19 PB&J Recipes That Aren't Your Schoolyard Sandwich
It's time to take the peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of the lunchbox. Everyone's favorite childhood snack is even better when it's a burger topping, cocktail, or even lasagna.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that most Americans are fans of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Maybe it's because we associate them with the childhood joy of opening school lunchboxes or we love how savory peanut butter perfectly complements sweet jelly. Or both. It's a snack that we enjoy even into our adulthood.
So why restrict that beloved combo to two pieces of sandwich bread?
Go for it and enjoy peanut butter and jelly cookies, smoothies, cocktails and, yes, even burgers. Here are 19 fun and delicious peanut butter and jelly recipes that think outside of the lunchbox.
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Peanut butter and jelly snacks
If you're bored with the standard PB&J sandwich format, snack on these variations
The secret to a mess-free jammy center in these snack balls? Freeze the little dollops of jam before making the peanut butter dough. And all you need here, besides the ingredients, are a mixing bowl, freezer, and baking sheet. For gluten-free, just swap out the oats for quinoa.
For a mid-day snack or even a guilt-free dessert, whip up these gluten-free, vegan peanut butter and strawberry jam snack bars. They feature generous swirls of creamy peanut butter and strawberry jam goodness on a naturally sweetened and crispy oat and almond crust.
Want a fun party mix that's perfect for serving during a John Hughes movie marathon or any teen movie screening? Cook up this recipe that has you coating 8 cups of Rice Chex with melted peanut chips, vanilla extract, and creamy peanut butter, and another 8 cups with white chocolate chips and the powdered mix from a strawberry cake mix!
These PB&J muffins are made with sprouted buckwheat flour, which is gluten-free and easier to digest. Buckwheat, according to the recipe writer who is a certified nutritionist, isn't wheat but is more of a fruit seed that's closely related to rhubarb. She also offers the option to make these vegan by using a ripe banana versus an egg as a binder.
In a rush but need to grab some hiking snacks? The total time to make this no-bake peanut butter and jelly recipe is a mere 15 minutes. Mix the ingredients — such as natural peanut butter, chopped dried cherries, rolled oats, and chia seeds — together in a bowl, scoop the dough into tablespoon-size balls, and go.
Making a meal out of PB&J
These recipes vault the basic peanut butter and jelly snack into the mealtime spotlight
If you find that you're usually short on time in the morning, prepping this recipe the night before will help immensely. And bonus is that it features a healthy dose of peanut butter and jelly. When you're ready to serve it, just alternate the layers of strawberry chia sauce and peanut butter oat mixture in a glass and then top with fresh strawberries and granola.
Dress up that classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the morning with this French toast recipe. No, you're not going to dredge the entire sandwich in the egg mixture. Instead, you spread peanut butter on one slice of French toast and jelly on the other, sandwich them together on the skillet, and cook each side until golden brown.
Why doesn't peanut butter and jelly appear on burger menus when it has the potential to be an all-time favorite? Here, the sugar-free creamy peanut butter takes the place of the cheese slice, sharing a similar texture when melty. Then a hefty dollop of grape jelly is added as well as a few thin slices of jalapeño for that little bit of heat and crispness.
In this recipe, peanut butter and strawberry jelly are combined with Sambal, an Asian chili, and Worcestershire sauce to create a mind-blowing marinade for the chicken wings. The peanut butter serves to thicken the marinade, allowing it to better cling to the wings, and the jelly helps it caramelize. When ready to serve, sprinkle with chopped peanuts for a delicious texture.
This Thai-Inspired chicken dish brings the jelly in the form of jalapeño jelly. That still counts! For this slow cooker recipe, the jelly is combined with chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce and garlic to create a delectable savory-sweet sauce for the chicken thighs.
Drinking peanut butter and jelly
Of course PB&J translates well to smoothie, milkshake, and cocktail form
If you're a fan of smoothies, you've probably had fruit smoothies and peanut butter ones separately. But it just makes sense to enjoy them together. And it only has four ingredients: almond milk, a medium-size banana, fresh or frozen raspberries, and two tablespoons of peanut butter. The recipe calls for a three-quarter cup of berries but if you want to make it even more berry-licious, up the amount to a cup.
Sure, anyone can make a PB&J milkshake by throwing vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, and jelly together into a blender. But only Martha can take it to that next level of fanciness and a beautiful presentation. Her milkshake recipe involves piping jelly onto the inside rim of a milkshake glass so that it drips down the sides, creating stripes. Then after you fill the glass with your blended milkshake, garnish it with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a slice of buttery white toast sprinkled with flaky sea salt.
To supercharge your hot chocolate's decadence, add a little PB&J! But the recipe writer recommends complementing the rich chocolate with a grape or berry jelly, specifically strawberry or raspberry. And if you want to make this vegan, use a nut milk and dairy-free chocolate chips, sweeten with coconut sugar or maple syrup, and top with coconut whipped cream.
For a grown-up variation on the childhood favorite, this cocktail recipe uses peanut butter whiskey and homemade Concord grape jelly syrup. To prevent it from being cloyingly sweet, add a dash of salt to the mix. And for cocktail garnish? The world's tiniest PB&J sandwich on a cocktail pick, of course.
PB&J for dessert
Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate these recipes that help the peanut butter and jelly sandwich realize its dessert potential
This "lasagna" layers Nutter Butter cookies, strawberry whipped cream, and peanut butter pudding for a show-stopping dessert. Fix this up for a summer picnic or school party. Just make sure not to eat all the Nutter Butters as you put this together. You're going to need them to crumble over the top.
The "cheesecake" layer of these PB&J treats makes it so extra special. But you can make it vegan by subbing out the honey for a different sweetener. It already calls for 2 tablespoons of almond milk. And those who love all nuts beyond peanuts will appreciate that the recipe also includes cashews.
Take your PB&J sandwich nostalgia to another level by turning it into a Pop Tart. The only thing is, prep time is longer than popping tarts into a toaster. But it's still easy and worth the extra time and effort. Fill the tart with your choice of jam — the recipe writer uses strawberry jam. And after baking the tarts, slather them with peanut butter icing and top with finely chopped peanuts.
This cupcake recipe respects the line between the PB&J, keeping the flavors separate. The peanut butter is featured as both cupcake and Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, while the grape jelly pops up as the cupcake center and the finishing drizzle over the frosting.
These peanut butter and jelly cookie sandwiches sneak in a healthy twist: They're not made with any butter, flour, or processed sugar. Bonus is that the total time to make them is 23 minutes, quick enough so that even the most easily distracted 7-year-old can help out.
More peanut butter recipes
Peanut butter lovers, rejoice! These Yummly articles explore dozens more ways to enjoy the beloved nut butter: