Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

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These indulgent Peanut Butter Cup Brownies combine a soft, gooey brownie base and then we press peanut butter cups into it. Top it all with a thick, fudge-like layer of peanut butter and chocolate and you’ve got a show stopper of a dessert!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies stacked on top of each other

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

These rich, gooey, and fudge-like brownies are a dream come true for chocolate and peanut butter lovers. The brownies have actual Reese’s® cups pressed into them and then we top the bars with a thick layer of chocolate and peanut butter.

Two layers of chocolate and peanut butter? Count me in!

Ingredients shot-- the ingredients that go in this dessert

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Base

We begin with a boxed mix for these peanut butter cup brownies. Brownie mixes are tasty and convenient, especially since we want this dessert to be quick and easy. If you want to make your brownies from scratch, use your favorite brownie recipe in place of the mix in this recipe. (Whatever brownie recipe you use, make sure it fills a 9×13-inch pan.)

My personal favorite mix for this recipe: Betty Crocker’s Fudge Brownie Mix®. There are different versions of this mix, so make sure to get the mix that will fit a 9×13-inch pan (18.3 ounces). Any store-bought brownie mix will work, as long as it’s intended for the larger pan (not an 8×8 or 9×9 pan). As far as homemade goes, I do have this amazing Brownie Recipe or this Gluten-Free Brownie recipe on my site that can be used in place of the boxed mix. (If making the homemade gluten-free brownies, leave off the frosting).

Process shots-- mixing the brownie ingredients; smoothing into the pan

Reese’s cups

We partially bake the brownies and pull them out of the oven a few minutes before they’re done. Working quickly, we then press unwrapped Reese’s candies into the brownies and return the bars to the oven to finish baking.

There are so many different sizes and variations of Reese’s peanut butter cups. For these Peanut Butter Cup Brownies, we’re looking for the original-sized Reese’s cups. This recipe requires 15 full-sized Reese’s cups.

Process shots-- partially bake the brownies; press peanut butter cups into the brownies; return to the oven to finish baking

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Topping

Once the bars have fully cooled, we melt chocolate and peanut butter and spread them over the bars. They create a thick fudge-like topping that is ridiculously rich and delicious! A few topping tips:

  • Use a commercial, sweetened peanut butter. Our favorite is Skippy’s® creamy peanut butter (not sponsored). Avoid natural or no-stir peanut butters; they won’t work the same or be as tasty.
  • Pick high-quality chocolate chips for the best melt and superior flavor. We love and recommend Ghiradelli® and Guittard® (not sponsored).
  • We love milk chocolate chips for the topping on these brownies, but use whatever chocolate you like best. If you’d like to control sweetness, use semi-sweet or dark chocolate instead. 
  • For a more nuanced flavor, mix two types of chocolate — try milk and dark, milk and semi-sweet, or semi-sweet and dark.

Process shots-- combine chocolate and coconut oil; melt until smooth; pour over cooled brownies; smooth into an even layer

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Tips

  • To avoid burned chocolate, microwave the chocolate for 20 seconds at a time, and stir it for at least 20-25 seconds between each microwave burst. Keep in mind that the chocolate is still melting even after it has been removed from the microwave. I like to microwave it as little as possible, focusing instead on stirring to melt the chocolate with residual heat.
  • When measuring ingredients, measure the coconut oil or shortening in the solid-state form, not melted.
  • When swirling the top, run a table knife gently through just the milk chocolate and peanut butter layer, but not deep enough to go through to the brownies.
  • Plan ahead. While this recipe is simple to make, it requires quite a bit of (hands-off) time waiting for the layers to cool.
  • Avoid refrigerating or freezing brownies. If the brownie base is chilled when the chocolate is added on top, it can cause spotty or streaky chocolate. See “quick tip” below. Additionally, if the brownies are chilled after the chocolate and peanut butter topping is added, it makes these brownies very difficult to cut out — the top cracks instead of cutting smoothly. And finally, we think these brownies taste best at room temperature, not chilled.
  • Wait for the bars to fully set up before cutting into them. Once they’re fully cool, use a sharp chef’s knife and make steady cuts. Run the knife under hot water, dry it on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut. This is the “secret” to getting the chocolate to cut out nicely and not break.

QUICK TIP

Streaky or spotty chocolate is simply the cocoa solids separating out and rising to the top. If the brownies do end up with white spots, they are still perfectly safe to consume.

Process shots-- combine peanut butter and oil; melt until smooth; drizzle over the chocolate; drag a knife through topping but not into the actual brownies.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Storage

These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days. Store, covered tightly, at room temperature. There is nothing about these bars that requires refrigeration.

