Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

peanut butter and jelly cupcakes topped with peanut butter frosting

Tell me about your Labor Day weekend so far. What did you do? Relax at home or get away? We spent the weekend up in the poconos, brought the pups, took lots of pictures, grilled out on the deck, rented a boat, and floated on unicorns. Yes, that’s right. It was one of those epic, yet relaxing weekends to close out a nonstop (and kinda stressful!) summer. Looking forward to Fall things.

Speaking of Fall! I want to share THEE most perfect September treat. Nothing brings me back to September school days growing up quite like PB&J sandwiches, except for maybe a new set of butterfly hair clips and a lisa frank pencil case.

peanut butter and jelly cupcake cut in half showing jam filling

Something you’ve gotta know about these peanut butter & jelly cupcakes: they start from my simply perfect vanilla cupcakes. Have you had the chance to try them in the past week? I love them. They’re fluffy and sweet, soft and light, moist and buttery all in one cupcake wrapper. We can owe all the lightness to the sour cream, cake flour, creamed butter, and egg whites.

I chose to make them this way– rather than a peanut butter cupcake base– because I wanted just the right balance of peanut butter and jelly. So peanut butter frosting, on top of a vanilla cupcake, filled with strawberry jelly. Now doesn’t that sound like the quintessential lunchbox treat? Nostalgic and comforting. ♥

Just like the original, I added vanilla bean to the cupcake batter. You can leave it out completely, but I really like the extra flavor it brings. Vanilla bean and peanut butter… vanilla bean and strawberry… these flavors are just so beautiful.

2 images of ingredients for peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and vanilla cupcake batter in a cupcake pan before baking

Remember, when you’re filling cupcake wrappers with batter– fill only about 2/3 – 3/4 full. Otherwise your cupcakes could rise too tall then sink back down. Or worse! Spill over the edges. See above? That’s about how high I always fill mine.

And they always rise fabulously. See?

vanilla cupcakes in a cupcake pan after baking

This is just about as fancy as the whole ziplock bag thing, but here’s how I always fill my cupcakes:

spooning jelly into vanilla cupcakes

Sure it’s a little scrappy, but it works. Just cut a little circle out of the cupcake, fill with about 1 teaspoon of jelly and top with the piece you cut out. You can use any flavor jelly you like. Maybe grape is more your style? It works here!

overhead image of vanilla cupcakes filled with jelly and topped with the cupcake top

Once you pile the frosting on top, you won’t be able to see the cut-out underneath. It can be our little cupcake secret. Now it’s time for the frosting. This is my favorite peanut butter frosting on the planet. I’ve been using it for a few years from brownies to snickers cupcakes (yes!) and chocolate cake. It’s rich and creamy without being overly sweet. In fact, all you taste is peanut butter. Which makes sense because it’s mostly all peanut butter! Only 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, rather than 3 or 4 like most frostings.

To frost these peanut butter & jelly cupcakes, I used Wilton piping tip #12. This is a super simple frosting method if you ever want to try it. Place the tip straight up on the center of the cupcake, then apply pressure and slowly lift up. That’s all I do!

2 images of peanut butter frosting in a glass bowl with a hand mixer and peanut butter frosting in a piping bag piping frosting onto cupcake

Check out all that jelly inside these super fluffy vanilla cupcakes. Not sure which part is the best, but that strawberry surprise inside is pretty awesome.

peanut butter and jelly cupcake cut in half showing jam filling

That light and fluffy cupcake texture! Happy back-to-school everyone. 🙂

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peanut butter and jelly cupcake cut in half showing jam filling

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Fluffy vanilla cupcakes filled with your favorite jelly and topped with peanut butter frosting!


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract*
  • optional: seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk*
  • about 1/4 cup your favorite jelly (any flavor!)

