Homemade Pay Day Candy Bars

Delicious Homemade Pay Day Candy Bars are both salty and sweet, taste just like the real thing, & are SO easy to make!

If you love candy bars as much as I do you will LOVE these homemade pay day candy bars. They are chewy and delish. For more homemade candy try Oreo chocolate mint candy cups, and Homemade caramels.

Homemade Pay Days on a white plate

PayDay Candy Bar

Hi, it’s me, Lily again! I love to share simple recipes for some of my favorite treats. Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Homemade Pay Day Candy Bars. These candy bars are quick and easy. They taste so good, and are sure to be a hit!

This candy bar happens to be my mom’s favorite. She loves peanuts, and the contrast of salty and sweet is just so good!

I hope you can come back again soon for more yummy treats from me. I love to make people smile through food!

Layer of peanuts in a glass dish

marshmallows in a caramel mixture.

Creamy layer in a glass baking dish

Homemade Pay Days in a glass baking dish

cut homemade pay day bars on a white plate

Quick + Easy candy bars

PEANUTS. Pour half your peanuts into a greased 11×7 pan and spread so they cover the bottom.

FILLING. In a small pan melt butter and chips until well combined. Add condensed milk and marshmallows and stir until all mixed. Pour over peanut mixture.

TOPPING. Top with remaining peanuts and let cool (refrigerate if desired).

cut homemade pay day bars stacked on a white plate

recipe tips

You can use a microwave safe bowl to warm the butter and peanut butter chips in 30 second intervals. Just take the bowl out every 30 seconds and stir it to make sure nothing is sticking and/or burning. After it is successfully melted mix in the sweetened condensed milk and marshmallows.

Using roasted peanuts gives the pay day candy bar more crunch and a little bit more flavor.

If you only have a 9×13 pan your candy bars will just be a bit thinner and may need less time to cool and solidify.

To make these healthier you can make the candy bar base out of ground up dates. Place the dried and pitted dates into the food processor along with some coconut oil and peanut butter for some moisture. Grind until a paste forms. Then sandwich this paste between peanuts to make the actual bars.

Delivering homemade candies to others can be a little tricky. Just make sure that whatever you wrap it in doesn’t stick to the candy. Wrapping it in parchment paper and then other wrappings allow for the candy to not stick, but also look nice.

close up of homemade pay day bars stacked on a white plate

Storing info

STORE homemade pay days in an air-tight and sealed container in a cool and dry place. You can store them in the fridge, or if it is cool outside keeping them on the kitchen counter should be fine too. You can keep them for up to a week before the bars get hard and inedible.

Typically you shouldn’t FREEZE caramel based candy bars because they become rock solid and don’t defrost very well. We also recommend not freezing these homemade candy bars

Homemade Pay Days process

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Homemade Pay Day Candy Bar Recipe

4.73 from 18 votes
Delicious Homemade Pay Day Candy Bars are both salty and sweet, taste just like the real thing, & are SO easy to make!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 391 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 3 cups salted peanuts
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk


  • Pour half your peanuts into a greased 11x7 pan and spread so they cover the bottom.
  • In a small pan melt butter and chips until well combined. Add condensed milk and marshmallows and stir until all mixed.
  • Pour over peanut mixture.
  • Top with remaining peanuts and let cool (refrigerate if desired).

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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  1. Loving this!!! I’m so intrigued by the recipe— I’ve never tried anything like it! Which means I’m probably going to have to give it a whirl… 🙂 Pinned!

  2. Wow, is that what is in a Pay Day? No wonder they are so tasty. Thanks for the recipe. It looks simple and delicious.

  3. Do you think peanut butter would work in place of the chips? Or maybe it wouldnt set up? I got everything today, but thought it had said PB, so no chips.

  4. I made these but they never seemed to set…. so it is a gooey mess to eat them. :/ did I do something wrong?!

    1. I had the same issue. I know a lot of times with candy it needs to reach a certain heat point. Mine are very soft. They are tasty but soft. I was hoping to find the answer here.

      1. 5 stars
        I had the same problem, I added about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar (about 2 Tbs. at a time) and mixed until it looked like it would set up without being dry…. hope this helps : )

    2. Same here .. think directions should hv stated how to long cook.. obviously stir until mixed is not long enough

    3. Mine didn’t either, they taste awesome. I just thought maybe they would have been a little more hardened. And I refrigerated them for 4 hours.

    4. I ended up leaving them sitting on the island all night. In the morning, they were perfect. So they must need to set out awhile uncovered.

  5. Lily, Thank you for the recipe. I’m going to make them as soon as I get all the ingredients. Thank you for the pictures; you did a great job. I don’t think I’ve made candy bars before, so they were a big help!

  6. Mine never set up and stayed gooey. Thoughts? I also was wondering if you sprayed the dish with any cooking spray or buttered it.

    1. Hmmm… did you end up refrigerating yours? And I can’t remember if I did spray them but I might have just to be safe. 😉

    2. 5 stars
      I had the same problem, I added about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar (about 2 Tbsp. at a time, you may not need that much) and mixed until it looked like it would set up without being dry…. hope this helps : )

  7. Is it really 3 teaspoons? That is 1 Tablespoon. Butter is normally measured by Tablespoons so is it supposed to be 3 Tablespoons or 1 Tablespoon?

    1. Weird. I just edited the recipe. I’m pretty sure it’s suppose to be 3 TB butter. Thanks for the heads up! ;D

  8. 4 stars
    These turned out great and are very tasty! The only reason that I took off a start is that I feel these instructions are a little incomplete.

