Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Lightened-up chocolate cupcakes made from Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, bananas, cocoa powder, and not much else! Frosted with a little peanut butter swirl. You’ll have no idea they’re skinny!

Lightened-up chocolate cupcakes made from Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, bananas, cocoa powder, and not much else! Frosted with a little peanut butter swirl. So good!

Another peanut butter and chocolate recipe for you today. I have no shame!

Today I’m sharing a skinny version of a chocolate cupcake. Filled with dark chocolate chips, swirled with peanut butter, and topped with peanut butter chips. This recipe was born from my Skinny Chocolate Banana Fudge Muffin recipe. I replaced all of the applesauce and some of the banana with creamy 0% plain greek yogurt. I added a generous dash of vanilla extract and replaced the egg with 2 egg whites. These cupcakes are full of protein packed ingredients – about 6 grams of protein per cupcake, which is impressive for a cupcake.

*Feel free to plug the ingredients into an online calorie counter to get the full nutrition stats.

The cupcakes have whole wheat flour, no butter and no oil, and only 1/2 cup of sugar for the whole recipe – not bad at all for dessert. Feel free to leave out the chocolate and peanut butter chips to reduce the sugar even more. I loved how the chocolate chips got all melty inside, so I don’t think I’ll ever cut those from the recipe. 😉

Lightened-up chocolate cupcakes made from Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, bananas, cocoa powder, and not much else! Frosted with a little peanut butter swirl. So good!

Now, I’ve had readers tell me that just because there is no butter or oil in some of my recipes, that doesn’t make them healthy. However, I firmly believe that chocolate is good for the soul, protein is necessary for our fabulous thigh muscles, and the peanut butter keeps our hair, skin, and smiles glowing. I’m so corny, I know.

Which is why I’m labeling this dessert cupcake as skinny – it’s a lightened up version of a traditional chocolate cupcake, made with more nutritional alternatives. 🙂

Let’s dig a little deeper into how you can make them.

Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Cupcakes - lightened-up and protein packed!

The first step is to mix your wet ingredients together. The wet ingredients are 0% plain greek yogurt, 2 egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla extract, and 2 large bananas. Feel free to use a vanilla flavored yogurt instead. I do not recommend reducing the sugar because there is so much cocoa powder in the dry ingredients that your cupcakes may taste bitter. Make sure your bananas are extra ripe. Mine had been dying on the counter for several days. The riper, the better (I cannot stress this enough!). Also, you may use 1 full egg instead of egg whites if you’d like.

I wanted to keep the banana taste down to a minimum, so that the focus is mainly on the chocolate and peanut butter. I made a test recipe on Saturday and used 1.5 cups of mashed banana (about 3 large bananas) and brought them to my friends. While certainly tasty, they said, the banana taste was strong. I made the cupcakes again on Sunday and reduced the mashed banana to 1 cup (about 2 large bananas) and replaced the extra moisture with greek yogurt.

The greek yogurt and mashed bananas make for some very moist and soft cupcakes. I find that dessert items without butter or oil tend to be very dry. That is SO not the case with these. Some of my friends were in shock when I told them that the recipe is full of healthier substitutes.

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Once you mix up all of the wet ingredients, you may be surprised at the volume of it all. You did nothing wrong – there is supposed to be a lot of wet ingredients to soak up all of the flour and cocoa powder.

The dry ingredients used are a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. I steered away from using strictly whole wheat flour in the cupcakes because I didn’t want them to taste heavy – more like a cupcake, less like a muffin. Feel free to use all whole wheat flour or even white-whole wheat flour (I was all out).

There is a whopping 1/2 cup of cocoa powder in this recipe. That makes for some intense fudgy cupcakes. I love using unsweetened cocoa powder in healthy recipes – you get chocolate flavor for hardly any calories. I always have a couple containers of Hershey’s Special Dark in my pantry.

An important note: try to sift the dry ingredients together. Cocoa powder is full of lumps and the last thing you want are pockets of dry cocoa powder when you bite into your finished cupcake. I always sift my cocoa powder when a recipe calls for it. With sifting, you will still measure the amounts of the dry ingredients in the recipe, then sift them together. If you do not own a sifter, whisk the dry ingredients together VERY well to get all of the lumps out.

Lightened-up chocolate cupcakes made from Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, bananas, cocoa powder, and not much else! Frosted with a little peanut butter swirl. So good!

Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently mix it up with a large spoon or rubber spatula. No mixer is required! Make sure you get all of the pockets of cocoa powder and flour out of the batter, there may be some hiding at the bottom of the bowl.

When it comes to mixing this batter, I like to think of it as “less is more.” Go for the least amount of mixing possible to combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Gently fold some dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips into the batter. These are optional, but I have to tell you how unbelievable the melty chocolate chips inside taste. Even when the cupcakes have cooled, the chocolate chips still stay soft and melty; they don’t harden up much at all.

Divide the batter between 12 cupcake liners. You want every last drop of this batter, so scrape that bowl clean. PS: good luck not tasting the batter. It tastes like brownie batter.

Ok, so you may be asking me… where’s the frosting? No cupcakes are complete with frosting! Well, to keep the cupcakes on the lighter side, I used a thick peanut butter swirl as the frosting and topped them with peanut butter chips. In my world, if peanut butter and frosting had a battle, I’m not sure who would win. I have an equal affection for both.

So peanut butter = frosting in this recipe. And you don’t see me complaining.

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Melt 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter (or use runny natural peanut butter) and spoon 1 teaspoon of it onto each cupcake. Using a knife or a toothpick, gently swirl it around into the batter. Top with peanut butter chips.

There’s a double dose of peanut butter here and I like it.

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

The cupcakes take about 20 minutes in the oven. Try with all of your self control to wait until they cool before unwrapping and eating one. That didn’t go over so well with me – I mean, I could hardly wait an extra minute when I pulled them out.

You will never, ever guess that these dessert cupcakes are made with good-for-you ingredients like bananas, whole wheat flour, egg whites, and greek yogurt. They are so rich in chocolate flavor that you’ll think you are eating a brownie. The thick creamy peanut butter swirl and peanut butter chips give each bite that little something extra. The texture is moist, fluffy, and soft like the best chocolate cake you’ve ever had.

It will be love at first chocolatey bite.

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s not forget about how EASY and quick this recipe is. There are no strange ingredients requiring a trip to a specialty grocery store – the ingredients are convenient and normal. The batter is mixed by hand in about 5-10 minutes and the cupcakes take about 20 minutes in the oven.

And it will take you only about 30 seconds to polish one off. And if all of this wasn’t enough, the best part about this recipe is that you are not sacrificing taste or convenience for a lightened up chocolate peanut butter cupcake.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! 

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Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These dessert cupcakes are made with healthier alternatives and ingredients that are convenient and easy. No trips to a specialty grocery store. They are unbelievably fudgy, with subtle banana flavor, and a thick swirl of peanut butter as the frosting. They have 6 grams of protein each; full nutrition information available by visiting a calorie counting website and plugging in the ingredients.


Ingredients

  • 2 large *very* ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup – the riper, the better)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
  • optional: 1/3 cup peanut butter chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Line a muffin tin with baking cups. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork or use a hand mixer. Mash them very well – no big lumps. Stir in the sugar, egg whites, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract.
  3. Sift* the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. The batter will be a little chunky.
  4. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups – fill them all the way to the top. Take 1 teaspoon of melted peanut butter and spoon it on top of the batter. Swirl it around with a knife or a toothpick. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips. Repeat with all 12 cupcakes.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Muffins stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Yogurt: You can use low fat, nonfat, vanilla, or plain Greek yogurt or regular yogurt.
  2. Peanut Butter: Natural peanut butter is OK, do not use powdered peanut butter.
  3. Sift Dry Ingredients: Be sure to sift your dry ingredients together to avoid pockets of cocoa powder lumps. If you have no sifter, whisk the dry ingredients together very well to remove the lumps.

Keywords: healthy chocolate peanut butter swirl cupcakes, healthy cupcakes

182 Comments

  1. Alexis @ Hummusapien says:

    I love how these only half 1/2 cup of added sugar but still totally qualify as a cupcake. And that peanut butter drizzle…totally necessary. YUM-O.

