I first made these peanut butter and jelly cups spontaneously before work one morning. Little did I know, I would end up making them three times that week… they are THAT good. Vegan, almost paleo, and made with just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes of active time, you might find these adorable PB&J cups in your rotation too!
People telling me they have dietary restrictions usually results in me considering it as a challenge. I love to show up to social events with foods that suit all attendees and that’s one of the main reasons why over the years, I’ve done all sorts of experiments with making desserts that are both vegan as well as gluten-free; paleo; no added sugar; low-carb; nut-free; and more!
Turning limitations into exciting challenges has resulted in some of my very favorite recipes, including (but not limited to!) my maple pecan cookies, healthy vegan cookie dough, and brownie batter fudge.
Recently I wanted to treat someone, though, who is allergic to chocolate. For some reason, once I found out about this, I struggled to think of desserts that don’t include some kind of cocoa. Is there an official psychological phenomenon for this?
Anyway, my brain kept going back to peanut butter cups, maybe because chocolate isn’t actually in the name. I figured it was a sign that I should at least make something cup-like!
These actually started out as peanut butter banana cups (pictured), and halfway through filling them I realized they might be a little one-note, found some raspberry jam in the fridge, and made magic happen. Note: it turns out the banana version was also delicious. I now make them both ways.
The base version of these PB&J cups is just three ingredients, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and easily paleo if you swap in almond butter and choose a suitable jam or jelly. But the recipe is easy to play around with! Here are some additional variations that have been successful for me.
Peanut butter and jelly cup variations
- Add thinly sliced banana
- Garnish with cacao nibs (pictured) or coconut flakes
- Top with maple-candied pecans (yep, that was as ridiculous as it sounds…)
- Substitute the peanut butter with almond butter
Make them your own!
You’ll need to keep these pb&j cups in the refrigerator or freezer at all times after making them. As you can see from some of the photos, they start to melt pretty quickly! I think you’ll find yourself opening your refrigerator door quite frequently… if you do try these, let me know how it goes!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups
Crazy easy 3-ingredient peanut butter and jelly cups. Like an inside-out Reese's but minus the chocolate, these PB&J cups are naturally vegan, gluten-free, and easily paleo; and easy to customize!
- 1 cup natural peanut butter (unsweetened + no added oil)
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup jelly, jam or preserves of choice (pictured is raspberry jam)
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan or by microwaving it for 30 seconds. Add it to a bowl with the peanut butter and whisk them together until smoothly combined.
Take the mini baking cups, placing them in your mini muffin pan for stability if you have one. Carefully spoon about 1 tablespoon at a time of peanut butter mixture into the bottom of the baking cups. (You can use more or less depending on the size of PB&J cups that you want). After using about half of the mixture, place the tray in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set.
Remove the tray from the freezer. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of jelly to each cup. If applicable, use your spoon to gently flatten the jelly (this will make it easier to cover it with peanut butter). If your jelly or jam is fairly runny, return the tray to the freezer to set for another 5 minutes. Otherwise, proceed.
Spoon the rest of the peanut butter mixture, about 1 scant tablespoon at a time, over the tops of the cups to cover the jelly. If using any toppings, add them now so that they'll stick. Freeze the cups for another 45-60 minutes until set completely. After that, you can store them in either the refrigerator or the freezer in an airtight container.
You can use unrefined/virgin coconut oil if desired, but note that this will result in a prominent coconut flavor in the final product.
To keep these paleo and refined sugar-free, choose a naturally-sweetened jam that meets these criteria; and use almond butter instead of peanut butter.
Recipe may yield a varying number of cups depending on how full you fill them. Extra peanut butter shell mixture can also be mixed with maple syrup to taste, and frozen, to make a delicious peanut butter fudge!
Inspired by Spoon University.