Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Recipe Solved

These are my new & improved peanut butter cupcakes. Adapted from my original recipe, I use oil, brown sugar, sour cream, and extra milk to guarantee each cupcake is soft and moist. Very finely chopped peanuts add flavor. They’re tender, flavorful, and EASY, making this updated recipe the indisputable peanut butter cupcake champion!
Peanut butter cupcakes

Recipe disappointment solved.

I published a peanut butter cupcake recipe in 2013, a dessert I found both delicious and easy at the time. They’re still delicious and easy, but they’re far from perfect. The cupcakes are dense and dry out quickly. Many readers have commented with the same disappointing results. I knew I could do better. The cupcakes (and you!) deserve it. šŸ™‚

And after a few cupcake experiments with many taste testers, I produced flavorful and soft peanut butter cupcakes. These laugh in the face of the old recipe and they’re even more wildly delicious than they look. So moist!!

Peanut butter cupcake with chocolate frosting cut in half

Peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate frosting on white cake pedestal

Recipe Fix: Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Old Peanut Butter Cupcakes Recipe:

  • Creamed butter & brown sugar
  • Too many eggs weighed them down
  • Not enough milk
  • Not enough flavor

The original cupcake recipe calls for creamed butter and sugar. This is how I typically start vanilla cupcakes. But peanut butter is a special ingredient. Though it’s technically “wet,” it’s heavy, dense, and actually pretty drying. Peanut butter baked goods need extra insurance to remain moist. I replaced the butter with oil and added sour cream and extra milk. Because the cupcakes are peanut butter flavored, we won’t miss the butter.

As we taste-tested, my friend Gabe recommended very finely chopped peanuts to amp up the peanut flavor. This addition worked miracles! If you chop the peanuts fine enough, they won’t be crunchy or anything. Rather, they’ll melt right into the cupcake itself.

2 images of chopped peanuts on a cutting board and peanut butter cupcake batter in a glass bowl

2 images of peanut butter cupcake batter in cupcake pan and baked peanut butter cupcakes

As soon as they finished baking, I knew the new peanut butter cupcakes would be a huge success! They smell AWESOME. Here’s a list of everything I did differently.

New Peanut Butter Cupcakes Recipe:

  • Oil instead of butter
  • Keep the brown sugar for moisture & flavor
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • Sour cream for moisture
  • Add more milk for moisture
  • Finely chopped peanuts for flavor

And for even more flavor, I snuck some peanut butter into the chocolate frosting too!

Overhead image of cupcakes topped with chocolate peanut butter frosting

Video Tutorial: Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

The chocolate peanut butter frosting is simple. Start with butter, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and milk or cream. Remember: proper room temperature butter! Beat it together, then add vanilla extract, a giant spoonful of creamy peanut butter, and a pinch of salt. Just when you thought chocolate buttercream couldn’t get any better…. now it literally tastes like a peanut butter cup.

  • Piping tip: I used the giant Ateco 849 piping tip for the frosting and you can watch me decorate the cupcakes in the video tutorial above. This is a VERY easy swirled frosting technique. Any large open or closed star piping tip will give you a similar swirl look. Though it’s a little smaller, I also love Wilton 1M.

Peanut butter cupcake with swirl of chocolate peanut butter frosting and a peanut butter cup on top

Let me know what you think of the improved recipe!

Print
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Peanut butter cupcake with swirl of chocolate peanut butter frosting and a peanut butter cup on top

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 mintues
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14-15 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These are my new & improved peanut butter cupcakes. Adapted from my original recipe, I use oil, brown sugar, sour cream, and extra milk to guarantee each cupcake is soft and moist. Finely chopped peanuts add flavor. They’re tender, flavorful, and EASY, making this updated recipe the indisputable peanut butter cupcake champion!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml)Ā canola or vegetable oil*
  • 1/2 cup (125g)Ā creamy peanut butter*
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80g)Ā sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180ml)Ā whole milk, at room temperature*
  • 1/3 cup (40g) very finely crushed or choppedĀ peanuts*

