Easy, (mostly) healthy, crowd-pleasing – what can’t these homemade vegan chocolate peanut butter cups do? They’re my favorite quick weeknight dessert. If you prep a big batch, you can store them in the fridge or freezer for an on-the-go salty/sweet treat!
You may be thinking, “A recipe for peanut butter cups? Isn’t it just chocolate + peanut butter?”
Well, my friends, it’s not. But it’s also not much more difficult.
We’ve made plenty of homemade peanut butter cups with plain peanut butter filling. While they’re delicious in their own right, they don’t compare to the sweet confection we all know and love (looking @ you, Reese’s).
Wanna know why Reese’s taste so damn good? They’re absolutely loaded with sugar, milk fat and a few other random ingredients. Not that sugar is inherently bad (well, it depends who you ask), but why not make a healthier version at home?
Easy homemade peanut butter cups
It only takes a few extra ingredients to make the perfect vegan peanut butter cup filling.
The secret ingredient: maple syrup!
To sweeten our peanut butter cups, we use our favorite natural sweetener: maple syrup! It’s healthier – yes, still sugar – but maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than other sugars and contains more minerals, like manganese and zinc.
Plus, we just love the flavor. It pairs perfectly with peanut butter and chocolate!
When it comes to choosing maple syrup, it doesn’t matter much if you choose Grade A or B. There’s no difference in quality between the two, just color and flavor (grade B has more of both).
Whatever you do, please, for the love of god, put down the bottle of Aunt Jemima. It’s not maple syrup. I’m not kidding, it literally contains NO maple syrup and the first two ingredients are corn syrup and….high fructose corn syrup! Yikes.
Okay, maple syrup rant over. (If ya want to read more about maple, head here to learn everything you need to know.)
Coconut oil + cinnamon + vanilla add flavor
The rest of the peanut butter filling for these cups is just coconut oil (melted), a bit of cinnamon, and as Ina would say, good quality vanilla. If you want to throw a pinch of salt in there, too, go for it.
You could also top the chocolate layer with a bit of flaky salt for texture and, well, saltiness. I’m big on the salty/sweet combo – especially anything involving chocolate and salt. It really brings out the flavor of the chocolate!
Speaking of chocolate…the chocolate coating is simple. Simply use melt your favorite dark chocolate with 1 tsp coconut oil (helps loosen it up for pouring).
Nut butter substitutions
Peanut allergy? Simply sub peanut butter with cashew, almond, or pretty much any nut butter you enjoy.
Allergic to all nuts? Try sunflower seed butter! My older brother is allergic to all tree nuts (luckily not peanuts!), so we’ve experimented with many versions and they’re all delicious.
Peanut butter always wins me over, but cashew butter is creeping its way to a close second place. You guys seem to like cashew butter a lot too. These Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups with Raspberry Chia Jam have become one of our most popular blog recipes in the last few weeks!
A few tips on making these peanut butter cups extra perfect
1. Don’t leave the vegan peanut butter cups out on the counter for hours – they do melt. We store ours in the freezer. They soften up in just a minute or two when you take them out. The refrigerator works, too!
2. If you prefer peanut butter cups with an all chocolate exterior and just filling in the center (like a classic Reese’s), here’s what to do. Brush the chocolate up the sides of the muffin tin, freeze, then add filling. You may need to do two layers of chocolate to make sure no peanut butter peeks through.
Then, top off with remaining chocolate and return to freezer. Perfect peanut butter cups! Or, if you’re lazy like us, just do it this way. it’s a little messier to eat, but oh well.
A few more super easy vegan desserts
Sweet tooth? Same. Here are a few more of our favorite quick desserts for busy nights.
- Dark Chocolate Dipped Figs with Flaky Salt. Delicious, easy and sophisticated!
- Peanut Butter Mousse Tart. Basically just a giant peanut butter cup.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart. Sounds complicated, but only 6 ingredients total, including crust AND filling.
If you give these vegan peanut butter cups a try, we’d love for you to leave a rating and review below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
These vegan peanut butter cups rival any store-bought version, and they’re made with just a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry!
- 14 oz dark chocolate, melted with 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter (unsweetened)
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Chop dark chocolate into small shards (or if using chocolate chips, skip this) and place in heat-safe bowl with 1 tsp coconut oil. Melt in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well between each, until completely melted. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler – it’s up to you.
- Meanwhile, whisk together peanut butter, coconut oil, maple, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
- Line a mini muffin tray with mini muffin liners. Pour a small amount of chocolate into each (enough to cover bottom) and freeze for about 10 minutes or until solid. Transfer peanut butter filling to a piping bag and fill each liner, leaving room at the top. Cover each with more chocolate, then freeze until solid (about 30 minutes).
- Enjoy! Store in airtight container in freezer for best results.
Keywords: easy vegan dessert