Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Joanna Gaines

Adapted by Julia Moskin

Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe (1)

Total Time
45 minutes, plus cooling and freezing
Read community notes

Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Table in Waco, Texas, developed this recipe for a layered treat that combines the best of a brownie, a candy bar and an ice cream sandwich. The fudgy texture of brownies makes a perfect base for peanut butter and a fluffy chocolate topping. You can use a different chocolate frosting or glaze for the top layer, depending on what ingredients you have on hand. —Julia Moskin

Featured in: For Joanna Gaines, Home Is the Heart of a Food and Design Empire

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Yield:24 servings (1 9-by-13-inch baking pan)

    For the Brownies

    • Cooking spray
    • 1cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks)
    • cup/30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2cups/400 grams granulated sugar
    • cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
    • ½teaspoon kosher salt
    • 4large eggs
    • 1teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    For the Topping

    • 1(16-ounce/455 gram) jar creamy peanut butter

    For the Frosting

    • ½cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
    • 10large marshmallows (about 65 grams)
    • 4cups/500 grams confectioners’ sugar
    • cup/80 milliliters whole milk
    • ¼cup/25 grams unsweetened cocoa powder

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (24 servings)

427 calories; 23 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 52 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 41 grams sugars; 7 grams protein; 61 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Prepare the brownies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan lightly with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two long sides.

  2. Step


    In a small saucepan, heat the butter and cocoa over low heat until the butter melts, about 5 minutes. Whisk to combine then set aside to cool, 5 minutes.

  3. Step


    In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the granulated sugar, flour and salt. Add the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, incorporating each before adding the next, then add the vanilla and mix until combined.

  4. Step


    Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes.

  5. Step


    Let the brownies cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  6. Step


    Prepare the topping: Add the peanut butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until softened, about 15 seconds. Stir it well to distribute heat evenly then spread it in an even layer on top of the brownies. Freeze the brownies for at least 30 minutes.

  7. Step


    Prepare the frosting: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows over medium heat, stirring often, until both are melted and no lumps remain, about 5 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk and cocoa, and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.

  8. Step


    Spread the frosting over the peanut butter layer and freeze for 30 minutes.

  9. Step


    Remove the brownies from the pan: First, cut the brownies away from the pan edge on both short sides, then lift them out using the parchment paper handles. Cut into 24 squares. Keep refrigerated.



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Cooking Notes


My mother always added a blob of marshmallow fluff to her chocolate icing and fudge, and now I do. It does something to hugely improve the texture, and if you go easy on the powdered sugar, is not too sweet. I usually eschew weird processed additions, but this one does help a lot.


I have been making this recipe since I found it in the 1992 Southern Living as Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies.Absolutely the best recipe! Only difference is the original recipe calls for a 12 oz jar of chunky peanut butter. It’s a personal preference as both are good. Just don’t overcook the bottom layer. These brownies can be made a week ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Best eaten at room temperature. They also freeze beautifully.

Janet H.

Looked through the 16 comments for useful tips from people who actually made the recipie (isnt that what the notes are supposed to be for?), found two from people that made the recipie. Still no flour at pandemic-streiken grocerystores here, but found brownie mix. Made the brownie section according to the mix, then made the peanut butter layer and forståing as directed in the recipie. Marshmallows did fluff up the frosting nicely. Peanut butter layer easy and salty-good. Wonderful!


The photo looks amazing but the marshmallows are giving me pause. Can anyone say more about the taste and texture of the frosting? Thanks!

Jane Wilstern

This tastes great! I did cut down on the sugar and definitely used the marshmallows - Jess sometimes we just have to throw our preconceived marshmellow worries out the kitchen door! A big hit with the family-

Lauren Paul

These were -- not to put too fine a point on it -- bad. I had two tiny squares after they were done and immediately felt sick. The underlying brownies were dry, crumbly and tasteless. The peanut butter and not-so-chocolatey frosting were terribly rich. I'm sad I wasted the ingredients.


Regarding marshmallow... I add it to my basic buttercream frosting. We have a family recipe that uses it as a whoopie pie filling, and I pirated it to use on cakes and, especially, cupcakes. It gives a wonderful texture. Being a New Englander, it has to be Marshmallow Fluff. I think the marshmallows in this would add a similar texture boost.


This recipe was disappointing- cloyingly sweet and the texture of the brownie was dismaying. If you want a perfect brownie I’d stick with Mark Bittman’s recipe.


This looks interesting. Would vegan marshmallows be ok for the frosting? My grandkids are vegetarian and I don't use marshmallows with gelatin.


Made these brownies last night. The balance between the layers are nice. The actual brownies are not super sweet with the 2 cups of sugar but the frosting is very sweet with the 4 cups. Cooked very quickly, 25 minutes was way too long. These brownies have a different chewy, since they are refrigerated. If you’re looking for a fudge-like texture, these are not for you. Just one piece a day for these brownies though! Calories are probably off the charts!


Jess, it looks like the marshmallows act like a shortcut of a meringue base and create a frosting to hold its shape. I'm game to try the recipe but will cut back on sugar in the brownies. 2 cups seems like a lot when there's just 1 1/2 cups of flour.

