Reese’s Gooey Cake Bars

Reese’s peanut butter cups and Reese’s pieces turn these chocolate cake mix bars into a peanut butter lover’s dream dessert.  Make these Reese’s Gooey Cake Bars for after dinner, and watch everyone go nuts for them.

Reese's candies turn these cake bars into a peanut butter lover's dream dessert

 Remember a few weeks ago when I admitted HERE that I was struggling remembering any kind of 9th grade science?

Well, it’s gets worse people.  Now I can’t even do 4th grade math.  Seriously!   My brain has decided to go bye bye when it comes to scholastic anything.   

 Reese's candies turn these cake bars into a peanut butter lover's dream dessert

Last night our youngest was working on a math sheet after dinner.  All of a sudden I hear him yelling out for me to come make sure he is doing it right.  That should have been my first clue to run as far away as possible.  Math is not (and never was) my strongest subject.  But…I headed into the dining room to see what all the yelling was about.

He showed me a math problem, and asked if he did it right.  Clue number two to turn tail and run.  Do I listen?  Nope!  I looked it over and promptly told him, he did it wrong.   Then I tried to explain why I got a different answer from him.  He starts arguing with me that his teacher told him to do it this particular way.  Clue number three…if the teacher told him one way, I should just run and not even try to answer a math problem.  Still not paying attention to the clues…

Again, I try to reason with the 4th grader.  At this time my husband comes in to see what all the commotion is about.  He looks the problem over and immediately tells me how wrong I am.  Apparently I really have lost all concept of math.  Maybe if it was just adding and subtracting, but no they had to go and add some parentheses and multiplying and dividing to said problem.

Next time I need to see the clues and back away as fast as possible from all math questions.  It never ends well for me!

 Reese's candies turn these cake bars into a peanut butter lover's dream dessert

Now I have a fun math story problem for everyone:

Mom has 1 bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups and 1 bag of mini Reese’s pieces.  She adds some of each to 1 cake mix, 1 egg, and 1 stick of butter.  The bars take 30 minutes to bake, and 3 hours to cool and set.  How many bars does mom share with the family that ridicules her math skills?   The answer?  0!!!!  Laughing family members get none, and mom eats all of them to get over her math shame.

Ok, fine I did share these gooey bars with my family.  They devoured these bars as soon as I gave the okay to eat them.

Reese's candies turn these cake bars into a peanut butter lover's dream dessert

There is just something magical about sweetened condensed milk and a cake mix.  It bakes up so gooey and delicious!

Adding peanut butter cups to the middle was just the thing these chocolate bars needed.  Make sure you freeze the peanut butter cups first though.  The first time I made them, they kind of melted into the bars.  Still just as good to eat, but not quite as impressive when you cut into them.  Freezing the peanut butter cups helps them not melt into the dough.

Now who wants to buy a some bags of candy and work on math problems with me?

I got it when math involves baking!

Reese's candies turn these cake bars into a peanut butter lover's dream dessert

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Reese’s Gooey Cake Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 16 cake bars

Reese’s Gooey Cake Bars

Reese's peanut butter cups and Reese's pieces give these gooey cake bars an extreme hit of peanut butter goodness.


1 chocolate cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 regular sized peanut butter cups, frozen and unwrapped
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup mini Reese's Pieces


  1. Combine the cake mix, egg, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until a soft dough forms. Press half the dough into an 8x8x2 baking dish that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
  2. Arrange the frozen peanut butter cups over the top of the dough. You may need to trim the edges of a few. Press the rest of the dough over the tops of the peanut butter cups evenly.
  3. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the dough. Sprinkle with the Reese's Pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. They will look very gooey and undone. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into 16 squares. Store in a sealed container on the counter.


*The recipe says use an 8x8x2 pan...that means make sure the sides of your pan are 2 inches high, so the mixture does not bubble over!!!! **Make sure you freeze your peanut butter cups at least a few hours before you start to make these bars. ***Make sure you also let these bars set completely before cutting into them. They will appear very gooey and undone, but do not worry. They will set up. I usually make them the night before and let them set up overnight before cutting.

