Peanut Butter Pie (No Bake!)

Peanut Butter Pie is an easy, nearly no bake, dizzyingly delicious dessert that will make you the hero of Thanksgiving and every occasion!  This recipe is 100% make ahead friendly (tastes even better the next day) made with homemade whipped cream (zero Cool Whip) and crowd-pleasing toffee bits!  You’ll be awed at the filling that strikes the adept balance between pillowy lightness and decadent richness, with just the right kiss of sweetness.

Watch How to Make Peanut Butter Pie

up close of peanut butter pie drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter

 

You will love this Easy Peanut Butter Pie Recipe

  • EASY YET IMPRESSIVE. This peanut butter pie is a showstopper but is one of the easiest desserts you will ever make!
  • NO BAKE – ALMOST. Just pop the Oreo crust in the oven – that’s it (or use store-bought)! Baking the crust creates a more cohesive crust that doesn’t crumble when sliced.
  • TOFFEE BITS!  The peanut butter filling is elevated to otherworldly deliciousness with toffee bits – but don’t worry, they’re not overly crunchy, just fabulous.
  • NOT TOO RICH. The pie is somehow light and rich at the same time and isn’t overly sweet so you can pile on the toppings!
  • ZERO COOL WHIP.  Stabilized whipped cream (heavy cream + gelatin) creates a superior, non-plasticky flavor and holds its shape better.  As an added bonus, you avoid overly processed Cool Whip.
  • MAKE AHEAD.  Refrigerate a day ahead of time or freeze for up to three months for stress free entertaining.
top view of peanut butter pie recipe on a plate topped with mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Pie Ingredients

The ingredients for this almost no bake peanut butter pie can be divided into three parts: 1) the crust, 2) the filling, and 3) the topping. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need for each (full recipe with measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

FOR THE OREO CRUST: 

  • Oreos:  Use the whole Oreo – including the filling!
  • Butter: Unsalted butter is always best for baking.

For the Peanut Butter Pie filling: 

  • Peanut butter: The general rule in no-bake pie recipes is to use spoonable, conventional peanut butter, meaning peanut butter you can spoon right out of the jar without having to mix the oil back in. Brand name peanut butter such as Skippy or Jif are perfect for this recipe.
  • Cream cheese: Use block cream cheese, preferable full fat, for the creamiest filling.
  • Heavy cream: This is used to make the homemade whipped cream that gives the filling airiness and lightness like a mousse. Look for “heavy whipping cream” at the grocery store.  You must use heavy cream – no other substitutions will work. 
  • Unflavored gelatin:  This is a miracle worker added to the heavy whipping cream to create stabilized whipped cream that adds structure to the peanut butter pie.  Unflavored gelatin is a common baking ingredient and can be found next to the packages of Jell-O and pudding at your grocery store.
  • Powdered sugar:  Also known as confectioner’s sugar, sweetens the filling without any grittiness.  It also interacts better with the gelatin.
  • Vanilla extract:  Use quality extract for best results.
  • Toffee bits: I use Heath Bits O’ Brickle Toffee Bits.

FOR THE Topping: 

  • Chocolate drizzle: Use store-bought or make your own with quality baking chocolate, corn syrup and vegetable oil. Corn syrup and vegetable oil keep the drizzle pliable, instead of hardening and breaking when coming in contact with the chilled pie.
  • Peanut butter drizzle: Use a large spoonful of the same conventional peanut butter used in the filling transferred to a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off.
  • Candy: You can change the taste of the no bake peanut butter pie by mixing up the toppings! I like to use a variety of peanut butter favorites such as Mini Reese’s Pieces (cut in half), crushed Butterfingers, broken Nutter Butters and peanut butter chips.
a slice of chocolate peanut butter pie showing how creamy it is

