Cookies & Cups > Recipes > Cookies > Cookie Bars > Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut butter and jelly bars are sweet and crunchy, filled with all the nostalgic flavors of a classic PB&J sandwich. It’s an easy cookie bar that tastes just like my favorite childhood sandwich!

I love making fun and easy dessert bars inspired by some of my favorite foods and treats, like my apple pie bars and strawberry shortcake bars.

Why You’ll Love These Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Do you know why a peanut butter and jelly sandwich always tasted so good? It’s because nine times out of ten, it was made with love (thanks, Mom!). These peanut butter and jelly bars have that same warm and fuzzy energy. Here’s why you’ll love them:

  • Classic flavor. Biting into one of these bars brings back all the memories I have as a child stuffing my face with a PB&J fresh from my lunchbox. The peanut butter filling is thick, like frosting, and the jelly is deliciously fruity and sweet, set between a crunchy cookie crust and buttery crumble topping.
  • Almost as easy to make. These cookie bars take a bit more time to make than a sandwich, but they’re just as easy to assemble. All it takes is a bit of layering and a short bake in the oven.
  • Great for sharing. I love bringing these bars to potlucks so everyone can get in on the nostalgia. Who can resist a sweet, creamy, chewy cookie bar packed with the flavors of a favorite childhood sandwich?
A peanut butter jelly bar on top of a polka dot table cloth, with a second bar in the background.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need your usual pantry staples (flour, sugar, etc.) to make the crust and topping, plus a few extras (peanut butter and jelly, obviously) to make these easy PB&J bars. Below are some notes on the important ingredients. Scroll down to the recipe card for a printable list with amounts.

  • Crust – For the cookie crust, you’ll combine cold cubed butter with an egg, sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt.
  • Butter – The butter for the peanut butter layer should be at room temperature.
  • Peanut Butter – I like to use creamy peanut butter, but you can use crunchy. Whichever kind you choose, I recommend using old-school, shelf-stable peanut butter. Natural peanut butter tends to make the filling oily.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also called confectioner’s sugar. I recommend powdered sugar over regular sugar as it makes the filling smooth instead of grainy.
  • Vanilla – Real vanilla extract is a must for the best flavor.
  • Jelly – Smucker’s strawberry preserves are my go-to, but you can use your favorite jam or jelly (see below).
  • Crumble Topping – I top these bars with an easy oat crumble, which is basically my streusel recipe with oats mixed in. You’ll need basic dry ingredients like flour, salt, brown sugar, old-fashioned oats, as well as cold butter.

Which Jelly Goes Best With Peanut Butter?

Some will tell you that grape jelly is the best for a classic PB&J, but I’ve always been a Smucker’s strawberry jam girl. You can make your peanut butter jelly bars with strawberry, grape, raspberry, or any jelly you like, just make sure it’s a nice one! Jelly is ½ of the flavor in these bars.

How to Make Peanut Butter Jelly Bars

These peanut butter and jelly bars are my cure for a rough day. The first time I made them, biting into one was like unlocking a core memory. Sunny days outside as a kid, munching on a soft and sweet PB&J. No bills, nowhere to be, just bliss. 

Here’s how to recreate that feeling in your own kitchen, in just a few quick steps:

Cookie dough pressed into the bottom of a glass baking dish for the crust.
  • Prepare the crust. First, you’ll work cold, cubed butter into the dry crust ingredients. Press the cookie dough into the bottom of a greased 9×13” baking dish, and bake at 375ºF for 20-25 minutes.
Peanut butter filling spread over the cookie crust in a glass baking dish.
  • Make the peanut butter filling. Next, beat softened butter with the peanut butter, then mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread this over the cooled crust. Place that into the freezer to chill.
A spoon spreading jelly over the peanut butter layer in a glass baking dish.
  • Make the crumble. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients for the topping, and cut in the butter until you get a crumbly mixture.
  • Assemble. Take out your chilled bars. Spread the jelly overtop. Lastly, sprinkle over the crumb topping.
  • Bake. Bake again, this time at 325ºF for 20-25 minutes. Let the bars cool on the counter before moving them to the fridge to chill. I usually leave them in there for 2 hours before slicing.
Unbaked peanut butter jelly bars topped with a crumble in a glass baking dish.

