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
- 2 cups (12 oz) vegan chocolate chips, divided
- 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter *not the natural kind if you can help it.
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- coarse sea salt, optional for sprinkling on top
- 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!
I add vegan Graham cracker crumbs to the filling and much more like Reese’s!
Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your feedback!
How can I make this with carob or white chocolate? I can’t consume caffeine
I haven’t tried using either, but it would probably work okay.
Really tasty. Next time I’ll try omitting coconut oil to allow them to stay out of fridge. Helpful tip when putting PB in the cup – dip your finger in confection sugar before flattening the ball. Works fab.
Thanks for the tips! I hear subbing vegan butter for coconut oil makes them more stable at room temperature. Glad you enjoyed the peanut butter cups.
These are delicious. But they melt in my hands making them messy to eat! (I’m eating straight out of freezer – not sure if that helps or hurts)Next time I’ll try making them with vegan butter and I think I’ll try making them in a mini muffin tin – easy to just pop in your mouth if they’re too melty!
Glad you love them! Thanks for sharing!
Very easy and delicious.
Do you think SunButter would work? Have peanut and tree nut allergies in the house. Thanks!
I haven’t tried it, but it might work!
Hi any ideas what I can substitute sugar with? Do you think dates or honey will work?
I haven’t tried it, but maybe pure maple syrup or honey (though honey isn’t vegan).
these were amazing. doubled the recipe. definitely a high calorie treat. added frozen organic raspberries to half of them in the top chocolate layer, delicious
I am allergic to peanuts- would this work, and taste similar, with almond butter?
Yeah, I think it would work.
Hi, do you reckon i could you use powdered sweetener instead of sugar?
I think it would work okay, yes.
Yummy! My husband loved them and he’s not vegan! It’s nice to be able to eat chocolate treats being vegan.
Can i use a mini muffin tin without liners?
You should be able to, I think they would pop out of the tin okay with a little help. You can find little liners as well.
Can you use natural peanut butter
Yes, natural works just fine. Thank you!
These were easy to make and delicious! I used them on your peanut butter pie as suggested in the recipe, it really brought the dessert to the next level! I used began butter instead of coconut oil and the chocolate stayed firm even at room temperature. Another great recipe!
I just whipped these up, and oh my goodness!! They are delicious!! Thank you for such a simple and amazing recipe!! and so easy to make.