PB&J Bars

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Calling all PB&J lovers! These bars pack all the nostalgic flavor of your favorite childhood sandwich into a fun, snackable treat.

pb&j bars stacked on plate

Imagine your favorite childhood sandwich transformed into a hand-held treat that’s perfect for sharing. That’s exactly what these PB&J bars are all about, so if you’re a fan of PB&J sandwiches, you’re going to love them! For the best results, use traditional supermarket peanut butter like Skippy—natural peanut butter isn’t ideal for baking—and a high-quality jam, like Bonne Maman raspberry. You can even make these bars a day or two ahead; they keep beautifully. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, whip up a batch, and enjoy a delicious trip down memory lane!

What You’ll Need to Make PB&J Bars

PB&J Bar Ingredients
  • All-Purpose Flour: Forms the base of the bars.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the bars rise and puff up, and gives them a light texture.
  • Butter: Lends richness and moisture to the dough, and gives the bars a tender crumb.
  • Sugar: Add sweetness and helps give the bars a lovely golden color.
  • Eggs: Bind the ingredients together and add moisture to the dough.
  • Peanut Butter: The key ingredient that gives the bars a rich, nutty flavor that defines the classic PB&J taste. Use a traditional supermarket brand, like Skippy, as natural peanut butter isn’t ideal for baking.
  • Vanilla Extract: Boosts the flavor of the bars with warm, aromatic notes.
  • Raspberry Jam: The other key ingredient, right alongside the peanut butter. It’s important to use jam as opposed to traditional jelly because jam is made from chunks of fruit, which gives it a more intense fruity flavor. Jelly, on the other hand, is made from fruit juice and tends to be milder.
  • Salted Peanuts: Add a crunchy, salty pop of flavor that contrasts so well with the sweetness of the bars. I love Virginia peanuts for both cooking and snacking—they are large and extra crunchy. (They are often referred to as “ballpark peanuts” because they are the kind sold at baseball games.)
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a 9×13-inch cake pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides for easy removal. Lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

9x13-inch pan lined with foil and coated with nonstick cooking spray

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

whisking flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, add the butter and sugar.

softened butter and sugar in mixing bowl

Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

butter and sugar mixed until light and fluffy

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time.

egg added to whipped butter and sugar

Beat the mixture after each addition.

mixing bowl with eggs fully combined into butter/sugar mixture

Add the peanut butter and vanilla.

mixing bowl with peanut butter added to butter/sugar/egg mixture

Continue mixing and scraping down the bowl as necessary, beating until evenly combined, about 30 seconds.

mixing bowl with peanut. butter and vanillla combined with butter/sugar/egg mixture

Scrape down the bowl again and add the flour mixture.

mixing bowl with flour added to peanut butter, egg, butter, and sugar mixture

Mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

mixing bowl with flour combined with sugar, butter, and egg mixture

Set aside about 1½ cups of the dough for the topping. Spread the remaining dough evenly into the prepared cake pan using an offset spatula or your fingers, lightly dusted with flour, to press it in.

dough spread evenly in bottom of 9x13-inch pan

Spread the jam evenly over the dough, maintaining a ¼-inch border around the edges.

jam spread evenly over dough in the 9x13-inch pan

Add the chopped peanuts into the reserved dough.

mixing bowl with chopped peanuts added to remaining dough

Stir to combine with a spoon.

mixing bowl with chopped peanuts mixed into remaining dough

Using a teaspoon and your finger, drop the dough in ½- to 1-inch clumps over the jam, allowing some jam to peek through.

½- to 1-inch clumps of remaining dough spread over the jam in 9x13-inch pan

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

baked PB&J bars in 9x13-inch baking dish

Lift the dessert out using the foil edges, transfer to a cutting board and slice into squares.

pulling baked PB&J bars out of 9x13-inch pan using foil overhang

Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use natural peanut butter in the PB&J bars?

