Move over Reese's! My homemade peanut butter cups recipe uses only 4 real ingredients and tastes just as good. Gluten Free w/ Paleo option!
I think we all remember the amazing flavor of Reese's Peanut Butter cups from our childhood. I mean, there really isn't a better combination – in my mind – than a nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew) + chocolate. Unfortunately, with the laundry list of unnatural ingredients in the grocery store peanut butter cups, they now get left on the shelf.
Well, move over Reese's, I have recreated the peanut butter cup recipe using only 4 real food ingredients. Yes, you read that right… 4 *real food* ingredients! And, I might dare to say, my recipe tastes better than classic peanut butter cups. They are super easy to make as well – would be a kid friendly activity to do this summer after a day at the pool.
Bonus? These are dairy free peanut butter cups. The chocolate comes from cocoa powder so there's no need to seek out a fancy, dairy free chocolate to make them if you don't do dairy.
Prep Dish Tip: Feel free to sub the peanut butter with your nut butter of choice (almond, cashew, walnut) or sunflower seed butter. All are equally delicious! Make sure to store your peanut butter cups in the freezer in an airtight container so the coconut oil doesn't liquefy.
Peanut Butter Cups
- 12 muffin liners
- 1 c coconut oil
- 1 c cacao/cocoa powder
- 1/4 c honey
- pinch salt
- 4 T peanut butter (OR sub almond butter or sunbutter)
- Place 12 muffin liners in a muffin pan.
- In a saucepan over low heat whisk together, cocoa powder, honey, and salt until coconut oil is melted and ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat.
- Place 1T of cocoa mixture into bottom of each liner & freeze ~10 minutes Once cocoa mixture hardens, place 1tsp peanut butter in the center of each cup and “flatten” slightly.
- Top with additional 1-1.5T cocoa mixture (enough to cover completely). Place in freezer for 10 minutes or until hardened.
- Store PB cups in freezer.
What is the nutrition like in this homemade peanut butter cups recipe?
Yes, this is a dessert and nutrition may not be your number one concern here. Still, maybe it's the RD in me needing out, but I love thinking about all of the good nutrients my body is getting, even with dessert! If you're like me, you'll love knowing that this simple recipe is quite nutritious.
I've detailed some of the nutrients the recipe provides below but, beyond vitamins and micronutrients, this healthy dessert is also balanced from a macronutrient level. Coconut oil and peanut butter provide healthy fats and peanut butter provides protein. This means you can satisfy your craving for something sweet without getting a total sugar rush!
Take a look at the other nutritional benefits of these homemade peanut butter cups:
Coconut Oil (MCTs)
Much of the beneficial nutritional impact from coconut oil stems from the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) it contains. MCTs are processed differently than other fats. Your liver turns them into ketones, which are beneficial for brain health. The lauric acid found in coconut also has beneficial antimicrobial properties.
Cocoa Powder (Antioxidants)
Rich in the antioxidant known as polyphenols, cocoa powder may help decrease inflammation and improve blood flow to your brain. Possibly due to its flavanols, cocoa also positively impacts mood! Cocoa powder's flavanols may also help reduce blood pressure. Less processed chocolate products have more flavanols. The label “cacao powder” sometimes indicates a less processed product, which likely contains more antioxidants. There is no clear and consistent definition of the term “cacao” though. This is one superfood it's easy to get the kiddos to eat!
While honey is a sweetener and should be used sparingly, it does contain antioxidants and antibacterial properties, making it a great choice to add sweetness in moderation. Raw honey may be particularly beneficial.
Peanut Butter (Folate, Vitamin E)
High in protein, peanuts are legumes rather than actual nuts. They're a great source of folate and vitamin E. Make sure to get peanut butter that contains only peanuts and perhaps a bit of salt to maximize the nutrition.
What are some variations on this homemade candy recipe?
One of the best things about a simple recipe like this is that it's completely customizable. Here are a few tasty variations:
- Swap almond butter or cashew butter to turn these into an easy paleo dessert.
- Use sunbutter instead of peanut butter to make this a nut-free dessert.
- Sprinkle cacao nibs on top of the peanut butter cups before placing in the freezer for a bit of crunch.
- Top cups with slivered almonds before freezing.
- Use maple instead of honey to sweeten.
- Sprinkle with shredded coconut.
- Add a touch of cinnamon or vanilla to the mixture on the stovetop. Try a bit of almond extract if you're using almond butter!
This simple recipe is a fun one to make with the kids. Try setting out a few toppings and inviting your child to sprinkle various toppings on top of each homemade peanut butter cup.
I want more healthier chocolate desserts!
Believe me, I feel you 🙂 I'm a huge chocolate fan and while I'm often satisfied with a couple of squares of quality dark chocolate, sometimes I want something a little extra. Here are a few of the healthier chocolate desserts I reach for when I'm in the mood for something special!
Chocolate Energy Bites
If you get a craving for something sweet in the afternoons, these chocolate energy bites are perfect. Sweetened with dates, they're sweet but won't give you a sugar rush. Plus they contain plenty of protein and healthy fats to actually keep you full, unlike a piece of chocolate.
Creamy Chocolate Cashew Milk
My homemade chocolate cashew milk requires only 6 ingredients, and that's including water and salt! Sweetened with dates, this healthy beverage is satisfying, naturally sweet and completely nostalgic. Just close your eyes and imagine that little carton in the cafeteria from childhood 🙂
Chocolate Pomegranate Bark
This recipe is as simple as it is fun! Slivered almonds and pomegranate arils make a beautiful dessert, especially nice for the holiday season. There are SO many potential topping combinations though! Have fun experimenting with this one.
Still want more? I put together a free Chocoholics recipe download with even more healthy, chocolatey recipes for you. When you get your download, you'll also be signed up for our free weekly newsletter. Every week we'll send you tips on meal planning, meal prep and tasty, healthy recipes.
I'd love to see pictures of your peanut butter cups creations! Did you use peanut butter or did you make a swap? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We are @prepdish in all 3 places.