Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

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Peanut Butter Cup Brownies start with a soft & gooey brownie base that gets Reese’s peanut butter cups pressed in. These indulgent bars are topped with a thick, fudge-like layer of peanut butter and chocolate.

Image of the peanut butter cup brownies stacked on top of each other

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

These rich, gooey, and fudge-like brownies are a dream for chocolate & 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-- images of all 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 the goal is for 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-- images of the box brownies being made

Reese’s cups

The brownie base gets partially baked and pulled out a couple 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-- images of the Reeses being pressed into the baked brownies

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Topping

Once the bars have fully cooled, we melt chocolate and peanut butter to then spread and drizzle on top of the bars. The result is 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.
  • Grab high-quality chocolate chips for the best melt and superior flavor. We love and recommend Ghiradelli® or Guittard® (not sponsored).
  • We love milk chocolate chips for the topping on these peanut butter cup 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-- images of the chocolate being melted and spread on top the peanut butter cup brownies

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 in between each microwave burst. 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.
  • When measuring ingredients for these peanut butter cup brownies, measure the coconut oil or shortening in the solid state form, not melted.
  • When marbling the top, run a butter 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 a lot 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 are, use a sharp chef’s knife and make steady cuts. Run the knife under hot water, dry 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-- images of the peanut being melted and drizzled over the chocolate layer and then with a butter knife being marbled

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; again they’re safe to eat, this is just the milk solids separating and rising.

Overhead image of the peanut butter cup brownie with a bite being taken out of it

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Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

5 from 13 votes
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies start with a soft & gooey brownie base that gets Reese's peanut butter cups pressed in. These indulgent bars are topped with a thick, fudge-like layer of peanut butter and chocolate.
Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

5 from 13 votes
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies start with a soft & gooey brownie base that gets Reese's peanut butter cups pressed in. These indulgent bars are topped with a thick, fudge-like layer of peanut butter and chocolate.
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 309kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $9.52

Ingredients

  • 1 package (18.3 oz; 519g) fudge brownie mix Note 1
  • Ingredients called for on the brownie mix
  • 15 regular-sized Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (445g) good quality 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 9 x 13 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; bake for 2 minutes less than 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 remaining 2 minutes. Remove brownies and allow the brownies to fully cool at room temperature. If you fridge 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 room temperature brownies. Smooth the chocolate in one 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 butter 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 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. 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; again they're safe to eat, this is just the milk solids separating and rising.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: We love Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie Mix best in this recipe. Be sure whatever brownie mix used, it will bake properly in a 9x13-inch pan. 
Note 2: 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 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. 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 3: 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 Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 25.8g | Cholesterol: 13.6mg | Fiber: 4.5g | Sugar: 4g

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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