Homemade Pay Day Candy Bars

Homemade Pay Day Candy Bars are a delightful treat that replicates the classic American candy bar known for its unique combination of salty peanuts and sweet caramel nougat. This homemade version begins with the creation of a soft, chewy nougat center, which is typically made by combining sugar, butter, and evaporated milk, heated to a precise temperature and then mixed with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. The result is a rich, creamy base with a perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness.

Once the nougat is prepared, it’s usually shaped into bars or a large slab, depending on preference. The shaping process requires a bit of finesse to ensure each bar is uniform in size and shape, creating an ideal base for the next layer of crunchy peanuts.

The most distinctive feature of a Pay Day bar is its generous coating of salted peanuts. For the homemade version, whole, roasted peanuts are often used for their crunch and depth of flavor. These peanuts are typically salted, which adds a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the nougat. The peanuts are either rolled onto the nougat bars or pressed onto the top and sides of the nougat slab, ensuring a dense, even coating.

Once assembled, the bars are chilled to set. This step is crucial as it allows the nougat to firm up and the flavors to meld together, creating a cohesive candy bar. After chilling, if made in slab form, the nougat is cut into individual bars, each packed with peanuts and ready to be enjoyed.

The final result is a delightful blend of textures and flavors. The soft, creamy nougat center offers a sweet, slightly salty taste, perfectly complemented by the crunchy, salty peanuts. The balance of salty and sweet makes these homemade Pay Day bars irresistibly delicious and a perfect treat for any occasion, whether it’s a casual gathering, a festive celebration, or a comforting snack for a cozy night in.


  • 3 cups salted peanuts
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Melt butter and peanut butter chips in a large saucepan over medium heat until smooth, then stir in condensed milk, vanilla extract and marshmallows, stirring until smooth and incorporated.
Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or non-stick spray, or line with parchment paper, then spread half of peanuts across baking dish.
Pour condensed milk mixture over peanuts, then sprinkle remaining peanuts on top.
Refrigerate or let sit at room temperature until set, then cut into bars and enjoy.

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