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 5 Tablespoons (75g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • optional: crushed peanuts for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean (if using). Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before filling and frosting.
  5. Fill the cupcakes: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket about 3/4 inch deep. Place about 1 teaspoon of jelly inside and top with the piece of cupcake you removed to seal it. See photos above for visual. Repeat with all cupcakes.
  6. Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter on medium speed for 1 minute until completely smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat on medium-high speed until the two are combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed for about 20 seconds, then gradually increase to high speed. Beat on high for 1 minute. Frost the cupcakes. I used a Wilton piping tip #12 to frost.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: Vanilla Beans | Tilt Head Beater | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Cupcake Pan | Colorful Mixing Bowls | Frosting Bag | Frosting Decorating Tip | Measuring Cups | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  3. Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
  4. Vanilla: For best flavor, pure vanilla extract is strongly recommended. If using imitation, increase to 1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons).
  5. Milk & Sour Cream: Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cupcakes may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk. I suggest both of these ingredients are at room temperature so they mix easier into the batter.

Keywords: peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes


  1. Sally these cupcakes look so delicious!! I love love PB & Jelly combo (I mean how can you not?!) and these cupcakes are making my mouth water!! Glad you had a relaxing weekend 🙂

  2. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    using vanilla cake makes more sense to me anyways; pb&j’s aren’t made with pb bread! (though that would be interesting).

    1. Ha! What a sandwich that would be.

  3. My favorite way to eat peanut butter is with jelly, and my favorite way to eat a cupcake is with something in the middle! I love the cross-section photographs 🙂 So pretty and I love to see that bright red! I’m glad you had a fun weekend 🙂 I have class today, so no Labor Day for us…boo!

  4. Kelly | Maverick Baking says:

    Love love love the look of these. PB & J isn’t so common in the UK but I imagine these are delicious! Glad to see someone filling cupcakes the same way as me, messy but easy, no time for cupcake corers etc, haha!

    1. It’s just so simple this way.

  5. Making them out of vanilla is such a good idea! I would’ve automatically headed for chocolate, and this will be a totally awesome change for me (avowed PB/choc addict). And the frosting on top is just…wow.
    Hope you finish out the weekend well! I’m just trying to get some rest in before the work week starts up yet again!

    1. I, for one, am not ready for the work week to begin!

  6. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    Oh my gosh! I just love the combination of peanut butter and jelly. There’s just something about that combo that I can’t resist. And I absolutely love that these cupcakes are filled with jelly! And the peanut butter frosting! These sound soo amazing.

  7. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    These cupcakes are the perfect back-to-school treat! Oh my gosh, that peanut butter frosting too? YUM.

  8. Love your blog and love your recipes; however, as a parent of a child with a deathly peanut allergy, I have to say, PB & J Cupcakes are not a perfect back-to-school treat. Most schools (dare I hope all) are peanut-free/allergy safe and these would not be permitted. Maybe these perfect after school treat!

    1. Thanks Lori! That’s a great point.

    2. I agree with Sally–that’s a great point. I went to school with a child that had a peanut allergy when I was younger, but I myself was never prevented from bringing in PB&J sandwiches for my own lunch. I can understand not being able to share things like this, but I was just curious what you meant by peanut free and allergy safe.

      1. I live in Canada, so school policies my differ in the US…Due to the prevalence of severe peanut allergies school boards either ban peanuts/ peanut products (ie. creating a peanut-free environment) or strongly encourage alternatives (ie. creating an allergy-safe environment). I know it can be a contentious topic; however, as the parent of a child with a life-threatening allergy, the risk is real.

    3. I do have a peanut allergy. I love SunButter-made from sunflower seeds in a nut free facility. I would think it would work great in the frosting. It tends to take on a green color when baked but should be good for the frosting! Sally-have you ever used it?

      1. I have! Only in granola bars though. I’ve never baked with it. But I imagine it would be just fine in this frosting.

  9. These sound like the perfect cupcakes for me! I am addicted to PB&Js, they are so good!

  10. Another great recipe to try. I have a question Sally. When I make cupcakes, they always turn out very dense. Do you have any idea why?

    1. It could be a number of things. Overmixing or the ingredients themselves. Maybe there isn’t enough liquid. Cake flour always produces super light cupcakes for me. These are extremely light textured if you want to try them.

  11. There’s a reason why I call you baking Goddess. Actually 2 reasons because i love your baking and you satisfy my sugar high needs 🙂

  12. Those cupcakes look amazing! We’ve spent our Labor Day weekend with a new baby in the house! He was born on September 1st and we went home on Saturday. Now that I no longer have gestational diabetes (in theory), I’ve been thinking of all the things I can bake! I think I’m going to start with cornbread to go with our ham dinner tonight, and maybe some pumpkin bread for breakfast. Because it’s September, of course–the time to think about pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon everything!

