If you want tasty bites of energy in a flash, you'll love these 3 ingredient peanut butter oatmeal balls.
They're no-bake, take minutes to make and store well in the fridge or freezer, so you can make a big batch to enjoy for days to come.
What's more, these exceptionally satisfying little treats are made from just three simple ingredients: peanut butter, rolled oats and milk chocolate.
Rather cleverly, you'll use the chocolate chips in two ways, stirring three quarters into the mix, and then melting the final quarter to drizzle over the peanut butter balls. Pretty and yummy!
I've used crunchy peanut butter in this recipe for a lovely, chunky, hearty texture, but you can use smooth if you prefer.
It's also up to you whether you use sweetened or plain peanut butter. If you're using plain but want to a hint of sweetness, simply add 1 tbsp honey (not vegan) or maple syrup or agave syrup to the mix.
Below you'll find the full recipe for these yummy, easy 3 ingredient peanut butter oatmeal balls. But there's more...
I took a week-long tour of Georgia with the American Peanut Council so not only will you find lots of advice to get your peanut butter oatmeal balls just right, you'll also find a whole host of extra facts behind the world’s favourite nut.
- 300 g (1⅔ cups) crunchy peanut butter or smooth
- 150 g (1⅔ cups) rolled oats
- 80 g (½ cup) chocolate chips dairy-free, if needed
Put the oats and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl.
Mix together until well combined.
Add the 60g (2.1 oz) chocolate chips.
Mix through, aiming to distribute the chocolate chips evenly through the mixture.
Line a tray with baking paper. Divide the mixture in 24 balls and place on the tray.
Each ball will weigh about 22g (0.77 oz). If the mixture seems too stiff to roll into balls, simply knead in your hands for a few seconds to warm, then they should then roll easily.
Melt the remaining 20g (0.7 oz) and either pipe or drizzle over the oat balls in a zigzag pattern.
Place the tray in the fridge for an hour to firm up and then enjoy! They're best transferred to a sealed container in the fridge once firm to keep them at their best.
Aren't they cute!?
Enjoy! They're perfect as part of breakfast on the go, as a pre or post-workout boost, or as a snack at anytime.
Pointers, tricks and troubleshooting tips for the perfect 3 ingredient peanut butter oatmeal balls
Are peanut butter oatmeal balls easy to make?
Yes, this recipe is really easy to make. You'll simply mix the oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chips together, form into bitesize balls, chill and then drizzle with melted chocolate. That's it!
Will I need any special equipment for this recipe?
You won't need any special equipment to make these oatmeal balls, just weighing scales, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a baking tray (to transport them to the fridge) and baking paper.
What sort of oats should I use?
Rolled oats, often labelled as simply porridge oats, are best for this recipe. They're the thin, flat kind.
I wouldn't recommend using steel cut oats (also known as pinhead oatmeal) as they would be too gritty and wouldn't readily bind with the peanut butter.
Are peanut butter oatmeal balls suitable for vegetarians?
These peanut butter oatmeal balls are suitable for vegetarians as they contain no meat, fish or poultry.
Are peanut butter oatmeal balls suitable for vegans?
If you use dairy-free chocolate chips then these peanut butter oatmeal balls should be suitable for vegans. Peanut butter doesn't usually contain dairy but check the label to be certain.
If you choose to sweeten your oatmeal balls, remember that honey isn't suitable for vegans, so you should use maple or agave syrup.
Are peanut butter oatmeal balls gluten-free?
None of the ingredients used naturally contain gluten, but you would need to use gluten-free oats and check the labels for the chocolate chips and peanut butter to make sure they don't contain traces of gluten.
Are peanut butter oatmeal balls keto-friendly?
These peanut butter oatmeal balls are not keto friendly as oats are a key ingredient and they are naturally high in carbohydrate.
Are peanuts healthy? Is peanut butter healthy?
We all know that peanuts are quite calorie dense – so are they actually healthy?
