It’s so easy to make your own homemade chocolate peanut butter cups! You need only a few ingredients, simple methods, and about 20 minutes of active time. The rest is all chill time! Our chocolate peanut butter cup recipe is a Reese’s copycat that’s also vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and made without powdered sugar! Make them for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any time you want a homemade sweet treat!
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It was always one of the first candies I dug out of my trick or treat bag every year as a kid. No other candy compares!
I didn’t even know I could make my own peanut butter cups until I went vegan. It was one of the first things I learned how to make when I learned how to cook. That’s how I know how this is really a simple recipe!
This is my go-to homemade peanut butter cups recipe that I’ve refined over the past 8 years or so. And I can’t believe it’s the first time I’m sharing it! With Halloween just around the corner, maybe I’m feeling nostalgic.
Why are these the best vegan peanut butter cups?
- This recipe is SO easy to make and great for kids. It’s a great recipe to make with your kids too!
- It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and has no powdered sugar. Use whatever sugar you like and have on-hand – including coconut or date sugar!
- The recipe is no-bake! Just melt the chocolate coating and let your fridge/freezer do the rest.
- They are spot-on copycats of the classic Reese’s King size peanut butter cup! You can adjust the size (more on that later) if you wish, but the flavor is pure perfection.
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For the chocolate coating, you’ll need:
- Vegan-friendly chocolate chips – Enjoy Life is probably the most popular allergy-friendly brand, but we usually buy Shop Rite’s “Bowl and Basket” store brand of semisweet chocolate chips which are accidentally vegan. A lot of brands make a vegan-friendly chocolate chip these days – including Nestle! – so check the ingredients at your local grocery store.
- Refined coconut oil – This will help the texture and consistency of our chocolate coating. If you want your peanut butter cups to taste like coconuts, use “virgin” or “unrefined” coconut oil. If you want to avoid the coconut flavor, use something labeled “refined”.
For the peanut butter filling, you’ll need:
- Creamy peanut butter – We used a regular commercial peanut butter and not the natural peanut butter you have to stir.
- Raw sugar – This is also called turbinado sugar!
- Nutritional yeast – This may seem weird, but it’s a trick I learned from Edgy Veg back in the day! A little nutritional yeast in your filling adds this savory nutty flavor and gritty texture that is spot-on for that classic peanut butter cup filling!
- Sea salt
If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to (not always desired) differences in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you!
For the chocolate chips: Peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips could be a fun twist. We got some absolutely delicious vegan peanut butter chips from Choc Zero at Expo East last year. And Enjoy Life now makes vegan white chocolate chips!
For the coconut oil: Vegan butter or vegetable shortening could work in a real pinch but would give you a softer texture.
For the peanut butter: Use whatever nut butter you like! Almond or cashew butter work great. Sunflower seed butter may also be an option if you have a nut allergy. You can also experiment with the fillings – like a vegan cheesecake filling or jam filling (like we did in our peanut butter and jelly cups!).
For the raw sugar: You can sub any sugar you like for the raw sugar, like cane sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, etc. I would not use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup because that would affect the texture.
For the nutritional yeast: Feel free to skip it, although this will affect the texture and make it thinner which can be harder to work with. If you’re concerned about that, you can try subbing some unflavored protein powder or powdered sugar in its place.
How to Make Vegan Peanut Butter Cups (with coconut oil)
Like I said, this recipe could not be easier! It’s all assembly, making it an ideal recipe to make with your partner, kids, friends, or by yourself on a Friday night of self-care!
You’ll start by lining a muffin pan with 6 cupcake liners! (You can also make mini cup using mini muffin cups or paper liners).
Step 1: Melt the chocolate.
Next, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a small saucepan on low heat, stirring often. When the chips are almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir vigorously until only a chocolate liquid remains.
You can also use a double boiler to melt chocolate chips if you’re more comfortable with that.
Step 2: Create the bottom layer.
Pour this melted chocolate mixture into each cupcake liner, enough to just cover the bottom of each liner. Be careful and pour slowly because those things fill up fast!
Carefully, keeping the muffin tin level, place this in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Make the peanut butter filling.
Next, make the peanut butter filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together.
I like to just mix it by hand with a rubber spatula. This leaves the filling a little gritty like a classic Reese’s cup! (If you know, you know!)
For a smoother texture, use a small food processor.
Step 5: Add the peanut butter center.
When the first layer of chocolate has hardened (about 10 minutes), place about 1 Tbsp of this peanut butter mixture on the hardened chocolate base.
