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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are packed with two kinds of peanut butter and plenty of jam. These bars are a delicious way to turn a favorite childhood sandwich into dessert! 

Four peanut butter and jelly bars scattered on a white plate next to a knife with peanut butter on the tip

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but it seems like every September, right around back-to-school time, I get a serious craving for these peanut butter and jelly bars.

These bars are a tried and true Ina Garten recipe that I originally shared way back in the early years of my blog and I have made them countless times since then.

Overhead view of the ingredients for peanut butter and jelly bars on a marble countertop

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY BARS

I love peanut butter and jelly. Well, I suppose I actually prefer peanut butter and jam – jelly is too jiggly for me.

Any jam will do; strawberry, blackberry, raspberry…whatever we happen to have in the fridge. 

Knife spreading jam over peanut butter dough for peanut butter jelly bars

Years ago, my brother lived with me for about 6 months, and on nights when I did not plan out dinner, we would eat PB&J sandwiches. These sandwiches were enormous with gobs and gobs of peanut buttery goodness slathered between two pieces of ultra soft, white Wonder bread.

I have to admit, I consumed far too many of these sandwiches during the months he lived with me. 

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars remind me of my brother’s PB&J sandwiches. Plenty of jam or jelly sandwiched between a peanut butter cookie crust made with two types of peanut butter.

And don’t forget the salty, crunchy peanuts on top.

They are reminiscent of Caramel Pecan Bars or Peach Crumb Bars, but with all of the flavors of your favorite childhood sandwich. Along with Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes, they’re one of my favorite ways to turn a good ol’ PB&J into dessert! 

Peanut butter and jelly bars in a parchment-lined pan, ready to be baked

WHICH PEANUT BUTTER AND JAM IS BEST FOR THESE BARS?

Do you prefer creamy or crunchy peanut butter on your PB&J sandwiches? 

Even though a lot of people have very strong preferences on their peanut butter for sandwiches, I decided to mix things up and use BOTH in these bars.

Sliced peanut butter and jelly bars on a parchment-lined tray next to a small bowl of roasted peanuts

You could certainly use all creamy peanut butter in the dough, but I like the texture that using half crunchy peanut butter gives. 

As for the jelly component, you can use jam or jelly here, although I prefer jam. Again, I just prefer the texture of jam to jelly!

I have made these with all different flavors of jam – blackberry is probably my favorite, but they’re all delicious!

Try strawberry jam, raspberry jam, or of course the classic grape jelly. It’s really all about what you love best! 

Side view of sliced peanut butter and jelly bars on a parchment-lined cookie sheet

HOW TO MAKE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY BARS

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars start with a pretty straightforward peanut butter cookie dough. But instead of scooping and rolling it into individual cookies, we’re going to press about ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of a 13×9-inch cake pan.

Peanut butter and jelly bars stacked on a parchment-lined tray

Spread the jam or jelly evenly over the cookie dough base.

Then, drop small pieces of the remaining dough on top of the jam. It’s ok if not all of the jam is covered – the dough will spread some in the oven.

Finally, top the bars off with some chopped salted peanuts before baking! 

Once the bars cool, you can cut them as large or small as you like. But personally, I like a big piece alongside a big, cold glass of milk.

Overhead view of three peanut butter and jelly bars on a white plate next to a glass of milk
Four peanut butter and jelly bars scattered on a white plate next to a knife with peanut butter on the tip

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Yield: 20 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are packed with two kinds of peanut butter and plenty of jam. These bars are a delicious way to turn a favorite childhood sandwich into dessert! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (9 ounces) chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup (9 ounces) creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups jam or jelly of choice (ex: blackberry, strawberry, raspberry)
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x13x2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Cool and cut into squares. Serve up with a big glass of ice cold milk.

Notes

Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

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Nutrition Information
Yield 20 Serving Size 1 bar
Amount Per Serving Calories 260Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 20mgSodium 235mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 1gSugar 30gProtein 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Chef Beth

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Made with creamy peanut butter & plum jam & no peanuts. Yummy!

Jamie

Thursday 10th of September 2020

So happy to hear you enjoyed the bars, Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

Dennis Yannakos

Sunday 6th of September 2020

My kids love this dish! Thanks!

Jamie

Thursday 10th of September 2020

So happy to hear your family enjoyed the bars, Dennis! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

Kelly | Maverick Baking

Thursday 3rd of September 2020

You've unlocked a deep craving I didn't know I had. Definitely saving this for later!

Jamie

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kelly! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

Lauren

Wednesday 25th of July 2012

Would this work with using just natural creamy unsalted peanut butter like from Trader Joes? Trying to make it a little healthier but still want them to taste yummy!

Jamie

Sunday 5th of August 2012

Lauren- I haven't made these in quite some time, but I'm thinking they'll be just fine with natural peanut butter. Let me know how it goes if you decide to give it a try! -Jamie

Ashley

Monday 29th of August 2011

I know you must hear this all the time, but i LOVE your blog!!! I look through SO many, searching recipes (I am learning to bake) and yours is my favorite by far. I have made a few of your recipes, and I just book marked about 10 more, these will be made soon!! Thanks for having such a great site!

Jamie

Monday 29th of August 2011

Ashley- I am so glad you enjoyed the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. -Jamie

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