Recipe Tips

  • Chill the bars in the fridge. You want to let these bars cool completely before you slice into them. The filling loosens as it bakes, and sets up again after it cools. I like to leave them in the fridge for at least 2 hours so they aren’t too soft when serving.
  • Substitute the peanut butter. It might not be a PB&J, but it will still be tasty! Swap out peanut butter for another nut or seed butter, like almond, cashew, or hazelnut butter. For nut-free bars, try sunflower seed butter or tahini.
  • Add some chocolate. Nutella or chocolate spread would be delicious swirled into these bars. I’m trying that next!
Three peanut butter jelly bars stacked on top of a polka dot table cloth.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate. Keep these bars covered airtight. They’ll last in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Freeze. If you’d like to freeze your bars, wrap them tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap and store them frozen for up to 3 months. I’ll also sometimes individually wrap the bars and freeze them in a freezer bag. Thaw them in the fridge before eating.

More Peanut Butter Recipes

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Three peanut butter jelly bars stacked on top of a polka dot table cloth.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 20 bars 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Sweet and crunchy peanut butter and jelly bars are filled with all the flavors of a classic PB&J sandwich. An easy cookie bar recipe that tastes like childhood!


Ingredients

Scale

Cookie Crust

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 1 egg

Peanut Butter and Jelly Filling

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grape or strawberry jelly or preserves

Crumb Topping

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter, but into cubes

Instructions

Cookie Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray
  3. In mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, salt and butter. Mix together on medium speed until dough begins to hold together. Add egg and mix again until dough just comes together.
  4. Press dough in the bottom pf prepared pan evenly.
  5. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes until dough starts to get golden.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Reduce oven temperature to 325°

Peanut Butter and Jelly Filling

  1. In mixing bowl with paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth. Add in the peanut butter and continue beating until incorporated and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until smooth.
  3. Spread this evenly on top of crust with an offset spatula.
  4. Freeze this while you make your crumb topping.

Crumb Topping

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and brown sugar. Next whisk in the oats. Pour this mixture into mixing bowl and add your cubes of cold butter. With paddle attachment beat on low speed until loose crumbs form.
  2. Take pan out of freezer. Spread your 2 cups of jelly or preserves on top of the peanut butter layer.
  3. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the jelly layer evenly, covering the jelly completely.
  4. Bake bars for 20-25 minutes until the top is brown.
  5. Allow bars to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack and then transfer to refrigerator to continue to cool, approx 2 hours.
  6. When completely cooled cut into squares.

Notes

bars can be stored in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Bar
  • Calories: 348
  • Sugar: 14.3 g
  • Sodium: 397.7 mg
  • Fat: 22.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Protein: 8.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.1 mg

Want To Save This Recipe?

Find more recipes like this:

Rate this recipe and share a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

I accept the Privacy Policy

43 comments on “Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars”

  1. luv what you do

    I have made these before with PB chips but I love the idea of an entire PB layer. How amazing! I would be licking that beater blade all day!

  2. Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen

    Sorry about the hacking…bleh. Glad that you have everything back up and running though.

    All three of the baked books?! I’m slightly jealous.

    My grandma makes wicked homemade raspberry jam that would be killer in these. Pinning!

  3. Carla @ Carlas Confections

    Soo glad it didnt take long to get your site back up! And Im glad you shared these! So yummy!

  4. Caroline @ chocolate & carrots

    I wondered what was wrong! My browser wouldn’t let me go to your website or see your feeds from Google Reader. I’m so glad it’s all better now. Any tips for the rest of us to prevent or what to do if it happens to us? I’m always terrified of that happening. So glad it’s all fixed!

Scroll to Top