Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

CATEGORIES: Cakes and Cupcakes, Kate

I’ve been trying to get my brain around the idea of peanut butter and jelly cupcakes for awhile now. I’ve agonized over the hows and whys in my mind–where the jelly would go, what kind of jelly I would use, what flavor of cupcakes, yada yada yada. And then, out of nowhere as I was lying in bed awake and hungry, the simple solution came to me: why use jelly when you can use chocolate? I think that rule can pretty much be applied to all areas of life. Honestly, I’m kind of shocked it’s taken me this long to come up with this one–it’s not like no one’s ever put peanut butter and chocolate together. Enter Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

I really am not  much of a semi-homemade kind of girl–I really do make almost everything from scratch. But when it comes to cupcakes, doctored-up cake mix cupcakes really are my favorite way to go. They’re quick, easy, delicious, and fail-proof, regardless of elevation, humidity, or political affiliation. My only snobbery when it comes to doctoring up cake mixes is that I will only use Duncan Hines cake mixes (and they don’t even pay me to say that…in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a conversation with anyone affiliated with Duncan Hines). You’ll need a white or yellow Duncan Hines cake mix as well as canola oil, 3 eggs, sour cream, vanilla, small Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and peanut butter.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line 2 12-opening muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients except the peanut butter cups in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom and sides often, then beat on high for 3 minutes.

Fill each cupcake liner about 1/3 full with cupcake batter. Top with an unwrapped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup,

and then top the Peanut Butter Cups with the remaining batter. You want to make sure that the candy is covered and the liner is about 3/4 full.

Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until they are golden on top.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, you’ll want to get the frostings ready. Yep, that would be “frostings.” Plural.  It’s hot and Friday and the end of summer and your kids are fighting–I promise, you need frostings. For these cupcakes, I used the peanut butter frosting from these cookies and then the chocolate frosting from the infamous Tim Riggins Brownies.

Why that chocolate frosting, you ask? Mostly because between that frosting, this one, and this one, Mr. Riggins’ frosting is the quickest, easiest, and I always have those ingredients. Plus, the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Frosting is awesome, but it totally deserves to be the star of its own show rather than in an ensemble production, you know?

When the cupcakes have cooled completely, use this tutorial to frost your cupcakes. Squeeze a dollop of remaining frosting onto your finger, lick it, and ponder the wonder of the forthcoming school year, then pour a few glasses of milk and watch your kids ponder the wonder of you and your awesome cupcakes.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
Along with a great cupcake base, the unique frosting combination on top really makes these shine!
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For the Cupcakes
  1. 1 Duncan Hines yellow or white cake mix
  2. 1 cup sour cream (full-fat or light, but not fat-free)
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup canola oil
  5. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 24 unwrapped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
For the Chocolate Frosting
  1. 1/4 cup melted butter (real butter, not margarine)
  2. 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1/2 pound powdered sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 1/4 cup real butter, softened
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 2-3 tablespoons (or more) of milk (you can use some of the leftover evaporated milk; it’s awesome in this frosting)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the cupcake ingredients except for the peanut butter cups with an electric mixer on medium-low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl frequently. Turn the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes.
  3. Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full with batter. Top with an unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup , then fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. Make sure the Peanut Butter Cups are covered and the cups are about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frostings. For both frostings, just combine all the ingredients for each one and whip until light and fluffy, adding additional milk as needed. Frost the cupcakes with the swirled frosting in tutorial linked to below.
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Use this tutorial to frost your cupcakes!




  1. I actually made PB & J cupcakes for my son’s second birthday this year. They were really tasty! I made a basic vanilla cupcake, took out a core of it, and put a dollop of grape jelly in the center(I bought the squeeze bottle, low sugar kind and it worked excellent!),replaced the core, topped with pb frosting. I made a little well at the top of my frosting to put another small dollop of jelly so that you could tell what kind of cupcakes they were.

    They weren’t anything too special to look at, but they tasted really good. In fact, I got a lot more compliments on them rather than the “hot fudge sundae” cupcakes I made, which looked a lot cooler, but didn’t have as special of a flavor. πŸ™‚

  2. making these for my son’s b-day this weekend…only with Chocolate cake mix, and MM’s on top…b/c that’s what he requested : )

  3. I, too, have been trying to come up with an idea for PB & J cupcakes. In my mind what I’d do is have jelly-filled vanilla cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. But of COURSE peanut butter and chocolate is even better (writes the lady with chocolate-PB brownies cooling in a pan). πŸ™‚

    1. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around these because of the peanut butter and jelly muffins I made – peanut butter batter with a dollop of strawberry jam baked inside. Those were greasy and slight salty and quite unlike these in every way. But when I force myself to forget those…let’s just say I wish my husband (and therefore children) were bigger chocolate-and-peanut-butter fans, because these would be so much fun to make!