Reese's candies turn these cake bars into a peanut butter lover's dream dessert

Other ways to enjoy Reese’s that are kid approved in our house:

Marshmallow Reese's Blonde Brownies

Marshmallow Reese’s Blonde Brownies

Reese's Popcorn Munch

Reese’s Popcorn Munch

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies

Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies

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  1. Kentucky Lady 717 says

    LOL… daughter & her husband, both college graduates with degrees and they sometimes struggle helping their daughter do 6th.grade math, etc…..they say it’s like learning all over…and I said well just don’t ask me to help her….she is doing work that I did in the 8th. grade…..

    This dessert looks wonderful…..and I do want to make it…..

      • Lauren says

        Hi! I do not have the 8x8x2 pan, but I have a 13×9. Would I have to double the recipe for it to come out right? Also, I share your pain with the math! :)

        • Nicholas says

          I used the same pan and found that two boxes of cake mix dough did not cover the top of the peanut butter cups completely. This recipe is vague at best. I do a lot of baking and drizzling one cup of condensed milk basically coved the entire pan. I don’t know how this is gonna turn out time will tell. But I was not impressed by the directions.

          • says

            Well, I sure hope if you used 2 boxes of cake mix and 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk that you used a 9×13 pan. What exactly do you find vague about the recipe? I have had plenty of people make and love this recipe…so, I’m thinking the recipe must make sense.

  2. says

    So, can you even imagine what it’s like for me trying to teach math to my kids? People have this idea that homeschool parents must be sooooo smart. No. We just throw books and computers at our kids and cross our fingers that they figure things out. 😉

    LOVE these bars. Like, seriously. LOVE THEM.
    Karly recently posted..Pulled Buffalo Chicken SandwichesMy Profile

  3. says

    I’m pretty sure I just landed in Reese’s heaven Jocelyn! These bars look fabulous – pinned! Now as far as math homework goes – you’ve got me worried! Reece is in 2nd grade now and I can honestly say I’m not looking forward to the coming years :)
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted..Reese’s TurkeysMy Profile

  4. says

    My husband was away for work and my 10 year old had math homework and we had to FaceTime daddy to do the homework with him cuz, mommy was stumped! Max is in 4th grade. :/

    These cake bars could only taste awesome! They look perfect! Chocolate/pnut combo never is bad in anyway shape or form!
    Tahnycooks recently posted..Triple Coconut Cream PieMy Profile

  5. says

    These look incredible! And you are basically a genius for figuring out to freeze the Reese’s. And that kind of brilliance cancels out the need to know pretty much anything else :)
    Ashton recently posted..Pecan Pie CakeMy Profile

  6. says

    I’m so bad at math. I don’t even really like talking about it, haha. I really enjoy stuffing things inside of cakes and cupcakes, and these Reese’s Gooey Cake Bars are blowing my mind! And the topping, omg! Who needs math when you can eat this cake!
    Beth @ bethcakes recently posted..Butterscotch BrowniesMy Profile

  7. says

    This is why I don’t teach math to my 4th grader. Where she’s at, it’s just over my head. I took the required classes in H.S. and was done after that. Josh does the math class with Grace at 5am and then all I have to do is check her work against our books. If she has questions, I call the husband at work or we deal with it when he gets home, lol! Doing math was the one thing I was most scared about when we made our choice to homeschool. But Grace is doing a fab job! LOL! I love these cake bars! So so yummy looking. I don’t know how you are refraining from trying everything. I could not do the clean eating thing at all! Kudos to you!
    Chels R. recently posted..Molasses CookiesMy Profile

  8. says

    Math was not my favorite either, Jocelyn. I’m dreading the day when I have to remember it beyond the first grade level…that’s the grade that I taught, and that’s the grade of my eldest right now, so it’s the highest level I’ve had to worry about since college! 😉 Your Reese’s bars look fantastic, though…sharing on FB today to make some people very happy! :)
    Samantha @ Five Heart Home recently posted..Moonlight & Mason Jars Link Party {#32}My Profile

  9. says

    My daughter has been looking for a recipe like this and I just sent it to her. Math is no my strong suit either. Thank goodness for calculators and gooey bars!

