Chocolate peanut clusters are super easy to make at home in your crock pot. Lightly salted peanuts covered with sweet chocolate coating make the perfect gift, or keep them all for yourself—you can always make more with this smaller recipe.
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. But don't let them know how easy (and cheap) they are to make.
This chocolate peanut cluster recipe will take you only a few minutes of preparation time, mostly spent adding ingredients to the crock pot. 2 hours on low in your crock pot, and a few minutes scooping bit size pieces of your love.
I used the Food.com version as my stated inspiration recipe. This recipe is very forgiving—change the nuts to pecans, walnuts, or almonds, add some coconut, and switch out the almond bark for candy melts. Vary the chocolate types or even the amount. It just always works.
👨🍳How to make this candy
- Place all the ingredients in a 3 quart or larger crock pot. Break up any large pieces of almond bark—mix well.
- Cover and cook on low, never high.
- Check at 90 minutes; it will probably not be done.
- Stir and cook another 30+ minutes until all ingredients mix easily.
- Spoon out small amounts on sheets of parchment paper and allow to cool completely—2-3 hours.
Ingredients to use
Use good-quality chocolate chips or chunks. I like to use semisweet chocolate chips, but you can use milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, or even some peanut butter chips if mixing. Do not use the cheaper baking chips that are not real chocolate and have almost no cocoa butter—quality matters.
Add a Bakers German chocolate bar higher in cocoa butter for more flavor to make up for using the candy melts or almond bark.
The amount of chocolate to melts/bark can vary. By weight, the total amount of chocolate should be approximately equal to the weight of candy melts or almond bark. But it can vary a lot and still work.
White chocolate is not real chocolate and has a low level of cocoa butter. Making nut clusters with white chocolate needs some special attention. Please see Crock Pot White Chocolate Almond Clusters for details.
About candy melts and almond bark
Candy melts and almond bark will make your homemade candy harder and cover the nuts better when cooled. They are made with hydrogenated vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter and contain artificial coloring and flavoring.
Candy melts are the newer version of old-fashioned almond bark and are generally sold everywhere. Almond bark is harder to find. Use them interchangeably.
Use the white vanilla version of either one. The chocolate version will have artificial flavoring you do not want. If you use white almond bark, break it up to help it melt easier.
What nuts to use?
Use lightly salted skinless peanuts—dry roasted to eliminate all water, which will affect the chocolate.
Feel free to use other nuts like walnuts, pecans, or almonds, but they should be dry-roasted to avoid moisture. If they are unsalted, a touch of salt should be considered but be careful.
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 and the melts come 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.
Serving and recipe size
My original recipe was double this size and had no variability. I have republished this at half its original size, making it much friendlier for most homes. And I added some options for flexibility.
The serving size is about one tablespoon, about one heaping kitchen teaspoon. Make your candies a little small, says the guy who has eaten hundreds of these.
❓FAQs and tips
Moisture and chocolate do not do well together, especially when heated. It will affect the texture but can also totally ruin the candy.
As written, this fits 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 will slowly get to 210° over 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 of overheating the chocolate.
Chocolate peanut clusters may be kept at room temperature for 4-5 days or up to a month refrigerated 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
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Note: All images are for a double batch, which we usually make. All discussion is for a smaller amount, half the previously 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 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 lid 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 thoroughly. It will usually take about 2 hours.
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 semi-sweet chocolate 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 16 oz. of chocolate chips or chunks and Bakers chocolate (See the discussion above or 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 thoroughly. It will usually take about 2 hours.
- 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.
- 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.
Your Own Private Notes
- For the chocolate, use brand-name semi-sweet chocolate 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 (or almond bark),
- 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.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published November 25, 2016. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.