Use the back of a spoon or your finger to flatten the peanut butter filling (you want the top to be flat when you pour on the last chocolate layer). I also leave a bit of space around the edges at this stage, so it really looks like a classic pb cup! Return the tin to the freezer for another 10 minutes.
Step 6: Add the final chocolate layer.
Before the next step, you may need to warm your chocolate again. You want it to be a smooth and pour-able chocolate liquid! If it’s anything thicker than that, pop it back on low heat and stir until it’s liquid.
Place in the freezer once more for 45-60 minutes or the fridge overnight to fully harden.
How to Serve / Store Dairy Free Peanut Butter Cups
Store these vegan Reese’s cups in an airtight container in either the freezer or the fridge, depending on your own personal preference!
They can sit outside the fridge for up to 1 hour at a cool room temperature (at least 75F), but I wouldn’t leave them out on a hot summer day and definitely not in the sun or they will melt.
Peanut Butter Cup FAQ
There are some dairy free peanut butter cups available in the market and online. But many, including the classic Reese’s peanut butter cups, are not dairy free. Always read the ingredients if you are at all uncertain.
Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups do have dairy in them. They contain both milkfat and lactose.
Even dark chocolate peanut butter cups can still have some form of dairy in them. Don’t be fooled just because the product has dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Unless the product is clearly labeled as vegan, check the ingredients to be certain.
Hershey’s, Reese’s parent company, does not offer a vegan Reese’s peanut butter cups option. But there are many competitor brands who do.
Lily’s does make a dark chocolate peanut butter cup option that is vegan friendly. However, Lily’s milk chocolate pb cups contain both milk powder and milk fat and are therefore not suitable for vegans.
Like Lilys’ brand, Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups are vegan-friendly, but their milk chocolate cups contain dairy and are not.
Vegan Peanut Butter Cups Brands
There are actually quite a few vegan peanut butter cups on the market these days. Both Justin’s and Unreal dark chocolate peanut butter cups are vegan. And Nutpucks “milk chocolate” peanut butter cups by Chomp are also vegan. Free2B offers vegan sunflower butter cups that sound rather delicious as well for those with an allergy to nuts.
More Vegan Candy Recipes:
- Vegan Peppermint Patties
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Cups
- 2-Ingredient Chocolate Bars
- Looking for store-bought vegan candy? Check out our Vegan Candy Guide!
I hope you love this easy peanut butter cup recipe as much as I do! And I hope it helps you realize how fun and easy making your own homemade candy can be. What an exciting world!
When you try this recipe, please let us know by leaving a star rating and review below! It helps more people find our recipes, and we just love cheering you on in your kitchen wins. Enjoy!
For the chocolate coating:
For the peanut butter filling:
- Prep: Line a cupcake tin with 6 cupcake liners.
- Melt the chocolate: Add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a small saucepan on low heat, stirring often. When the chips are almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir vigorously until only a chocolate liquid remains.
- Bottom layer: Pour this chocolate mixture into each cupcake liner, enough to just cover the bottom of the liner. Carefully place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Make the filling: Next, mix the peanut butter with the other filling ingredients. I like to just mix it by hand and leave the filling a little gritty like a classic Reese’s cup! For a smoother texture, use a small food processor.
- Add the peanut butter filling: When the first layer of chocolate has hardened, place about 1 Tbsp of this peanut butter mixture on the hardened chocolate base. Use the back of a spoon or your finger to flatten the peanut butter filling, leaving a bit of space around the edges if desired. Return to the freezer for another 10 minutes.
- Add the final chocolate layer: Before the next step, you may need to warm your chocolate again. You want it to be smooth and pour-able! Once it’s reheated, top each peanut butter layer with another layer of chocolate, just enough to cover the peanut butter. Place in the freezer once more for 45-60 minutes or the fridge overnight to fully harden.
Storage: Store these vegan peanut butter cups in either the freezer or the fridge, depending on your own personal preference! They can sit outside the fridge for up to 1 hour in a cool room, but I wouldn’t leave them out on a hot summer day and definitely not in the sun or they will melt.
Nutritional yeast notes: This adds a slightly savory nutty flavor and thick somewhat gritty texture that you know and love in a peanut butter cup! Feel free to skip it or use some unflavored protein powder or powdered sugar in its place.
Size adjustment: This recipe makes “King” size peanut butter cups in a regular muffin tin. Feel free to use less chocolate/peanut butter and make smaller cups or make mini cups in a mini muffin tin!
Serving Size:1 large peanut butter cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 303mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 21gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.
Watch our Copycat Reese’s Cup web story here!