  10. says

    The funny thing, Jocelyn, is that you serendipitously discovered what I think is the secret to math. Candy. When I was teaching 5th/6th grade math, we used candy all the time as manipulatives to figure out math problems. The candy offers a visual first then a reward or consolation later! :) I think I still see m&m’s in my head when I do multiplication! Once my kids got to high school though, math homework was out of my league and beyond the help of candy except for the consolation part! These bars look chewy wonderful! Thanks for the tip on freezing the Reeses cups. I think the peanut butter cups are the standout feature!
    Wendy recently posted..Very Chocolate Chanukah Gelt CookiesMy Profile

  11. Gary says

    Oh yes, the pictures look delicious.

    However I followed the recipe to a T and all I got was a big watery, goopy mess. The Reese’s pieces sunk completely into the mix 10 minutes into baking, the whole mix bubbled, overflowed, and made a mess in my oven, and regardless of freezing the cups prior to baking the cups still ended up completely melting in the goop. The recipe is a total disaster and a waste of money.

    • says

      I am so sorry to hear that they did not work for you, but I have made these and a few other variations with absolutely no issues. Never once has it bubbled over in my oven!! How deep is your 8 inch pan? Mine is at least 2 inches deep, so maybe that was the problem there. As for the peanut butter cups melting into the bars, they shouldn’t have if they were completely frozen. Also how soon did you cut into the bars? They need to sit for hours before you cut them. I actually make them the night before and then cut them into bars the next morning. My guess is that the bars didn’t set long enough.

  12. Mallory says

    I made these today for my boss’ birthday. Word to the wise have your insulin next to you and a dentist appointment scheduled lol. I ran into an issue of running short on the cake batter. Mine also didn’t turn out very pretty and bubbled over the sides. The Reese’s did stay somewhat solid though as I froze them over night. And the center of the bars I’m the pan had like sink down in. They cut okay although I did put them in the freezer to help with the setting process.

    • says

      Yes, they are very sweet with all the candy and sweetened condensed milk. How deep was your baking dish? Mine has never bubbled over the edge…mine is 2 inches deep. It sounds like maybe you had a little bit more in the bottom of the pan before adding the candy. Did they at least taste good?

  13. Deb says

    I made these yesterday and am already looking forward to making them again! Awesome is the only valid description. Freezing the PB cups before using them was genius. I have made a few recipes from your site and have enjoyed them all, but peanut butter and chocolate is my currant obsession so this was timed perfectly. I am very thankful that you continue to come up with these amazing new recipes!!

  14. Allie says

    I want to send these to a friend for Valentine’s Day in the mail, does anyone know how long these last or if they would even be shippable?

    • says

      Bar cookies are great for shipping because they tend to be sturdier than cookies. I think as long as you pack them well, they would ship great. As long as they are sealed I would think they would last a week.

  15. Julie says

    Made these in a 9x9x2 pan and they worked out great. No overflowing at all. The only thing I can think of that may have caused that for people is if they tried to follow the cake box recipe instead of adding the dry cake mix to the stuff you say to add it to to make it a dough. Or, they may not have used a deep enough pan. I am at a high altitude and did not need to make any changes to the recipe, which was nice. Freezing the PB Cups for at least 4 hours is a must. I made it twice with great results both times. I cooked them 33 minutes and found they set up just fine within a few hours. They were a solid bar but the condensed milk make them soften up perfectly.

  16. Julie says

    Oh, and one more thing. The cake batter did not need to cover the entire top in a thick layer (for those that feel you are short on batter). I just put a very think layer of dough on top, and filled in the holes between the PB cups. When the dough cooked, it expanded to cover the entire top. :)

  17. Rex Marshall says

    next time I’ll put the peanut butter cups on the first layer upside down. the second layer should go on easier. Just an idea

  18. Noelle says

    Thought this looked great for my husband’s birthday. I’m sure it will taste awesome, but my Reese’s Pieces melted on top. Any suggestions?

