20-minute Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

I see you out there, with visions of gravy-drenched-turkey and pumpkin pie dancing in your eyes. And that’s why I hesitated to post this recipe just two days before Thanksgiving. I was scared you’d miss it, that you’d read the title in your blog feed, and say, “Aack! Where’s the midnight-hour recipe for gluten-free stuffing I need now that Aunt Shirley is coming to Thanksgiving?!”

But you guys, don’t miss this one. This has become my go-to dessert. It is so, so easy, with under twenty minutes of hands-on time (18 for me, and that included several trips into the living room to steal back the mixing spoons Owen was using for drumsticks). Plus, it just takes nine ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. The best part about this dessert is that is BETTER cooled – so no working this into your dinner party schedule, timing it perfectly so that it’s still slightly warm upon serving. Make it early in the day and forget about it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Are you hearing me? Easy easy easy. Make it as you’re getting ready in the morning for your after-work holiday party. Make it for the middle-school holiday cookie exchange you forgot your daughter signed you up for. Make it while you’re getting ready for church for that afternoon potluck.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Plus, you will win that holiday party, win the cookie exchange, win your life with these bars. A buttery salty-sweet oatmeal crumble bottom, with a sweetened condensed milk/peanut butter layer, sprinkled with chocolate chips, and topped with more of the oatmeal crumble mixture. It’s rich and gooey and sweet but not overly sweet, and would you judge me if I told you that this dessert will blow your mind with a little vanilla ice cream on the side?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

I first tried these after my friend Jen made them, and I’ve been making them like three times a month since – for meals I’m delivering to new moms, for an easy dinner party dessert, for us on a Friday night as we collapse in front of another episode of Continuum (I’m not a sci-fi nerd, but I’m considering becoming one for this show.)

So, tuck this recipe away. Make your pumpkin pies this week. Start your Christmas cookie game early. But keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a super fast dessert that will probably change your life.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

20-minute Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

20-minute Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

(recipe from About.com Southern Food )

(yields one 9x13" pan of bars)

This is seriously the easiest dessert recipe, and it yields the most rich salty-sweet dessert. This has become my go-to dessert!


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups quick cooking rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar (light or dark is fine)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cups salted butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter*

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


*I recommend using a sweetened peanut butter brand like Skippy or Jif as opposed to unsweetened for this recipe.


Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda. Stir in butter; until it begins to come together. Then work the crumble together with your hands, squeezing / kneading it until the butter is completley worked in to the dry ingredients and large clumps will hold together when squeezed.

Pat half of this mixture into a thin, even layer in the bottom of the pan, using your palms to press it flat and into the corners. Set the other half aside.

Place peanut butter in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds to soften. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk until completely blended. Pour mixture over the oat crumble layer in the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with chocoloate chips.

Scatter the remaining oat crumble mixture over the top (I've found it works best if you squeeze together some of the crumbles into 1/2-1" dollops).

Bake 20 minutes. Top will not be very browned; you'll know it's ready if you see a slight bubbling of the filling around the edges and hear a soft hissing sound when you open the oven to check.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. These will keep covered on your counter top for up to 2 days; beyond that, store in the fridge.


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4 thoughts on “20-minute Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Crumble Bars

  1. I super needed to find this recipe tonight! I’m making a dessert for the middle-school teachers’ holiday lunch. And I need quick and easy. I’ve got everything on hand (99% sure!) and love that this is better cooled – no freaking out that I have to wake up at 4am to make sure I provide the most perfectly warmed dessert over 3 lunch periods. Nope. I’m keeping things simple this week! Thanks Liz! :)

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