Well, peanut butter is relatively calorific due to the amount of oil held in the nuts, but it’s also very nutrient dense, and is a very good source of protein and fibre along with many essential nutrients. For instance, a 1Oz/28g serving of peanuts will contain 7.3g of protein which compares favourably with 8.7g for grilled chicken breast.
All in all, peanuts are healthy, but need to be consumed in moderation due to their high calorie content. So, peanut butter on toast for example, is a nutritious snack or breakfast – but too many packets of peanuts, or eating peanut butter on a spoon straight from the jar (something too many of us have been guilty of at least once!) is best avoided.
Don’t forget to watch your salt intake too if you are eating salted peanuts.
Are these peanut butter oatmeal balls healthy?
Like peanuts, these peanut butter oatmeal balls are calorie dense, but also like peanuts, they're rich in protein and nutrients. As such, I wouldn't eat a dozen on one sitting, but as an energy-dense, nutrient-rich snack, they certainly hit the spot.
Are peanut butter oatmeal balls safe to eat while pregnant?
When it comes to eating peanuts while pregnant, advice varies from country to country and also changes over time as research in this area progresses.
In the UK, at the time of writing (Dec 2020), the NHS advises that "You can eat peanuts or food containing peanuts, such as peanut butter, during pregnancy, unless you're allergic to them or a health professional advises you not to."
There are no other ingredients in this recipe that should pose a risk during pregnancy, as long as you follow good food hygiene and safety practices, use ingredients that are fresh and "in date".
This is not medical advice and you should always check with your own health professional.
How can I tell if my peanut butter has gone off?
In the UK, the peanut butter you buy in the shops will generally have a "Best Before" date rather than a ‘Use By’ date.
Use By dates should never be exceeded, even if the product appears fine. However, a Best Before date is more an indication of best quality and tells you that the flavours and/or textures may not be at their best after this date.
So, with this in mind it’s best to always trust your eyes, nose, and taste buds. If something looks, smells or tastes off, or you don’t trust it for some other reason then throw it away.
Peanut butter (especially natural peanut butter) may change flavour slightly as it ages, but it should be easy to tell the difference between a change of flavour and peanut butter that has gone bad as it will taste rancid.
Peanut butter will last for at least one month in a cool dry place, so if you get through a jar fairly quickly then you may prefer to store it that way. It will be much easier to spread and taste great.
However, if you don’t eat peanut butter very often, it’s probably best to leave it in the fridge where it should last several months. If you find the oils have separated while in the fridge, then leave the jar out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and it should be much easier to stir together once it’s a bit warmer.
Can I make this recipe without chocolate chips?
Yes, you can easily leave out the chocolate chips if you prefer. They add a little extra flavour and sweetness but they're not essential.
I haven’t got chocolate chips can I use dried fruit?
You could indeed use dried fruit instead of chocolate chips in the mixture for these oat balls. Raisins could be left whole but larger dried fruit such as apricots should be chopped small.
Don't forget that changing the ingredients will also change the nutritional content of the recipe.
Can I add extra chocolate chips to this recipe?
I wouldn't recommend adding more chocolate chips to the mixture itself, but you could of course use more chocolate to coat the balls with.
For example, you could chill the peanut butter oatmeal balls as normal, then place them one at a time on a fork and lower into a bowl of melted chocolate. Roll in the chocolate to cover completely, then lift out, allow the excess to drip back into the bowl, then place them on a tray lined with baking paper to set.
How should I store peanut butter oatmeal balls?
Once the chocolate drizzle has fully set, you can transfer the balls to a sealed container and keep in the fridge where they'll keep for up to a month.
Can I leave peanut butter oatmeal balls out on the counter?
These oatmeal peanut butter balls are fine to put in a container in your handbag or to have out on the counter during snacking, but to keep them fresh they should otherwise be kept in the fridge.
Can I make peanut butter oatmeal balls ahead?