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’Ā sugar
  • 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/3 (80g) cup creamy peanut butter*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • optional for garnish: mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or chopped peanuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350Ā°F (177Ā°C).Ā Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners because this recipe yields 14-15 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes:Ā Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld mixer, stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, or a whisk, mix the oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, sour cream, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients, milk, and peanuts and whisk or beat together until completely combined. Avoid overmixing. Batter will be slightly thick.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners, filling only 2/3 fullĀ to avoid baking over the sides. Bake for 21-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched. For aroundĀ 35 mini cupcakes,Ā bake for about 11-13Ā minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting:Ā With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and milk. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then add the peanut butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until combined. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’Ā sugar if frosting is too thin or another 1-2 Tablespoons ofĀ cream/milk if frosting is too thick. Taste. Add extra peanut butter or a pinch of salt if desired.
  6. Ā Frost cooled cupcakes.Ā I piped a basic tall swirl using Ateco 849 piping tip. You can watch me decorate the cupcakes in the video in the blog post. Garnish with peanut butter cup, if desired.
  7. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead / Freezing Instructions:Ā CupcakesĀ canĀ be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. FrostingĀ canĀ also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakesĀ canĀ be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Whisk | Cupcake Pan | Cupcake Liners | Ateco #849 Piping Tip
  3. Oil: Melted coconut oil works too. Melted butter won’t add the same level of moisture needed for this recipe.
  4. Peanut Butter: For best texture in the cupcakes and frosting, I strongly suggest a processed creamy peanut butter such as Jif or Skippy creamy. I do not recommend oily or natural style peanut butter for this recipe.
  5. Milk: For best tasting cupcakes, I highly recommend whole milk or even buttermilk. 2% milk can be used as well. Nondairy milks work too.
  6. Peanuts: For exceptional peanut flavor, finely chopped peanuts are highly recommend. Chop them up very fine as shown in the video and photo above. The finer you chop them, the more they will blend into the baked cupcakes. You can’t taste the chunks, just the flavor. For a delicious salty/sweet flavor, use salted peanuts or, if you prefer, choose unsalted peanuts. I love salted peanuts for this recipe!
  7. Why is Everything at Room Temperature?Ā AllĀ refrigerated items should beĀ at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly.Ā Read here for moreĀ information.
  8. Cake: Feel free to use this batter as a cake. As written, you’ll have enough batter for an 11×7 inch cake. Perhaps even enough for a small 2 layer cake. Feel free to make the batter twice (for best results, do not double– make twice) and use it for a larger cake or layer cake.

Keywords: cupcakes, peanut butter

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130 Comments

  1. What a GREAT post, taking us all along your thought process! Thank you for teaching us so much and for always bringing us the tastiest recipes ā˜ŗļø

  2. Could you use peanut butter powder in place of the finely chopped peanuts without drying it out? If you can how much would you recommend? Thanks.

    1. Hi Joyce! I’m sure you could, but I haven’t tested it. I really fear even replacing some PB powder with flour would still dry out the cupcakes. I recommend the crushed peanuts.

  3. Do you think you could use crunchy peanut butter?

    1. Hi Nancy, crunchy peanut butter is usually a little thicker than creamy and the cupcakes may taste overly dense. Let me know if you try it. I really recommend creamy!

  4. I just made these and they are amazing.
    Beautiful and really soft.

  5. I think I believe in fate now ā€“ I was searching for a peanut butter cupcake recipe to make this weekend, and lo and behold one appeared in my inbox!! To everyone wondering whether they can use peanut powder instead of crushed peanuts, I did and the cupcakes are delicious and moist! I used 32 grams which the container said was 1/4 cup. The ingredients were peanuts, coconut palm oil, and salt. Sally, I wonder if the gram measurement for the sour cream is incorrect? I use my kitchen scale whenever possible because it saves on dishes. Using the conversion on my sour cream container, 1/3 cup would be 80g. I also then measured out 1/3 cup to check and it was about 80g. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! I had tried 2 peanut butter cupcake recipes awhile back and just got so frustrated by the dryness. This recipe blew them away!!

