Amazing No-Bake Peanut Butter Cups {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Tree Nut-free}

These no-bake peanut butter cups are amazing. Like, really amazing. With a short list of ingredients, they are fast and delicious (and also vegan, gluten- and tree nut-free!).

two unwrapped no-bake peanut butter cups stacked on top of each other

Well, welcome to my newest obsession:

no-bake peanut butter cups. 

No exaggeration, I’ve made them at least ten times in the last three weeks. And, I’ve already given the recipe out to almost everyone who has tasted them. 

Even my cute dad asked for the recipe and texts me about every other day with a new variation he has made and loved. 

They are dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. And oh my goodness, they are so good. 

two unwrapped no-bake peanut butter cups stacked with bite taken out of top pb cup

Fast and Easy

The chocolate base for these no-bake peanut butter cups is straightforward: 

  • coconut oil
  • peanut butter (natural or “regular”)
  • maple syrup (the pure stuff, not pancake syrup)
  • cocoa powder*
  • unsweetened shredded coconut or quick oats

Melted until smooth with a little vanilla and salt thrown in there.

*You can use every day natural, unsweetened cocoa powder for a semisweet vibe or go for a dark or Dutch-process cocoa for a richer, darker flavor. 

no-bake peanut butter coconut mixture in glass bowl

For this recipe, I almost always use finely chopped or shredded unsweetened coconut (like this coconut). I love the texture and flavor.

But I’ve thrown in quick oats a time or two (and my dad mostly uses quick oats). Oats will give a different texture. Similar to these healthier no-bake cookies

Different but delicious. Although if you’re a coconut lover, I think you’ll go crazy for the chocolate + coconut + peanut butter combo.

shredded coconut in shallow wood bowl

Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Cups

The chocolate mixture might appear a little runny (the consistency will be slightly thinner if using natural peanut butter vs regular creamy peanut butter).

That’s ok! They set up beautifully once chilled. 

Scoop the chocolate mixture into the lovingly placed muffin liners.

scooping no-bake chocolate mixture into muffin liners

Peanut Butter Topping

Time for the peanut butter topping! Bonus: it’s just three easy ingredients:

  • peanut butter (again, natural or regular)
  • maple syrup
  • coconut oil

Pop that trifecta of goodness in the microwave and heat until melted and smooth (but not bubbling hot like lava). 

bowl with coconut oil, maple syrup and natural peanut butter

The peanut butter mixture gets dolloped right on top of the chocolate layer. It’s even ok if the chocolate hasn’t fully set up. 

You can still scoop the sweet peanut butter topping on top. 

Newsflash: it’s really hard to mess up these no-bake peanut butter cups. 

scooping peanut butter mixture on top of no-bake chocolate mixturechocolate no-bake mixture in muffin liners with peanut butter mixture on top

Refrigerate or freeze the peanut butter cups until they are set up. (I keep them in the refrigerator basically at all times and serve them chilled – because, yum.)

And then decide how/if/when you want to serve them to others. I will hold no judgment if you decide to keep them all to yourself. 

They are worthy of hoarding. 

no-bake peanut butter cups in liners in muffin tin

The last few weeks I’ve found myself making these no-bake peanut butter cups very often. Maybe too often. 

They come together so fast and validate that part of me that feels exponentially more peaceful when I know a sweet craving fix is only a refrigerator door away. 

While they make a terrific little mid-afternoon pick-me-up to keep on hand, I’ve also made them for a multitude of people (varying from strict vegan friends to dairy-free cousins to treat-loving dads), and they are fantastic enough to be present anytime, anywhere. 

My only wish is that my kids hated them. 

I can’t wait to see what variations you come up with!

one unwrapped no-bake peanut butter cup unwrapped

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Kitchen Sink Cookies {Caramel, Pretzels, M&Ms, and More} 
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Three Years Ago: Mexican Haystacks {Easy 30-Minute or Less Meal}
Four Years Ago: Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Five Years Ago: Grilled Mojo Pork Tenderloin Tacos {Freezable Option}
Six Years Ago: Stuffed Zucchini Enchilada Boats 
Seven Years Ago: Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing 
Eight Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 12 peanut butter cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
two unwrapped no-bake peanut butter cups stacked with bite taken out of top pb cup

Ingredients

Chocolate Mixture:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (2.25 ounces) peanut butter (natural or creamy - see note)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (see note)
  • 1/3 cup (1.25 ounces) cocoa powder, natural, dark or Dutch-process
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup (2.5 to 3.5 ounces) unsweetened shredded coconut or quick oats (see note)

PB Mixture:

  • 1/3 cup (2.25 ounces) peanut butter (natural or creamy - see note)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
  2. For the chocolate mixture, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. Microwave for 30-45 seconds, stir, and continue cooking in 20 second intervals until the mixture is melted and smooth.
  3. Stir in the vanilla, salt and coconut (the mixture may be runny; that's ok). Scoop the mixture evenly into the bottom of the muffin liners. Refrigerate while making the peanut butter topping.
  4. For the peanut butter mixture, in a small microwave-safe bowl, add the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil. Microwave until melted and smooth (don't over heat).
  5. Scoop the peanut butter mixture on the top of the chocolate mixture (it's ok if the chocolate layer isn't fully set up).
  6. Refrigerate until set up, about an hour. Keep refrigerated and serve chilled.

Notes

Peanut Butter: I've made this recipe using natural peanut butter and also regular creamy peanut butter (like Jif). Both work great. Using natural peanut butter gives a nuttier flavor and a thinner consistency to both the chocolate and peanut butter layers (it'll set up just fine in the refrigerator).

Maple Syrup: I have only used pure maple syrup in this recipe; you could probably experiment with honey or other sweeteners.

Coconut: my favorite coconut to use in this recipe is finely shredded unsweetened coconut (like this coconut). My dad has made several variations of this recipe using quick oats (or half coconut/half oats) with good results (he also adds chopped nuts and dried fruit 🙂

Cocoa Powder: natural, unsweetened cocoa powder gives these PB cups a semisweet vibe; using Dutch-process or dark cocoa lends a rich, dark chocolate vibe.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by this recipe at A Couple Cooks)