For best results, use regular peanut butter, like Skippy, as opposed to all-natural peanut butter. Regular peanut butter is creamy and thick, and also contains salt and sugar—it results in much better PB&J bars. 

Can I substitute a different nut butter in PB&J bars?

Sure! The PB&J bars would also work with a peanut butter alternative, like almond butter. Just make sure it’s a creamy, no-need-to-stir variety. You can also substitute salted chopped almonds for the peanuts.

Can I make PB&J bars ahead?

Yep! The bars are wonderful on the second day and can be made up to two days in advance. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Can I freeze PB&J bars?

Yes, the bars can be frozen for up to three months. To freeze, allow the bars to cool completely, then wrap each bar individually or group several together—depending on your future serving needs—in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped bars in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. When ready to enjoy, remove the desired amount from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

baked and sliced PB&J bars on parchment paper

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PB & J Bars

Calling all PB&J lovers! These bars pack all the nostalgic flavor of your favorite childhood sandwich into a fun, snackable treat.

Servings: 24
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy Natural No Need To Stir)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • One 13-oz jar (1 heaping cup) raspberry jam (recommended: Bonne Maman)
  • ½ cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a 9x13-inch cake pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides for easy removal. Lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary, and beat until evenly combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl again and add the flour mixture; mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Set aside about 1½ cups of the dough for the topping. Spread the remaining dough evenly into the prepared cake pan using an offset spatula; alternatively, use your fingers, lightly dusted with flour, to press it in. Spread the jam evenly over the dough, maintaining a ¼-inch border around the edges. Using a spoon, stir the chopped peanuts into the reserved dough. Using a teaspoon and your finger, drop the dough in ½- to 1-inch clumps over the jam, allowing some jam to peek through. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Lift the dessert out using the foil edges, transfer to a cutting board, slice into squares, and serve.
  5. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bars can be made up to two days in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. For longer storage, they can be frozen for up to three months. To freeze, allow the bars to cool completely, then wrap each bar individually or group several together—depending on your future serving needs—in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped bars in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. When ready to enjoy, remove the desired amount from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (24 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Sugar: 22 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 139 mg
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Made these yesterday. My whole family loves PB & J so I anticipated these would be a hit, and I was right! They were really easy to pull together and have disappeared quickly — I was very happy to see there was one (yes one!) left this morning that I enjoyed with my coffee. I think these will become a staple in my house (and I may need to hide a few for myself so that my hubby and two teenage boys don’t eat them all)!!

    • — Amanda on June 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • From the top, my bars look like yours and taste good. But the bottom pastry never hardened and it’s like a PB&J crumble. What did I do wrong?

    • — Ellen on June 9, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, These really shouldn’t be hard on the bottom — more like the texture of a blondie. Were they softer than that?

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! The bars are a little too sweet for my taste do you know anyway I can make them less sweet?

    Thank you!

    • — Victoria on June 8, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Victoria, Sorry you found them to be a bit too sweet! You can cut the sugar a bit – I’d suggest 1/4 cup.

      • — Jenn on June 10, 2024
      • Reply
  • didn’t you used to offer metric measurements? So much easier when baking.

    • — Susan Lanham on June 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I forgot to add them initially but just updated it! Hope you enjoy 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2024
      • Reply
  • Just wondering if i missed the option for metric (grams) on this recipe? Just so much more accurate for baking Cant wait to make this recipe! Ive always been a big peanut butter fan

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

    Lynne

    • — Lynne Nizialek on June 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Lynne, So sorry – I forgot the metric measurements but the recipe is now updated. Hope that helps and please LMK how they turn out if you try them. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2024
      • Reply
  • I’ve got a Big jar of extra chunky peanut butter. Can I substitute? Thanks!

    • — Mary on June 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure, Mary, that will work. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on June 5, 2024
      • Reply
  • Yum!!!
    I make a similar bar with chocolate fudge in the middle and they are a family fav!
    I can see these bars living side by side!

    • — Elaine on June 3, 2024
    • Reply

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