  4. My mouth watered when I saw the name of this recipe and it’s perfect timing because my husband’s birthday is right around the corner and guess what his favorite candy is?

    I have one change; I am a mad addict of the dark chocolate reese’s. I found the minis a little while ago and horded them like a crazed squirrel so I could chunk them in the food processor and mix it in place of the cadbury eggs in your cadbury egg cookies, which happens to be a family staple. I think I’m going to put those in there.

    But anyways, the real point to my comment…let’s say someone can’t have sour cream (someone who strangely resembles me). What would you suggest as a substitute?

          1. Oh dear…now that I know that there might be a crazy bake off at my house. I have SO many recipes I want to try, but haven’t because of the sour cream.

  5. Why not do a peanut butter flavored cupcake with a jelly-filling…and whatever frosting flavor you’d like?

  6. I’ve been trying to think of a reason NOT to make cupcakes for an upcoming BBQ (me+cupcakes=totally predictable). Buttttt this didn’t help the case. Being a chocoholic I kinda want to do chocolate cupcakes. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

  7. I am going to make these for my husbands birthday next week! I have been looking up lots of cupcake recipes and these are simple enough for my son (2.5yrs) to help me. We bake constantly! My husband LOVES peanutbutter and chcolate. I may have to make them with a chocolate cupcake batter though πŸ˜‰

  8. These sound delicious, but I always try to substitute healthier options if I can (I know they are cupcakes, so essentially unhealthy, but I try…). So can you use plain yogurt in place of the sour cream? And why do you only use duncan hines?

  9. Mindi, you can totally use plain yogurt–I’d recommend high-quality fat free plain Greek yogurt (I’m not impressed with the Yoplait or Dannon Greek yogurts).

    As far as Duncan Hines goes, I’ve just found the cake mixes from Betty Crocker and Pillsbury to both be dry and flavorless, even when they’re doctored up. When you doctor up a Duncan Hines cake mix, it ends up tasting and feeling like something from a high-end bakery.

  10. These look so good. At first I read it as: Top with an UNWANTED mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and I was thinking What??? Who would not want a Reese PBC? I have so many upcoming occassions to make this for, but I think I will make it just because it is Friday and I took my last final for the semester.

  11. Seeing as how I have been craving peanut butter during my pregnancy (18 1/2 weeks along), I will be making these this weekend!!! Thanks for the pb fix! By the way, your cookbook and recipes from your website ROCK!

  12. These look so amazing! Feeling VERY sorry for myself that not only are Duncan Hines cake mixes not available here in the Netherlands…but neither are Reeses peanut butter cups of ANY kind, let alone these cute, small ones! I’ll have to live vicariously through your blog and imagine myself having one of these for dessert this evening!

    1. Your comment makes me extremely sad! You should provide your mailing address so us US foodies can send you the ingredients you can’t get your hands on! πŸ™‚

  13. These look amazing! Could you use a chocolate or devils food cake mix instead? One of our family favorites is a devils food cake topped with peanut butter chocolate frosting. Since your frosting looks super cool, I think I might give it a whirl!

  14. I think we need to see what the inside of this cupcake looks like. As if I need to be more convinced to make them. πŸ™‚

  15. Oh my GOODNESS this looks DIVINE! I may have to cancel my date with my husband tonight to make these ;). Thanks for sharing!

  16. I’m crying– literally crying πŸ™‚ These may be the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

  17. MMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!! OOOOOOOOOOOOhhhh-AWWWWWWwwww!!!! Can’t wait for an excuse to try these!! I have to have something to take them to, I can tell I’d eat them all myself otherwise!!

  18. I already responded to this delectable post once, but I have a quick question. Do you think these are something I can take to a cookout and leave outside for a few hours? It will be shady but 90 degrees. I am worried about melting icing.

  19. Okay, how could you resist making these with chocolate cake? And just peanut butter frosting? Of course any combo of cake+peanut butter+ chocolate works for me!

  20. Why do you do this to us?! Every single thing you make is soooo delicious and soooo fattening…and looks too good to resist!

  21. Oh man I want to make these so bad. But I don’t think I will it is too mean. My 3 year old has a peanut butter allergy so that would not be nice to make cupcakes and NOT let him have any. πŸ™ BOO!

