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Protein Peanut Butter Cups (Taste like Reese’s!)

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the best candy on the planet, and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.

There is just no better combination in this world than peanut butter and chocolate, and Reese’s has nailed that combination absolutely perfectly.

Today we’re going to make our own Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but with over 2x the protein!

Stack of Protein Reese's

I know what you’re probably thinking: “there’s no way that healthy peanut butter cups actually taste like Reese’s.”

Trust me, I’m as surprised as you are, but these are seriously incredible. As an avid Reese’s lover, I can assure you that these taste surprisingly similar. Of course, there’s a slight difference since Reese’s Cups are the perfect snack, but these are as close as you’re going to get.

One high-protein peanut butter cup contains 100 Calories, 8g Fat, 3g Carbs, and 5.5g Protein

Both sizes of peanut butter cups

You can also turn these into miniature peanut butter cups with just 50 calories each. Just like eating Reese’s, there’s no wrong way to do it.

A pack of 2 Reese’s Cups is 210 Calories with 5g of protein, and our peanut butter protein cups will be 200 Calories with 11g of protein for 2 peanut butter cups, which is nearly identical to Quest Nutrition peanut butter cups. I’ll take it!

 

How to make protein peanut butter cups

The star of peanut butter cups is obviously the peanut butter filling!

Reese’s Cups are filled with a combination of peanut butter & sugar, but we’re changing that up by adding protein powder into the mix.

Specifically, I used PEScience Peanut Butter Cookie protein powder. Any peanut butter flavored protein powder should work, but there are 2 reasons why I chose to use this particular protein powder:

  1. The flavor of this particular protein powder compliments the peanut butter PERFECTLY. Seriously, you can’t tell that there is protein powder in this at all.
  2. PEScience is a blend of whey & casein protein powder, which leads to a thicker end result than whey protein alone. Whey protein might work okay in this recipe, but the addition of casein really helps create a favorable texture.

Seriously, that peanut butter filling comes out perfect:

I recommend PEScience in all my recipes, and you can use my referral code “Matt” at checkout to save 10% on your order!

Once you’ve made the peanut butter filling by mixing together the creamy peanut butter, powdered sugar substitute, and protein powder, it’s time to make the chocolate coating.

To make the chocolate, all you need to do is melt coconut oil in the microwave until it’s completely liquified.

Then, whisk in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and some chocolate protein powder until you have a chocolate sauce.

There will be a very slight grittiness to the chocolate sauce, but that’s due to the protein powder not fully absorbing into the coconut oil.

To combat this issue, I like to combine the 3 ingredients (cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and chocolate protein powder) in a spice grinder and grind it up into a fine powder:

This step can be skipped, and I’ve still had really good success without that part. If you mix the ingredients into the coconut oil without blending them down, it will still absolutely work.

If you want to keep things simple, you can also use chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate chips) and simply melt them down into a chocolate sauce. While much easier, that will also come with a higher calorie count and less protein overall.

Now that you have the two components, it’s time to put it all together! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Line a cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake liners and break the peanut butter mixture into 12 pieces. Press each down into a disc in the cupcake liners.

Peanut butter for peanut butter cups

It’s important to do this step first to make sure you are adding enough peanut butter to each Reese’s cup.

Note: you can also make mini peanut butter cups, which you’ll see I experimented with below. If you go this route, you should be able to make 24 total.

Then, remove the peanut butter discs from the cupcake liners and add a small amount of your chocolate sauce to the cupcake liners. This is just acting as a base and is meant to be a thin later, so just add a small amount, then pick up the tray and move it around to spread the chocolate around.

Chocolate in cupcake liners

Put the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden.

Add the peanut butter discs on top of the hardened chocolate and pinch the edges in slightly to make sure there is room around the outside of the peanut butter to allow for a full chocolate coating.

Peanut butter inside cup

Spoon the rest of your chocolate mixture over the tops of the peanut butter- this recipe made the exact amount I needed, but if you get really heavy-handed with the chocolate, you may need to make more. It’s okay if you can see a little bit of the peanut butter disc poking through the top, as long as it’s coated with chocolate.

CHocolate over peanut butter cups

Refrigerate the peanut butter cups for 15-20 minutes to fully harden, then enjoy!

I enjoy topping these peanut butter cups with some coarse or flaked sea salt, because I love the salty & sweet combo, but that part is up to you.

These protein peanut butter cups have the perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio in my eyes, but as you can see, the chocolate is relatively thin. If you prefer more chocolate, you can definitely make extra.

Stacked peanut butter cups

These homemade peanut butter cups are best stored in the fridge to keep them solidified, but they’re also incredible as a frozen treat.

Personally, I prefer to keep these stored in the freezer, because everyone knows that Reese’s Cups taste better frozen.

 

Possible substitutions for protein peanut butter cups

Since I always get lots of questions on making substitutions, here are some of the common questions I’d like to get ahead of:

Creamy Peanut Butter: If you have a peanut allergy, you can use any nut butter you’d like. This will change these from being peanut butter cups, but almond butter or sunflower butter would work just fine in terms of texture. Don’t use powdered peanut butter in its place or the flavor will seriously suffer (trust me, I tried it and did not love the final product). If you use natural peanut butter, just make sure it is mixed up really well.

