Vegan Peanut Butter Cups are easy to make, with only 4 ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now! Everyone’s favorite candy, made vegan.
Peanut butter cups were always one of my favorite candies; I would choose them over just about anything else in a Halloween bag or Easter basket!
But sadly, when you go vegan, or you can’t have dairy, you discover that all your favorite chocolate candies have milk in them. If you are lucky enough to shop at Whole Foods or another natural grocery store, you might be able to find a few vegan options, but they tend to be pricey and hard to find.
It’s much easier to make your own! These vegan peanut butter cups are, dare I say, tastier than the original, and you get to use quality ingredients. You will love them!
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Non-dairy chocolate chips – You don’t have to purchase the most expensive vegan labeled chocolate chips. There are a few brands that are accidentally vegan, like Guittard, Trader Joe’s and sometimes Costco’s Kirkland brand. Formulas can change, so just check the ingredient list for milkfat, butter oil or “contains milk”. Vegan friendly chocolate bars work as well, chopped up.
- Refined coconut oil – I call for refined coconut oil because it doesn’t taste like coconut at all. If you don’t mind a coconut taste, you can use unrefined. If you want the cups to be shelf stable, omit this, but it really adds a smoother chocolate layer that I love.
- Creamy peanut butter – I generally prefer natural peanut butter for eating, but here I recommend regular creamy peanut butter, NOT the natural kind. If you must, it will probably work okay. Natural can be very runny, oily or sometimes super thick and is not as consistent.
- Powdered sugar – I haven’t tried another sweetener, but you might be able to use maple syrup instead.
- Optional – Coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top. I highly recommend this!
How to make vegan peanut butter cups
- Line a standard sized muffin tin with paper liners. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the microwave (or use the double broiler method). Scoop about half of a tablespoon chocolate into each cup, and spread it around the bottom and up the sides a little bit with a small spoon. Use your fingers on your other hand to stabilize the cup. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes so the chocolate can harden.
- In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter and powdered sugar. If your peanut butter is unsalted, add a tiny pinch of salt here. A sort of dough will form.
- Add a tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture on top of the hardened chocolate, and press down a bit with your fingers. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Melt the other cup of chocolate chips and coconut oil, then place 1/2 tablespoon on top of the peanut butter, spreading it gently with a spoon if needed. Sprinkle with salt, if using. Place them back in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
How to store vegan peanut butter cups
Store peanut butter cups in the refrigerator or freezer, in some sort of container with a lid. I like to keep them in the freezer. They will melt rather quickly at room temperature due to the coconut oil, so don’t leave them out.
If you want candies you can wrap and that are more stable, you can leave out the coconut oil OR substitute melted vegan butter. I prefer how they taste with that little bit of coconut oil, but they are just fine without it and then they won’t melt so quickly.
More peanut butter + chocolate treats you will love
- Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
- Vegan Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Peanut Butter Cups
- Line a 12 cup standard size muffin tin with paper liners.
- Place half of the chocolate chips (1 cup) and half of the coconut oil (1 tablespoon) in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, then another minute and stir until melted and smooth. If you do not have a microwave, you can use the double broiler method to melt.
- Scoop about half of a tablespoon melted chocolate, and place it in each liner. Use a small spoon to spread it around and up the sides just a little bit. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- While the chocolate hardens in the freezer, add the peanut butter and powdered sugar to a bowl and mix with a spoon or fork until well combined and a sort of dough is formed. Taste for sweetness, and add more sugar if desired. If using unsalted peanut butter, add a tiny pinch of salt.
- Remove the pan from the freezer. The chocolate should be quite firm and not melty anymore. Place a tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate in each cup, and press down a bit with your hands. It does not need to be flattened completely. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Melt the other cup of chocolate chips and the last tablespoon of coconut oil, as you did before. Scoop 1/2 tablespoon on top of the peanut butter and spread immediately with a small spoon if needed and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired. Because the peanut butter was in the freezer, the chocolate will harden quickly. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
- Storage: Store the peanut butter cups in the refrigerator or freezer, as they will melt rather quickly at room temperature because of the coconut oil. If you want them to be more shelf stable, substitute melted vegan butter for the coconut oil, or leave it out completely.
- Many brands of chocolate chips are vegan, simply check the ingredients list for milk fat, butter oil or any other animal based ingredients.
- Instead of chocolate chips, you can also use vegan chocolate bars, which may be easier to find depending on where you live.
- Calories estimate is for 1 peanut butter cup if you make 12.
- These can be made into mini peanut butter cups! Use a mini muffin pan and mini liners for smaller treats.
- I have found that when making candy, it's best to use regular peanut butter, not the natural kind. Natural can be so runny or very thick, and is not as consistent. For the best filling, use regular creamy peanut butter.
*This recipe was originally published April 2019 and has been republished with improved photos and recipe. The original did not include coconut oil, but I have since found I prefer them this way. I’m always working on improving the recipes on my website, thank you!