    These bars definitely won’t set properly if you follow these exact instructions – I had to boil my mixture over medium heat for about half an hour to make sure it was going to set into a chewy candy. It should be very thick and slow to fall back together when separated in the pot.

    I also found that the peanuts on the top (despite having pushed them into the mixture) almost all fell out when I cut it into squares. Next time I would probably only put the peanuts on the bottom (or mix them in)…it doesn’t look as nice with all of these peanut holes!

    Delicious recipe though, going to be a hit at Christmas for sure!

    1. Anita, I sure wish I had read your comments before I made these again. I knew there was something missing in the instructions. I’m sad That I wasted all those ingredients.

  9. All of these Pay Day recipes seems to be a waste of time. I have compared all of the different recipes and their ingredients and have tried this 2 years in a row for Christmas baking They do not set up. They are runny and a mess. Refrigerating does not help at all.

  10. 5 stars
    We tried the homemade payday bars tonight. My son requested melted drizzled chocolate on the top. We’re waiting for them to harden but they look amazing. Did you have a scorched pan when you melted the butter, peanut butter chips, condensed milk, and marshmallows? I think next time we’ll do the double boiler method. 🙂

    1. Yes, you need to constantly be stirring, otherwise it could burn a little. Double broiler works too 🙂 Chocolate drizzle sounds yum!!

  11. 5 stars
    These were amazing! I read the comments and modified accordingly, they set perfectly. I used the small can of sweetened condensed milk, 3 cups of mini marshmallows not 2. After they melted I stirred until it felt “sticky” (about 5 more minutes). Also be sure you are using the correct size pan. 11×7. I pressed the peanuts into the top and only a few fell off when eating, same as a Pay Day bar. Maybe chopping them up first then pressing them in would work too. They were a hit with my guys today. I’ll be making them again!

      1. 4 stars
        Ok, here is what I did, and they were bang on! :
        3 loose packed cups of marshmallow instead of two, heated everything in stages until fully melted and incorporated. Once the marshmallows began melting, it was fluffy peanut butter consistency.
        Then I poured over a half crushed layer on peanuts that is on a casserole dish that is lined with parchment then sprayed with Bakers Joy.
        Now, here is where it really made a difference….
        I coated the top while still hot with half crushed mud again, really pressing them in, then let it cool for a second before I pulled the whole thing out of the dish and plopping it in a deep cookie tray. The parchment paper on the bottom, the candy bar middle, then took another parchment paper and pressed it over the top. The bars wound up about two inches thick… Full of peanuts, and set up perfect. Chewy, able to be cut into bars…. If you add less peanuts, they still retain shape.
        I tried them without the casserole dish step, but it just turned into a peanut version off a rice krispie treat. Letting them set a moment in the dish so the sugar bit could set up helped the layer effect.

  12. 5 stars
    Made your payday candy and my family loved it! Gone! My 20 something daughter will be making it to take to the shore with her friends. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it’s a keeper.

  13. Tried making your Pay Day bars, but came out soft instead of firm. They have been the refrigerator for over a day, may see what happens if I freeze them.

  14. I made this and it was good, but too sweet for a payday bar. I sliced it after some time in the fridge and rolled it and pressed more peanuts in it and it was perfect

  15. 5 stars
    I’m making these payday candy bars to take in the car on our trip from Florida to Illinois. I hope they travel well. I’m cutting them smaller and layering them in parchment paper and putting in zip lock bags. Not sure if they need to be in the cooler. I’m sure it will be the best part of our trip.

    1. That’s interesting..I am not sure why it didn’t?! Did you try sticking them in the fridge?

  16. I had the same problem that a lot of the others had, mine did not set up, I put them in the freezer for about 2 or more hours, then I took them out of the freezer and put them on the counter, I was going to cut them but when I came out about a half hours later, they had melted all over my counter, I had to scrape them off of the counter into a dish, they are very tasty, so we have just been eating them out of the dish, with a spoon, but I have to leave them in the frige

  17. 5 stars
    OMGOSH, Delicious! And so easy and fast to make!
    SOme posts read tHat theirs didn’t set-Up, so i was sure to follow directions to a t. I used real butter, and slowly added the sweetened condensed milk while constantly stirring. Took no time at all. Bars started to set-up while on the counter, but put them in fridge and about a half an hour later they were COmplete and ready to cut into pieces.
    P.s. i used a lot more peanuts than required!! 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe! I’m glad I found iT!!

    1. I am glad you found it, too!! Happy you shared that & that you liked them!! Thank you so much!!

    1. The marshmallows help it all stick together. I haven’t left them out, so not sure how they would turn out, without them.

  18. 5 stars
    First time making these, and I tasted a little bit of the mixture, omg it’s so good. If I would of known how simple this was I could just of been making these instead of buying store bought ones. For this time, they are being put in holiday baked goods gifts for friends and family. Thank you so much for posting this awesome and very simple recipe!

  19. Made these this week for the first time. Didn’t set up. Have been in the fridge over 24 hours and still not set up. Taste good but very sticky and messy.

  20. 5 stars
    OMG! I can’t believe how spot on this tastes like the actual candy bar! We have a wonderful nun that used to be at our church and she is recovering from covid 19. Payday is her favorite candy bar and I’m going to make a batch for her as soon as she’s feeling 100%! Thanks for sharing!

  21. 5 stars
    This might be one of the best things I’ve ever made. Soooooo good! Made a small batch, thanks for the serving adjuster provided. Absolutely divine!