Makeover Peanut Butter Bars Recipe
Makeover Peanut Butter Bars Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Makeover Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

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Lighter in calories and fat, these ooey-gooey peanut butter bars are still family favorites. Try them and you'll see why! —Lori Stevens, Riverton, Utah
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:36 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 36 servings


  • 1-3/4 cups reduced-fat creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 237 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 165mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 2g fiber), 5g protein .


  1. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well (batter will be thick).
  2. Spread into a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; spread with remaining peanut butter. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, beat frosting ingredients until light and fluffy. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Cut into bars. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Makeover Peanut Butter Bars in Healthy Cooking June/July 2009, p26

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homemadewithlove 181808
Reviewed May. 28, 2014

"Makes a lot so it will feed a crowd. The frosting is delish! First time using reduced fat PB but overall the bars were well received and some asked for the recipe."

christquest 98844
Reviewed Mar. 2, 2014

"These are my go-to healthy sweets! Can't get enough of them!"

danielleylee 166128
Reviewed Jun. 7, 2013

"These are amazing. I made them for fathers day a few years ago and no one could tell they were a healthier version of the ones I made that are similar to a food network stars high fat peanut butter bars the previous year."

katieleigh3508 166126
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2013

"I thought these bars were very dry and found ways to give the rest of the pan away. I only had old-fashioned oats in the cupboard, and that may have made the difference. I'll just enjoy smaller portions of the real stuff in the future."

mountainbaby 114266
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2013

"I love these for breakfast or snacking with a glass of milk. I put 6 oz. chocolate chips on the bars as soon as they come from the oven, let them melt, and spread. I no longer use the frosting. Either way, they're delicious!"

choc52 144206
Reviewed Jul. 17, 2011

"These were great! The texture from the oats is nice. I've made them a couple of times and needed to add a couple more tablespoons of milk to make the icing the consistency I needed to spread easily. I also probably substituted Smart Balance for the butter (original in the tub, not light). They also freeze well. Thanks for sharing!"

N3 210796
Reviewed May. 1, 2011

"These are fantastic! I probably wouldn't go so far as to call it a "healthy" recipe (hahaha)...but, my mom and I did a couple of things to further improve the stats. We used 1 c all-purpose flour and 1 c whole wheat flour in the batter. Then I also used maybe only a 1/3 c of the peanut butter on the top of the bars - just enough for a thin layer. My mom and daughter halved the frosting recipe and it all came together just right...imho. Definitely a keeper of a recipe!"

pamelag21 168773
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2011

"Tasted great"

fowa 181405
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2011

"i made it from a previous issue I got . It is great"

maria37 210795
Reviewed May. 22, 2010

"I loved this recipe! These bars are very very good and I will make these again."

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