    1. Congratulations Laura!! Welcome home to you and your baby boy. Did you bake the pumpkin bread? I love that recipe.

  13. Jessie @ Chasing Belle says:

    How cute are these!?! My brother looovesss jelly. I’ll have to make these for his birthday! Thanks for sharing and always coming up with new and fun recipes 🙂

  14. Spirited Morgan @ Spirited and Then Some says:

    I LOVE the idea of making these with something other than chocolate! One can never go wrong with pb&j. We have a peanut allergy in our house, but these look so good, I may have to try them with almond butter. 🙂 Happy Labor Day!

  15. Sally, my mom made a cupcake that required cutting out the top just as you do for this one.
    She used a grapefruit spoon. It works great!

    1. Sweet!! I’m trying that next time.

  16. Sally, I think some of your instructions for the frosting is missing in the directions??? These are the cutest cupcakes I’ve ever seen!!! I put cake flour on my gtrrocery list and can’t wait to make these.

    1. For some reason the final step wasn’t showing up– fixed that! Thanks Wendy.

  17. I love these, Sally! Peanut butter is one of my favourite things on the planet, and I remember, as a super picky kid, I ate a LOT of peanut butter sandwiches. Not even peanut butter & jelly, though. I was so picky I might eat peanut butter & honey, but jelly was meh to me. Now, of course, I’ve grown up and love the peanut butter jelly combo. I’m going back to classes tomorrow (so much work ahead of me), and these are definitely going to my cupcake pick to bake next weekend as a pick-me-up. I can almost taste that thick peanut butter frosting. Pure peanut butter frosting = amazing. Labour Day was jam-packed and rough for me, but nice to see you and the dogs (!!) had a good time 🙂

    1. Hope your week gets better as you ease back into classes. And by the way, I adore pb and honey together!

  18. Ummmm I spent my Labour day dreading the fact I start school tomorrow 🙁

  19. patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    These look so good! PB&J’s definitely makes me think of back to school time.  I can’t wait to try that PB frosting, I’m getting hungry thinking about it! =)

  20. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    That frosting looks incredible sally! I love that big creamy goodness!

  21. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    Just seeing this after the long weekend and it looks absolutely perfect. Great way to start the week 🙂 And you really can’t beat pb and jelly, right? Love that frosting!!!!

  22. Ah so making these for my moms birthday next week! She LOVES pb&j! Question for you though Sally, have you tried just sticking a filling tip and piping in the jam without doing the core etc? Any success? 

    1. I have with other fillings– cream fillings mostly– but never jam. I don’t see an issue doing it that way though. I just do it this way because it’s easier for me.

  23. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture says:

    This frosting looks amazeballs! Oh wow. I am having visions of Friday night wine and a little tub of peanut butter whipped frosting… nothing else is required 🙂

  24. Sally, help! I took beautifully risen cupcakes out of the oven and five minutes later they sunk. What went wrong 🙁

    1. Oh no! Underbaked would be my guess.

  25. I want to use this frosting to make a layer cake, would you recommend doubling the frosting recipe? Thanks! I love all your recipes Sally and my husband has requested a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for his birthday.

    1. Hi Shannon! Yes, I would double the frosting.

  26. My sister is going to LOVE Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes. 🙂

  27. Another winning recipe! I just made these today and they turned out beautifully! The cupcakes would be good by themselves, but the peanut butter frosting is to die for! I think I may use it on a chocolate cupcake or brownies. Actually it would be great on banana muffins and call them Elvis muffins! Thank you, thank you very much!

  28. Tried these recipe but used a little less jelly. They ended up tasting great! Thanks.

    1. So happy you liked these, Carolyn

  29. Sally,

    My boyfriend wants a PB&J cake for his birthday. Could I possibly turn this recipe into a layer cake? If so, do you have any tips?


    1. Hi Courtney! I recommend using this white cake recipe and adding the jelly/peanut butter frosting flavors to it.

  30. I love this recipe! I made this for my brother’s birthday last year and have been thinking of it ever since. My brother tells people about them all the time

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