  22. Whoa lightning just struck my brain! I could use caramel instead of peanut butter! Oh yeah it is on! πŸ™‚

    1. Did you try the carmel? I bought some Rolos last night because my daughter has a peanut allergy. But then I got thinking about it and the rolo might be hard when the cake cools. What do you think?

  23. What if you stirred in a bag of the pbc’s that are the baking size into the batter and let them fall where they may within the cupcake? The chocolate to pb ratio is a little off, but still might be acceptable.

  24. My daughter’s birthday is Tuesday and she will be at her job delivering babies then. I knew I was going to make my -very delicious- Strawberry margharita cupcakes to take up to her and her co-workers, but will also be bringing these scrumptious sounding cupcakes too! Thanks

  25. I really want to make these, but our 6 year old has a nut allergy (sigh). Do you think you could come up with a variation on these but use rolos and other caramel stuff? Something to think about. By the way I heart your cookbook!

  26. Oh my, a friend posted a link to this on Facebook and now I’ve fallen helplessly in love with you. (don’t tell my husband….) The heck with it, I’m making these for my own birthday in a couple weeks!

  27. To be honest i just want to make a big batch of the 2 frostings and alternately shovel them into my mouth. The cupcakes look darn good too of course! How could they not when spiked with such gorgeous flavours πŸ™‚ lovely!

  28. I dreamt about making these cupcakes for Activity Days, but I had a hard time finding the ingredients, for some reason. πŸ™ Maybe that’s because mt son can’t eat gluten or dairy.

    1. Annaliese,

      I am gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, and cant have chocolate. I have gluten free white cake mix (found at the store), I cant do the candy center but I can do the PB so I think Im going to use Skippy’s honey nut PB (gluten and dairy free) to flavor the frosting, and a friend told me that Carob kinda tastes like chocolate, so I am going to try some carob in the cake. I believe there is some sourcream/ yogurt that is lactose free check in the organic/health food section of your local grocery store? If I cant find some Im either going to just follow package directions for the gluten free cake mix OR just use greek yogurt and take a chewable lactaid pill lol

  29. Well first these look just to die for – I didn’t really need another project this weekend but I guess I have one!
    On another note, have you ever wanted to take Tim Riggins and tidy him up just a wee bit and maybe put him in a spanky white navy uniform – you know just for something different or maybe for Sunday dinner? I give you: Battleship

  30. Why oh why must I have a child with a severe peanut allergy??? I love peanut butter and I love chocolate! This might just be the saddest part of my day!!

  31. Oh my word! YUM!! You have amazing ideas, Kate! Seriously. ;P Can’t wait to try these! My husband and I are both die hard fans of chocolate and peanut butter so these are so totally up our alley! :))

  32. I’m glad to see I’m not the only Duncan Hines ‘snob’ around. This recipe looks yummy! I just need an occasion to have plenty of people to share them with!

  33. The day before the wedding can be so hectic. Do you think I can make these and your lemon cupcakes ahead and freeze them for a week?

  34. thank you for adding the cut in half cupcake picture…i recommended this recipe to my sister in law for a potluck, and told her that kind of picture was missing…looks delicious!

  35. I made these today! I had two straight out of the oven, I couldn’t help myself and they were SO GOOD!!! Didn’t even need frosting.

  36. As soon as I saw the pictures, I started thinking of excuses to bake these. I’ll be trying them out and bringing them to work next week. Thanks!!

  37. I saw the blog for these, and made them the next day! They were a huge hit with everyone that tried them. However, I was hoping that my frostings would have been fluffier, I may have done something wrong. I think that my butter may have been too hot when I added it to the chocolate frosting??? It looked almost like a thick ganache.I also sifted my powdered sugar onto my food scale to reach half a pound. There wasn’t nearly as much as there was peanut butter frosting, the peanut butter frosting was fluffier, but was really glossy, I live in the South so I wonder if the humidity affected it? I like to follow a recipe exactly the first time, or two, and I almost always give a recipe a second (or third) chance. Practice makes perfect, right? πŸ˜‰ I didn’t have time to swirl the frostings like I would have liked to, but I spread the peanut butter on the cupcakes, and dolloped the chocolate on top. I love your cookbook and blog, I love to cook anyway but with a new baby it was hard to get the motiviation, well, you’ve provided it! I have tried more of the recipes from your cookbook than from any other cookbook that I have so far, I have been inspired to grill more! Thank you, it’s great to see how much you love cooking. I want to start canning now!

  38. I made these the other day and they were fantastic, however I had issues with the chocolate frosting- it was pretty runny so i ended up just using the peanut butter frosting. any suggestions for next time? thanks!

