Chocolate peanut clusters make the perfect holiday sweet treat. With just 5 minutes of preparation time, three ingredients, and your crock pot, your delicious chocolate peanut clusters make the perfect holiday gift, a cookie exchange, or a treat for the office Christmas party.
It is the holiday season, and everybody is rushed for time. But nothing will tell your friends and family you care more than homemade candy.
Unbelievably easy, this chocolate peanut cluster recipe will take you only a few minutes of preparation time, mostly spent adding ingredients to the slow cooker. 2 hours on low in your slow cooker, and a few minutes scooping bit size pieces of your love.
I used the Food.com version as my stated inspiration recipe. There are many similar recipes, but all seem to vary just a little and I have given you a number of the differences as options. It is always interesting to read the comments on recipes. The comments on this one will tell the story. Everybody gave it 5 stars.
This recipe is very forgiving. Change the nuts to pecans, walnuts, or almonds, add some coconut, switch out the almond bark for something else. It just always works.
An easy 5. These are evil good.
Use a good quality of chocolate chips or chunks. I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips if you prefer. Do not use the cheaper baking chips that are not real chocolate.
I like to add a Bakers German chocolate bar which is higher in cocoa butter and will add more flavor to make up for using the candy melts or almond bark.
The amount of chocolate can vary. By weight, the total amount of chocolate should be about ¾ of the amount of almond bark (or candy melts). You can use as little as half the amount or up to an equal amount. I tend to go closer to an equal amount.
Candy Melts/Almond Bark
Candy melts (or almond bark) will make your homemade candy harder and cover the nuts better when cooled. They are made with vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter and contain some coloring and flavoring.
Candy melts are the newer version of old-fashioned almond bark and are generally sold almost everywhere. Almond bark is harder to find.
I suggest the white vanilla version of either one. If you use almond bark, be sure to break it up some to help it melt easier.
I suggest lightly salted skinless dry roasted peanuts. They do need to be dry roasted to eliminate all water, which will affect the chocolate.
Feel free to use other types of nuts like walnuts, pecans, or almonds but they should be dry roasted to avoid any moisture. If they are unsalted, a touch of salt should be considered but be careful.
My original recipe was double this size and had no variability. I have republished this at half original size which makes it much friendlier for most homes.
The serving size is about one tablespoon, which is about one heaping kitchen teaspoon. Make your candies a little small says the guy who has eaten hundreds of these.
Chocolate Peanut Cluster FAQs
Quality does matter, but the choice of milk chocolate, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate is a personal taste thing. I choose semi-sweet chocolate chips usually.
Not a good idea here. What people call white chocolate is more like the cheap baking chips with not much cocoa butter.
To make a white version, some special attention is needed. Please see Crock Pot White Chocolate Almond Clusters.
Absolutely. Treat them as interchangeable by weight.
It will work, but it is artificial chocolate flavor. Please use the vanilla flavor.
No, but it will add more cocoa butter and make a richer chocolate flavor.
While I think this is great with lightly salted peanuts, you can substitute almost any dry roasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
Yes. Moisture and chocolate do not do well together, especially when heated. It will affect the texture but can also just totally ruin the candy.
As written, this needs to be made in a crock pot of 3-quarts or bigger. A double recipe will fit in a 6-quart cooker.
If you use a large crock pot for the smaller recipe, it can heat faster, so in addition to my recommended check at 90 minutes into cooking, please also check at 60 minutes. But it will probably still take the whole 2 hours.
The crock pot needs to be on low. This is not a recipe to be cooked on high. On low, most crock pots slowly will get to 210° over 4 or more hours. So a great slow heat to melt chocolate.
On high, some crock pots may run 250°+. They shouldn't, but they do. Also, the run-up to full temperature is much faster on the high setting. This adds a good chance to overheat the chocolate.
You can do this in a large, heavy pot on the stovetop over low heat. You will need to add everything but the nuts. Stand there and frequently stir until the chocolate melts and comes together completely. This will take about 15 minutes to complete. Stir in the nuts at the end. You can also use a double boiler if you have one.
