Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

These Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars are the EXACT recipe they once served in schools! These peanut butter bars have a soft, chewy peanut butter cookie base, creamy peanut butter center and chocolate buttercream on top. These are the best peanut butter bars of all time!

The Best Peanut Butter Bars

We have tried a lot of peanut butter bars in our day, and these Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars are the best we’ve ever tried!

Our favorite treat growing up was the peanut butter bars that the lunch ladies served in our elementary school.  We would bring an extra 50 cents to school so we could buy one of these delicious peanut butter bars whenever we could.

We originally shared this recipe on our blog in 2011, and it has since grown to be the most popular dessert recipe and for good reason.

These Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars are so easy to make, but be warned.  Once you have one, you’ll have to have another. And another.  And possibly half a pan.

No judgements here.  Put on those stretch pants and treat yo’ self, girl.

Sheet Pan Dessert to Feed A Crowd

These peanut butter cookie bars are exactly like the famous school cafeteria bars they used to make back in the good ol’ days.

I love that these Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars can feed a crowd and I usually have all the ingredients on hand so if I ever need to make a treat at the last minute, these are my go-to recipe.

These bars are made in a half sheet pan and you can cut them into as many bars as you need.

We like a bigger bar, so we typically cut a pan of these cookie bars into 24 squares, but you could easily cut them into 48 for a smaller serving.

Peanut Butter Bars with Oatmeal

The oatmeal in these Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars gives these the perfect soft and chewy texture.

I’ve used quick oats and old fashioned oats in this recipe and both came out great, so whatever you have on hand will work.


There’s always something to celebrate!  This cookbook is the ultimate go-to guide for celebrating every holiday and creating memories with the people you love.

Celebrate every season with us!  Our cookbook, Celebrate Every Season, is filled with 150+ recipes, traditions and fun ideas for each month of the year.

We hope you make priceless memories with your family as you celebrate every season with this cookbook!

Order your copy here → Six Sisters’ Stuff Celebrate Every Season

The best peanut butter bars recipes:

Serves: 24

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

These Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars have a peanut butter cookie base, creamy peanut butter center and chocolate buttercream frosting.

25 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups peanut butter, divided
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar together.
  3. Add vanilla, eggs, and 1 cup peanut butter; stir to combine.
  4. Add oats, flour, baking soda and salt and mix until well combined.
  5. Spray a baking sheet (half sheet jelly roll pan that is approximately 17.8 x 12.8 x 1 inch) with nonstick cooking spray and spread out dough in an even layer.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
  7. Drop remaining peanut butter by spoonfuls on top of warm bars and spread when peanut butter has begun to melt.
  8. Let cool until peanut butter has set up.
  9. While cooling, mix together frosting ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth and spread on top of bars.
  10. Cut into bars and serve.



9853 cal


441 g


1307 g


272 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Be sure to not miss another recipe!
Follow Six Sisters’ Stuff on Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube

Have you checked out our YouTube channel?
Want to see how easy it is to make our Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars?  Watch the 15-second video below to see how to make the best peanut butter bars HERE.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comment on this Recipe

130 Responses to “Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars”

  1. Oh my, these bars look so good! I love anything with peanut butter. Camille, thanks for stopping by my blog and following. I'm so glad you found some recipes to try. I'm enjoying browsing through your blog and am a new follower. It must be amazing to be a group of 6 sisters. I have 3 daughters and they are the best of friends :) Have a great day!
  2. I'm going to have to try those and apparently, I'm going to have to try the cookies and cream cheesecake bars that are looking at my right now too! =P

    I guess that means I'm a new follower. lol! (Followed you over from This Week's Cravings.)

    My blog is if you'd like to visit.
  3. okay, if these are anything like what my lunch ladies served I will be so happy! They were seriously the best! I am going to have to try these out! I would love for you to come and share these at my Fantastic Friday link party.
  4. Anonymous
    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 :)
  5. 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.
  6. 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!! :)
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!!
  12. 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! :)
  13. V. Bell
    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.
  14. Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama
    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.
  15. Rose Sweet Holladay
    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!
  16. Joelyn
    I don't know what I did wrong with the 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.
  17. Just made these bars tonight, and I loved them! I halved the recipe and made it in a 9x13 inch pan, and it turned out perfectly. Great tip about putting on the peanut butter while the cake was still hot--definitely helped the spreading. The only change I would make would be to add a little bit more cocoa to the frosting just to add some more chocolately flavor. Otherwise, I think this recipe rocks! Thanks for sharing!
    • We have not tried this recipe with natural peanut butter. But here is some information I found for you on the internet when cooking with natural peanut butter when the recipe calls for regular peanut butter. Hope this helps!! ***When it comes to baking, we tend to use what is on hand, but there will often be some differences in recipes made with natural peanut butter instead of regular. Most recipes (unless otherwise specified) are written with the assumption that you?ll use regular peanut butter. The salt and sugar from that regular peanut butter can add a lot of flavor to a recipe, and the thickness of the peanut butter translates into less spread for peanut butter cookies, for instance. Natural peanut butter is often unsalted, so you may need to add additional salt to a recipe. It might also seem saltier than regular peanut butter because of the lack of sugar in the mix, so you might want to cut back on the salt in the recipe by 1/4 tsp if you are very sensitive to it. Natural peanut butter cookies tend to spread out more, and frequently have a crispier texture (this is often do to a higher proportion of oil in the mix) than cookies made with regular peanut butter. Since they spread out more, they sometimes need a slightly shorter baking time. Most recipes will deliver a similar result no matter which type of peanut butter you use ? even if you do have to make a tiny tweak or two due to a lack of salt or sugar in your product ? so you can still use whatever is on hand. But watch out for a recipe that specifically calls for one or the other and be aware of the slight differences that exist between the two types.
  18. I am always making things for my adult granddaughter and she begged me to try and find a recipe like this because of her memories from school of these bars. I’ve looked and tried different recipes with same claim but so far not a winner with her. I asked her to describe them to me and this recipe sounds like it just might be it. Making them this afternoon as she is coming to visit. Will let you know how it turns out. Love ? the peanut butter smell from my oven.
  19. Naomi Epstein
    I found basically this exact recipe on another blog and made it last week, it's amazing. As a side note for the peanut butter frosting layer after the cookie part has cooled, that recipe had you whip the peanut butter (I used my stand mixer) before you frost it, so that might help people that have had trouble spreading the peanut butter layer. When it's whipped, it's just like spreading frosting.
  20. Growing up I lived in the country and went to a country school...there was no such thing as a lunch room, never mind food that was prepared there. If we forgot our lunch, we either had to call home and hope mom could bring it or we went hungry. Oh the joys of growing up in the rural areas lol. These sounded so good I just had to try them - and I wasn't disappointed! Made as per the recipe with the only change being I just made a half batch (empty nesters don't need a sheet pan full lol). These went together quickly and easily and I know I will be making them again!

Leave a Comment