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peanut butter cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

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  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Super rich and decadent, moist chocolate cupcakes with a creamy peanut butter filling that’s like a peanut butter cup and all topped with a fluffy dairy free peanut butter buttercream! If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you will LOVE these naturally vegan, dairy free, and easily gluten free cupcakes!



Chocolate cupcake base:

  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegan buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (157 g) all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) all natural cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cups (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp (35 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) hot water + 1 tsp dissolvable espresso powder
  • 1 batch vegan peanut butter frosting

Peanut butter filling:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar or coconut sugar, sifted


  1. Please read through all instructions. Measure out all ingredients before beginning.
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with liners. Make sure for the vegan buttermilk, the dairy-free milk and lemon juice/ACV are mixed together and set aside to curdle. 
  3. Prepare the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt. Set aside.
  4. Make the chocolate cupcakes batter: In a  large bowl with a hand mixer or whisk, mix together the neutral oil, sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, and vanilla until combined. Carefully add in about half of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and half of the vegan buttermilk. Mix again lightly until almost all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, then add in the remaining dry mixture and vegan buttermilk, being careful not to over mix the batter. Finally, pour in the hot coffee and mix to incorporate throughout the batter.
  5. Bake the cupcakes: Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling the liners about 2/3 of the way full. You should get 11-12 cupcakes. Place the cupcakes into the over and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool: Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the cupcake tin. After 10 minutes, transfer the cupcakes to the cooling rack until they are fully cooled. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, use a cupcake corer or with a spoon, remove the center/core of each cupcake. You can save the extra pieces for cake truffles!
  7. Fill the cupcakes: Once the cupcakes are cored, you can make the peanut butter filling. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter and creamy peanut butter. Add in the powdered sugar, and cream together again until smooth. The consistency should be not quite as smooth and fluffy as buttercream, but thicker than peanut butter- enough to pipe into the middle of each cupcake! Fill a piping bag with any piping nozzle attached, and pipe the filling into the middle of each cupcake until it reaches the top. Now set aside as you make the peanut butter buttercream.
  8. Make the peanut butter buttercream: use a hand mixer in a large bowl to cream the vegan butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add in the peanut butter, and mix again until the peanut butter is incorporated. Then sift in the the powdered sugar (or coconut sugar) in 1 cup increments, continuing to cream the frosting. Add in 2-3 tbsp of dairy free milk to help combine the sugar into the butter. The buttercream should be fluffy and thick. The important thing here is to make sure it’s still cold so that it pipes well. 
  9. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes: Fill a piping bag with a tip and pipe the vegan buttercream frosting onto the cupcakes. Top with homemade vegan peanut butter cups or store bought vegan peanut butter cups. Serve and enjoy!
  10. Storage: store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Gluten free: use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour for completely gluten free peanut butter chocolate cupcakes.

Refined sugar free: you can use coconut sugar for the entirety of this recipe, including the frosting. Be sure to process the coconut sugar through the food processor when using in the buttercream section. This will simulate powdered sugar.