Healthy Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls Recipe

This healthy peanut butter buckeye balls recipe takes the classic chocolate peanut butter buckeyes and adds a healthy twist! 

Buckeye balls recipe | Peanut butter buckeyes | Chocolate peanut butter balls healthy

Each year for A Couple Cooks, we try to create a “healthier” version of some holiday favorites. Admittedly “healthy” is sometimes a dirty word when tacked onto dessert, but believe me, this healthy peanut butter buckeye balls recipe can stand up to the original. Keep reading for the buckeye balls recipe!

How to make this buckeye balls recipe

Buckeye balls weren’t part of my childhood growing up in Minnesota, but they’re certainly the rage here in Indiana around the holidays (perhaps because of the proximity to Ohio?). Essentially peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, they’re little bites of heaven. Any other buckeye fans out there?

Instead of the traditional butter and sugar, in this healthy buckeye balls recipe we’ve substituted Medjool dates. Medjool dates are large, chewy and sweet dates that are used to make natural sweets like Larabars and raw brownies (here are 10 great Medjool dates recipes). Add a little peanut butter, and voila — instant buckeye filling. 

Dipped in a little chocolate, these little bites taste very similar to the original, but without the butter and refined sugar. They’re certainly not a health food, but they’re more natural than most of the treats out there this time of year! Also, they’re vegan and gluten free! Let us know if you try them out and what you think.

Related: Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Buckeye balls recipe | Peanut butter buckeyes | Chocolate peanut butter balls healthy

One tip for healthy cookies: we always make our cookie servings a little smaller than typical. This helps to control portion size and makes you satisfied with a smaller serving! These healthy buckeye balls are a great gluten-free Christmas cookie option and vegan Christmas cookie option (if you use vegan chocolate). And finally, the concept for this buckeye balls recipe was inspired by this recipe from our friend Ashley at Edible Perspective!

Looking for Christmas cookie recipes?

Aside from this healthy peanut butter buckeye balls recipe, here are a few of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes:

This recipe is…

This Healthy Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Healthy Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (28 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 to 40 1x


This healthy peanut butter buckeye balls recipe takes the classic chocolate peanut butter buckeyes and adds a healthy twist!


  • 20 Medjool dates*
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (vegan if desired)


  1. Remove the pits from 20 Medjool dates. Place the dates in the bowl of a food processor and process until crumbled. Add 3 tablespoons peanut butter and turn on the food processor; while running, add 2 tablespoons water. Process until completely smooth (stopping and scraping down the bowl as necessary).
  2. Lightly oil your hands (to prevent sticking) and roll the mixture into small balls, about 30 to 40 total. Place the balls on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and freeze until ready to dip in chocolate.
  3. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a simmer, then place 1 cup chocolate chips in a metal or glass heat-safe bowl. Once the water is simmering, turn off the heat and place the bowl of chocolate in the water, then stir until melted. (Alternatively, use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.)
  4. Dip each buckeye halfway into the chocolate using a toothpick (then smooth over the toothpick hole). Place the buckeyes back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.


*Medjool dates are a type of date that is exceptionally large and sweet, and are essential for this recipe (do not substitute). Medjool dates are available at many mainstream groceries, and also are available for sale online.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Buckeye balls recipe, Peanut butter buckeyes, Chocolate peanut butter balls healthy, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    December 2, 2014 at 4:11 am

    These look so scrumptious guys! I love buckeyes, and make them every year, but would love to try something healthier (since I usually eat around 6 a day, lol).

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 2, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I have to confess that I have never made or even tried buckeyes. Why? I have no clue because these look so good!

  • Reply
    Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
    December 2, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Sounds a lot like my healthy chocolate balls! It’s amazing what dates can do in healthy vegan treats.

  • Reply
    shanna mallon
    December 2, 2014 at 9:15 am


  • Reply
    December 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

    These look perfect!!!! I only like “healthy” buckeyes. The originals make my teeth ache, haha.

  • Reply
    Candace @ The Wheatless Kitchen
    December 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I love desserts like this! I can’t wait to try these! The photos are beautiful :)

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    December 2, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Cute and delicious. I could definitely pop more than my fair share of these little gems in my mouth!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
    December 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Yay! So excited to try these…buckeyes are one of my favorite holiday treats!

  • Reply
    [email protected] and Pigs
    December 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve never heard of buckeye cookies before I don’t think we have them in the UK but they sound amazing. I definitely want to try these and love peanut butter.

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    December 2, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I’m such a sucker for anything PB + chocolate. Love that these are healthier and so simple to make, too!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    These look and sound great!

  • Reply
    Laura W
    December 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Just made these–they’re delicious! Even better than a regular buckeye, as there’s no stomachache after eating one. I made a few adjustments–I doubled the peanut butter, because 3 Tbs. just didn’t taste peanut-y enough (though it might be that my dates were larger–I got 40 one-inch-diameter candies). I also added a pinch or two of kosher salt to help enhance the nuttiness as well. So good!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I love the idea of these! Totally trying them this year.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2014 at 11:47 am

    You guys are killing me with these buckeyes! I’ve been craving all the sweets this holiday season and these wholesome treats look like they’d do the job.

  • Reply
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen
    December 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I’m definitely making these for a holiday party I have coming up this weekend. Hopefully I can find dates at Whole Foods! Excited. :)

  • Reply
    July 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    These sound so yummy and super easy too. Thanks.

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