Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
on Mar 08, 2013, Updated Oct 09, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
If you want to make your own candy, you have to try these easy homemade peanut butter cups. With just dark chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract and honey, they will satisfy your sweet tooth in a more healthy way than typical pb cups. I finish them with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
They are a healthier version of peanut butter cups. Honey sweetens the peanut butter, which makes them lower in sugar than standard store-bought Reese’s cups.
They have just 6 ingredients. All you need are dark chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. There are some recipes out there that have only 3 or 4 ingredients, but vanilla extract really enhances the flavor of the chocolate. And so does a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top of each one.`
It’s simple to make your own homemade candy. If you’ve thought that from-scratch candy would be too challenging, peanut butter cups are a great starting point. All you have to do is melt the ingredients in the microwave, stir them together, pour them in a muffin pan and freeze them. The recipe is very approachable.
There’s no pressure for perfection. The more bumps and other imperfections, the more charmingly homemade these peanut butter cups look. That’s one thing I love about them. They shouldn’t look exactly the same like store-bought pb cups do.
This recipe has plenty of chocolate, so you won’t be scraping the bowl to make all 12. That’s very helpful with homemade candy recipes.
This is what you need:
- Dark chocolate chips are rich and give the chocolate shell a definite snap. Dark is my preferred kind of chocolate because it isn’t as sweet as milk chocolate. Also, dark is more chocolate forward. You can use dairy-free chips if you want.
- Peanut butter: Go with natural peanut butter that has a somewhat drippy consistency. I think the sweet spot in the jar is in the middle. Avoid the bottom of the jar which can be drier unless you do a better job stirring natural peanut butter than I do. The filling turns out lovely and creamy.
- Coconut oil: If you use refined coconut oil, you won’t taste coconut flavor in the pb cups, which should be all about chocolate and peanut butter.
- Vanilla extract enhances the chocolate taste and richness.
- Honey sweetens the peanut butter filling. You can substitute with maple syrup to make them vegan.
- Flaky sea salt is the finishing touch that really elevates these peanut butter cups. Already combining chocolate and nuts gives you that wonderful salty-sweet combination. Maldon or another kind of sea salt with big flakes adds crunch. I also finish my chewy chocolate chip cookie bars with sea salt.
How To Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper or silicone liners.
1. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Do this in 20-second blasts in the microwave. Stir after each time because this will distribute the heat and help melting. Then stir in the vanilla extract.
2. Spoon 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate into each cup. Use a spoon to spread the chocolate to coat the bottom and slightly up the sides. Freeze for 10 minutes until set.
3. Combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt the oil. Then stir everything together.
4. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the cups. It should be about 1 tablespoon for each one. Freeze for 10 minutes until set.
5. Spoon the remaining melted chocolate on top. It will about 1 teaspoon or so for each one. Sprinkle with sea salt. Since the peanut butter layer is frozen, this chocolate will set fast. It’s best to do this one cup at a time. Freeze the peanut butter cups until they are fully set. I typically give them another 10 minutes.
- The quality of the chocolate chips matters. Use a high-quality brand like Guittard, Ghirardelli or Callebaut for the best flavor and texture.
- Do not overheat the chocolate chips in the microwave or your chocolate will be grainy. That’s why I like staying on the safe side and doing this in 20-second increments. Your chocolate should not be fully melted when you pull it out of the microwave that last time. You should still see the remnants of some of the chips. When you stir, the heat will easily melt them. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler on the stove to melt the chocolate.
- Organize your freezer before your start, so you have a clear, flat area to put the muffin tin when you are doing the required freezing for each of the recipe steps.
- If your chocolate in the bowl hardens by the time you are about to spoon on the final layer, microwave it for 5 seconds and stir it. I use such short spurts of time because I don’t want to overheat the chocolate and cause it to seize and get grainy.
- Follow the recipe as written and do that final chocolate layer and sea salt one at a time. Or you will have trouble smearing the chocolate across the top.
- Always use a microwave safe bowl. You will actually need two: one for the chocolate and another for the peanut butter.
These peanut butter cups are generous, so they are great treats for a single serving dessert. Since they are best served chilled, you will need to keep that in mind if you are sharing them with guests. It helps to serve them on a plate that you chill in the fridge.
Leftovers & Storage
You can keep these homemade peanut butter cups in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. To store them longer, put them in the freezer up to 2 months. Let them sit out at room temperature to thaw for 20-30 minutes.
Yes. Just use dairy-free, vegan chocolate and substitute maple syrup for the honey.
Of course. Just make sure it has a thick but somewhat pourable consistency and you can substitute with other nut butters including cashew butter.
Yes, it will give the peanut butter cups more crunch and texture.
Yes, just use a mini muffin pan and mini cupcake liners instead.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
For chocolate layers
- 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1-1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For peanut butter filling
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
For peanut butter cups
- Flaky sea salt
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or silicone liners.
- Melt the chocolate and 1-1/2 tablespoons coconut oil in 20-second blasts in the microwave, stirring after each time to encourage melting until smooth. (It will take 5-6 times.) Then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Spoon 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate into each cup. Use a spoon to spread it across the bottom and slightly up the sides. Freeze for 10 minutes until set.
- Combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt the coconut oil. Then stir them together.
- Pour the peanut butter filling into the cups, about 1 tablespoon each. Freeze for 10 minutes until set.
- Pour the remaining melted chocolate on top, about 1 teaspoon each. Sprinkle with sea salt. Do this one at a time because the chocolate will harden quickly.
- Freeze them for 10 minutes until fully set.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.