These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting are irresistible! I know of no better way to woo the one you love than with a combination of chocolate and peanut butter. They’re dairy free and vegan!
When you think of Valentine’s Day what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Oh, you thought it was love? Well, it is – love of chocolate….and peanut butter!
And if you really love your Valentine, you will make them these Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with the most amazing, eat-it-by-the-spoonful, light and fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting!
Who doesn’t love cupcakes?! Such a yummy treat. And each one is individually packaged for ease of eating and portion control.
Don’t have a Valentine? No problem – make these for yourself because you are a rockstar and you deserve it!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
These delicious, rich, chocolatey, peanut butter cupcakes are dairy free and vegan. Yet, they bake up fluffy with a perfect cupcake crumb. Here’s what you’ll need to make them…
Flour ~ All-purpose flour is the best choice to keep these peanut butter cupcakes light and fluffy.
For a gluten-free option, choose a gluten-free blend meant to replace wheat flour at 1:1 ratio, like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour.
Sugar ~ I use organic cane sugar, but you could use part cane sugar and part light brown sugar, if you prefer.
Note: While all sugar is plant-based, not all brands are vegan. Some brands process the sugar with the use of bone char. If this is important to you, be sure to choose organic sugar, which is always vegan, or check labels to ensure you’re buying a vegan variety.
Cocoa powder ~ Choose unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe.
Instant espresso powder ~ This is an optional ingredient, but brings out the richness of the chocolate. Leave it out if you don’t have it.
Peanut butter ~ In most instances, I prefer an organic natural peanut butter that is made from just peanuts and salt. You need to stir this kind of peanut butter as the natural oils will separate and rise to the top of the jar.
Pro tip: Empty the jar of peanut butter into a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with a silicone spatula until smooth. Carefully, pour the mixed peanut butter back into the original jar and store in the fridge. It should stay separated and creamy this way.
If all you have is a traditional, no-stir variety of peanut butter, that will work, too.
For a nut-free option, use sunflower seed butter.
Oil ~ Use a neutral flavored oil, like grapeseed or canola. Choose organic, if possible. Peanut butter cupcakes tend to be dry, so a bit of oil is needed to keep them nice and moist.
Melted coconut oil can also be used.
Vinegar ~ I use apple cider vinegar because it’s a plant-based pantry staple in our house. White distilled vinegar will also work.
Water ~ You can use unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk if you really want, but good ol’ water is all you need here. Water will help keep these vegan cupcakes light and moist.
Frosting ~ I paired these vegan chocolate cupcakes with my light and fluffy, dairy-free, vegan peanut butter frosting! It’s so dreamy!
I am not going to lie to you, it’s not low-cal, nor low-sugar, but we’re talking about cupcakes and frosting here. It’s a treat, not an every day food.
If you are nut-free, use your favorite store-bought or homemade nut-free frosting.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
This recipe is super easy to make. You just need a couple of mixing bowls and a whisk.
First, add the dry ingredients to a bowl (1) and whisk until thoroughly combined (2).
Next, in a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (3).
Then, pour the dry into the wet and whisk until smooth with no remaining white flour visible (4).
Line a cupcake pan with liners and fill each one about halfway (about ¼ cup of batter) (5).
Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes (6), until cool enough to handle. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and continue cooling in the liners on a wire rack.
They are moist, fluffy, and rich with chocolate flavor and just enough peanut butter to feel indulgent.
They are perfect just like this, but paired with my Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting, they are so decadent!
If you choose to frost them, allow them to cool completely, which will take at least an hour.
You can pipe the frosting on the cupcakes to look fancy or simply spread the frosting on with an offset spatula.
Top them off with sprinkles, chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, or cacao nibs.
Storage and freezing
You can store cupcakes frosted or unfrosted.
On the counter
Store finished cupcakes in an air-tight container on the counter for about 3 to 4 days. Ensure they are fully cooled before transferring them for storage. If the cupcakes are already frosted, choose a container that is tall enough to accommodate the height of the frosting.
In the fridge
I do not recommend storing them in the fridge as that will actually dry them out.
In the freezer
You can also freeze these vegan peanut butter cupcakes!
Unfrosted ~ Wrap each unfrosted cupcake individually in plastic wrap, then stack them in a freezer-safe plastic bag. They should keep well for 3 to 4 months.
When ready to serve, unwrap the cupcakes and defrost them on the counter for a couple of hours before frosting.
