I think.
To be honest, I’ve never understood it – why would you miss out on the chocolate? I want my whole ball coated, thank you very much, lol.
That said, you could easily leave the tops open when coating this healthier recipe and make them into Buckeyes.
Healthier Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls
So what makes these crispy peanut butter balls healthier?
- Organic brown rice cereal (aka, rice krispies).
- Natural peanut butter containing just peanuts and salt.
- Refined coconut oil – refined to not flavor the candy with coconut – butter is also real-food healthy, but if you’re trying to avoid dairy, go with the coconut oil.
- Honey – only 1/3 cup for three dozen candies!
Oh, and the chocolate is dark, of course, full of antioxidants as well as a deep, full chocolate flavor. TIP: to know if your chocolate is actually dark, check the ingredients – cocoa should be first and sugar second, like these bittersweet chips.
TIP #2: a commenter mentioned that anyone wanting to make candies without any refined sugar can use a stevia sweetened chocolate like these Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips.
Do I have to add the crispy cereal?
Nope, you can have a classic smooth peanut butter ball if you’d like by omitting the crispy cereal. Your yield will decrease, though, so you may want to double the rest of the recipe.
You’ll need just six ingredients to make these, many of which you probably have in your cupboard. I’ve offered some substitutions in the recipe below, which you can choose based on your preferences and what you have on hand.
For example, if you need them to be dairy free, definitely use the coconut oil. If it’s not a big deal and you don’t have coconut oil, you can use butter.
Don’t have brown rice krispies? Use regular (or leave them out like stated above). Same with the nut butter – make these cashew balls, sunflower seed balls, or whatever.
However you make them, I’m here to tell you that no one will think they are healthier, they’ll just think they are wonderful, delicious, and satisfying chocolate crispy peanut butter balls.
I know because I didn’t tell my family…and they didn’t ask. So, try them on your family and see what they think!
Healthier Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 cup natural peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted (or butter, softened)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 1/4 cups brown rice crispy cereal or regular crispy rice cereal*
- 10 to 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
- In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients except the rice cereal until smooth. Add the brown rice cereal and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Use a small cookie scoop to help shape into balls and place on a lined cookie sheet. Tip: run your hands under a bit of water if the dough starts to stick to your fingers as you shape them.
- Refrigerate until solid, about an hour (or freeze for 10-15 minutes).
- When ready to dip the peanut butter balls, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave (if using the microwave, heat only 1 min. and stir until all is melted). Dip each ball into the chocolate** and place back on the lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
- Serve while still cold (they melt) or place the balls in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Other Easy Candy Recipes To Try:
- Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters (Low Sugar & Just 3 Ingredients)
- Amazing Homemade Butter Mints Recipe
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles (gluten-free & maple syrup sweetened)
- Classic Cream Cheese Mints Updated with Dark Chocolate
This recipe has been updated – it was first published in September 2013.
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