Copycat Payday Candy Bars

Copycat Payday Bars

Homemade payday candy bars made of sticky-sweet, gooey caramel balanced by the crunch of a thousand salty peanuts. They’re almost paydays. They would be more aptly titled payday “wannabees” being they’re not exactly alike yet completely delicious in their own right. You’ll find the same flavors are present but with a much softer caramel, not the firm, crunchy one found in the originals.

The caramel is super easy to make by melting dulce de leche, mini marshmallows, butter and peanut butter together on the stove. You can easily make your own dulce de leche, a milk caramel, by roasting sweetened condensed milk in the oven for an hour or you can buy it already made. Look for it in the baking aisle or the Spanish section of your market. If you never had it before then you’ll want to seek it out because it is one of the most delightful things you will ever taste. Think smooth, creamy, spoon-able caramel that doesn’t stick to your teeth.

Homemade Payday Bars

To assemble the bars half the peanuts are spread in a pan, the caramel confection is poured over them then the rest of the peanuts are sprinkled on top. After spending a little time in the refrigerator they’re ready to cut up into bars and devour enjoy.

They don’t look like much, you might be thinking, because I thought the same, but for all their simplicity they have strangely addictive qualities. I hope you get a chance to make them, even if you’re not a payday candy bar lover, so you can understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Salty Peanut Caramel Bars

Copycat Payday Candy Bars

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 (9x9-inch) pan

Copycat Payday Candy Bars

Homemade payday candy bars made of sticky-sweet, gooey caramel balanced by the crunch of a thousand salty peanuts. They're almost paydays. They would be more aptly titled payday “wannabees” being they're not exactly alike yet completely delicious in their own right.


1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche
32 ounces (4 cups) salty roasted peanuts, divided
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


    Make the caramel/dulce de leche (skip this step if you bought it already made):
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a shallow baking dish - I like to use a non-stick loaf pan.
  2. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and set it inside a larger roasting pan. Pour in hot water to reach about halfway up the side of the smaller pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool.
  4. Make the bars:
  5. Line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Add 2 cups of peanuts and spread them out evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the marshmallows and stir until they're melted.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the dulce de leche and the peanut butter. When the mixture is completely combined, pour gently over the peanuts. Smooth it out with a rubber spatula then sprinkle the remaining peanuts evenly over the top. Use your hand to press them down gently into the caramel.
  8. Refrigerate until set about 2 hours. Use the parchment to remove from the pan to a cutting board and cut into squares or bars with a sharp paring or chef's knife. Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place up to one week.


Adapted from Michael Symon

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

Easy Homemade Payday Candy Bars

Subscribe Here

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



  1. Stephanie says

    These are AMAZING! I live in the uk and my husband loves Paydays but they are hard to get hold of. Just made these and they were so easy and a brilliant success. Thank you so much :)

  2. Sheila Yount says

    These are fabulous! I did the honey roasted peanuts, and they are better than paydays. Payday candy bars are getting too expensive, so this is a nice alternative…. thank you so much!

  3. Julia says

    Years ago, there was a limited edition Payday made with honey roasted peanuts! They were amazing, but they never made them like that again. Now, with this recipe I can make them myself! Thanks

    • says

      Hi Julia! I just wanted to make sure you know these aren’t exactly like paydays – they’re a lot softer – so you won’t be disappointed if you make them. They’re still really good – my Mom and I couldn’t stop eating them. :-)

  4. says

    I made these last night and they are kind of a sticky mess. How did you get them to firm up? I used premade dulce de leche. Would be a delicious ice cream topping, however, but not thick enough for candy. Do you think it’s because I used the premade Nestle dulce de leche? If I made these again, I think I’d use a candy thermometer and heat up to a soft ball stage. Your comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Bev! Thanks a lot for trying them! I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the results. I did say in the post that they were soft, not firm like a real payday. I also said they were sticky. :-) Did you refrigerate them? I don’t know if heating to the softball stage would work with these ingredients – if you’re going to do that why not just make a nougat from scratch? I think you would have much better success. There may be some more tips on The Chew in the comment section where I got the recipe from. I would take a look there too. Thanks again! Sorry I can’t be of more help – I hope to experiment more with the recipe sometime in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *