These easy protein peanut butter cups are the perfect midday treat. Rich chocolate with a creamy peanut butter center, they taste so good you won't even be able to tell these are packed with protein!
I am a firm believer that there is truly no better combination than chocolate and peanut butter. Which is why I have always been impartial to Reese's peanut butter cups. They have been and probably always will be my favourite chocolate option. So instead of buying them all the time I decided I HAD to make them myself. Introducing: these 'healthy' peanut butter cups!
Why you need these high protein peanut butter cups
If homemade peanut butter cups don't convince you enough that you NEED these, let me give you three more reasons.
- They are no bake peanut butter cups. Who doesn't love a no bake treat. With just a few simple ingredients and just under 30 minutes you will be snacking on these DELICIOUS peanut butter cups! PLUS you don't even need to turn on the oven!
- They are the perfect freezer treat. I love having a sweet treat on hand at all times for when I get a sweet craving. THESE high protein peanut butter cups are the perfect option! They freezer wonderfully and can be eaten straight out fo the freezer OR you can allow it to defrost for a few minutes before eating.
- They are a slightly more balanced treat. As a Dietitian who is a firm believer in balance I truly believe there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favourite candy or chocolate every once in a while. However not only are these cheaper than buying name brand candy all the time they also are a slightly more balanced option! The extra protein in these helps balance out the sweetness of the chocolate to help manage blood sugar spikes!
Ingredients needed for these gluten free peanut butter cups
Peanut butter- You can't have healthy peanut butter cups without peanut butter! I typically use natural peanut butter (look for one with the only ingredients being peanuts and salt) however any peanut butter will work! I also love that it adds a source of healthy fats making these the perfect snack!
Protein powder- This helps give these protein peanut butter cups the protein aspect! I like using my favourite protein (I love the vanilla flavour in these!). If you don’t have protein powder on hand you can substitute this for additional oat flour!
Maple syrup- For some natural sweetness! I have only ever used maple syrup for this recipe. If you do try to substitute with honey or any other liquid sweeter let me know how it goes in the comments! You can also use sugar free maple syrup like this one!
Vanilla extract- Every good peanut butter cup has that subtle hint of creamy vanilla flavour! Which is why vanilla extract is a MUST add in these homemade healthy peanut butter cups. As we aren't baking these, I always recommend using real vanilla extract for the best flavour however artificial vanilla extract will work as well!
Chocolate chips- The second most important ingredient in these no bake peanut butter cups! I personally love using semi sweet chocolate chips in these because they offer the perfect amount of rich chocolaty sweetness, however dark chocolate, milk chocolate or even bakers white chocolate would also work!
Coconut oil- To help melt the chocolate!
How to make no bake peanut butter cups
The best part about these no bake peanut butter cups is how easy they are to make! All you need is a muffin tin, muffin liners and two bowls!
To get started grab one of your bowls to make your peanut butter base. Add your peanut butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup. To make these high protein peanut butter cups I like adding in some vanilla protein powder or unflavored collagen! I find both of these blend seamlessly into the 'dough'. Once your peanut butter base is mixed, allow it to chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes while you melt your chocolate.
I like melting my chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl with a little coconut oil in increments of 30 seconds. Just be sure to stir after every 30 seconds to avoid any chocolate burning! I find 1 minute and 30 seconds total is usually good! Another option is to use a double boiler!
Arrange muffin liners into each of the 12 muffin cavities OR use a silicone muffin pan. This is important! If you don't have muffin liners or an easy bend muffin tin it will be VERY hard to remove your peanut butter cups from the muffin tin!
In each muffin liner add about one tablespoon of melted chocolate. Use the back of a spoon to gently press the chocolate up against the sides of the liners. Creating an even base along the bottom and sides of the liner. Place this in the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden (about 10 minutes).
Once your chocolate is frozen, roll your peanut butter dough into 10 equal sized balls and place one into the center of each of the chocolate cups. Gently press down on the peanut butter until you have an even layer. Top with an additional one tablespoon of melted chocolate and freeze! Top with some flakey sea salt and enjoy straight out of the freezer!
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to add the protein powder?
No! You definitely do not!! I would recommend adding in a little oat flour or almond flour to create the same texture!
How can I store these peanut butter cups?
I recommend storing in the freezer for best results! The fridge will also work however they may be a little too soft!
Can I use a different nut butter?
Of course! Any nut or seed butter would work in these gluten free peanut butter cups. I personally think cashew butter would taste amazing (I'm picturing little cookie dough cups)!
What is a substitution for coconut oil?
The coconut oil really just helps melt the chocolate. So an equal amount of any neutral tasting oil will also work!
Can I skip the maple syrup?
I personally really think the maple syrup adds to achieving the perfect amount of subtle sweetness in these peanut butter cups. However if you are trying to avoid added sugars, feel free to leave out the maple syrup! Just note they won't be quite as sweet.
More high protein snacks
If you love these protein peanut butter cups you need to try more of my higher protein treats!
Some of my favourite include:
- No bake protein bars
- Air fryer breakfast cookie (I love splitting this into two for two snacks!)
- Confetti energy balls
- Snickers protein balls
- Chickpea cookie dough
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make these high protein peanut butter cups don't forget to tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Homemade Protein Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter base
- ½ cup natural peanut butter
- 1-2 tablespoon maple syrup depending on sweetness preference
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup (+1 tbsp) vanilla protein powder or unflavoured collagen
For the chocolate
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- sea salt for topping
- In a large mixing bowl combine peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil and collagen and stir. Place in the fridge for about 5 minutes.
- Melt your chocolate by combining your chocolate chips and coconut oil in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 second increments, stirring well in between. Repeat until chocolate is fully melted (should take approx. 3 repeats)
- Place 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate into each cavity of a lined muffin tin. Use a spoon to gently press chocolate onto the sides of each liner. Place muffin tin in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden.
- Once the chocolate has set, roll your peanut butter dough into 12 bite sized balls and place one ball into the center of each chocolate cup. Gently press down to flatten the dough balls and cover with 1 tablespoon of remaining chocolate. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden, top with sea salt and store in the freezer!