    1. peanut butter swirls are always necessary, right Alexis? 😉 Thank you!

  2. O00o0o0o0, I remember these yummies from Saturday night 🙂 I do remember saying they taste like banana, but I LOVE banana flavor! They were delicious Sally — thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. heck yeah Harps! I made them again on Sunday but reduced the banana, so they are much more chocolatey. But I still love the banana version we had on Sat night at the bar lol! SO fun to see you and catch up. Oh! The yoga video I love is Yoga Conditioning for Women http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Conditioning-Women-Suzanne-Deason/dp/B00006IX6K

  3. Your recipes are wonderful!! I haven’t tried one that I didn’t like!! 😀

    Frances
    www.notionsfromnonny.blogspot.com

    1. That’s great to hear! Thanks so much Frances!

  4. and strawberry balsamic margaritas?

  5. Jennie @themessybakerblog says:

    These are some impressive skinny cupcakes. I think I’m in love!

  6. Cassie | Bake Your Day says:

    I love the Hershey’s dark cocoa powder. Keep it on hand all the time! These flavors are so great, Sally! I love peanut butter and banana – one of my top favorites!

  7. Diane {Created by Diane} says:

    Oh these look so yummy and they are skinny…whoo hoo! Going to have to whip up a batch real soon!

  8. sarah k @ the pajama chef says:

    these sound amazing, sally! i love chocolate + pb…and having a lightened up version is great. there’s no sense trying to be 100% healthy all the time, and all those “super healthy” treats usually aren’t that great anyway. your recipes are a lovely middle ground!

    1. I really appreciate that Sarah! I get a lot of slack sometimes for using ingredients that some readers may not like, like dairy products, coconut oil, or full-fat peanut butter. As long as you eat dessert (including this one) in moderation, things will be OK. And I agree with you – the “super healthy” treats requiring special ingredients no one has heard of are a pain and may not even be that tasty!

  9. Mimi @ Culinary Couture says:

    Bananas, peanut butter, AND chocolate! Sign me up!

  10. Carla @ Carlas Confections says:

    I would definitely call these skinny 🙂 And they look seriously incredible. I love the marbled look. And the peanut butter chips on top… oh yes! No frosting needed! I am dying over how pretty these are!

  11. I love your cupcake liners. So pretty! Do you taste the banana in these? Besides for the banana part, this is next on line for baking day.

    1. Hi Deana! You won’t be able to taste very much banana over all of the chocolate. Thank you!

  12. Yum! Love these! So glad that I have all of the ingredients on hand!

    1. Let me know how you like them Jessica. Thank you!

  13. Ari @ Ari's Menu says:

    First of all, I hate when people complain about the definition of what “healthy” is. Dessert is just that–dessert, and you know I appreciate a good lightened up dessert. Of course we all have our opinions on which substitutions are important, and some people don’t use any sugar in their healthy things, but those don’t usually taste very good, or like dessert. These on the other hand look SO PERFECT! I never get excited about other people’s healthy recipe because I prefer to take a decadent recipe and make it healthy on my own, but Sally you did it PERFECTLY here. I pinned them, and I can’t wait to give them a try! I love the extra sweetness from the over ripe bananas too!

    1. Thank you so much for the pin Ari! And I agree with you. I have some readers complain that my healthier items aren’t healthy enough. You can’t please everyone! They are what we love to eat and work for our tastebuds. 🙂 you would LOVE this lighter dessert Ari!! Let me know when you make them!

  14. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    Oh the swirl again! Mesmerizing! Love how dark and rich these look. Who would have thought they are the skinny type? 🙂 YUM!

  15. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl says:

    I love how the peanut butter swirls look against the dark chocolate–I just want to reach right through my screen and eat one of these. Interestingly enough, I have some dying bananas on my counter as well as EVERY OTHER INGREDIENT needed to make these–kismet? I think so.