These bars can be frozen, but when thawed, they will most likely form white spots on top. They’re safe to eat; this is just the milk solids separating and rising.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

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Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

5 from 13 votes
These indulgent Peanut Butter Cup Brownies start with a soft & gooey brownie base and then we press peanut butter cups in. We top it all with a thick, fudge-like layer of peanut butter and chocolate for a show stopper of a dessert!
Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

5 from 13 votes
These indulgent Peanut Butter Cup Brownies start with a soft & gooey brownie base and then we press peanut butter cups in. We top it all with a thick, fudge-like layer of peanut butter and chocolate for a show stopper of a dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword peanut butter cup brownies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Setting Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 53 minutes
Servings 24 brownies
Calories 208kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $9.52

Ingredients

  • 1 package (18.3 oz; 519g) fudge brownie mix Note 1
  • Ingredients called for on the brownie mix (oil, eggs and water)
  • 15 regular-sized Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (445g) milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (175g) creamy peanut butter (We love Skippy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons shortening or coconut oil, separated

Instructions

  • PREP: Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven according to brownie mix instructions.
  • BROWNIE MIX: Prepare the brownies according to package directions. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 2 minutes less than the package directs. Meanwhile, unwrap the peanut butter cups.
  • PEANUT BUTTER CUPS: Working quickly, press the unwrapped peanut butter cups evenly into the brownies -- 3 rows of 5 each.
  • FINISH BAKING: Return the brownies to the oven and bake for the remaining 2 minutes. Remove brownies and allow to fully cool at room temperature. If you refrigerate or freeze them, allow them to come back to room temperature before topping with the melted chocolate (otherwise you'll risk streaky/spotty chocolate -- See Note 2).
  • CHOCOLATE TOPPING: In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons (23g) of shortening or coconut oil. Microwave in bursts of 20 seconds stirring in between the bursts for 20 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted (See Note 3). Melt slowly, stirring well in between bursts to avoid burning chocolate. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of the chocolate on to the cooled brownies. Smooth the chocolate into an even layer.
  • PEANUT BUTTER: In another small microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and remaining 1/2 tablespoon (6g) coconut oil or shortening. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir until smooth. If desired, stir in the vanilla extract. Pour in long stripes over the melted chocolate. Using a knife, marble the top by running the knife horizontally from left to right just through the top chocolate and peanut butter layers. Don't go deep enough to hit the brownies.
  • ENJOY: Allow brownies to completely set up at room temperature (do not chill!) before enjoying the bars. Cut into bars -- this can get a little messy! I recommend using a very sharp knife and running it under hot water for 10 seconds, drying it off, and then making a cut. Repeat this process for each cut. Use a metal spatula to remove brownies.
  • STORAGE: These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days. Store, covered tightly, at room temperature. These bars do not require refrigeration. The bars can be frozen, but when thawed, they will most likely form white spots on top. They're safe to eat; this is just the milk solids separating and rising.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Brownie mix: We love Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie Mix best in this recipe. Be sure that whatever brownie mix you use, it will bake properly in a 9x13-inch pan. 
Note 2:Chilling notes: If the brownie base is chilled when the chocolate is added on top, it can cause spotty or streaky chocolate. Additionally, if the brownies are chilled after adding the chocolate and peanut butter topping, it makes these brownies very difficult to cut out -- the top cracks instead of cutting smoothly. And finally, we think these brownies taste best at room temperature, not chilled. If you do end up with streaky or spotty chocolate, it's perfectly safe to eat; this is simply cocoa solids separating and rising to the top.
Note 3Melting chocolate: Keep in mind that chocolate is still melting even after it has been removed from the microwave. I like to microwave it as little as possible, focusing instead on stirring to melt the chocolate with residual heat.
Nutrition information does not include the ingredients called for in the brownie mix, since that will vary by brand.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 136mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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63 Comments

  1. Any brownie that you could eat with a fork is a sure winner in my book, Chelsea! It just means they’re super fudgy and delicious! 🙂 I’m so loving all of the peanut butter flavors in here. So great for a peanut butter fanatic like myself. Can’t wait to try this out! Pinned!

  2. You can never beat peanut butter and chocolate together! I’m currently wiping drool off my iPad while salivating over your gorgeous pictures!

  3. Chelsea, you are KILLING me with these gorgeous, gorgeous things! This looks like the best kind of #wifeanniversearyfail ever though–my husband is also a plain jane brownie man but you have to appreciate the gobs of PB here. Because it is perfection.

