My brother is not a seasonally appropriate person.  He isn’t aware of the fact that strawberries shouldn’t be eaten in January.  Or that beef stew actually tastes best when the temperatures are below 50.

Which may or may not be because he doesn’t like stew.

We are obviously barely from the same gene pool.


Anyways.  As a result, he is often confused about what things should be eaten when.  Which occasionally makes for some awkward conversations when he requests things at completely inappropriate times.

Case in point.

Approximately two days before Christmas, the boy calls me and says, “I want peanut butter and jelly bars.”

He, apparently, had seen Ina Garten make them on the Food Network and got inspired.  (No surprise there.  Can anyone watch Ina and come away without even a hint of awestruck behavior?  Only the cold-blooded and pulseless.)


At this point in my life, I was knee deep in rainbow cookie batter.  My fingers were stained all sorts of different colors.  And my kitchen had little pink, green, and white crumbs in every nook and cranny.

It was not the time for random requests.

So I was forced to inform him that PB&J bars were not holiday-appropriate and could he please pick something else to obsess over.  Perhaps something that in some way resembled a Christmas cookie?  Maybe? Please?

And that was the end of that.  Or so I thought.


Approximately a month and a little bit later, I found myself poring over cookbooks trying to figure out what exactly to make for the Superbowl when the sugar coma still left over from Christmas finally lifted.  My thoughts suddenly felt very inordinately lucid.  And I remembered.

My brother was so excited that when I called him to tell him, the only reply he could muster was, “It’s about time.”

Ain’t he charming?

I’m not gonna lie.  Even though I made these bars “for him”, I found them to be one of the most amazing things that have come out of my kitchen.  I’m not even going to tell you how many I ate.  You would recoil in horror.

My advice?  Make them only when you know they are going to leave the house within about five minutes.  And don’t tell yourself it’s a good idea to keep a few at home for your “roommates” to eat.  You’ll only be lying to yourself.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
These are the peanut butter and jelly bars are the ULTIMATE throwback to your favorite childhood sandwich.
Yield: 24 bars
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 18 oz creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural!)
  • 1½ cups AP flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 18 oz raspberry jam
  • ⅔ cup salted peanuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease it again.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour to the peanut butter mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Spread ⅔ of the dough into the prepared cake pan, making sure it covers the entire surface evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Sprinkle with the peanuts. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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129 Responses to Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

  1. There isn’t much better than peanut butter and jelly in dessert form:-) I actually made Ina’s box mix for this (don’t tell!) and it was pretty good. I imagine they’d be much better from scratch!

  2. ANYTHING BC makes is phenomenal!! Too bad I already bought the ingredients for s’mores bars to make for a volunteer event this weekend– these would have done the trick! Oh well, now I can make them and keep them all to myself 🙂

  3. Looks really awesome. First time I’ve heard of this treat. PB and jam on toast is great, this takes it to another level. And I noticed that the photo has two slices and some crumbs. Maybe its a clue of what was left.

  4. doggybloggy says:

    Ina Garten? or any of them for that matter – I guess I am cold blooded and pulseless…that said these look good but anything peanut butter is low on my favorite list unless its peanut butter, honey and banana…

  5. I have never liked pb&j until i made some bars like this for my son. I used half pb and half nutella and he loved it. Now i am hooked too! Yours look delicious and so glad my son can’t see this computer screen because he would be saying pooobeee which means make this now mommy!

  6. PB&J is an amazing combination. These sound awesome! Doesn’t sound like an Ina recipe though.

  7. Nina says:

    Ohhhh my….these would be quite dangerous in my house!! They look wonderful, Joanne! The raspberry jam you used is gorgeous…beautiful photos as always!

  8. janet says:

    Oh my gosh, that looks SO decadent! You can thank Ina for that! What a perfect treat for a Superbowl party, though! 🙂

    Your brother is lucky you eventually cater to his odd requests!! 🙂

  9. They do sound amazing Joanne. I wonder if I could eat just one….hmmm better not to chance it and save them for the next gathering.

  10. Shannon says:

    Jelly = fruit and peanut butter = healthy fat & protein.

    Totally going on my diet meal-plan.

  11. Joanne says:

    I’m guilty. If I can find it in a store I’l buy it – in or out of season. Strawberries, I’ve been buying all year long. We just love them too much in our morning shakes. I suppose I might get more flavor from the frozen ones but they just don’t look as appealing.

    Great recipe! Can’t go wrong with PB & J in any form.

  12. Amy says:

    This is the 3rd incredible peanut butter delight I just read. The blogosphere is torturing me this week *shuffles off to sulk in corner*

  13. LOVE peanut butter and jelly. These look fabulous!

  14. OK, so you sold me on “one of the most amazing things to come out of your kitchen…”

    I have seen PB&J bars before (none this pretty) but I have never made them….well…it’s time!

  15. Danielle says:

    This looks great and I happen to have all these ingredients in the house, not to mention the kids are home and its a snow day hmmmm….

  16. Oh my! I had no idea such bars existed… I can imagine the peanut butter and the sour raspberry jam melting in my mouth… Now the question is shall I bake them tonight or can I wait until tomorrow?

  17. You are SUCH a good sister! Not so many would appease a winy brother like you! And what a hardship… making these bars, eh?
    Did he share?


