Sunbutter Buckeyes


Sunbutter Buckeyes are a nut-free version of the traditional candy revered by Ohioans and those who don the Scarlett and Gray every fall.

If you don’t know what a buckeye is, you’re probably not from Ohio. Buckeye trees are found throughout the Midwest, but Ohio appropriated the buckeye tree as its own and The Ohio State University claims the buckeye as its mascot.

We refer to its seeds as “buckeyes.” When they drop from the tree, they have a spiny, prickly shell, but inside is a harder shell that encases a nut. The inner shell and nut look very similar to chestnuts only they’re poisonous. In the fall, yards all over the Midwest are peppered with these little nuts — just in time for football season.

I was born and raised in Colorado, but most of my family is from Ohio so I have a deep knowledge of all things midwestern. There’s A LOT of pride for the Buckeyes, so it’s no surprise there’s an edible version of the poisonous nuts — the Buckeye Ball. It’s also the state dessert. Basically, buckeye candies are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate with a bit of the peanut butter exposed to make it look like a real buckeye. They’re like peanut butter cups, so you can imagine how delicious they are. It would be nearly impossible to change this recipe to make it my own EXCEPT that there are so many people with peanut allergies… I’m making this a nut-free buckeye. Instead of peanut butter, I’m using sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) because everyone should know the pleasure of biting into a buckeye 🙂 (unless you went to a Big Ten school and refuse to eat them — but that’s your problem).

One caveat: there are a few ways to make the chocolate shell. I think the original version uses paraffin wax, but some people use shortening. I have made buckeyes without either, but they melt onto your fingers. I try to use shortening sparingly, so this recipe uses a minimal amount of paraffin wax. It’s edible and helps keep the shape of the candy, so I’m ok with it.

Sunbutter BuckeyesSunbutter-Buckeyes

  • 6 tb sunbutter (unsweetened)
  • 3 tb butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 ounces chocolate
  • 1 tb (½ oz) paraffin wax


Cream together the sunbutter and butter. (No mixer needed! You only need a fork for this if your butter is soft enough.)Sunbutter-Buckeyes

Add the sugar ½ cup at a time — you only need enough to make it stiff. It should be a bit crumbly; it’ll all come together when you scoop it.Sunbutter-Buckeyes

Add the vanilla and keep mixing. Scoop out a 1.5 tablespoons (#50 cookie scoop), roll it in your hands to smooth out the ball and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Repeat 15 more times. Place the pan in the freezer.Sunbutter-Buckeyes

Make a double boiler: fill a small sauce pan with about 2” of water, top with a kitchen towel and place a heat-safe bowl on top. Bring to a simmer.Sunbutter-Buckeyes

Place the wax in the bowl and melt.  Add chocolate and mix well with melted wax.Sunbutter-Buckeyes

Using a toothpick, dip each sunbutter ball in the chocolate, leaving just the top of the butter exposed. 

Sunbutter Buckeyes are just as good as the original — now there’s no reason for someone to miss out on buckeye deliciousness! (this of course, can be made vegan if you replace the butter with coconut oil and use dark chocolate).Sunbutter-Buckeyes
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Bea says:

    A nice idea. I have never hated a Buckeye even after going to school in Ohio. The whole peanut butter and chocolate combo is definitely an American preoccupation. Maybe I would be tempted by sunbutter. I could definitely go in for ones made with almond butter.

  2. Bea says:

    ** tasted

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.