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What is the nutritional value of a Peanut Butter ball?

Peanut butter balls, also known as buckeyes, are a popular candy made by mixing together peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and sometimes chocolate. They are a staple at Halloween parties and potlucks. But what exactly is in these tasty treats, and how many calories and nutrients do they contain? As a registered dietitian, I analyzed the nutritional profile of peanut butter balls to find out.

In the following article, I will provide a detailed overview of the nutritional content of peanut butter balls. This includes the calories, macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and other key ingredients. I will also discuss how peanut butter balls fit into a balanced diet and make some suggestions for healthier versions of this classic candy. Whether you are curious about the nutrition facts or just love peanut butter balls, read on to learn more!

Calories in Peanut Butter Balls

The number of calories in a peanut butter ball depends on the exact recipe and serving size. Most recipes call for roughly equal parts peanut butter and powdered sugar, plus a small amount of butter or shortening. Recipes usually make 20-30 balls.

A typical peanut butter ball weighing around 20 grams contains about 95 calories. So if you eat 4 balls, that’s close to 400 calories. As you can see, these little treats are quite high in calories given their small size. The high calorie count is mostly due to the sugar and fat content.

Here is a more detailed calorie breakdown for a 20 gram peanut butter ball:

  • Total Calories: 95
  • Calories from Fat: 45
  • Calories from Carbs: 50

To put this in perspective, a serving size of 4 peanut butter balls contains about the same number of calories as:

  • 1 slice of pepperoni pizza (1/8 of a 14” pizza)
  • 1 homemade oatmeal raisin cookie (about 2” diameter)
  • 3 oreo cookies

As you can see, just a few peanut butter balls provides a significant calorie load, so portion control is important if you are watching your calorie intake. Moderation is key when enjoying these treats!

Macronutrients in Peanut Butter Balls

Now let’s take a closer look at the macronutrient breakdown (protein, carbs, fat) in peanut butter balls:


A 20 gram peanut butter ball contains about 3 grams of protein. Protein helps build muscle mass and provides lasting energy.

The protein comes primarily from the peanut butter. Most peanut butters provide around 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. Since peanut butter makes up about half the recipe, it contributes most of the protein.


Peanut butter balls contain about 11 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The carbs come mainly from the powdered sugar, which is nearly 100% carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and brain. However, the carbs in peanut butter balls mostly come from added sugar rather than whole food sources. The powdered sugar spikes blood sugar rapidly compared to complex carbohydrates like whole grains.


Each peanut butter ball contains approximately 5 grams of fat. This comes primarily from the peanut butter and butter/shortening.

Peanut butter is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. However, the saturated fat content may be concerning for some, especially coming from the added butter or shortening. Too much saturated fat can negatively impact blood cholesterol levels.

Here is the fat breakdown for a typical recipe:

  • Total Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g

When eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, the fat in peanut butter balls is not too concerning. But the saturated fat content is something to keep in mind if you eat these frequently or in large quantities.

Micronutrients in Peanut Butter Balls

In addition to macronutrients, let’s look at some of the key vitamins and minerals in peanut butter balls:

Vitamin E

Peanut butter is an excellent source of vitamin E, providing about 2mg per serving (10% DV). Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage and support the immune system.


Peanut butter balls contain around 25mg magnesium per serving, or about 6% of the Daily Value (DV). Magnesium aids nerve and muscle function, blood sugar control, bone health, and more.


Each peanut butter ball provides around 50mg phosphorus, or 5% DV. Phosphorus supports bone mineralization, protein synthesis, and growth and repair of tissues and cells.


Manganese is a trace mineral that activates enzymes needed for nutrient metabolism. Peanut butter is rich in manganese, providing around 0.2mg (10% DV) per serving of peanut butter balls.


Peanut butter balls contain 0.1mg copper per serving, which is around 10-15% of the recommended daily intake. Copper aids iron absorption and is needed to make red blood cells and connective tissue.

As you can see, peanut butter balls provide significant amounts of vitamin E and important minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and copper. The nutrient profile reflects the nutrient-dense ingredients, particularly peanut butter.

Other Ingredients in Peanut Butter Balls

In addition to the main ingredients of peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter/shortening, some peanut butter ball recipes include extra add-ins:


Many recipes coat the balls in chocolate or chocolate sprinkles, which adds flavor along with some additional calories and fat. The chocolate contributes minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is commonly added which provides flavor without additional calories or nutrients. However, check the label as “vanilla flavoring” may contain added sugar.


A pinch of salt enhances flavor. While the amount is negligible in terms of sodium content, salt helps balance the sweetness.

Cocoa or Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder gives the balls a chocolate taste without the saturated fat of chocolate. It also provides polyphenols and flavanols that act as antioxidants in the body.