    1. How perfect!! You have no excuse NOT to make these Ashley. And you will looooooove them.

  16. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says:

    They look amazing to me – healthy enough I might just have to call it a muffin and have it for breakfast 🙂

  17. These look fabulous Sally! And such great wholesome ingredients! I cannot wait to try them!

  18. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Skinny cupcakes?! Woo hoo! And my favorite combination of flavours too!

  19. aimee @ shugarysweets says:

    LOVE these Sally! And that you lightened them up. Now I can eat more with less guilt!

  20. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says:

    Hey, if you take out a lot of the fat, it IS skinny. AND better for you! 🙂 LOVE these Sally, as usual, you can’t go wrong with PB&C!

  21. I am so excited to make these – you have NO IDEA! They look fantastic, and I trust you 100% with all of your healthy baked goods! Thank you for putting so much hard work and thought into your recipes, posts, and pictures. It all makes for an awesome product!! And you should be super proud of yourself — anyways, off to the kitchen to make these!

    1. Hi M! Thank you very much for the thoughtful comment, it means a lot to me! I really appreciate it (so much!). Let me know how you like these!

  22. Can’t wait to try them! Quick question about the cupcake liners….do yours get greasy on the bottom after baking? I find mine very greasy after I take them out of the cupcake tins. They leave a mark on my counter. I need to remember to put them on a cookie sheet or towel. Anyone else have this issue?

    1. Hey Meredith! These do not contain any butter or oil, so I do not have problems with grease at the bottom of the cupcakes. With cupcake recipes full of oil, I do face that problem.

  23. Sally the word Skinny caught my attention:) Oh I am in love with these little delicious cupcakes. They look so tempting. I am bookmarking this one….pinned it too:)

    1. Hey Nina! Thank you for the pin. =) Let me know if you make them sometime!

  24. Yum! I like it when just about anything is called “skinny” and it still tastes good!

  25. Oh goodness Sally you are just indulging me with your pb & chocolate creations! These are gorgeous! Bonus that they’re on the healthy side! Means I can eat double.

  26. Sally, these are BREAKFAST in my book. Who cares if there’s some peanut butter in them, and some chocolate?! Whole wheat flour, egg whites, yogurt, and bananas… I’ll call that breakfast without shame. 🙂 And I love this: “chocolate is good for the soul, protein is necessary for our fabulous thigh muscles, and the peanut butter keeps our hair, skin, and smiles glowing.” I need you in my kitchen making me feel better for all the chocolate I like to bake with!

    1. Hey Alexandra! I may or may not have had one for breakfast the other day… 😉 Oh well! Breakfast in my book too. And yes, chocolate keeps you happy and to me, that’s pretty darn healthy!

  27. Nicole @ youngbrokeandhungry says:

    Healthy is a relative term. Besides, I hate those “healthy” recipes that have like five different ingredients I cant prononce and cant find anywhere! These cupcakes look downright better then ful fat cupcakes. Cant wait to make them!

    1. Healthy = relative term, so completely agree with that Nicole! My healthy may not be your healthy. And it is always my goal to make healthy recipes with easy, available ingredients and nothing weird that I can’t even pronounce. =)

    2. Hey again Nicole! I just tried to leave a comment on your gorgeous cream biscuits (they look SO good – and easy!) but WP didn’t supply an option to enter/send my comment to you! I’ve seen this on many WP blogs lately.

  28. ashley - baker by nature says:

    There’s always time for peanut butter & chocolate in my world! I’d totally get down on these in a major way!!!

  29. You are definitely a professional swirler. That peanut butter swirl looks beautiful (as well as delicious)!

    1. Hey Wendy! I just tried to leave you a comment on your amazing sounding hugs and kisses brownies but WP didn’t supply an option to enter/send my comment to you! I’ve seen this on many WP blogs lately. I think your brownies look amazing!

      1. Thanks, Sally 🙂 I don’t know what could have happened with the missing”post comment” button. When I clicked through from your site right now, it seems to have reappeared. Thanks for the heads up on that. I will check on another browser and another computer, then beg WP to save me from technology 🙂

  30. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life says:

    I love finding recipes that use up the extra bananas on my counter! I am totally and completely in love with these! The peanut butter swirl and chips have me swooning over here!! I gotta try these for sure!!!

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