Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars on
I don’t know about you, but at my elementary school they served AMAZING desserts . . . sometimes I find myself craving the lunch ladies’ chocolate cake or homemade cinnamon rolls . . . nowadays I don’t think that they even serve dessert in elementary school! Poor kids don’t know what they are missing . . .

Elyse gave me this recipe a couple of months ago from Mom’s old recipe box and it is seriously SPOT ON to what the lunch ladies served! Trust me- you have to try these!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups peanut butter (divided)
  • 2 cups oatmeal (not quick)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup margarine or butter, softened
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla (depending on your taste)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2-3 cups of powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the sugar, brown sugar, and butter together. Add the vanilla, eggs, and 1 cup peanut butter and stir to combine.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.
  4. Spread dough on a greased jelly roll pan (18x13x1"). Bake for 15 minutes (until golden brown).
  5. While hot spread the other 1½ cups peanut butter on top - it helps to drop spoonfuls all over the top of the bars, then spread after the peanut butter has started to melt.
  6. Let cool until the peanut butter has become solid again (I usually throw them in the fridge so they set up faster and so I can eat them sooner!).
  7. While cooling, mix together frosting ingredients with a hand mixer and then spread on top of bars.

Equipment needed:

Check out these other bar recipes that we love:
Strawberry Cake Bars
Everything But The Kitchen Sink Bars
Twix Bars
Hershey’s Cream Cheese Brownies
Cheesecake Chess Squares

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  1. says

    I am a newish follower. This looks like a great recipe. I am the cookie monster’s grandmother and am always looking for new cookie recipes to try. This one looks scrumptious. I am looking forward to exploring your blog further.

  2. Anonymous says

    Wow! These are great! Never heard of them boyfriend loves anything Peanut Butter and I gave it a try. The only thing i did different was to use DH canned Milk Chocolate frosting. Will be making these again and again ! thanks girls :)

  3. says

    They are in the fridge setting up – ack – it’s so hard to wait! I can’t wait to eat them! I love that they have chocolate frosting on top and not just melted chocolate chips. I was really fighting the peanut butter trying to spread it on top – ha ha ha – I tried to plop it all on at once and it just sunk straight down and made a hole, ack! quickly scooped it back up – what a mess! it took a lot of fineness to finally get that peanut butter to spread and not smush the bars.

  4. says

    I need clarification before I make these. There are 1&1/2 cups of Peanut Butter listed in the instructions that I don’t find in the list of ingredients. Is this an additional 1&1/2 cups of PB?

  5. says

    I needed that clarification as well. The instruction still say to “spread
    1 1/2 cups of peanut butter on the top of bars”. ;) Growing up in small Utah community, We had super loving lunch ladies who knew and loved us,(one of which was my own Grandma) and we always had delicious school lunches, including desserts and these peanut butter bars were one of my favorite! My kids don’t get this kind of yumminess now days. SO HAPPY to have come across this recipe! Thanks for sharing!! :)

  6. says

    I have looked everywhere for this! I’m so excited! I had the recipe when I took the cooking class in high school, straight from the lunch ladies but lost it. Instead of spreading the peanut butter we just combined it with the chocolate frosting. Mmmm.. I’m going to make it this weekend!

  7. says

    I made these today and they are so so so yummy! However, they are not the same bars from my cafeteria growing up! Dang! This is NOT a complaint though! This recipe makes a million bars and is awesome so I’ll definitely be bringing these to potlucks! A new keeper recipe!

  8. says

    Really great recipe thanks. My 2nd batch of these I added 1 tbsp instead of tsp of vanilla extract by mistake to my frosting but hey they tasted even better than the first batch. So now I’m going to keep doing that it bumps them up a whole lot try it & see.

  9. says

    turned out great all except the final 1/2 C. of peanut butter trying to spread that on while it was still hot was a challenge. It was dragging the peanut butter crust right along with it. EEK! Nothing a little bit of your famous choc. icing can’t cover up. :) Thank you for this post. Definitely a keeper.

  10. says

    Double Yum! Love Peanut butter!
    I’ve been looking for a Lunch Lady bread spread for years. It had honey, peanut butter and (I think) raisins. It must have been mixed in a blender, cause it was smooth. OMGosh, I used to trade with my hot lunch friends for stuff out of my lunch sack for that all the time!!

  11. says

    These were absolutely delicious! I find that if you take the 1/2 C of peanut butter that goes on the top and whip it with a mixer until lighter in color and creamy, it has a great texture and spreads very nicely. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. siri says

    just made these.. delicious. i do think 15 minutes in the oven is slightly too long. would rather have the bars be slightly gooey. next time i’ll probably do 13. excellent recipe.. thank you!

  13. Donna says

    Wowzers….THANK YOU for finding the recipe I have been craving and searching for (over 25 years!!)…Talk about a “blast from the past”!…Now I will be able to make these for my future grandchildren!!! The texture looks spot-on to what I remember…although our High School Lunch Ladies did not add the chocolate frosting component…leaving them “naked”…which, personally, I do not mind at all as I think it really highlights the moist, chewy peanut-buttery-ness of the bar…alhough I imagine with the frosting they are out of this world. I always “justify” not adding frosting as a lame , yet somehow “valid” excuse to partake in an “extra” bar to nosh on! :)

    • Peggy says

      I have been searching for the “lunchroom” peanut butter cookies or bars but I also do not remember there being an icing on them. Just have to try both ways now! Thanks for the recipe!

  14. V. Bell says

    These exact same bars are in Gold Medal Flour’s 2001 Let’s Bake number 30. Even the same frosting recipe. The only difference is Six Sisters used 1/4 c butter instead of 1/4 c peanut butter in the frosting, otherwise the entire recipe is identical.

  15. Laurie says

    I have made these twice and they are so easy to make and delicious. I don’t know why there is only an average 2 star rating. I used my own chocolate buttercream icing, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Love them!

  16. Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama says

    I made these for the treat for the week and for the snack for date night. I used quick oats (because they were what I had and others had said they worked). I did figure out one thing to do for next time: melt the peanut butter in the microwave ahead of time and pour it over the baked bars rather than dollops to spread. Plus, once I had gotten the dollops melted and spread it was the same effect. These are just as I remember them being, and my mom, a retired teacher, loved them too, and has asked for the recipe. I blogged about the treat at . Thanks for a great recipe (several in fact have been bookmarked to try later). I am also going to be making the Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken on my meal plan for this week.

  17. Rose Sweet Holladay says

    For the frosting…if you bring the butter, cocoa and milk to a boil for one minute, then stir in the rest, the frosting will taste like fudge and when it cools, you can touch the top without being sticky. Fabulous frosting!

  18. Joelyn says

    I don’t know what I did wrong with the frosting…my butter may have been a bit more melted than softened, but it just wasn’t very chocolate-y. Wish I would have seen this tip for boiling, maybe that would have helped? And my bars turned out more dry and crumbly than chewy like I had hoped.

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