Shredded Coconut

Some recipes roll the balls in shredded coconut for added flavor and texture. This also adds a small amount of nutrients like manganese, copper, selenium, and fiber.

Crushed Nuts

Finely chopped or crushed nuts like pecans, walnuts or almonds can be added to the peanut butter mixture or used as a coating. This boosts the nutrient content by adding healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and other minerals.

Do Peanut Butter Balls Contain Trans Fats?

Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been hydrogenated, causing them to become solid at room temperature. Food manufacturers used to use trans fats to extend shelf life and improve texture, but they have now been banned from foods in the US due to health risks.

Peanut butter balls do not contain any trans fats. Neither peanut butter nor powdered sugar contain trans fats. The butter or shortening may contain a very minimal amount of trans fats, but likely 0g per serving. Always check the nutrition label to verify no trans fats are present.

Peanut Butter Balls Nutrition Facts Label

Here is the nutrition label for a typical 20g peanut butter ball:

Nutrition Facts Peanut Butter Ball – 1 ball (20g)
Calories 95
Total Fat 5g Saturated 2g, Trans 0g
Cholesterol 5mg Sodium 25mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g Dietary Fiber 1g, Total Sugars 8g
Protein 3g
% Daily Value*
Vitamin A 0% Calcium 0%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

As you can see, peanut butter balls pack a lot of calories, fat, and sugar into a small bite!

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

Despite being high in calories, peanut butter balls provide some nutritional benefits courtesy of the peanut butter. Here are some of the health perks:

  • Plant-based protein for satiety, muscle building, and sustained energy.
  • Heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Fiber for digestive and heart health.
  • Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage.
  • Magnesium for nerve and muscle function.
  • Manganese and copper to activate essential enzymes.
  • Phytosterols to help lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Resveratrol, an antioxidant linked to anti-aging.
  • Phenolic antioxidants that reduce inflammation.

Overall, peanut butter is a nutritious plant-based protein that provides key vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants. The peanut butter is the most nutritious part of a peanut butter ball.

Are Peanut Butter Balls Healthy?

Peanut butter balls can be part of a healthy diet, but moderation is key. Their small size makes it easy to overindulge without realizing it.

A few peanut butter balls make for a tasty sweet treat. However, they are high in refined sugar and saturated fat, so large amounts could negatively impact blood sugar levels, triglycerides, or cholesterol for some. People with diabetes, heart disease risk factors, or weight concerns may want to exercise particular caution.

Enjoy peanut butter balls occasionally as part of an overall balanced diet focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, unsaturated fats and dairy or non-dairy alternatives. For a healthier version, you can reduce the amount of powdered sugar or experiment with recipes that use alternative sweeteners like maple syrup, honey or dates.

Here are some tips for enjoying peanut butter balls as part of a healthy diet:

  • Practice portion control – 1-2 balls is a reasonable serving
  • Eat mindfully and savor just a few as a special treat
  • Balance out the indulgence with more nutritious foods and beverages for other meals and snacks that day
  • Avoid mindless overeating – don’t have a huge platter sitting out
  • Make sure your overall diet is low in added sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates
  • Stay active through exercise to help burn extra calories if you indulge

Healthier Peanut Butter Ball Recipes

If you love peanut butter balls but want to lighten them up, here are some ideas for healthier recipes:

Reduce Powdered Sugar

Cut the amount of powdered sugar by 1/3 to 1/2. Your palette will adjust to the less sweet flavor.

Use Natural Sweeteners

Replace some or all of the powdered sugar with maple syrup, honey, or mashed ripe banana. This reduces the spike in blood sugar levels.

Add Oats

Mix in 1⁄4 cup rolled oats for extra fiber, nutrients, and texture.

Include Dark Chocolate

Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate, which is lower in sugar. Or drizzle melted dark chocolate over the balls.

Coat in Nuts or Seeds

For crunch and nutrients, coat balls in chopped nuts, chia seeds, shredded coconut or crushed graham crackers.

Boost Protein

Add nut or seed butters like almond butter for a protein increase. Or fold in protein powder.

Bake Instead

For a lighter option, form balls then bake at 350°F until set. No butter needed.

With a few easy substitutions, you can turn these sweet treats into a more nutritious version to enjoy without all the extra sugar, butter and calories.


Peanut butter balls pack a lot of calories and sugar into a small package. Each ball provides around 100 calories, 11g carbs, 5g fat, and 3g protein. While peanut butter contributes some nutritional benefits, moderation is key when enjoying these candies as the saturated fat and calories add up quickly. Balance out the indulgence by eating peanut butter balls occasionally as part of an overall healthy diet focused on wholesome nutrition. For a more nutritious version, try recipes that reduce the amount of powdered sugar or add in extra protein, fiber and healthy fats. Just a bite or two of peanut butter balls can satisfy your sweet tooth when you savor them mindfully.