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The most luscious, creamiest, most velvety peanut butter frosting is yours for the spreading. If you need peanut butter frosting for cupcakes, brownies, or a big chocolate cake, this is the recipe that wins all the prizes. Easy to make, easy to love, and oh, so hard to resist.
Can you buy peanut butter frosting? Of course you can; these days you can buy almost anything your heart desires. But if your heart desires actual, homemade goodness–something that tastes really special–well, then, you have to make your own.
If you want to make Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting, here’s my recipe with the proper cake to frosting ratios. This recipe right here makes enough for a layer cake, a large sheet cake, or a couple sheets of brownies.
If you’re looking for a dairy-free peanut butter frosting, or you can’t find powdered sugar in your pantry, don’t fret: I have a couple different versions for you down below. Where there’s a (peanut butter) will, there’s a (peanut butter) way!
How to divide frosting for layer cakes:
Just to make sure you have enough for the whole cake, here’s how to break up that luscious frosting so you can rest easy by the time the final layer of cake is added. I recommend a total of 5 cups of frosting for three 8″ or 9″ round layers and 4 cups for two layers. Here’s how to divvy it up.
- Use ¾ cup of frosting between each layer. Spread the frosting between the cake layers to just past the edges of each layer. This will make coating the sides faster and easier.
- Put 1 ½ cups on top of the cake.
- Use the remainder around the sides.
How to make Peanut Butter Frosting without powdered sugar:
This recipe makes peanut butter frosting with granulated sugar, in case you’ve looked and don’t have any powdered sugar but want it right NOW.
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup margarine, soft
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Stir flour into milk.
- Cook milk and flour mixture on low heat in a small saucepan until boiling, stirring constantly.
- Transfer milk to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and beat until fluffy.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator.
How to make Peanut Butter Frosting without butter:
You can make peanut butter frosting with cream cheese, or you can substitute margarine or coconut oil in place of butter. In case you’re looking for a completely dairy-free peanut butter frosting, try this one and let me know how you like it:
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut or nut milk
In a stand mixer, combine coconut oil, peanut butter, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar and beat again.
Gradually add 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk until the frosting is the correct consistency.
Beat for 2 to 3 minutes.
If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk.
Can you make Peanut Butter Frosting with PB2?
PB2 is powdered peanut butter that has 85% fewer calories than traditional peanut butter. It makes a great Peanut Butter Frosting, but you need to add a little more butter, and use cream cheese, for body.
- 2 (8 ounce) boxes cream cheese
- 16 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 10-16 ounces PB2 (more or less to taste
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine softened cream cheese and butter on medium, increasing to high speed. Beat until fluffy.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the powdered sugar, pausing to scrape down the sides and taste. The recipe uses 2 cups of powdered sugar, but you may need less or you may prefer more.
- Once it has reached the sweetness you desire, slowly add the PB2, tasting as you go. Once you dial in the correct sweetness, turn the mixer up to high and beat until it is light and fluffy.
Can I use whole milk instead of the heavy cream to make Peanut Butter Frosting?
Absolutely. But keep in mind that the peanut butter frosting will not be as creamy without the thickness of heavy cream.
Why is my Peanut Butter Frosting oily?
I find a little more powdered sugar and a few more minutes of beating helps bring a frosting that has separated back together. Also, make sure the butter you start with is at room temperature or cool to the touch. Continue beating– it should come together.
Does Peanut Butter Frosting need to be refrigerated?
Depending on how long it will be before you plan on using it, I recommend covering it and storing it in the refrigerator. Take it out a couple hours before using and let it warm up to make it easier to spread.
Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter creamy (smooth)
- 5 tablespoons butter room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as you go. Add cream and beat on high speed until mixture is light and smooth.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost each cupcake with peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.
Could I add cocoa powder to give it a chocolate peanut butter flavor?
Hi Samantha, I haven’t tested this but it sounds delicious! – Meggan
I found out the hard way not to substitute margarine for butter in peanut butter frosting. It came out as an oily mess. Maybe it was just me, but I would only use butter. In any case, thanks for all the options!