These tender cupcakes are made with peanut butter in the batter and are topped with creamy peanut butter frosting. They have a double dose of peanut butter for the perfect peanut butter cupcake recipe.
**This post was updated April 23, 2020, with new photos and a slightly updated recipe for an improved cupcake crumb**
When it comes to peanut butter and baking – I think most people typically think about peanut butter cookies. But since I don’t like to be confined to the classics, I wanted to find the perfect recipe for peanut butter cupcakes. These nuggets of deliciousness are moist and tender with a delicious peanut butter flavor, without being too sweet. The peanut butter frosting is extra creamy, super fluffy and makes for the perfect salty-sweet peanut butter combo. I don’t think you can go wrong with a double dose of peanut butter – and these definitely don’t disappoint.
Finding the Perfect Peanut Butter Cupcake Recipe
Now, it turns out creating the perfect peanut butter cupcake was a tall order. I tried so many recipes and variations – and the truth is, so many of my recipe tests resulted in dry or bland cupcakes, and so many sunk in the middle. Cupcakes should be tender and moist. But because peanut butter is heavy and soaks up moisture, getting that perfect texture can be tricky.
But after some delicious & not so delicious batches of peanut butter cupcakes – I got the perfect results. So here’s what’s important:
- Use oil instead of butter. Oil tends to make cakes and cupcakes that are lighter and moister.
- 2 eggs for tenderness. Whisking the eggs into the batter also helps to lift the cupcakes as it bakes.
- Milk and sour cream for moisture. When you look at the recipe – you may realize that there’s more liquid in the batter in relation to flour compared to other cupcake recipes. That extra liquid is needed to keep the cupcakes moist and combat the drying effect of the peanut butter.
You’ll notice that the top of each cupcake is a little crinkly, but that’s totally ok. The middle is moist, tender and most importantly – filled with big peanut butter flavor.
For the Frosting
I wanted a double dose of peanut butter for these cupcakes, so they’re topped with my favorite peanut butter frosting. It’s creamy, fluffy and not overly sweet. As pictured – I like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes. But if you only want a thin layer, you could half the frosting recipe (I’ve included the details in the recipe card below). If you’d prefer – you could also top them with chocolate frosting.
I was told that these cupcakes “smack you in the face with peanut butter” – which is exactly how a peanut butter treat should be in my humble opinion.
- Big peanut butter flavor
- moist and tender
- super fluffy peanut butter frosting
- And a few peanut butter candies to go along!
Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- ½ cup vegetable oil or canola
- 1 cup light brown sugar*
- 2 large eggs*
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup peanut butter* do not use natural, homemade or whipped
- 1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour AKA plain flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk*
- ¼ cup sour cream*
Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup peanut butter*
- 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoon cream or milk
- peanut butter candies for decoration
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
- Line 2 muffin tins with muffin papers (you'll end up with about 16-18 cupcakes total).
- In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Or whisk by hand
- Beat (or whisk) in the peanut butter, ensuring that there are no lumps of brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a liquid measuring cup, gently whisk together the sour cream and milk with a fork.
- Carefully whisk about ½ of the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture, followed by about ½ of the sour cream and milk mixture. Repeat the process until everything is mixed together. Its important to do this step by hand to avoid over mixing the batter.
- Spoon into the prepared cupcake liners filling each about ⅔ to ¾ full. You should end up with about 16 cupcakes total. If you only make 12 cupakes, then you've filled the liners too full.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Peanut Butter Frosting
- In a large bowl beat the butter until fluffy.
- Then beat in the peanut butter until smooth.
- Add in the vanilla extract and 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat together on low speed until combined.
- Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of cream until the desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
- Frost with a knife or piping bag (I used a piping bag and 1M tip) and decorate with peanut butter candies.
- 1 cup light brown sugar can be substituted with ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup brown sugar.
- Eggs, sour cream and milk should be at room temperature before getting started.
- Use smooth, American-style peanut butter - such as Jiffy, Skip or Kraft - that's made with stabilizers for both the cupcakes and frosting. Do not use homemade, natural or whipped peanut butter because they can introduce too much oil into the batter and be too thick for the cupcakes to rise.
- If you only want a thin layer of frosting on each cupcake spread with a knife, use:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
- Leftovers store well in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months, then thaw in the fridge.
- Nutrition information is based on 1 cupcake with frosting and without peanut butter cups on top, assuming the recipe makes 16 cupcakes.