The crock pot method is easier, but the stovetop is faster.
❄️Storage of Peanut Clusters
Chocolate peanut clusters are best stored at room temperature for 4-5 days preferable in an airtight container.
You can freeze them in a freezer bag in a single layer. They will be good in a freezer for 3 months,
📖Crock Pot Candy Recipes
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Note: All images are for a double batch, which is what we usually make. All discussion is for a smaller amount, which is half the previous published recipe.
Only a few ingredients.
Use a 3-quart crock pot or bigger. Add one pound of lightly salted dry roasted peanuts. Add 16 oz. of chocolate chips or chunks and Bakers chocolate (See the discussion above or in the recipe card about the chocolate amount and types.) Top with 1 pound of vanilla almond bark (broken up) or candy melts.
Cook on low with the cover on. DO NOT cook on high. Crock pots can vary, so check the chocolate at 90 minutes into cooking. It is done when you can mix everything completely. It will take about 2 hours usually.
Allow to cool for a few minutes to firm up slightly. Then scoop heaping spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment paper lined baking sheets or just parchment on a clean countertop. Try not to make them too big. It is candy, not cookies.
Allow to cool for about 2 hours.
Crock Pot Chocolate Peanut Clusters
- 1 pound dry roasted peanuts - salted or light salted
- 1 pound candy melts or almond bark - vanilla
- 16 oz chocolate - Usually 12 oz of chips with 4 oz of Bakers chocolate
- Use a 3-quart crock pot or bigger. Add one pound of lightly salted dry roasted peanuts. Add 12 oz. of chocolate chips or chunks plus 4 oz, of Baker's chocolate. Top with 1 pound of vanilla almond bark (broken up) or candy melts.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes to firm up slightly. Then scoop heaping spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment paper. Try not to make them too big. It is candy, not cookies.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes to firm up slightly. Then spoon heaping spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Try not to make them too big. It is candy, not cookies.
- Allow to cool for about 2 hours.
- Place the chocolate and the candy melts (or almond bark) into a pan over low heat.
- Cook while stirring occasionally until melted and smooth (about 10-15 minutes). Stir in nuts at the end then let it cool for 5 minutes before spooning the candy out.
My Private Notes
- For the chocolate, use brand-name chips or chunks. I like to add a bar of Baker’s chocolate which will add more cocoa butter to help the almond bark. That is 12 oz. of chips and 4 oz. of Baker's chocolate usually.
- The amount of chocolate can vary. The amount of chocolate should about equal to the candy melts but can be as little as half the amount.
- If you use almond bark in a large bar, cut it up to help it melt.
- Use the dry roasted nuts you want.
- Cook on low with the cover on. Do not cook on high.
- For the recipe as written, this fits nicely in a 3-quart crock pot. A double recipe, which I usually make, needs 6-quart or larger.
- Crock pots can vary, so check the chocolate at 90 minutes into cooking. It is done when you can mix everything completely which is usually about 2 hours.
- If you use a large crock pot for a smaller recipe, it may cook a bit faster. So check the crock pot at 60 and 90 minutes into cooking.
- You may use candy "melts" or almond bark. Get the vanilla flavor since the chocolate flavor can taste odd.
- The serving size is about one tablespoon which is about one heaping kitchen teaspoon. Make them a little small.
- While still hot, give them a topping of a few candy sprinkles if you want for the kids.
- Chocolate peanut clusters are good stored at room temperature for 4-5 days. You can freeze them in a freezer bag in a single layer. They will be good in a freezer for 3 months,
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
© 101 Cooking for Two, LLC. All content and photographs are copyright protected by us or our vendors. While we appreciate your sharing our recipes, please realize copying, pasting, or duplicating full recipes to any social media, website, or electronic/printed media is strictly prohibited and a violation of our copyrights.
Editor's Note: Originally Published November 25, 2016. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.