  4. These look so yummy, tho I can’t have p-nut stuf I can sub that for sun nut, I’m going to try them! Can’t wait to get right on that, =)

  5. These are the prettiest brownies I’ve ever seen. 🙂 Reese’s are my favorite! I love how you added them to the partially cooked brownies. I wouldn’t have thought of that! Those stripes of peanut butter look perfect!

  6. Yes, frosted brownies were always my favorite! I love that you stuffed these with peanut butter cups and that peanut butter swirl is just perfect!

  7. these are amazing! Always looking for treats to send to deployed soldiers, as their # request is BROWNIES. Just wondering if you have ever FROZEN these, then run them through a food-saver….wonder if these would be good to ship during cooler weather months! Thanks…. & a agree about Box Brownies vs. Homemade!

  8. So funny, I was looking for something quick and easy and special for our anniversary dessert since we weren’t going anywhere when I came across these. I knew my husband would go nuts for them because he likes rich desserts and I like to surprise him with something new. I didn’t have the REESE’S but had everything else so what the heck. They turned out great and he has been enjoying them. Thanks for sharing.

  9. 5 stars
    TWO WORDS: Keeper Recipe! Made these for family, friends, & coworkers and they are always a hit!! People beg for the recipe! DELISH!!!!!!! Slap yo grandma good! THANKS for the deliciousness:)

      1. I just made these and accidentally forgot the vanilla in the peanut butter, does is really make a difference

  10. Oh my gosh! I’m in charge of bringing a brownie dessert to a ladies luncheon this Saturday and I think I just found the perfect one! I love, love, love peanut butter cups and your photos are making me drool. Hope mine look as pretty as yours. Thanks for sharing!

  11. hi, do you think it possible to bake this cake but without the peanut butter cup?
    i can’t find those in France 🙁
    Thanks a lot, look delicious.

  12. OMG!!Those brownies r sooo heavenly & I’m sure soo yummy-licious!!but also a torture for a chocoholic like me who’s on her 18th day of “NOOO choco..NOO nutella”days!!tnx a lot for sharing the mouth watering recipe & pictures,I will certainly make these for my 3 children..me??just smell & imagine eating them!hahaaa

  13. 5 stars
    I have a question Chelsea…the brownie mixes we buy here are for a 8×8 inch pan…would you use 2 of them for the 9×13?
    I can’t wait to try these ..they look scrumptious!

  14. Hello, these look amazing. I don’t have chocolate chips but have lots of Hershey’s kisses. If I chop those up do you think they will be okay to substitute for the chocolate chips!

    1. Thank you Lyn! I’ve personally never tried that, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Enjoy!

  15. Hi Chelsea, , I abhor boxed mixes with the exception of brownies. Somehow they are so much better than homemade. Ghirardelli is my favorite. I heard that America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated has come up with a homemade recipe to rival the box, but I haven’t seen it. I can’t wait to try all your PB/Chocolate desserts. Thank you. And phooey on husbands. The only thing mine likes is plain cheesecake with a berry topping.

    1. Hey Brisa! I 100% agree!! I think I’ve tried no short of 30 brownie recipes and none are as good as the mix for me! I need to try and find that ATK brownie recipe and try that out sometime 🙂 I hope you love the PB/Chocolate desserts, they are my favorite to create (and eat!) HAHA! I think our husbands would be friends, he loves plain cheesecake with berries too 🙂 Thanks for your comment!!

  16. 5 stars
    Tried these and OMG, they were absolutely delicious! If I could I would give them 10 stars, I would! I could only eat half of a half, they are so rich! Best brownie recipe ever! Trying to figure out the nutritional value as I am trying to watch my weight, but even the small amount I had was awesome! LOL Husband and kids LOVED them. Will definitely be a go to recipe in the future! Thanks!

    1. What a compliment!! I’m seriously thrilled these were such a huge hit! And, I’ve added the nutrition information right below the recipe. Thanks for the comment Denise 🙂

  17. 5 stars
    I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for goodies to bake for Mother’s Day.. I gave them a go and oh my gosh they are incredible!! They’re incredibly rich but oh so yummy! Guaranteed to be a favourite with any peanut butter lovers like me! Thanks so much for this recipe, one of my all time favourites and I will definitely be making them again.. sadly they didn’t last long around my family!

    1. Super rich right?! 🙂 I’m thrilled you enjoyed these and you’ll be making them again! Thanks for the comment!

  18. 5 stars
    I just wanted you to know that I’ve made these many times over the years and they are always a big hit. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    1. The two mixes that I like best in this recipe: Betty Crocker’s Supreme Triple Chunk ®(17.8 ounces) or Ghirardelli Chocolate Triple Fudge Brownie Mix® (19 ounces).

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