  39. My husband and I made these yesterday. They are so delicious! However, I had to put a disclaimer on mine that they tasted better than they looked. I tried to frost them using the tutorial but with the cheap way of using sandwich bags and a gallon bag. It didn’t work the greatest unfortunately. I just might have to get my own frosting bags. Any suggestions?

  40. I recently had a PB&J cupcake at a bakery. It was SO GOOD! It was a lightly flavored PB vanilla cupcake (like these) and it had strawberry jelly in the middle. PB frosting on top with another dollop of strawberry jelly and a nutter butter cookie to top it all off. So I think this recipe would be adaptable for the PBJ cupcake too! Thanks for the recipe – we can’t get enough PB and chocolate around here!

  41. Made these gluten free last night! Oh man were they delish!!! I used a chocolate Pamela’s cake mix (got it at Walmart) and follwed the instructions + 1 cup of water. Even the non gluten free people in the house couldn’t get enough πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  42. These were absolutely delicious. I did have to add more powdered sugar to the chocolate frosting. But that is ok.

    Also, I was wondering how you know how to “doctor” up cake mixes. Is that something you just figured out on your own? Is there a place that I can learn it? I love those kind best I just don’t know how to do it on my own.

  43. Just curious – does it make a difference what butter you use – salted or un-salted?

    I made fancy white cupcakes once and the recipe demanded un-salted or death.

    1. Okay. This is where we might get bludgeoned by the hard-core foodies, but Sara and I use salted butter nearly exclusively. Generally, especially in baking recipes, I just decrease or omit the salt that I add. But I used salted butter in this recipe and I was not sad about it at all. πŸ™‚

  44. These were a huge hit with my extended family last week! The only complaint I heard was I didn’t make enough! Thank you!

  45. Just made these tonight, SO yummy! I think they’d be good even without the reeses in the middle. Am wondering what the best way to store them is & how long they’re good for? Could you freeze them without the frosting? Thanks!

  46. These were the best cupcakes I have ever made. I made them for my daughter’s sweet 16 party and they were the hit. Most of the comments I heard were they were the best cupcakes ever. Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

  47. I cooked mine for 22 minutes and they are too dry and normally I have to cook things in my oven for longer so I would stick to closer to 18 minutes if you are going to make them.

  48. Loved these!…. and so did my neighbors…. and mother…. and my husband and his brother…. ha ha I think we have a new family and neighborhood favorite! Thanks for this amazing receipe!

  49. These are absolutely delicious! I must say, I have yet to be disappointed by your recipes. Thanks so much!

  50. I made these and took into my cliets office for an afternoon snack. Everyone wanted to know where they could buy them, they were so delicious! Thanks!

  51. I am going to make these tomorrow for a fundraiser bake sale for the Phi Alpha Theta History National Honor Society at my school. I am hoping they come out as good as they look!

  52. I just made these cupcakes and they are delicious! I did a quick search on the internet on the best way to use the peanut butter cups and was told to freeze them first so I did. Worked great!

  53. Umm…these were amazing. Like down two of them in two minutes amazing. I’m not normally a huge peanut butter fan, but I knew my family and friends would love them so I made them to give away…and it’s a good thing I did because I would never have been able to resist eating them all on my own! Definitely one of my favorite recipes from you guys (and I have tried a ridiculous number!) Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

  54. Can I substitute vanilla pudding instead of sour cream? This goes against everything I stand for…I am not the “let’s change up the whole recipe and wonder why it flops” kind of girl. But my best friend has a dairy allergy and I’m really trying!!!

  55. If I substitute Red Velvet cake mix for the white or yellow, do any of the preparation steps or ingredients change?

    1. Well, I wouldn’t pair red velvet with peanut butter, but if you’re just referring to the cupcake part, then yes- you can do any flavor of cake mix!

  56. I’ve been wanting to share an experience with you guys that was inspired by your pb frosting. I made your pb frosting back in January for a cake and it has stayed on my mind ever since. Last month I was in charge of making the cake for my friend’s birthday and I was coming up with different ideas to incorporate the pb frosting . . . then it finally hit me (in a dream of course). I call it reeses cake, it was amazing! I made a chocolate cake from a box, let it cool, cut each round in half, and filled all the layers with pb frosting. Then I whipped up a super yummy chocolate pb ganache and poured over the top. When it was almost cooled (but still a little gooey), I put crushed reeses pb cups on top. It was divine! Thanks for the inspiration, my friend was over the moon! xo

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