These peanut butter cupcakes are for the true peanut butter lover – they are super peanuty, light, fluffy, and moist. They taste like peanut butter cookies in cupcake format, especially when topped with a swirl of peanut butter frosting.
This post also includes instructions to turn these cupcakes into peanut butter and jelly cupcakes or chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.
What Makes These Peanut Butter Cupcakes Great
The secret to making these peanut butter cupcakes amazing is to use a lot of peanut butter. The same is true for peanut butter cookies or even peanut butter dog treats! The more peanut butter you can put into your recipe, the more your PB lovers will appreciate them.
I prefer to use smooth peanut butter (chunky will work, but obviously you’ll taste the chunks). Also, if you use natural peanut butter, be sure to mix it well to incorporate the oil that’s risen to the top before adding it to the cupcakes.
(You can also make these nut allergy-friendly by using SunButter instead of peanut butter and using regular vegetable oil instead of peanut oil.)
To intensify the peanut flavor, this recipe also uses roasted peanut oil. Unlike regular peanut oil, roasted peanut oil smells and tastes strongly of peanuts. If you can’t find roasted peanut oil, you can use any peanut oil or vegetable oil.
These cupcakes have just the right about of salt. Salt brings out the flavor in peanut butter. Choose unsalted peanut butter for the cupcakes so that you can control how much salt you add to the cupcakes.
How to Make Peanut Butter Cupcakes
If you’ve never made cupcakes before, refer to my post on how to make cupcakes before getting started.
Start by mixing your dry ingredients: sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. You can use all-purpose flour in a pinch, but the cake flour helps to make a lighter cupcake.
Mix in the peanut butter, eggs, and peanut oil. Be careful not to overmix the batter – mix until just combined. If you mix for too long, the cupcakes can end up becoming gummy.
Mix in milk. Milk thins out the the batter to help keep these cupcakes light instead of heavy and dense.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake. You’ll know they are done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Peanut Butter Frosting
For the full-on peanut butter experience, top these cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream frosting! It has a rich and creamy peanut butter flavor.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
It’s fun to turn these cupcakes into peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.
To do it, core a hole in the middle of each cupcake and fill it with a couple tablespoons of jelly before frosting.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
I love making chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. To do so, add dark chocolate chips to this batter and dip the frosted cupcake in more chocolate. Any cupcake dipped in chocolate is called a hi-hat cupcake; the process is way easier that it sounds and I walk you through each step in my post on hi-hat cupcakes.
For another variation, use my chocolate cupcakes with the peanut butter frosting prior to dipping in chocolate!
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Recipe
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour not self-rising
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup roasted peanut oil you can also use vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add peanut butter and mix until combined.
- Add eggs and peanut oil and mix until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquidy. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
- Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
- When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.
- Beat butter on high speed with an electric mixer for about three minutes until light and airy.
- Add peanut butter and salt and continue to beat for another minute.
- Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
- If desired, add more powdered sugar to make the buttercream frosting stiffer.
- Use smooth peanut butter. Chunks in your cupcakes keep the texture from being uniform, and chunky frosting doesn't pipe well and won't look as pretty. If you use natural peanut butter, be sure to mix really well before adding; it's important that the oils are thoroughly mixed in.
- I recommend using unsalted peanut butter and adding the amount of salt listed in my recipe. However, if your peanut butter has salt added to it, don't add salt to the frosting without tasting first. It may already be salty enough.
- You will need to stop and scrape down the side of the bowl every minute or so while you are mixing. The easiest way to do this is with a silicone spatula. One way to avoid scraping down the bowl is to use a mixer that has a scraping paddle. Many mixers now come with scraping paddles, but you may be able to purchase one if yours doesn't (e.g. the beater blade).
- If you plan to make a very large swirl of frosting, double the frosting recipe.
- While there are many frosting recipes that you can mix by hand, the best buttercream frostings require lots of air to be incorporated into the butter. To really get this job done right, I highly recommend that you use an electric mixer. A hand mixer or a stand mixer will both work well.
- Sift the powdered sugar if needed. Take a look at the actual sugar to see if it has clumps (some brands are clumpier than others). Clumps of powdered sugar will not get integrated into the frosting and may end up getting stuck in your piping tip. Measure before sifting.
- The frosted cupcakes last for 3 days at room temperature, up to a week at the fridge, or months in the freezer.