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Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These easy homemade peanut butter cups are dark chocolate and much more tasty (IMO) than store-bought. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt makes them extra special!

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups stacked on top of each other with a bite taken out of the top one.

If you know me well, you eventually learn that I despise most candy. A mouth full of sugar just isn’t appealing to me.

BUT one of the few sugary confections that actually tempt me is a peanut butter cup. Unlike most candy, they at least have a bit of fat and protein mixed in with the sugar. And that combinations of peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorites.

But almost all store-bought peanut butter cups are still sickeningly sweet for my tastes. Even some of the organic ones are still SO sweet.

My solution? Homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups!

I have to admit that before I made the first batch of these, I didn’t think they would be as good as they are. Perhaps they’ll be a good low-sugar substitute for store-bought peanut butter cups, I thought.

But lo, they are much better. Much, much better.

Video Tutorial:


Here’s a quick video demonstration in case you’d rather watch than read. The full written tutorial and printable recipes are below!


All of the ingredients needed to make dark chocolate peanut butter cups laid out on a marble surface.

Here are the 6 simple ingredients you’ll need. You probably have all of them in your cupboard right now!

  • Coconut oil: This is what will help the homemade chocolate to harden up in the refrigerator. 
  • Cocoa powder: What I really like about this recipe is you don’t have to melt dark chocolate chips over a double boiler. Instead, you use cocoa powder! You could substitute cacao powder if that’s all you have.
  • Maple syrup: These definitely contain less sugar than the ones you get at the grocery store. 2 tablespoons of maple syrup is a nice amount, but feel free to increase or decrease this amount to your preferences!
  • Unrefined salt: This helps to draw out all the other flavors in the homemade “chocolate” (it’s not true chocolate since it isn’t made with cocoa butter).
  • Vanilla extract: This adds a lovely something extra to the cocoa mixture. For the best flavor, please use real vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavoring!
  • Creamy Peanut butter: The peanut butter filling is made with just peanut butter! That’s it! You can use natural peanut butter or a no-stir peanut butter – whichever you prefer or have on hand! Just make sure it’s a nice, smooth peanut butter. BTW you can use any nut butter in place of the peanut butter if you want. Just make sure it’s smooth!
  • Coarse sea salt (optional but very good): If you like your peanut butter cups nice and salty, you can sprinkle a little coarse salt on top. 


A bowl of coarse sea salt.

The coarse sea salt on top is just a lovely addition. But if you don’t have any on hand these homemade peanut butter cups will still be delicious!


How to Make Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups:

Making the chocolate base.

All you need to do to make the chocolate base is melt the coconut oil and stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt until smooth.


A muffin tin lined with cupcake wrappers with the chocolate base in the bottom.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.

You could also use a mini muffin tin and mini cupcake liners if you prefer smaller peanut butter cups.

I haven’t personally tried it, but I think silicone liners would work as well!

Pour a little bit of the chocolate mixture in the bottom of each cup.

Place them in the freezer until solid, about 5 minutes.


Dollops of peanut butter on top of the chocolate base.

Plop a good-sized dollop of peanut butter on top of the firm bottom layer of chocolate layer.


Homemade Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Pour the remaining chocolate on top to almost cover the peanut butter. See that peanut butter sticking out?


Poking the peanut butter under the chocolate layer.

Just push it back under the chocolate. You can get your hands messy, but a small spatula actually works better here.


Sprinkling the coarse salt on top.

Back into the freezer for a few minutes until the top is semi-solid (if you skip this step, the salt will sink into the cups).

Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top of the chocolate and then pop the whole thing back into the freezer until it’s completely solid, about 1 hour.


Homemade Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a week, and in the freezer (well wrapped!) for a month or two.

Because coconut oil melts more easily than cocoa butter, you want to store these in the refrigerator, especially if your house is warm.

The paper liners will help keep things tidy!

BTW, the coconut oil will give the chocolate more of a snap than store-bought PB cups.


Homemade vs Store-Bought Version:

Homemade Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Since there’s only 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in this entire recipe, each cup only contains half a teaspoon of added sweetener! Compare that to over 1.5 tablespoons of added sugar in a Reese’s peanut butter cup. That’s about 10x as much sugar. 

You might think that a store-bought peanut butter cup is just chocolate, peanut butter, and some sugar. But if you look closer at the package, you might find cheap fillers (such as PGPR) in place of quality fats, soy lecithin, or preservatives such as TBHQ.

I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying the store-bought version, but I genuinely think homemade tastes better!


Homemade Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

So if you find yourself craving that chocolate + peanut buttery goodness, do yourself a favor and make your own peanut butter cups! Not only will you be sparing yourself loads of sugar, the taste and texture will be so far above a cheap store-bought cup. They’re so rich and melty.

Be prepared to get your fingers messy! 😋❤✨

Now that you know how to make my dark chocolate peanut butter cups recipe, make sure to check out my Homemade section for more make-at-home recipes!

More Peanut Butter Recipes:

Yield: 12

Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - Dark Chocolate and Healthy!

Make your own peanut butter cups and control how sweet they are!

Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 7 minutes


  • 3/4 cup expeller pressed coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, more or less to taste
  • 1 pinch unrefined sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2-3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • coarse sea salt, for topping


  1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 12 muffin/cupcake liners.
  2. Gently melt the coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, pinch of salt, and vanilla until completely smooth. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - Dark Chocolate and Healthy!
  3. Pour a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of each muffin liner. Put in the freezer for 3-5 minutes, or until solid. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - Dark Chocolate and Healthy!
  4. Add a good dollop of peanut butter in the middle of each muffin liner, trying to keep a small ring of chocolate around the edge.  Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - Dark Chocolate and Healthy!
  5. Pour the rest of the chocolate over the top of the peanut to cover. Smooth the peanut butter under the chocolate by tapping it with a spatula. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - Dark Chocolate and Healthy!
  6. Put back in the freezer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the tops of the peanut butter cups are semi-solid. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - Dark Chocolate and Healthy!
  7. Put the whole tin back in the freezer until the peanut butter cups are solid, about 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.


Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 21.5gSaturated Fat: 13.5gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

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Thursday 26th of December 2019

I make these with almond butter and they’re so deliciously creamy and rich.

Erica Kastner

Sunday 29th of December 2019

Thank you for letting us know that they work with almond butter as well!

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Friday 27th of April 2018


If I may ask... why use coconut oil + cocoa powder instead of regular chocolate? How does it compare in terms of flavor, texture, nutrition, portability/storage?

Thanks in advance!

Erica Kastner

Monday 30th of April 2018

The reason I chose cocoa powder instead of regular chocolate is I figured most people would have cocoa powder on hand. Also, you can really easily control the amount of sugar if you use unsweetened cocoa vs dark chocolate chips. I did buy some unsweetened chocolate chips that I want to experiment with. I assume you could just melt about 1 1/4 cups and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla.

I don't think using regular chocolate would improve shelf life, but it would probably make the cups more stable at room temperature since the cocoa butter that's used to make "real" chocolate is harder at room temp than coconut oil. The texture would also be firmer, less melt-in-your-mouth (but also less messy). I don't think the nutrition would change greatly, unless the ratio of fat to cocoa in your chocolate is different than the ratio of coconut oil to cocoa powder in this recipe.

Hope that helps! :)

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