These peanut butter cup brownies are fudgy, and decadent with creamy peanut butter swirled throughout. Peanut butter cups in the batter and on top of the brownies make them even more delicious, indulgent and the ultimate brownie.
There’s nothing quite like a perfect brownie. Gone are the days of dry, tasteless and lackluster brownies. I don’t like to throw around the word ‘perfect’ often, but when it comes to these brownies, they are perfect. When a brownie craving strikes, this the recipe I turn to most. My Oreo Cheesecake Brownies and Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies use my-go to brownie recipe and they're also incredibly delicious.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Quick, simple from scratch brownies that don’t require a mixer.
- Thick, fudgy, and rich brownie base filled with peanut butter cups, marbled with smooth peanut butter and topped with even more peanut butter cups.
- While measurements are provided, you can use as few or as many peanut butter cups as you like. Reese’s pieces, or peanut butter M&M’s are also good in this recipe.
- Chewy edges, fudgy centers with pockets of melted chocolate and peanut butter.
- Made with simple pantry ingredients, found in any grocery store, most of which you likely already have.
All purpose flour
Cocoa powder - Either natural or Dutch processed will work here. I prefer the Dutch processed because of it’s deeper flavor and color.
Fine sea salt
Espresso powder (optional) – to enhance the chocolate
Chocolate chips – bittersweet or semi-sweet
Light brown sugar
Peanut butter – I do not recommend natural peanut butter for this recipe. It tends to separate during baking.
Peanut butter cups – any size or brand
Before beginning the recipe, line a 8x8 square pan with two sheets of parchment paper, making sure the parchment extends over the sides of the pan to form a "sling". Secure the sides with binder clips if you would like. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, breaking up any lumps.
- On low heat, melt together the butter and espresso powder. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the chocolate chips until fully melted and smooth. If there is chocolate that hasn’t melted, put back on low heat and stir until melted.
- Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Whisk in the eggs and the vanilla.
- Fold in the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
- Fold in half of the peanut butter cups.
- Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
- Melt the peanut butter for 20-30 seconds until melted and slightly runny.
- Dollop spoonfuls of peanut butter onto the brownie batter and swirl with a toothpick.
- Scatter the top with the remaining half of the peanut butter cups.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out with few moist crumbs. Gooey is fine, uncooked batter is not.
- Use a good quality cocoa powder and chocolate. You don’t need a super expensive brand, just one you enjoy eating. I like to use Ghirardelli and Guittard.
- Do not overmix the batter. Overmixing can cause the brownies to be tough, chewy and gummy in an unpleasant way. Stir just until mixed, then give the sides and bottom of the bowl a final scrape to ensure everything is well incorporated.
- The best way to get a good swirl pattern is to dollop the peanut butter evenly in very small spoonfuls over top, then use a toothpick to randomly swirl it around. Swirl until there’s ribbons of peanut butter throughout the top of the brownie batter.
- For the cleanest and prettiest cuts on the brownies, chill until completely cold and use a large, sharp knife like a chef’s knife to make a clean cut into the brownies across the width of them. Wipe off the knife off on a hot, damp rag in between each cut.
Storage and Freezing
Peanut butter cup brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They will last up to 5 days if they are refrigerated.
Baked and cooled brownies can be frozen. Store the brownies in an airtight container, in an even layer, using parchment paper to separate the layers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Yes, almond butter works well for this recipe. There are some retailers and online stores that sell peanut free “peanut” butter cups. These are typically made with sunflower seed butter.
Yes, you can double the recipe and make it in a 9x13 pan, the baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Yes. Though I truly think that this brownie recipe is far better than boxed mixed, you can use a store-bought mix. Ghirardelli has a good brownie mix that I recommend.
More Brownies to Try
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ teaspoon espresso powder
- ⅔ cup chocolate chips, bittersweet or semi-sweet
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ⅔ cup peanut butter cups, chopped
- In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk to break up any lumps in the cocoa powder.¾ cup all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and espresso powder. Remove from the heat.½ cup unsalted butter, ¾ teaspoon espresso powder
- Stir in the chocolate chips until fully melted and smooth. If there is chocolate that hasn’t melted, put back on low heat and stir until melted.⅔ cup chocolate chips, bittersweet or semi-sweet
- Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar.¾ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla.3 large eggs, room temperature, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Fold in the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is fully mixed.
- Fold in half of the chopped peanut butter cups.⅔ cup peanut butter cups, chopped
- Spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan in an even layer.
- Warm the peanut butter in the microwave for 20-30seconds until it has softened and thinned. It should be slightly liquidy and have the consistency of caramel sauce.
- Dollop spoonfuls of the peanut butter over the brownie batter. Create swirls in the batter with a toothpick.¼ cup peanut butter
- Sprinkle the remaining half of the chopped peanut butter cups on top of the brownies.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Let the brownies cool to room temperature, or just warm, then cut into squares and serve.