no bake peanut butter pie variations

  • No bake peanut butter pie: Use a store-bought Oreo crust.
  • Gluten free peanut butter pie: Use gluten free Oreos or substitute with gluten free chocolate cookies or sandwich cookies, or even gluten free graham crackers.  If your substitution does not contain a filling, add 2 tablespoons extra butter to the crust. Only use gluten free candy for the topping. Butterfingers are gluten free and all of Reese’s products are listed as gluten-free on the Hershey’s website, except seasonal-shaped Reese’s.
  • Vegetarian peanut butter pie: Use 1 teaspoon agar-agar instead of gelatin.
  • Use a different crust:  Swap the Oreos for peanut butter Oreos, 14 sheets chocolate Graham crackers or any other chocolate cookie. You can even use peanut butter cookies! If you use a cookie/cracker without filling, increase the butter in the crust to 7 tablespoons.
  • Skip the toffee bits: Taste the filling before chilling and decide if you would like it sweeter because you’ll loose the sweetness of the toffee bits.
  • Stir in chopped/crushed candy: Swap the toffee bits for crushed Butterfingers, Snickers, Reese’s Pieces, etc.
  • Use Cool Whip:   Omit the heavy cream and gelatin and fold in 12 ounces of frozen whipped topping instead.  Decrease the sugar to ⅓ cup because Cool Whip is already sweet.
  • Use chunky peanut butter:  If you are looking for more texture in the pie, opt for chunky peanut butter instead.
  • Peanut butter substitute. If you’re allergic to peanut butter, try SunButter.  Be aware that if your nut butter has a different texture than peanut butter (some nut butters are a lot runnier), that may affect the end result.
  • Add a chocolate ganache topping: See my Butterfinger Pie recipe for how to do add ganache over the pie.
  • Add whipped cream topping:  Top the pie with homemade whipped cream.
  • Add sea salt:  Sprinkle the top with sea salt for sweet and salty bite.
a slice no bake peanut butter pie on a topped with peanut butter chips

 

 

How to make Peanut Butter Pie 

This peanut butter pie recipe is comprised of four main parts:

1. crust
2. stabilized whipped cream
3. peanut butter filling
4. the topping

Each element is quick and easy to make so please don’t be overwhelmed. Let’s take a closer look with step-by-step photos or watch the video in the recipe card (full instructions with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

Step 1: How to Make Oreo Crust

  • Crush Oreos: Add Oreos (including cream filling) to a food processor and process until finely ground. Add butter and pulse to combine. (Or crush with a rolling pin then mix with butter in a bowl).
  • Add to pan: Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate or I use a quiche pan with a removable bottom for perfect slices (pictured). Press the crumbs up the sides, then onto the bottom; use the bottom of glass to firmly press the crumbs into the bottom.
  • Bake the crust:  Bake the crust for about 10 minutes then allow to cool while you make the filling. Baking the crust before adding the filling allows it to seal together and cooling the crust before adding the filling prevents it from becoming soggy.
a collage showing how to make peanut butte pie by crushing Oreos in food processor, then pressing the crumbs into a pie pan, then baking and cooling

Step 3:  How to MaKe stabilized Whipped Cream

  • Microwave gelatin: Add the unflavored gelatin to a microwave safe bowl, then pour the cold water over top; let stand for 5 minutes. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir the mixture, then set aside.
  • Whip cream to soft peaks: Add 1 cup heavy cream and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Whip until soft peaks form (the whipped cream folds over when you lift the beaters out of the bowl).
  • Add gelatin: Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour in the gelatin mixture. Mix until well combined then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until stiff peaks form (the whipped cream stands straight up and doesn’t fold over when you lift the beaters out of the bowl).
showing how to make peanut butter pie by making homemade whipped cream

Step 2: How to make peanut butter pie filling

  • Beat the peanut butter filling: In a separate large mixing bowl, using the same beaters (no need to clean), beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and peanut butter on medium-low until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes.
  • Add the whipped cream: Add the whipped cream and toffee bits and fold until evenly combined. The result is a creamy, airy peanut butter filling.
a collage showing how to make no bake peanut butter pie by beating peanut butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar together until fluffy

Step 4:  Chill

  • Add the mixture to the pan: Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and smooth the top. I like to use an icing spatula for this.
  • Chill:  Cover and chill the pie in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours before serving or freeze for at least 2 hours.
showing how to make peanut butter pie by adding to Oreo crust, then spreading into an even layer

