Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

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!


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 Duncan Hines yellow or white cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream full-fat or light, but not fat-free
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 24 unwrapped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/4 cup melted butter real butter, not margarine
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 pound powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup real butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons or more of milk (you can use some of the leftover evaporated milk; it’s awesome in this frosting)


  • Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Author: Our Best Bites
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Use this tutorial to frost your cupcakes!



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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Whoa lightning just struck my brain! I could use caramel instead of peanut butter! Oh yeah it is on! 🙂

    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?

  2. 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. 🙁 BOO!

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    1. Kelsey, cupcakes are always a tricky option for a hot-weather picnic. That would have to be up to you; frosting can certainly get warm and melty!

  6. 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!!

  7. I’m crying– literally crying 🙂 These may be the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

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

  9. 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. 🙂

  10. 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!

    1. Katie you can follow the same directions with a Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix (using the sour cream, etc) and it turns out great!

  11. 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! 🙂

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. Denise, an unwanted Reese’s PBC might just be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard of…

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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 😉

  17. I’m wondering if I can make this in a 9×13 pan and just swirl both frotings on top?

  18. 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!

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

    1. Oh, you definitely could. But I think my brain just wanted chocolate… 🙂

  20. 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. Ha! Crazed squirrel! 🙂

      As far as the sour cream goes, can you have plain Greek yogurt?

        1. Nope, not at all–Greek yogurt and full-fat sour cream are pretty much interchangeable! 🙂

          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.

  21. 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). 🙂

    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!

  22. 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 : )

  23. 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. 🙂

  24. oh my gosh! how can i stick to ww when you come up with these yummy recipes? love ut!!!!!