This is a really quick recipe and stores in the fridge well.
You can also split the work a little if you wish.
Once you've made up the mixture, you don't need to roll it into balls right away. You could cover the bowl and place it in the fridge, then roll them the next day.
Bear in mind that if you do this, the mixture will be quite stiff so you'll need to warm each portion up in your hands before it will roll into balls.
Can I keep peanut butter oatmeal balls in the refrigerator?
Yes, to keep them as fresh as possible, you should allow the chocolate drizzle to set, then place the balls in a sealed container and place in the fridge where they should keep for up to a month.
Can I freeze peanut butter oatmeal balls?
Yes, these peanut butter oatmeal balls freeze really well. Allow the chocolate to set completely, then place the balls in a sealed container and place in the freezer.
They should keep for up to 6 months and can be defrosted in the fridge overnight.
Can I make peanut butter oatmeal balls in a different quantity?
If you'd like to make more or fewer peanut butter oatmeal balls, it couldn't be simpler.
Head down to the recipe card where you'll see the servings are set to 24 balls.
Click or hover over that number and a little slider will appear that you can move up or down to get the number you want to make. All the ingredients will update automatically!
Can I make this recipe in a different tin/tray?
I haven't tried it, but you could, in theory, press the mixture into a tray lined with baking paper, chill and then cut into squares.
When you roll the mixture into balls, the heat from your hands helps to bind the peanut butter with the oats. As such, it might be a good idea to warm the peanut butter in the microwave or in a pan on the hob if making it into a tray bake, so that the oats bind better.
Let me know how you get on!
Can I make peanut butter oatmeal balls in a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid or Kenwood Mixer?
There's not much mixing involved in this recipe, but you could certainly use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer if you like.
This could be particularly handy if you are making a very large batch.
Can I make peanut butter oatmeal balls with a food processor?
You could, in theory, run the mix through a food processor before you add the chocolate chips. This would give a smoother, more uniform texture.
Why did my peanut butter oatmeal balls fall apart?
When you first make the mixture, it will seem crumbly. Take a piece and work it your hands for a few seconds and you should find that it becomes pliable, warm and easy to roll into balls.
If you use a very dry or very oily peanut butter, this can also affect the texture of your mixture. Try adding more peanut butter or oats as appropriate to form a mixture you can work with.
Can I sweeten these peanut butter oatmeal balls?
I used slightly salted and sweetened peanut butter in my peanut butter oatmeal balls, but if you'd like to add sweetness to the mixture, I'd recommend a tablespoon of honey (not vegan), maple syrup or agave syrup.
How can I add/change the flavours in these peanut butter oatmeal balls?
You could add a dash of vanilla to the mixture, if you wish, or try different flavours of chocolate chips. You could also try using one flavour of chips in the mix and another to drizzle or coat the balls.
The oil has separated from my peanut butter and is floating on the top. Can I still use it?
If your peanut butter has separated, it's nothing to worry about. Simply stir the oil and peanut mixture together again in the jar until uniform.
This generally happens more with peanut butter that is made of 100% peanuts as nothing has been added to stabilise the butter and stop the separation from occurring.
My peanut butter is too stiff to mix into the oats
If you've stored your peanut butter in the fridge and it is difficult to stir, just leave it to come up to room temp.
However, if you're in a hurry, transfer it to a bowl and zap for 15 seconds. You don't want to heat the peanut butter, just soften it enough that you can start pressing it together with the oats.
Do I need to use natural peanut butter?
Many brands of peanut butter will contain extra ingredients, most often a little oil to help with consistency and to stop the oils in the peanut butter from separating.
For this recipe, I used a peanut butter with oil added, as well as a little salt and sugar. It's the kind you're probably used to having at breakfast: thick, spreadable and semi-set.
Although rules on labelling vary from country to country, "natural" peanut butter tends to mean peanut that contains 100% peanuts and absolutely nothing else.