Frosted ~ Place the frosted cupcakes on a baking sheet or large plate in one layer and set in the freezer for an hour or two until the frosting is frozen. Wrap each frosted cupcake in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer-safe storage container. Again, they should keep for 3 to 4 months.
When ready to serve, carefully unwrap the cupcakes and allow to defrost on the counter for an hour or two.
Pro tips and tricks
~ Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour. Otherwise you may end up with too much flour, making the cupcakes dense.
~ Whisk the batter until just combined and no visible white flour remains. Do not overmix.
~ Use cupcake liners in the pan to avoid sticking.
~ Fill each cavity about ½ full, which should be about ¼ cup of batter. A tablespoon or two over or under that amount is fine, but do not fill the cavities more than ¾th full.
~ Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
~ Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle. Then, take the cupcakes out of the pan and continue cooling on the wire rack.
~ Ensure the peanut butter cupcakes are completely cool before frosting them.
~ Store cupcakes on the counter in a container with a tight fitting lid for 3 to 4 days.
Vegan cupcakes will last about the same amount of time as traditional cupcakes. Store them in an air-tight container on the counter for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze them for up to 4 months.
No, I do not recommend storing these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes in the fridge. The fridge tends to dry out baked goods.
Peanut butter is a very dense ingredient that tends to dry out baked goods. The recipe for these vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes has been tested numerous times to make sure this doesn’t happen. It’s important to measure all ingredients correctly, especially the flour. Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour or you may end up with too much causing the cupcakes to be dense and dry.
Other tips for moist cupcakes: Don’t skip the oil! And use water instead of milk for the liquid.
This cupcake recipe can easily be made into a 9-inch round cake. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it from the pan to continue cooling completely. I suggest lining the cake pan with parchment for easy removal.
More vegan cakes and cupcakes
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For even more easy family recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook!
Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup organic natural creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- ¾ cup organic cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder optional
- 1 cup water
For serving, optional
- 1 recipe Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven 350°F. Place cupcake liners in a 12-cavity cupcake pan and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and espresso powder, if using. Add the water and whisk well until smooth.
- Pour the dry into the wet while stirring until just combined.
- Fill each cavity of the cupcake pan ½ way (about ¼ cup of batter in each).
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack or about 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan. Let them continue to cool in the liners on the cooling rack.
- Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe the Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting, if using, onto each one. If desired, decorate with sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, or cacao nibs.
Storage/Freezing ~ Store cupcakes on the counter in a container with a tight fitting lid for 3 to 4 days. ~ You can also freeze them. Wrap unfrosted cupcakes individually with plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag. They will keep for 3 to 4 months. When ready to serve, unwrap them and defrost on the counter for an hour or two.
Nutrition facts ~ Since the amount of frosting per cupcake can vary based on personal preference or decorating choices, nutrition facts are calculated for cupcakes alone – not frosting.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.
Vicki Johnson says
Both the cupcakes and the peanut butter frosting are delicious!! The cupcakes are moist and yummy, and the frosting has just the right amount of sweetness. Together, they are incredible!! Thanks for another great recipe!
Jenn Sebestyen says
Thank you, Vicki! I am thrilled that you love them!
Best cupcakes EVER!! Had no espresso powder so only used 1/2 cup water and added 1/2 cup strong coffee (Peets Major D). Incredible!
Jenn Sebestyen says
That’s a perfect substitution! So glad you loved them. Thank you, Shawnna!
Janet Rezek Mertz says
Is the flour amount correct-I followed the recipe and the final product was very runny.
Jenn Sebestyen says
Hi, Janet. The measurements are correct. I just made them again this morning to double check and they came out perfectly. The batter is cake batter consistency…thin enough to pour, but it definitely has some body to it. I know you said you followed the recipe, but did you use a different type of flour? Or perhaps you accidentally mixed up the measurements for oil and sugar? You didn’t say how the final cupcakes turned out after baking…did they bake ok despite the “runny” texture of the batter?
I didn’t make the cupcakes but used the peanut butter frosting for my own cupcake recipe. By far the best vegan frosting I’ve been able to make! Thank you so much 🙂
Jenn Sebestyen says
I’m so happy to hear that, Gracie! Thank you for your feedback.
Cassandra D says
Red Velvet cupcakes are my go to Valentine’s Day treat.
Jenn S. says