This fluffy peanut butter frosting gets big flavor from creamy, natural peanut butter. Made in just 5 minutes with 5 ingredients. It's less sweet than most peanut butter frosting recipes, using half the amount of powdered sugar compared with other top-rated recipes, but it tastes just as rich and creamy. A good hit of salt makes it extra addicting!
Swirl, spread, or pipe it over cakes and cupcakes, or just lick it off of spoons – I don't tell you what to do!
I love peanut butter, especially paired with chocolate. And this peanut butter frosting makes me super nostalgic for the peanut butter cups I used to get trick-or-treating as a kid. My best friend and I would dump our candy haul on her bedroom floor and spend hours strategically trading goodies. And peanut butter cups were prized currency.
Now that I'm older and wiser (or at least older...), I have no desire to eat overly-sweet candy made with questionable ingredients. Enter this frosting, which reminds me of that salty-sweet-nutty filling. I make it with natural peanut butter, half the sugar compared with most recipes, and a good hit of salt and vanilla. Lots of good butter makes it rich and creamy. It's lusciously floofy, addictively salty, and not-too-sweet.
Here's why I love this peanut butter icing:
- natural peanut butter gives it big flavor with no scary ingredients
- half the sugar compared with most recipes makes it not-too-sweet
- salt and vanilla make it super addicting
- perfect for making this dreamy chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
- tastes like an old-fashioned peanut butter cup – yum!
Although if you're anything like me, you'll want to simply lick it off of spoons until it's gone...
Can you make peanut butter frosting with natural peanut butter?
Yes you can! Just be sure to stir the peanut butter well before using it to incorporate any oil that may have separated out.
Why I prefer natural peanut butter for frosting (and everything else)
Most peanut butter frosting recipes use peanut butter that's loaded with sugar and hydrogenated fats (shortening) to keep it in emulsion. Because they're often stored longer on shelves, the oils in the peanut butter can be rancid. They're also stored in plastic, which tends to leach into fatty foods such as nut butters. All of these qualities give me the heebie-jeebies.
For these reasons, I prefer to use natural peanut butter made with just one ingredient: peanuts. My favorite brand, Once Again, is silky-smooth with a bright, fresh flavor that I love, and it comes in a recyclable or reusable glass jar to boot.
Mix up a batch of this fluffy peanut butter frosting and enjoy the nostalgic flavor of peanut butter cup candies, but without any of the shady ingredients.
Got extra natural peanut butter to use up? Make a batch of these flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies - so good.
Ingredients and Substitution Suggestions
This frosting comes together with just 5 ingredients and less powdered sugar than most recipes (about half the amount of top recipes).
- Peanut butter adds rich, nutty flavor. I like to use natural creamy peanut butter made with just 1 ingredient: peanuts. Once Again (affiliate link) is my favorite brand for its silky smooth texture and fresh flavor.
- Try this with other smooth nut or seed butters, such as sunflower seed, hazelnut, or almond butter. Or try my tahini frosting recipe.
- Butter forms the base of the frosting. If using salted butter, there's no need to add salt to the frosting. My favorite brands of butter for baking are Vermont Creamery and Straus.
- I haven't tested this with vegan butter, but I think it would work. Miyoko's is my preferred brand of vegan butter.
- Powdered sugar sweetens the frosting and helps it whip up light and fluffy. I like using organic powdered sugar.
- For a refined sugar-free frosting, try grinding coconut sugar or maple sugar in a clean spice grinder or coffee grinder with a little cornstarch to a fine powder.
- Vanilla extract and fine sea salt sharpen the flavors. You can sprinkle a pinch of flaky salt over the finished frosting for a little crunch if you like!
How to Make Peanut Butter Frosting
This homemade peanut butter frosting recipe comes together in about 5 minutes.
I usually make this in a small stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (this is the stand mixer I use - affiliate link), but you can also make it by hand in a bowl using an electric egg beater or wooden spoon to bring it together. Just be sure to soften the butter for ease!
This small-batch recipe makes 1 generous cup of frosting, enough for a single layer 8- or 9-inch cake or 8-ish cupcakes. Double or triple the recipe for a 9x12-inch sheet cake, or quadruple the recipe for an 8-inch cake with 2 layers and frosted sides and top.
TBG Tip: When you buy natural peanut butter, store it upside down at room temperature before opening it. This makes it easier to combine once you're ready to use it! This works well with all natural nut and seed butters.
Peanut Butter Icing or Frosting – which is it?
In the United States, we call this fluffy deliciousness spread over cakes and cupcakes "frosting." But in other regions such as Canada, this is called "icing." Rest assured that this will be equally delicious regardless of whether you call it "peanut butter frosting" or "peanut butter icing."
Many online recipes for peanut butter frosting claim that natural peanut butter will make frosting separate. I've made this frosting half a dozen times and I've never had that happen! But here are a couple of tips just in case:
- Make sure the butter is softened to cool room temperature before you begin.
- If the frosting separates and looks grainy, it's most likely because the butter is too cold. Place the bowl in a warm spot for a few minutes, and then beat it again for a minute or two. It should come back together.
- If it still looks grainy, try adding another tablespoon or two of powdered sugar as you beat it, which should help bring it together.
Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
I haven't tested this recipe with vegan butter, but I think it should work by simply subbing a good vegan butter in place of the dairy butter. Miyoko's is my favorite brand of dairy-free butter. If your vegan butter is salty, omit the salt from the recipe and add more to your taste if you feel the frosting needs more.
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this peanut butter frosting recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
5-Minute Peanut Butter Frosting with Natural Peanut ButterPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup (60 g) creamy, natural peanut butter*
- ¾ cup (75 g) powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- If your peanut butter has oil sitting on top that has separated, give it a good stir before you begin, scraping the sides and bottom of the jar to combine it well.
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a small stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If using a full-size stand mixer, you may need to double the recipe so that there's enough to mix). Alternatively, use a bowl and an electric egg beater or wooden spoon.
- Beat together the butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt.
- Beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, 2-3 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle once or twice more as needed.
- Use the frosting right away, swirled or piped over cake, cupcakes, or brownies. Or cover and keep at cool room temperature until needed, up to 1 day.
- This small-batch recipe makes 1 generous cup of frosting, enough for a single layer 8- or 9-inch cake or 8-ish cupcakes. Double or triple the recipe for a 9x12-inch sheet cake, or quadruple the recipe for an 8-inch cake with 2 layers and frosted sides and top.
- This frosting can be made in advance. Refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to several months.
- Bring the frosting back to room temperature before using; you may need to whip it again before using to make it more spreadable.