Rich, soft, fruity, and crumbly. Peanut Butter and Jelly Dessert Bars have all the same flavors you know and love from a classic PB&J sandwich. Today, this childhood classic is getting a scrumptious grown-up makeover.
These bars feature a soft and crumbly dough layered with grape jelly and topped with dollops of peanut butter, creating a mouth-watering combination in every bite.
This is a great year-round dessert treat. You can use it as a fun surprise for family road trips, back-to-school season, or when friends come over.
And like our White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies, this recipe is perfect for a summer cookout or even an informal festive Christmas dessert table.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars take the best flavors from a classic sandwich and reassemble them in a fun, creative dessert.
Creamy peanut butter and fruity grape jelly come together in this soft and crumbly peanut butter and jelly dessert bar.
This is the kind of staple dessert that I love to come back to over and over again. Perfect as an everyday treat, a fun bake sales surprise, or as a contribution to the summer cookout dessert table.
I love experimenting with recipes that allow us to do just that.
When running to the store for specialty ingredients isn't always feasible, I love to look at the pantry, see what's in stock, and figure out what to make with it.
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
BUTTER - I recommend using unsalted butter.
BROWN SUGAR & SUGAR (granulated) - We use brown and granulated sugars. This creates the perfect balance between sweet and makes the dough tender.
VANILLA - Enhances the overall flavor of the bars.
EGGS - Bind the ingredients together and contribute to the bars' texture.
FLOUR (self-rising) - Gives structure to the bars.
PEANUT BUTTER (creamy, no sugar added) - The star ingredient that adds a rich, nutty flavor.
GRAPE JELLY - Adds a sweet and tangy layer, creating the classic PB&J taste.
How To Make PBJ Dessert Bars
Please check the printable recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- CREAM THE BASE – In a large bowl, cream together unsalted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, two whole eggs, one egg yolk, creamy peanut butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- FORM THE BASE LAYER – Spread two-thirds of this creamy dough mixture evenly into your baking dish.
- ADD JELLY LAYER – Smoothly spread grape jelly over the dough layer.
- TOP WITH REMAINING DOUGH – Drop spoonfuls of the remaining dough over the jelly layer and gently spread. Bake until golden.
I spent most of my childhood in Germany, and I didn't grow up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And for some strange reason, PB&J sandwiches are not (yet) a staple worldwide. They should be!
It didn't take a long time living in this country to become a 'PB & J Convert.' ... it might have turned into somewhat of a peanut butter obsession :-).
A few years one of my girlfriends made these amazing peanut butter and jelly dessert bars for a birthday party. It was love at first bite! She gave me the recipe, and it's been in our family ever since.
INA & MARTHA - In preparation for sharing this recipe, I discovered Ina Garten has a similar recipe in one of her dessert books. Ina tells the story of how she was so inspired by a similar recipe Martha Stewart had shared years earlier that it helped her create her version of this dessert bar.
I love this kind of story about food and having a recipe blog. Recipes are created, reinvented, shared, altered, and newly discovered. And with each recipe, we make memories.
I first tried this dessert at my friend's house and thought it was an awesome idea. Sort of 'Where has this been my whole life?'.
DOUGH CONSISTENCY – Ensure the dough is not overmixed to keep the texture soft and crumbly.
EVEN LAYERS – Spread the jelly evenly for a consistent flavor in every bite.
WATCH THE BAKING TIME – Keep an eye on the oven to prevent over-baking, which can dry out the bars.
📌 Save This Peanut PB&J Dessert Bar Recipe!
This is definitely a great recipe for experimentation. One easy modification you can try is adding chopped peanuts to the dough. This will provide some extra crunchiness.
I have made it both ways and like this version best. But you could sprinkle 1 cup of chopped peanuts. The middle layer is where you can get really creative.
JAM AND JELLY - Instead of grape jelly, use strawberry, blueberry, or any of your favorite jams. Try sour cherry if that's up to your alley.
ALMOND BUTTER - One experiment I've never done (but it's on my list) is to make this recipe with almond butter. My husband loves almond butter. I've meant to try making this recipe with creamy almonds but haven't gotten around to it.
Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see that.
STORE – Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
FREEZE – Wrap the bars individually and freeze them for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
REHEAT – Briefly microwave if you prefer them warm, but they're delicious at room temperature, too.
More Easy And Delicous Desserts
- Banana Bread Muffins
- No-Bake Lemon Date Balls
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
- No-Bake Strawberry White Mousse
- Strawberry Streusel Muffins
Please take a moment to rate our Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars recipe below!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Dessert Bars
For The Dough
For The Filling
- 2 cups grape jelly or jam/preserve of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13" baking dish and set aside.
Making The Dough
- Use a large mixing bowl and cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. About 1-2 minutes.
- Crack 2 eggs and add 1 egg yolk into the dough and beat on medium speed. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed to low and spoon in self-rising flour. Mix until all of the ingredients have just combined.
- Pour ⅔ of the dough into the baking sheet. Use a knife or cake spreader to distribute the dough evenly.
For The Filling
- Add grape jelly into a small bowl and whisk untii the jelly is smooth.
- Spoon the jelly on top of the dough and spread evenly.
Finishing the PJB Bars
- Use a tablespoon or a spring-handled ice cream scoop to drop blobs of the remaining dough over the grape jelly. Use the back of a spoon to spread them slightly. The top layer doesn't have to cover the entire sheet. It will spread during the baking process.
If you don't have self-rising flour, you can substitute with:
- 2 ½ cups of all purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt.
This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten's adoption of this recipe.