Step 5:  Add Topping

  • Add your favorites: Add toppings to the peanut butter pie at any point after it’s set; i.e.; add after five hours and return to the refrigerator, or add and serve immediately. Add the crushed/chopped candy and drizzle with peanut butter and chocolate.
showing how to make peanut butter pie by topping with crushed candy (Mini Reese's Pieces, Butterfingers, Nutter Butters) and drizzling with peanut butter and chocolate

Almost No Bake Peanut Butter Pie Tips

Follow these tips for the best peanut butter pie recipe every time:

  • I highly recommend a 9-inch quiche pan with a removable bottom as seen in the photos.  When ready to serve, you place the pie on an inverted bowl and the sides drop away from the pan.  This feature is amazing because it allows you to easily transfer the entire pie to a plate or cake stand for beautiful presentation and allows you to slice the pie cleanly without ruining two slices before you can finally get a whole piece out!
  • If using a deep pan (like the quiche pan): You only need to press the crumbs 1 1/2-inches up the sides.
  • Use fine crumbs:  The finer the crumbs, the more cohesive the crust and less crumbly it will served.
  • Avoid natural peanut butters: Use Skippy or Jif because they blend more easily, won’t separate and create a silkier filling. Peanut butter that isn’t homogenized can sometimes cause texture and emulsion issues like your filling separating due to their high ratio of oil.  Additionally, I find that some natural peanut butters have a coarse texture that isn’t ideal for achieving that mousse-like pie filling.
  • Use very soft cream cheese: This is crucial for silky, lump-free filling. The cream cheese should be soft enough that you can stick your finger in it.
  • To soften cream cheese quickly: Cube the cream cheese on a microwave safe plate, microwave for 30 seconds then at 15 second intervals, flipping cubes and microwave another 15 seconds.  Repeat as needed.
  • Use cold heavy cream: Remove it from the refrigerator just when ready to use. The colder the heavy cream, the quicker it will whip up and hold its shape better.
  • Use the stabilized whipped cream:  If you want a filling that won’t weep or soften immediately, don’t skip the gelatin.
  • Time gelatin:  Don’t wait too long to add the gelatin to the whipped cream or it can harden.  If it has hardened, microwave it again for 10 seconds and then let it slightly cool before adding the whipped cream.
  • Don’t overwhip the whipped cream: Stop mixing when you see stiff peaks because over-whipped cream becomes grainy. 
  • Use quality chocolate: Baking chocolate is cooled, hardened chocolate liquor with a higher percentage of cocoa butter than chocolate chips because it’s intended to be baked with and therefore melts beautifully for drizzling. You may also use quality chocolate chips like Ghirardelli or Guittard that also have a higher percent of cocoa butter.
  • Use corn syrup: If making your own chocolate drizzle the corn syrup keeps it shiny, smooth and pliable even after coming in contact with the cold pie, and even after refrigeration.  You can omit the corn syrup if you really are opposed, but the drizzle can harden and break.
  • Microwave peanut butter drizzle: Transfer a large spoonful to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 15 seconds or so to slightly warm. This thins the peanut butter out so it drizzles more smoothly and evenly.
easy peanut butter pie with a slice missing showing how creamy the peanut butter filling is

How to serve Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

  • Slice the peanut butter pie while it’s cold. Keep the peanut butter pie refrigerated until ready to slice because it’s easiest to slice when chilled.
  • Freeze the pie for at least an hour before traveling. If it’s soft upon arrival, pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up a bit before slicing. Alternatively, if it’s still partially frozen, let it soften for 20-30 minutes (more or less as needed) at room temperature. Slice the pie when chilled.
  • Use a hot knife to create clean slices. Either run the knife under hot water or fill a large glass with hot water, then dip the knife in the hot water before each cut. Wipe the knife clean with a paper towel after each cut, repeat.
  • Wait a few minutes before serving. Transfer the chilled slices to plates, then I like to wait 5-10 minutes or so before serving for the slices to soften a bit.
peanut butter pie no bake on a plate made without any cool whip
up close of a piece of no bake peanut butter pie with a bite take out of it

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CRUST

  • 24 Oreos with filling
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces block cream cheese (very soft)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy conventional peanut butter (like Skippy or Jif)
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (like Heath’s Bits of Brickle)

Topping

  • peanut butter for drizzling (slightly warmed for easy drizzling)
  • chocolate sauce for drizzling (see Notes for DIY)
  • favorite PB candy: more toffee bits, Nutter Butters, Mini Reese’s Pieces, Butterfingers, PB Chips, etc. (pick your favs!)

STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM

  • Add the unflavored gelatin to a microwave safe bowl then pour the cold water over top; let stand for 5 minutes. Microwave for 10 seconds. Stir the mixture, then set aside. Immediately proceed with the next step.

  • Add 1 cup heavy cream and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Whip using an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form (the whipped cream folds over when you lift the beaters out of the bowl).
  • Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour in the gelatin mixture. Mix until well combined then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until stiff peaks form (the whipped cream stands straight up and doesn’t fold over when you lift the beaters out of the bowl); set aside.

Toppings

  • Add toppings (chopped/crushed candy and drizzles) to the peanut butter pie at any point after it’s set; i.e.; add after five hours and return to the refrigerator, or add and serve immediately. If the pie has been frozen, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so after adding the toppings to soften up a bit before serving (slice while still firm), or return to the fridge.

SLICE

  • Use a hot knife to slice the pie for the cleanest slices. You can either run the knife under hot water or fill a large glass with hot water, then dip the knife in the hot water before each cut. Wipe the knife clean with a paper towel after each cut, then repeat. I like the pie best after the slices have a chance to soften for 5-10 minutes.
DIY Chocolate Drizzle

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate (may sub ½ cup quality chocolate chips like Ghirardelli or Guittard) 
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Add the ingredients to microwavable safe bowl. Microwave uncovered on Medium (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking halfway through, or until chocolate can be whisked smooth. Add to a small bag, snip the corner and drizzle. 
  • Do I have to add corn syrup? Corn syrup keeps it shiny, smooth and pliable even after coming in contact with the cold pie, and even after refrigeration.  You can omit the corn syrup if you really are opposed, but the drizzle can harden and break.

Tips and Tricks

  • I highly recommend a 9-inch quiche pan with a removable bottom as seen in the photos.  When ready to serve, you place the pie on an inverted bowl and the sides drop away from the pan.  This feature is amazing because it allows you to easily transfer the entire pie to a plate or cake stand for beautiful presentation and allows you to slice the pie cleanly without ruining two slices before you can finally get a whole piece out!
  • Use conventional peanut butter:  Peanut butter that isn’t homogenized can sometimes cause texture and emulsion issues like your filling separating due to their high ratio of oil.  Additionally, I find that some natural peanut butters have a coarse texture that isn’t ideal for achieving that mousse-like pie filling.
  • Why gelatin? Whipping the cream with unflavored gelatin then folding it in with the other beaten ingredients gives this pie a light, creamy, texture with structure without any Cool Whip. The gelatin ensures your pie doesn’t become soft and weepy straight out of the refrigerator.  Unflavored gelatin is a common baking ingredient and can be found next to the packages of Jell-O and pudding at your grocery store.  
  • No bake peanut butter pie: Use a store-bought Oreo crust.
  • Gluten free peanut butter pie: Use gluten free Oreos or substitute with gluten free chocolate cookies or sandwich cookies, or even gluten free graham crackers.  If your substitution does not contain a filling, add 2 tablespoons extra butter to the crust. Only use gluten free candy for the topping. Butterfingers are gluten free and all of Reese’s products are listed as gluten-free on the Hershey’s website, except seasonal-shaped Reese’s.
  • Vegetarian peanut butter pie: Use 1 teaspoon agar-agar instead of gelatin.

HOW TO SERVE AND STORE

  • If traveling: Freeze the pie for at least an hour and let it soften for 20-30 minutes (more or less as needed) at room temperature before serving (slice while still firm).
  • How to store: Tent with foil or use a cake caddy. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.  
  • To freeze: Wrap the pie in two layer of plastic wrap, followed by foil. Store for up to 2 months. Let the pie sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so before serving to soften up a bit.

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