Wendy A

I admit I don't have strong feelings about brownies, but I think a lot of the complaints about both the texture of the brownie ("too fudgy") and the sweetness of the frosting are resolved by serving the brownies at room temp. Even refrigerating them congeals the butter in the brownie, making them fudgy, neutralizes the peanut butter flavor & gooeyness, and crystallizes the sugar in the frosting, making it painfully sweet. Try them at room temp.

Lauren Paul

To me, it's the sweetness (the flavor) that is the problem, not so much the actual sugar. If I were you, I would cut back on the sugar as others have done, rather than add something else that tastes sweet.

Pat philipps

The brownie party of this dessert is awful. To cut the sugar, I sprinkled flaky sea salt on both the Brunei’s and the chocolate coating to help with the sugar high.


@Jess if you’ve ever made Rice Krispie treats, the concept is the same. Melt the marshmallow and butter, add the other icing ingredients and whisk away. Try it! Will not be difficult and will be tasty, no matter what. Let us know how it worked for you.


This brownie base is excellent for ice cream sundae w cocoa (chocolate) sauce- 1/2 cup CP 1 cup sugar 1/2. cup water; heat to simmer over med heat until thick smooth and slow bubbling for 10 minutes then add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla and pinch of salt.

lee D

Ever since the pandemic, these have been in my baking library — good for parties, great to make ahead, always a crowd pleaser.I add 1/4 cup less sugar to the brownies and don’t use heavy sweetened peanut butter. I don’t add salt and I use salted butter — a keeper!


Loved the peanut butter and fudgey topping layer, but the brownies weren’t quite chocolatey enough. I would make again but use a different cakey brownie for the bottom layer. I do think it needs to be a cakey-type brownie rather than a fudgey brownie (which I otherwise prefer) for this particular recipe.


We had high hopes for this recipe being chocolate peanut butter combo lovers here, but we were sorely disappointed. So disappointed that we threw out the whole batch after each having one bc they weren’t even remotely worth the calories in our opinion. The brownie was a spongey texture that wasn’t sweet enough, and the frosting was way overly sweet. Somehow these two things did not balance each other out. A miss for us.


I cut on sugar. 200g for the brownies, 150g for the frosting as it was already sweet enough. That way I could actually taste cacao :)

Cat Lady

I made this with almond flour and didn't have any marshmallows, so I used the NYT chocolate buttercream recipe. I cut the sugar in the brownies in half and made a half-recipe in an 8x8 pan. I still used the amount of cocoa powder called for in the whole recipe--1/3 cup. They were delicious! Everyone loved them.


Everyone who tries these loves them! One friend even called me the next day to see if I had any left over that she could have. :D Chewy brownie layer with a thick, creamy frosting yumminess. Very sweet, though, so I cut them in pretty small pieces. They freeze well too. Just freeze in a single layer and then stacked with parchment in between.


Don’t listen to any of the haters. It’s a gooey, delicious, mess and you deserve it.


I made this for my husband’s birthday a few months ago and it was a big hit, though I could have used more time to chill it. The brownies are extremely rich and a little goes a long way. The only change I made is that I used about 1/3 the amount of confectioners sugar called for in the icing - mostly bc we didn’t have enough but I also didn’t want it to be too sweet. That may have affected the texture & explained why the icing didn’t set as well, but the taste was perfect.

elizabeth in Colorado

Followed the directions exactly and they were a total hit. My kids gave them a 10/10.


Waaaaaay too sweet. I even cut some of the sugar in half and it was intolerable. I took them in to work and they did not get eaten.

Ally O

The photo enticed me, but as previously mentioned, this recipe was a letdown. The brownie was fudge-like--or would be considered fudge-like with a higher cocoa content. Due to limited confectioner's sugar, I used half the quantity listed. This meant that my bars were not quite as sweet as everyone else's, and the frosting consistency wasn't quite right. My frosting was more of a glaze. Should I have whipped it in mixer instead of hand whisking? Flavors and layer consistency were disappointing.


These were ok. I won't make them again. The tip someone else gave about not overcooking the brownie layer is important. The freezer dries out that layer and if it's too done to begin with it becomes much too dry. They are much better at room temp than cold. But the taste is mostly very sweet and very peanut buttery without much chocolate flavor. If I did make again, I'd cut the peanut butter in half and leave the brownie layer very moist. I'd probably skip the second freeze step too.


Not a fan. There are better recipes out there. This recipe sounds similar to my favorite peanut butter brownie from a local bakery, but it didn't come together well. When the brownies are allowed to warm to room temperature, the peanut butter layer is too soft to hold the frosting, and it ends up being a mess. Perhaps the PB needs to have some sugar and butter in it to help firm it up. The brownie is like a dense cake - I am ok with that texture, but it didn't have much going on flavor wise.


The brownies are not too sweet and are a nice foil for the sweeter toppings. I used half of the confectionary sugar and still found the chocolate topping to be cloying. I ended up drizzling the chocolate on top of the peanut butter and found that to be a good solution. Cutting the sweetness with a cream cheese or omitting the marshmallows would potentially be other options to explore if I made this again.

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Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe (2024)


Can you use peanut butter instead of eggs in brownie mix? ›

Three tablespoons of peanut, almond, or any other nut butter can be used to replace an egg, but nut butters will impart their flavor in baked goods. We suggest using this swap in cookies, pancakes, and brownies where you think the flavor will complement the dessert.

Why add water to brownie mix? ›

Most brownie mixes call for water. While water does the job, you can add some extra flavor and moisture by mixing some of that water with something richer, like milk. If you want to swap it out completely, be prepared for a more chewy and fudge-like brownie from the extra fat.

Should you beat brownie batter? ›

Reason 1: You are over beating your brownie recipe mix

Over mixing brownie leads to too much air incorporation and can leave your brownie looking and tasting like a chocolate cake. Under mixing will lead to insufficient combination of your core ingredients and so the brownie texture will not form to perfection.

What can I add to my brownies? ›

Crushed potato chips, pretzels, and salted nuts stirred in or sprinkled on before baking can add textural interest, plus a little savoriness that can make the rich chocolate flavor more pronounced. A shower of sea salt or flaky salt like Maldon over baked brownies before slicing makes for a dramatic, sparkly finish.

What happens if you don't use eggs in brownies? ›

Is it okay to make brownies without eggs? Without eggs, baked goods will become a little thinner and not rise as much in the oven. As long as you replace the moisture from the egg with milk, banana or applesauce, you can make brownies without eggs. And yes, this recipe makes thinner brownies than normal.

What is a substitute for 2 eggs in brownies? ›

You can whisk 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of baking powder together to replace each egg in baked goods like cookies, brownies or quick breads. This substitution won't impact a recipes' flavor profile the way egg substitutions like mashed banana or flaxseed might.

What does adding milk instead of water do to brownies? ›

One change is to use milk or heavy cream instead of water. This change will make brownies more moist and gooey since milk is more fatty and flavorful than water. A second change is to use butter instead of oil. For similar reasons to using milk, butter adds a rich and more decadent quality to the batter.

Are brownies better with milk or water? ›

Brownie recipes traditionally call for water as it serves as a neutral liquid that hydrates the dry ingredients. However, using milk instead of water can impart a creamier texture and richer flavor to your brownies. The milk's fat content adds a smoothness that water cannot provide, resulting in a more indulgent treat.

What happens if I dont add water to brownie mix? ›

It is important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure the brownies turn out as expected. If you add too much water, the brownies may turn out too cake-like, and if you add too little water, they may be dry and crumbly.

Should you beat eggs before adding to brownie mix? ›

The eggs should be beaten until roughly hom*ogeneous; that is, there should be no "pieces" of unmixed egg white left. (If left in, those pieces would cook and harden, leaving you with, essentially, pieces of boiled egg in your brownies.)

Should I refrigerate brownie batter before baking? ›

In addition to keeping your brownie mix fresh, refrigerating brownie batter can also help boost the overall texture and flavor of the treat. Refrigerating helps improve the gloss and crustiness of brownies while simultaneously blending the flavors—the result? — brownie that tastes much richer and chewier.

What happens when you add extra eggs to brownies? ›

If you opt to add more eggs, say double the amount, something interesting happens. Even though you are adding more moisture, the air bubbles that you catch in the extra eggs add volume, which decreases the density of your final product. This makes your brownies rise and gives them a much more cake-like texture.

How to jazz up boxed brownies? ›

Salt + Chocolate = BFFs

This is the easiest way to upgrade boxed brownies. Salt enhances the natural flavors and sweetness in chocolate and suppresses its bitterness. Sprinkle a few pinches of flaky salt on top of the brownie batter before baking.

What can you add to boxed brownie mix to make it better? ›

Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract adds rich flavor to brownies. Eggs – Most brownie mixes call for one whole egg. Adding one large egg plus an extra egg yolk gives brownies an ultra fudgy texture.

What can I use if I don't have eggs? ›

Egg replacers
  1. Vinegar & baking soda. Replace 1 egg with: 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon vinegar. ...
  2. Unsweetened applesauce. Replace 1 egg with: 1/4 cup applesauce. ...
  3. Plain or vanilla soy yogurt. Replace 1 egg with: 1/4 cup yogurt. ...
  4. Silken tofu. ...
  5. Ripe banana. ...
  6. Ground flaxseed.

Can you eat brownie batter if you don't add eggs? ›

Yes, you can safely eat raw brownie batter without eggs since the concern with consuming raw batter usually revolves around the risk of salmonella from uncooked eggs. Without eggs, that risk is eliminated. However, always be mindful of the other ingredients you use and their safety when consumed raw.

What does peanut butter replace in baking? ›

When it comes to baking, nut butters such as almond butter, cashew butter and peanut butter make great dairy butter alternatives. Due to their sweet and creamy consistencies, they can help retain moisture in batters and dough while decreasing the amount of added sugar needed.

Can you substitute peanut butter for oil in brownie mix? ›

If you love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, peanut butter might just be the best vegetable oil substitute for you. For a lighter brownie, just about half as much peanut butter. For a chewy fudgy brownie, use just as much peanut butter as the recipe calls for vegetable oil.

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