Buckeyes: A Family Tradition

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I know, I know- I just finished telling you that I was through with peanut butter posts for a while. Then I realized it was mid-November. In my husband’s family that means buckeyes. Lots and lots of buckeyes. If you are not from Ohio you may not be familiar with this term, but it is basically a smooth, dense peanut butter filling dipped in chocolate to resemble a buckeye (the nut from Ohio’s state tree).

Each year I join my mother-in-law to make hundreds of these little sweets. They are always at our Thanksgiving table and ready to give out by the plateful to friends and neighbors for Christmas. We take a day all to ourselves to mix and dip and drizzle and catch up with one another. But this recipe has another special story. I’ll let my mother-in-law tell it:

The original recipe is scrawled in my husband’s grandmother’s handwriting in 1963, and also includes his toddler doodles from 20 years later.

One day, close to Christmas 1963, my mom’s friend Olga called and said she had a candy recipe that was very easy to make and delicious. Mom asked me to run and get a piece of paper on which she could write the recipe.  I was 12 at the time, and was doing my homework at the desk by the phone, so I ripped off a piece of my notebook paper and gave it to her.  After writing the recipe down, I was sent to the corner store for the ingredients. Mom’s original idea was to have all us kids sit around the table with her, rolling the little balls.  My brothers, ages 14 and 16, weren’t into fun little family projects, especially if it had to do with cooking. So, Mom, my sister, and I sat down and began rolling the bon bons [buckeyes].  My sister, two years younger than I, ate most of the dough, so she was encouraged to go out and play.  That left Mom and me. We sat around the table, rolling the dough into balls, dipping them into the chocolate mixture, and really having a good time, laughing and sharing.  The time seemed to fly by.

As is usually the case, everyone mysteriously reappears when the food is ready. My Mom’s friend was true to her word….they were a big success! Of course, you can make them any time of the year, but Mom and I decided to make them only at Christmas time.   This is a tradition she and I continued until she passed away in 1999.  I continue on with the tradition myself and think of Mom every time I pull out the recipe, which is still on the original piece of homework paper. The paper is brown with age and there is black marker on it where my son made beautiful drawings when he was about two. The 50-year-old recipe will always have a special place in my heart.

So you can see why this is a special holiday recipe to me. I am sharing it with you as part of Macy’s Cook, Share, Celebrate campaign. They are inviting you to share your favorite holiday recipes at their Recipe Share Facebook Page for a chance to win a $1000 Macy’s gift card, dinner with a renowned Macy’s Culinary Council chef, including Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora or Todd English, and other fabulous prizes.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED Macy’s is also giving one reader of In Katrina’s Kitchen their choice of a Ceramic Covered Casserole Dish, Hard Anodized Fry Pans (set of 3), or Stainless Steel 15″ Roaster with Roasting Rack {all from their Martha Stewart Professional Cookware line}.

Peanut Butter Buckeyes Candy Recipe

Creamy peanut butter candies dipped in chocolate


  • 1 lb butter softened
  • 3 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 16 oz peanut butter
  • Milk chocolate for dipping


  • Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add peanut butter and incorporate until smooth. (This is all best done with your hands.)
  • Roll into balls and dip into melted milk chocolate.
- Katrina

19 Responses to “Buckeyes: A Family Tradition”

  1. #
    Beth — November 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Do these need to be refrigerated after? I want to bring these for Thanksgiving, they look delish!! Thanks for sharing! Do you store on wax paper while hardening?

    • #
      Katrina Bahl — November 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      I prefer to refrigerate them but they come to room temperature quickly when you’re ready to eat.

  2. #
    Marie — November 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Do you have to refrigerator the mixer before rolling them into balls?

  3. #
    Marie — November 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Oops I meant does the peanut butter mixture have to be refrigerated before rolling into balls?

    • #
      Katrina Bahl — November 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Nope! Just start rolling!

  4. #
    Danae (The Busty Baker) — November 25, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I have so many memories of making these at Christmas time. Our recipe (which adds a bit of paraffin wax to the chocolate to help it harden) made somewhere near 300.. My brother had no interest whatsoever, so it was me and my mom rolling and dipping for hours, fighting off my dad who would swoop by to steal the dough. By the end, we’d be so tired of rolling, our buckeyes would go from regular sized to golf-ball sized, and eventually we’d just smash the last of it into a baseball sized chunk and stick it in the fridge to slice pieces off of.

    • #
      Katrina Bahl — November 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      That is SO the same story here! And we used to do the paraffin wax too until we started buying the milk chocolate candy discs.

  5. #
    Tara H — November 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

    How do you dip yours so there’s no toothpick hole in the top? I can never seem to make mine that pretty.

    • #
      Katrina Bahl — November 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      I just put the ball on a spoon and dip about halfway into the milk chocolate. Sometimes they fall in all the way but no one has ever complained about too much chocolate. 😉

  6. #
    Sarah @ Miss CandiQuik — November 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I love that you have the original hand written recipe! That’s precious!

    • #
      Katrina Bahl — November 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you Sarah! It’s a precious piece of paper to me, that’s for sure.

  7. #
    Tracey — November 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    It’s easiest to use a toothpick and to get rid of the hole just use your finger to smooth the dough back in place. Another tip is to make the balls then refrigerate them for a few minutes so they are less sticky and firmer which makes them easier to work with. Go Bucks!!

    • #
      Katrina Bahl — November 27, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Thanks for stopping by Tracey! I just use a spoon and dip the buckeys about halfway into the chocolate. Sometimes they fall in but no one has ever complained about getting more chocolate 😉

  8. #
    sally — December 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for a recipe that doesn’t use graham cracker crumbs mixed with the peanut butter. I’ve made Buckeye’s several times but I also used to make a PB bar that got pressed into a sheet pan and covered with chocolate. So I’ll use your recipe–I can’t think of a reason it wouldn’t work! Yum!

  9. #
    Becky — December 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    WAY too sticky and gooey. can’t be rolled. can’t be dipped. wasted a LOT of ingredients. so sad. 🙁

  10. #
    Mya — February 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Hi! Your blog is so cute! How many does this make?

  11. #
    Darlene — September 2, 2014 at 6:16 am

    what i did was i dipped lollipop sticks in melted chocolate then stick them in and refrigerate them for 10 minutes. It makes dipping so much easier!!

  12. #
    Bob — November 23, 2016 at 1:04 am

    How much chocolate do you use

  13. #
    Louise Levin — December 9, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    I have been looking for this recipie my Aunt makes buckeyes every XChist now that she past away 2years no one in family has it THANKS HOPE MINE ARE AS GOOD FRIST TRY OUT

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