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These peanut butter brownies are the ultimate treat! It's our favorite fudgy brownie recipe studded with crunchy peanut bits and topped with a layer of peanut butter frosting, a layer of chocolate, and a sprinkle of sea salt. They're always a hit, they're easy to make, and they're ready in just 45 minutes!
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Where are all our chocolate and peanut butter lovers? These peanut butter brownies are for you! They taste like an elevated peanut butter cup and they're loved by kids and grown-ups alike.
We started off with the intention of adding peanut butter to our brownies and ended up creating our favorite brownie recipe. They're studded with crunchy peanuts, layered with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache, and finished with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.
The three separate layers work together to make a really satisfying treat. It may seem intimidating, but each layer is simple to make and the little bit of extra effort is one hundred percent worth it.
They're a decadent dessert that's always a hit at dinner parties or special occasions. Just make sure to grab one for yourself because they won't last long!
Tips for making the best peanut butter brownies
Even though it's easy to make these brownies with peanut butter, here are a few tips to ensure they're successful!
- For best results, use a metal baking pan. Metal conducts heat more quickly and efficiently than glass or ceramic. If you use a glass or ceramic baking dish, you may need to add additional cooking time or they may come out undercooked.
- Room-temperature eggs will incorporate better into the batter. Either take them out ahead of time or place them in some warm water as you prepare your other ingredients.
- Like most baking recipes, avoid over-mixing the batter. To avoid tough brownies, gently fold the ingredients together with a spatula rather than using a mixer.
Peanut butter brownie ingredient notes
This peanut butter brownies recipe is made from scratch using only real ingredients. Here's everything you need for the brownies:
- Butter – butter is a key ingredient in brownies, making them super flavorful and fudgy.
- Oil – use a neutral oil like canola or avocado oil.
- Dark chocolate chips – dark chocolate chips give these brownies their rich chocolate flavor. You can also use a dark chocolate bar broken into pieces if you prefer.
- Granulated sugar – granulated sugar mixes well into the batter to create a chewy brownie.
- Vanilla extract – vanilla is an interesting ingredient because it actually enhances the flavors of other ingredients.
- Eggs – eggs act as a binder and help leaven the brownies. If you have time to bring your eggs to room temperature, that's always ideal for baking.
- All-purpose flour – we use regular all-purpose flour. Use a gluten-free flour blend, if needed.
- Cocoa powder – cocoa powder adds a rich, chocolate flavor. You can also use cacao powder, but remember it's more expensive and tends to be more bitter.
- Baking powder
- Sea salt + some flaky salt for topping the brownies.
- Roasted salted peanuts – for a tasty peanut crunch.
For the peanut butter frosting, you'll need:
- Natural peanut butter – any natural smooth peanut butter will work. Just avoid emulsified commercial peanut butter.
- Salted butter – good quality salted butter makes a nice buttercream frosting.
- Powdered sugar – powdered sugar is key for a smooth and sweet buttercream frosting.
- Vanilla extract – adds a lovely flavor
- Whole milk – a few splashes of whole milk helps to loosen the frosting and make it a spreadable texture.
This is what you need for the chocolate ganache:
- Dark chocolate – dark chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bar both work equally well.
- Heavy cream – heavy cream is generally 36-40% milk fat, but you can also use whipping cream which is closer to 30% milk fat.
How to make peanut butter brownies
Since they're so delicious, it's easy to assume these peanut butter brownies are complicated to make. Not true! The methods and ingredients are simple, and they're ready in under an hour. Here's how to make them in a few easy steps:
- Prep the wet ingredients
Start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave. Stir in the sugar, oil, and vanilla and then whisk in the eggs.
- Mix the batter
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and then stir until they're just combined. If you'd like, fold in some peanuts.
- Bake the brownies
Pour the brownie batter into a pan, bake them in the oven, then allow to cool.
- Make the peanut butter layer
Beat the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together and then add a tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Spoon it over the cooled brownies in dollops, then spread it evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Make the chocolate topping
Warm the chocolate and cream in a bowl in the microwave then stir it until it's smooth. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly and then pour it over the brownies in an even layer. Let them sit to harden and then sprinkle the top with Maldon sea salt.
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
When to serve peanut butter brownies
These brownies never fail to fully satisfy that chocolate and peanut butter craving. They're a great pick-me-up and are always popular at dinner parties, potlucks, and special occasions.
If you have a chocolate and peanut butter lover in your life, celebrate their birthday with a batch of these peanut butter brownies and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just add a few candles and watch their face light up!
Also, try these delicious almond flour brownies!
Can I add peanut butter to brownie mix?
Yes, you can use brownie mix to make this recipe. Simply add peanuts to the mix, then make the peanut butter frosting and chocolate topping.
How long do they last at room temperature?
Store brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can prolong this by a day or two by storing them in the fridge.
Can I freeze them?
Yes, this brownie recipe freezes really well. Once frosted, store them in an airtight container or wrap them well and they'll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Are brownies supposed to be gooey in the middle?
We like our brownies to be slightly gooey in the center, but crispy around the edges. However, they should still bake completely until they're fully set in the center. The brownies will firm up a bit once cooled but still have that soft chewy texture.
Can I use other nut butter?
You can, but nothing quite matches the taste of peanut butter.
How do I add peanut butter to brownies?
There are lots of recipes out there for brownies with peanut butter. In our version, we love the combination of crunchy peanuts in the brownie batter and the peanut buttercream frosting.
Favorite peanut butter dessert recipes
- ½ cup butter (room temperature)
- ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil (such as canola or avocado)
- 5 ounces dark chocolate chips (about ¾ cup)
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup roasted salted peanuts (optional)
- ½ cup natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (room temperature)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoon whole milk
- 5 ounces dark chocolate
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter. Place the butter and chocolate in a mixing bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate until it's melted and smooth. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the chocolate and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk again.½ cup butter, ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil, 5 ounces dark chocolate chips, 1 cups granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. If using, fold the peanuts into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
- When the brownies are mostly cool, make the frosting. Use electric beaters to beat the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon of the milk and beat again. If you'd like a thinner frosting, add the second tablespoon. Spread the frosting over the brownies in the pan.½ cup natural peanut butter, 2 tablespoons salted butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1-2 tablespoon whole milk
- To make the chocolate topping, add the chocolate and cream to a medium-sized bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth then pour it over the brownies. (Make sure that it's not hot when you pour it over!) Set the brownies aside for at least 30 minutes for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle a little sea salt over top then cut the brownies into 16 pieces.5 ounces dark chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
For more sweet treats, see all of our dessert recipes!