Coconut Oil: Works perfectly because it becomes a liquid when heated and then completely hardens when chilled. Unfortunately, there is no substitution for this as butter or another oil won’t work. However, you can use melted down dark chocolate as the coating instead of making your own if it’s totally necessary. Any chocolate chips will work as melted chocolate since it will solidify once chilled, it will just add additional calories.

Protein Powder: When it comes to protein powder, making substitutions is pretty iffy. Since this is a no-bake recipe, you can likely swap out the protein powder for different types if needed, but I can’t guarantee the same results.

Plant-Based: Good news! If you want to make this plant-based (and still high-protein), here’s a test batch I made that worked out great: swap the peanut butter protein powder for powdered peanut butter, using the same amount. For the chocolate, sub a vegan chocolate protein powder but double the amount of sugar used to offset the earthy flavor of plant protein.

 

Need more chocolate + peanut butter? Check out these recipes.

Easy Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

My peanut butter nutella cookies

When I say that Reese’s are my favorite candy of all time, it’s because chocolate + peanut butter is an unbeatable flavor combination.

If you’re fiending for more, here are some more recipes from my blog you’re sure to love:

 

Protein peanut butter cups recipe

Protein Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 12 Peanut Butter Cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Would you believe me if I said you can make your own Reese's Peanut Butter Cups at home, but with 11g of protein? What if I told you that these taste nearly identical to actual Reese's? Well, my friends, both of those statements are true, and you're going to have to taste these to believe it.

Instructions

  1. To make the peanut butter filling, add your creamy peanut butter to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to melt it down.
  2. Add the scoop of protein powder and powdered sugar, then mix until it forms a thick dough-like mixture. I ended up mixing with my hands to make sure all the powder was fully mixed.
  3. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and break your peanut butter up into 12 pieces. Add to the cupcake liners and press down into discs. Note: if you prefer mini peanut butter cups, you can make 24 in total.
  4. Remove the peanut butter discs from the cupcake liners and set them aside.
  5. To make the chocolate coating, melt your coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds until it is completely liquified.
  6. Mix together the chocolate protein powder, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar in a small bowl to avoid any clumping.
  7. Add the chocolate powder mixture to the coconut oil while mixing to make a chocolate sauce.
  8. Add a small amount of chocolate sauce into each cupcake liner and spread it around to coat the bottom of each. This is meant to be a thin layer, so only use a small amount and then pick up the tray and move it around to spread the chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate layer to harden.
  10. Add your peanut butter discs on top of the hardened chocolate layer, then slightly pinch in the sides to make the disc smaller than the base of the peanut butter cup. We want the peanut butter to be fully coated with chocolate, so we want to leave a tiny bit of room.
  11. Spoon the rest of the chocolate sauce over the peanut butter to fully coat. Note that the chocolate coating should be pretty thin overall, so if you get really heavy-handed with the pour, you may find yourself needing to make additional chocolate. If you keep it light, you'll have the perfect amount.
  12. Add your peanut butter cups to the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden, then dig in.

Notes

How to make plant-based protein peanut butter cups:

Follow the recipe as-is, but swap the peanut butter protein powder for powdered peanut butter (like PB2) using the same amount.

For the chocolate coating, swap the protein for a plant-based chocolate powder. Since plant-based protein powder has a strong flavor, double the amount of powdered sugar in the chocolate.

I tested this and it worked great! The flavor definitely changes a bit due to the Earthiness of plant-based protein, but it certainly works if you're plant-based.

General recipe notes:

  • Don't swap creamy peanut butter for powdered peanut butter. Whenever I make a recipe with peanut butter, people ask me if they can sub powdered peanut butter, but it doesn't work here. Correction: technically it works, but it doesn't taste like an authentic peanut butter cup in the slightest. Real peanut butter makes a WORLD of difference.
  • Peanut Butter Cookie PEScience powder works SO well in these peanut butter cups for 2 reasons: 1) The flavor compliments the peanut butter perfectly and you can't taste protein powder in the slightest (my wife is my anti-protein powder taste tester and she approved these). 2) The whey/casein blend creates the ideal thick mixture vs whey protein alone that will end up stickier.
  • When it comes to the chocolate coating, it's more forgiving, so chocolate whey protein should work. I used PEScience Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup protein for the obvious flavor compliment, but you can swap that out for another brand.
  • I tried a batch with melted dark chocolate for the coating instead of the coconut oil mixture and it works great, but it comes with extra calories. Feel free to just melt down some chocolate for your coating if you prefer a more authentic peanut butter cup.
  • I recommend keeping these stored in the fridge so they don't melt on you, and you can even store them in the freezer so they last you months. I mean, Reese's are best when they're frozen anyway.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 2 Peanut Butter Cups
Amount Per Serving Calories 200Total Fat 16gCarbohydrates 6gProtein 11g

Did you make this recipe?

Share your photos and tag me on Instagram!

Mike

Saturday 16th of July 2022

High protein Reese. Need I say more. Easy and tasty.

Olivia

Saturday 18th of June 2022

if we wanted to use powdered PB knowing it would be different, how much would I use?

Love all your recipes!!

Matt

Saturday 18th of June 2022

@Olivia, You should just be able to swap it out 1:1, so 5 tablespoons of it (once mixed with water). It won't be as creamy without the fat, but the amount should be the same!

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