These easy peanut butter swirl brownies from scratch are so fudgy and rich, with a creamy peanut butter swirl on top, and a fudgy brownie, healthier and using only 6 ingredients and made in one bowl in 30 minutes.
These easy peanut butter swirl brownies from scratch have an intense chocolate flavor thanks to cocoa and flour but are lighter in texture thanks to apple sauce. The peanut butter swirl on top makes the peanut butter flavor pop, like a brownie married to a Reese's cup.
Like my no bake peanut butter brownies, this baked peanut butter swirl brownie is a melt-in-your-mouth dream brownie. The whole recipe is made with ingredients probably in your pantry right now. Like my healthy edible brownie batter, these peanut butter brownies are easy to mix up in one bowl. The topping is only melted peanut butter and easy to add before baking.
If you love these brownies with a peanut butter swirl, I've got more for you! Try my oreo brownies, my gluten free brownies, and for the best brownies without an oven, try my 4-ingredient and TikTok-viral no bake chocolate brownies. Enjoy one with my easy iced coffee, or even my chocolate smoothie - you can never have too much chocolate! And if peanut butter is your thing, I even tucked it secretly into my oatmeal chocolate chip bars.
Why You'll Love These
Peanut butter swirl top. These easy peanut butter swirl brownies from scratch are delicious, using cocoa and melted chocolate to make them both fudgy and cake-like. However, what really sets them apart is the melted peanut butter swirl on top, similar to a peanut butter cheesecake texture, which brings in the Reese's cup peanut butter magic.
Higher in micronutrients. Using natural peanut butter and other whole food ingredients such as apple sauce, quality cocoa, and organic cane sugar, these peanut butter swirl brownies provide more micronutrients than you'll get from a boxed mix such as Pillsbury peanut butter swirl brownies.
Plant-based and vegan. Whether you eat plant-based or not, you'll love these brownies with a peanut butter swirl. I use apple sauce instead of eggs so go ahead and taste the raw batter with no fear of salmonella. As it does for my chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar, apple sauce does wonders for the texture of these brownies.
Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate - the quality of this chocolate influences the flavor and texture of the brownie so choose wisely.
Peanut Butter - Use either natural or commercial peanut butter. If using natural, you might have to microwave to loosen and stir into a creamy texture.
Sugars - I used a mix of light brown sugar (or coconut sugar), and organic cane sugar but regular cane sugar works as well. I prefer organic cane sugar because it is unrefined and honestly tastes better.
Apple sauce - Be sure to use unsweetened. Or use aquafaba, the liquid straight out of a can of unsalted chickpeas, or 3 flaxseed eggs - 3 tablespoon of ground flaxseed stirred into 8 tablespoon of water.
Cocoa Powder - I use dutch processed cocoa (darker in color), but regular unsweetened cocoa is fine.
Flour - Use all purpose, or gluten-free baking flour to make these gluten-free.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Peanut butter. Any nut butter flavor works. You can use commercial peanut butters but they are high in sugar. Natural peanut butters are healthier with only nuts in the ingredients, but they will need to be microwaved to loosen them enough to be able to create the peanut butter swirl topping.
Apple sauce. This is an egg replacer. Flax seed or chia seed eggs also work, as well as aquafaba.
Flour. All purpose is best in this recipe. Almond flour or oat flour will create a heavier texture and I have not tried them here.
Step by Step Instructions
For more detail, visit the complete recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Step 1: Line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Melt and stir chocolate and peanut butter together. Set aside.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whip sugars, apple sauce, and other liquids until fluffy. Into the sugar mixture, fold in the melted chocolate/butter mixture .
Step 3: Set a strainer over the bowl and to it add the dry ingredients and sweep a spoon back and forth to push through the flour, cocoa and other dry ingredients.
Step 4: Stir or mix up the batter until smooth, about 1 minute.
Step 5: Transfer this incredible brownie batter into a brownie pan.
Step 6: Microwave the peanut butter into a warm creamy texture and dollop on.
Step 7: Make the peanut butter swirls. Draw the tip of a knife through the blobs of peanut butter and make an S shape to create swirls. Don't dip and mix in the peanut butter.
Step 6: Bake at 350 F for about 25-30 minutes. The tester will come out a little fudgy, so you'll know they are done when center looks dry and cracked.
Allow the brownies to cool in the pan about 15 minutes before cutting with a serrated knife for a cleaner cut.
How to Store
To store, cut these brownies, then wrap individually or put in a sealed container to store at room temperature around 2 days. After that, chill them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To store in the freezer, wrap them individually, put in a sealed container and freeze for up to three months.
Don't forget the baking powder as that gives the brownies the cake-like texture because baking powder contains corn starch which provides an airy lift.
Don't overbake - Watch the swirl on top and if you see it browning, remove the brownies quickly.
Microwave your peanut butter jar for 15 seconds with cover off. Stir top inch or two with a spoon until creamy. Drop teaspoonfuls onto brownie batter in 2 inch intervals. Swirl with a toothpick or tip of a knife.
Yes, you can leave off the swirl. The brownies already have peanut butter in the batter, so you'll still get the chocolate and peanut butter flavor.
These are fudgy but cakey in texture. To keep the texture perfect be sure to measure the flour carefully. I use the fluff and level method - fluff the flour in the bag, spoon into measuring cups and use a knife to level off.
Yes, these brownies use dairy free milk, and they are also vegan because apple sauce is used instead of eggs. Not only does the pectin in apple sauce act like a binder, it also when whipped with sugar, traps air pockets and helps lift the brownies and create that shiny crust.
These peanut butter swirl brownies can served like other brownies with a topping of whipped cream or ice cream after baking and before serving.
More Brownie Recipes
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Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies from Scratch
- ½ cup chocolate chips use 60% cacao and up, I use Enjoylife brand or HU Gems
- ⅓ cup peanut butter Or use any nut butter
- ½ cup cane sugar organic tastes better
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 6 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce
- ¼ cup milk dairy free
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup all purpose flour or gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
Peanut butter swirl
- ¼ cup peanut butter, melted
- Preheat oven at 350 F. Measure ingredients. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
- Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips for 1 minute and stir until smooth.½ cup chocolate chips, ⅓ cup peanut butter
- In a large bowl, combine the sugars and apple sauce and vanilla and milk, use a hand-mixer or spoon to combine. Fold in the melted chocolate and peanut butter mixture.½ cup cane sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 6 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce, ¼ cup milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla
- In a strainer and a sieve, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, and add to the wet ingredients.½ cup cocoa powder, ½ cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt
- Mix the batter until combined, but not more than a minute to prevent the gluten from being released, causing a tough texture.
- Fold the batter into the pan, tap to even the surface.
- Microwave the peanut butter for about 15 seconds or more, and stir until creamy. Then dollop on peanut butter in teaspoons spaced apart on the surface of the batter.¼ cup peanut butter, melted
- Swirl the peanut butter dollops with the tip of a knife.
- Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes. Watch for the peanut butter swirl to brown and remove when it looks dry and cracked but not browned.
- Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Slice with serrated knife.