Natural peanut butter is certainly tasty and it's great because no added ingredients often means no extra saturated fat. However, but it tends to be a bit more liquid and runny, and so if you choose to use it in this recipe, you may need to adjust the quantities to get a mixture than can be rolled into balls.
What goes well with peanut butter oatmeal balls?
They're great on their own as a quick snack, but they also taste amazing with a fresh, green apple or a handful of berries.
And now on to more fascinating peanut facts.
Are peanuts nuts?
Peanuts, also known as groundnuts, are the most consumed 'nut' in the world and are used in hundreds of everyday sweet and savoury dishes.
In culinary terms, the peanut is quite firmly considered a nut. However, botanically speaking, peanuts are actually not nuts at all! In fact, they're legumes along with the likes of peas and beans. Read on to find out what that really means.
How do peanuts grow? What do peanut plants look like?
If you ask people to draw how they think peanuts grow, you'll often get a wide range of answers! Most people have never actually seen a peanut plant, and if you are among them, it may already surprise you to learn that they grow on a plant with the peanuts forming under the ground.
In America, peanuts are planted around April and May when the soil reaches the right temperature of around 20C and there’s minimal chance of frost for around five months.
The peanut itself starts as a fairly normal looking green plant that grows to about half a metre in size. After about 40 days, a little yellow flowers starts to grow.
While this is all fairly normal activity for a plant, the next stage is really rather interesting. Each flower blooms for just a day or two while they pollinate. At this point, the petals fall off and the ovary at the centre of the flowers starts to grow.
As it grows, each flower's ovary (also called a “peg”) starts on a journey towards the ground until it embeds itself in the soil and continues to grow into a single peanut shell.
When you pull up a plant, the cluster of shells is quite striking!
Are peanuts a superfood?
Superfood is a bit of a contentious term - lots of foods are nutrient rich and there’s no real consensus on how nutrient dense something has to be in order to count as a superfood.
However, with a 28g serving containing over 7g of protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals along with other nutrients, peanuts are certainly super in my eyes.
Who invented peanut butter?
Peanut butter is incredibly popular all over the world – and even out of this world (literally!) as it is even eaten in space, being a safe and durable product to take on space missions.
It is currently believed that the ancient Aztecs were the first people to start to crush up peanuts. The process began to be mechanised around the turn of the century and as the machines and processes used to make peanut butter were refined these led to even smoother end results becoming available.
However – it wasn’t until 1884 that a man by the name of Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada patented what he called “peanut paste” which was the finished product made from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces – a rudimentary version of the processes that are still used today.
In 1895 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the creator of Kellogg's cereal) patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts. And the rest is history!
Print this recipe for 3 ingredient peanut butter oatmeal balls
3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Oatmeal Balls
- 300 g (1⅔ cups) crunchy peanut butter or smooth
- 150 g (1⅔ cups) rolled oats
- 80 g (½ cup) chocolate chips dairy-free, if needed
- Put the oats and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
- Add the three-quarters (60g / 2 oz) of chocolate chips.
- Mix through, aiming to distribute the chocolate chips evenly through the mixture.
- Line a tray with baking paper. Divide the mixture in 24 balls and place on the tray.
- Each ball will weigh about 22g (0.77 oz). If the mixture seems too stiff to roll into balls, simply knead in your hands for a few seconds to warm, then they should then roll easily.
- Melt the remaining chocolate chips and either pipe or drizzle over the oat balls in a zigzag pattern.
- Place the tray in the fridge for an hour to firm up and then enjoy! They're best transferred to a sealed container in the fridge once firm to keep them at their best.
This post is sponsored by the American Peanut Council.
Pin these 3 ingredient peanut butter oatmeal balls
More ways to cook with peanuts
6 FUN recipes to make with kids - a FREE family baking eBook!
Have a free copy of my family baking eBook! With 6 easy recipes and bonus activities to get kids into the kitchen - and keep them busy for hours!