  19. danielle says

    Hey there. I was supposed to bbe studying but I’m baking now before that happens !! Quick question though. Do you mix what the box says for the cake mix too or just the one egg etc.
    Thanks! Can’t wait :)

    • says

      Hi, Danielle. Baking always trumps studying :-) LOL! You can study while it’s in the oven. No, do not mix the cake like the box says. Just follow the directions in my recipe for the 1 egg and 1/2 cup butter. Hope you like them!

  20. Christine says

    Made these tonight and they are amazing!!!! I’m surprised to read other comments about watery messes, since my dough was very thick. I started it in my kitchenaid but has to hand knead it to get it all mixed together. Spreading it enough to cover my 8×11 pan was a chore. I managed a thin layer on the bottom and just barely got the cups covered on the top. All looked fine once it rose. They taste delicious. I’m in love.

    • says

      I am so glad to hear that these turned out great for you. I have never had a problem getting the dough mixed together or spread out. I did notice that you said you used an 8×11 pan…that would be one reason your dough was thinner…I always use an 8×8 pan for this recipe. But yay, for them turning out and and you being in love with them :-)

  21. Heyentah says

    On that gooey cake, seems like a yummy alternative would be York Peppermint Patties and Mint M&Ms for the Reese’s — Peanut butter for me, Chocolate Mint for hubby, everybody’s happy 😉

  22. amanda says

    I mixed my cake mix, egg, vanilla, and butter but i didnt get a dough like consistency, should i add more cake mix? (its not runny by any means, but it is sticky to the touch and i couldn’t roll a ball of it in my hand if i tried)

  23. Melissa says

    These look delicious and plan on making these tomorrow! I do have a question… the cake mix I bought calls for 3 eggs (the store only had 1 chocolate cake mix!). Do I follow the cake box recipe and make it with 3 eggs, or do I make it with 3 eggs plus the one egg this calls for, or just the 1 egg that this calls for?

    • says

      Hi, Melissa. Do not follow the box directions because we are not making cake. You want to only use the egg called for in the recipe, so the bars turn out. Also, make sure your pan is an 8×8 pan with 2 inch tall sides. I hope you enjoy the bars! They are one of my favorites!

  24. Josie Blanton says

    Just a question, so you just use any chocolate cake batter & don’t follow the mixing instructions for it? Just add what you said & it will work out?

  25. g says

    When I hear gooey, I think of brownies.
    What is the consistency difference between traditional brownies and the gooey chocolate cake?

    • says

      I think gooey bars and brownies are pretty similar in their consistency…at least if you like your brownies slightly under baked like I do :-)

  26. Brittany says

    I had very high hopes for these bars. They look so good in the picture. I made them last night to take to Easter dinner. I followed the recipe to a T and made sure to use an 8x8x2 pan as the other comments had overflowing. This morning I checked them and they turned out awful. The middle is sunken in and the sides are so hard that I can’t even cut it. Really disappointed. Also, you should reconsider the high amount of advertising you have on your site. It takes an unusually high amount of time to load the page just to get to the recipe. I attempted access on both a computer and a tablet. It seems you get a high amount of traffic regardless, but definitely something that I find to be a turn-off on any site.

    • says

      I am so sorry to hear these didn’t turn out for you. I have never had them not turn out, and so many people have made and loved them. I would highly suggest still cutting into them because I bet they still taste amazing. And I’m sorry you had so much trouble loading the time. I’m working with my ad company to get that fixed.

  27. Melissa says

    I’ve made these twice and they are so delicious! I have one problem though. Both times that I’ve made them, the middle sags down soon after I take it out of the oven. The first time I baked it for 30 min, the second time for 35. I followed the recipe exactly. I don’t understand what happened. Any ideas?

    • says

      I am so glad you have made them a few times and love them. The centers of mine always sink a little too…I just didn’t photograph those ones.

  28. Lora says

    The back of the cake mix says 3 eggs. Do I use those and another egg as called for in the recipe? So 4 eggs total? Or just the 3 from the box?

    • says

      Hi, Lora. You only use 1 egg like the recipe states. Do not follow the box directions, or these will not turn out. Using 1 egg and butter creates a cookie dough like texture. I hope you enjoy them :-)

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