Peanut Butter Cup Cookies are a heavenly treat for anyone who adores peanut butter. Each cookie is loaded with mini peanut butter cups, creating a delightful combination of soft, chewy texture and rich, peanut butter flavor. Perfect for an afternoon snack, a school lunch treat, or as a dessert at your next family gathering, these cookies are sure to be a hit.

There’s something truly special about the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. These cookies celebrate that match made in heaven. This recipe is straightforward, making it a fun baking project for bakers of all levels. The result is a batch of irresistible cookies that bring together the best of both worlds.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies one broken in half

The Chemistry of Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

The chemistry in these cookies comes down to the perfect balance of ingredients. The leavening power of baking soda helps create a light and fluffy texture, while the combination of unsalted butter and peanut butter provides richness and moisture. The eggs act as a binding agent, ensuring that each cookie holds its shape and has a tender crumb.

Can you use natural peanut butter in these cookies?

While you can use natural peanut butter, it will alter the texture slightly due to its different fat and moisture content. For consistent results, stick with regular peanut butter.

How do you know when the cookies are perfectly baked?

Bake the cookies for 9 minutes until they are just set and lightly golden. They should still be soft in the center; they’ll firm up as they cool on the baking sheet.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies one broken in half

Can these cookies be made gluten-free?

Yes, by using a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, you can make these cookies gluten-free. My favorite gluten-free flour is Bob’s Red Mill One to One. Be sure to check that the peanut butter cups are also gluten-free.

How long can you store these cookies?

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

How to cream your butter & sugar

First, combine your butter & sugar in a standing mixer. Then, turn the mixer on high for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl every 30 seconds. When the mixture is creamed it will be lighter in color and texture. Here is a visual example of how the ingredients look when just combined vs. creamed:

Butter and sugar just combined
Butter and sugar creamed

What is in peanut butter cup cookies?

Unsalted Butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough or batter and it will result in an overly salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough or batter which helps with moistness, flavor and texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your treat will melt down too fast and overspread in the oven, leaving you with a greasy, flat mess. If your butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your treat too thick.

Peanut Butter

Adds another fat into your dough or batter that melts easily, allowing your treat to spread a little more. It will also add a creamy texture & rich flavor to your treat.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Brown Sugar

Is granulated sugar with a little molasses mixed in. Molasses is a somewhat smoky flavored natural sweetener, which makes brown sugar a bit sweeter than granulated sugar. Brown sugar draws more moisture into your treat, keeping it softer for longer. It’s also more acidic, which means it will help activate your baking soda.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Adds bursts of peanut butter and chocolate flavor

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies one broken in half

How to Store

Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze the cookies for up to 3 months.

Making Ahead

Prepare the dough and refrigerate if over night. This deepens the flavors and makes baking more convenient.

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Why make peanut butter cup cookies?

Peanut butter cup cookies are more than just a treat; they’re a celebration of the beloved peanut butter and chocolate combination. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, these cookies are sure to bring smiles to both the baker and the lucky ones who get to taste them. Happy baking!

Recipes You May Love

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

5 from 4 votes
Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Servings: 24
Peanut butter cookies with mini peanut butter cups all throughout.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mini peanut butter cups

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Convection setting is great for cookies!
  • Add butter, peanut butter & sugars to a standing mixer. Mix until combined and then whip for 2-3 minutes until lighter in color & texture
  • Add vanilla and eggs, stir until combined
  • In a separate bowl mix together flour, soda & salt
  • Turn standing mixer on low and slowly pour in the dry ingredients
  • Mix dough just until it comes together
  • Fold in peanut butter cups
  • Scoop cookies out onto a light metal cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes
  • Let cool on pan for 10 minutes before removing

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal Carbohydrates: 33g Protein: 5g Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 5g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 25mg Sodium: 248mg Potassium: 133mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 22g Vitamin A: 148IU Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 28mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies one broken in half