  6. Dayna Shallenberger says:

    Hi Sally, I’m just writing a fan note here. I’m on your site for my(err, your) pie crust. recipe and wanted to take a minute to tell you how many of your recipes are my staples. I have no idea how anyone could beat that pie crust. I’m thinking i should have made 4 recipes instead of two because Your POP TARTS! Sally my family will not let them leave the house. I have to sneak a couple in to co workers. Last time I made minis so everyone could have one. Oatmeal cream pies! I tried two other recipes just to see if I could get a thinner flatter cookie. Forget it! Your recipe ticks all the boxes . Your cookie dough fudge! I make them, pb & ganache, scoop onto colorful plastic spoons, chill then dip in chocolate and decorate for every single occasion. Last, not least! Your chocolate chunk cookies with the melted butter. I always use chocolate chips and cover the top with m& ms. My sons favorite. No, your snickerdoodles are his favorite. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I go to your site first when looking for a recipe. Even if I change a little here and there I know you are a perfect starting point. Congrats on your little family!

  7. As soon as I saw these, I knew I had to make them. Luckily I had everything on hand the day the recipe was posted on Instagram šŸ™‚ I used Skippy Naturals PB, which although labeled a “natural”, is still plenty thick enough to work beautifully here. I also left the peanuts a little more coarsely chopped because, I like that texture contrast!

    As soon as these came out of the oven, I had to try one. WOW! I have tried a lot of pb cake/cupcake recipes and this is one of the best I’ve tried. I was afraid they wouldn’t make it to the frosting lol. Very soft and flavorful, held up wonderfully to the frosting! I will be making these regularly!! I did pipe some Lindt chocolate ganache into the centers of a few of the cupcakes for extra wow factor and really, can you ever have too much chocolate?! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  8. Keilah Whitley says:

    These were amazing and gone approximately 30 seconds after the first person ate one and raved about it.
    The cupcake is fluffy and soft but not too peanut-buttery. The icing ties the peanut butter flavor together with just a hint of chocolate to top it off. My father in law stated that this was probably his favorite of all the cupcakes Iā€™ve ever brought over!

  9. WOW, these are amazing! The cupcake is extremely fluffy and moist (sorry if you hate that word). I didn’t think I was going to like the chopped peanuts in it, but I loved them. They gave it a nice texture and a little extra flavor. Finally, chocolate peanut butter frosting….what could be better than that?! Thank you Sally for working so hard to make these wonderful recipes for us to enjoy!!

  10. Lisa Hirohata says:

    The are peanut butter winners! After many tries at various PB cake recipes, and a lot of dry cake later, here is Sally saving the day again! There is nothing better than PB and chocolate, and this recipe delivers. Be careful not to overbake. Mine were done at about 18 minutes. LOVE the frosting! Five stars for sure! Thanks Sally!

  11. Just made these last night as minis — DELICIOUS. Another winner, my tastebuds rejoice!

  12. These are amazing. I love the little bit of texture from the finely chopped peanuts in the cupcakes (I used a mini food processor) and that frosting is DIVINE!! Another winning recipe, Sally!

  13. I just finished a double batch of these and they are absolutely incredible! The cupcakes are very soft and have delicious peanut flavor. I added extra cocoa and peanut butter to the frosting and it is perfect!

    Thanks, Sally!

  14. Just made these today. They were unbelievably moist and delicious. I will definitely make them again!

  15. I made these yesterday for a friend’s birthday today and they have been a massive hit! Not only does our area of the office smell like peanut butter chocolate deliciousness, the birthday lady is beyond pleased! Both the cupcake and icing are winners. I am already planning on when to make them again
    Note – I followed the directions pretty faithfully, using whole milk, salted peanuts (think I will use my food processor to chop them up even finer next time), dark brown sugar and smooth peanut putter. I whisked it by hand and alternated adding the dry ingredients and milk to the wet.

  16. I made these today and they are fantastic! Both the cupcake and the frosting are insanely delicious. Thanks for another great recipe!

  17. Is it possible to turn the peanut butter cupcake recipe into a cake recipe? I love your recipes and I really need to make a cake instead of cupcakes. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lori! Feel free to use this batter as a cake. As written, you’ll have enough batter for an 11×7 inch sheet cake. Perhaps even enough for a small 2 layer cake. Feel free to make the batter twice (for best results, do not double– make twice) and use it for a larger cake or layer cake.

  18. Another amazing peanut butter recipe!! Thank you, Sally, for keeping this momma’s peanut addiction going strong. These cupcakes are like fluffy, giant peanut butter cups! The addition of peanuts to the batter takes these over the top! I did add a little surprise inside, a dark chocolate ganache.

  19. So. So. So. Delicious.

  20. I am not kidding. This is the best cupcake for Reese’s lovers! Moist, wonderful peanut butter flavor and the frosting is so yummy! Thank you for another yummy recipe!

  21. Hi Sally,
    These look amazing – I would love to make these for my baby’s 1st birthday and would like to sub some of the sugar (like half or so?) for bananas…how do you think it will effect the other ingredients and final results. Would be happy for some idea as to how that could work.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Ann, when reducing the sugar just keep in mind that it is not just for taste – the sugar is necessary for the proper texture and moisture of the cake. If you try to sub part of it let me know how it turns out!

  22. Absolutely Delicious! My entire family ate them up and asked for more! Will definitely be making these again. Thank you for the amazing recipe Sally!

  23. I made these last night and dropped a mini reese’s into the center before baking – they were devoured at work this morning! I did run out of frosting after 12 though, so next time I’ll make a bit extra to finish off the extra cupcakes.

  24. Great recipe! I didnā€™t see the chopped peanuts at the end (whoops) so I scrambled and added a snack pack of Honey Roasted peanuts that I ground up in my blender. Also used Super Crunchy peanut butter because thatā€™s all I had. My whole house smelled like peanut butter. Will make again!!

  25. I made these exactly per the recipe as mini cupcakes. They are the best peanut butter cupcakes Iā€™ve ever made and the frosting is fantastic. They remind me of a Funny Bone only lots better!!! Thanks Sally!!!

  26. Sharon Roodhuyzen says:

    Followed the recipe exactly. Only used a whisk as to not over mix. Lightly salted peanuts worked well. Frosting was a dream! Cupcakes were delicious and great texture. Will make these again!! Thanks Sally!!

  27. Hi Sally!
    I am planning on making this recipe for my sonā€™s birthday next week but as a 2 layer cake. For the frosting, should doubling the recipe be enough? I was thinking of only using this chocolate frosting on the outside of the cake and then using your creamiest peanut butter frosting and some strawberry couli for in between the two layers… do you think that sounds good or too much? I couldnā€™t decide between this frosting and the peanut butter one so I figured why not use both!? Lol

    1. I would use both the peanut butter frosting and this chocolate peanut butter frosting. This chocolate peanut butter frosting will be enough to frost the outside of the cake and the peanut butter frosting will be plenty for inside. You could even halve that recipe.

  28. I’M IN LOVE!! This cake has amazing peanut butter flavor and it’s ridiculously moist! I made it with and without peanuts and, personally, I much prefer it without the peanuts… but I’m weird about textures. šŸ™‚ The frosting was absolutely amazing as well! Definitely one of my FAVORITE cakes now!!!

  29. Megan King says:

    I made these for my husband’s birthday and a large work gathering. They are outstanding. I left out the chopped peanuts, used honey peanut butter ans whole milk greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Great recipe!!

  30. Silly question, Iā€™m making a cupcake cake and need to use a frosting I can dye a gel color and still wanna do a fun flavor the Cupcake part, how will the pb cupcakes taste with reg buttercream ?

    1. Peanut butter cupcakes and vanilla buttercream will be great together! Lemon cupcakes or pistachio cupcakes are other fun options.

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