  18. Katerina says:

    I am the same with my brother. Totally the opposite in everything. I sometimes wonder how we both came up from the same uterus. I would make these bars to send them to my son’s school, otherwise I would eat them in a minute!

  19. Maya says:

    Don’t worry about the over consumption of PB and J bars…you used whole wheat flour! And there are healthy peanut butter fats! These look delicious, will be bookmarking!

  20. Faith says:

    I have yet to come across an Ina recipe I din’t like…she’s such a kitchen goddess, isn’t she? 😉 These look seriously amazing, Joanne! In fact, the only reason I’m not going to blow off work and make them RIGHT NOW is because I’m seriously scared I would eat the whole pan, lol!

  21. Yum. You know, I’d a bit weirded out by the ‘no need to stir’ PBs out there. There’s gotta be some kind of high pressure processing to make the oil not rise to the top. Gotta research that.

  22. These sound absolutely delicious. My boyfriend is alleric to peanuts, so I know I would be the only one in the house to eat them! So I’ll save them for a special occasion… which is NOT being held at my apartment!

  23. ann says:

    Joanne, I love hearing about your family. Seems that you’re the only sane one, am I right? lol These bars are something I would love. Love pb&j.

  24. daphne says:

    how sweet of u to make it for your brother!! jelly n peanut butter.. mmmm…

  25. Kim says:

    I LOVE these bars! LOVE THEM! I made them right before Christmas (after Velva posted them) and took them up to Ohio with me. Everyone raved about them. They were pretty much inhaled. I have to agree with you when you say that they are probably one of the best things to come out of your kitchen. I think they were also one of the best things to come out of mine as well. Keeper recipe for sure!

  26. La Liz says:

    Gorgeous recipe and your photos make the flavors pop through the screen. This is a must-bake-and-immediately-share confection. These bars wouldn’t last long in my house! Yummmeeee . . .

  27. Eden says:

    Your brother must be a saint. I dont cook things for my family anymore. They think since I’m a chef, I can whip up anything like magic so I always disappoint them and bring a bottle of wine when I see them!
    And I use the EXACT same pb as you! I hate stirring pb! its like pb juice gets all over your clothes and underneath your fingernails and you smell like a four year old of weeks!

  28. elra says:

    Oh wow, what a wonderful gooey looking treat Joanne. I wish my nephew live close by, they would love this.

  29. This may have to go on my weekend baking list, along with mini-pretzels. They look incredible. You posted this just in time for me to include the necessary ingredients on our Saturday morning grocery list. Yay!

  30. I’m like your brother – totally seasonally in appropriate! It’s hard running websites and attracting people around the holidays when my mind is spinning on recipes for another season!

  31. Your bro is lucky to have you!
    I remember the peanut butter jelly cookies were so popular around here when I would make them; time to make them again!

  32. Ina’s the woman. THE woman. Be still, my heart.

  33. Ada says:

    Aww your such a nice sister! I can’t say I blame him for wanting PB&J bars, they look totally awesome!

  34. That Girl says:

    Maybe your brother is just a Californian? Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s seasonal when our seasons are so off

  35. Sounds about like my brothers. goobs. 😉
    This is a seriously dangerous recipe your throwing out there Joanne! Yeeesh, I don’t even like peanut butter but these look so yummy I have to make them in a big way!

  36. Swathi says:

    These peanut butter jelly bars looks awesome. It is has all the favorite ingredients i need what else I can ask.

  37. Just looking at your photos I could see how one could easily eat several of these bars.

  38. Julie says:

    EVERYONE in the world will love these. like EVERYONE. also you won my macaroon giveaway if you didn’t see so make sure you send me an email with your mailing address 🙂

  39. RamblingTart says:

    Brothers are dreadful like that. 🙂 I have three of them! I am so excited about these bars, Joanne. 🙂 Pure comfort and happiness and childhood memories all wrapped up in one. I need to make these soon. 🙂

  40. teresa says:

    these are just beautiful! i remember making these a few years ago, but tried to “healthify” them by using fake sugar. huge mistake. some things are just meant to be made with the good stuff!

  41. Dawn says:

    Whenever I don’t cook dinner my hubby makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Actually he makes it for dessert and breakfast too sometimes. Now why the heck I can’t do that and be so lean? SIGH. I know he would die and go to heaven with these so I might have to try my hand.

  42. Oh wow, I am definitely going to have to make these for Elijah! Delicious.

  43. Shanon says:

    i have never been drawn to the pb and j desserts, but somehow, these are very intriguing to me. bookmarking these!

  44. Mary says:

    The bars look wonderful and Ina’s recipes are always a great place to start a kitchen adventure.
    I hope your bro knows how lucky he is. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  45. Louanne says:

    One of my favorite sandwiches turned into a bar – How good is that? Sorry, couldn’t resist. My dad loves pbj, and since his appetite is kaput, I may bake these for him over the weekend.

  46. These are the cookie bar of my dreams. Peanut butter and jelly and a nice little crispy nut and crumby topping? Oh my!

  47. Beth says:

    YUMMMMM!!!!! These look so amazing! Once I get my new kitchen in working order, these are at the top of my list. Anything with peanut butter needs to be stuffed into my face immediately!

  48. Victoria says:

    These WERE delicious! What did we decide on, one per paragraph of reading? Haha… I’m glad your brother requested these, because I got to eat them too, haha! Well done!

  49. Allison says:

    I have wanted to make these forever. Yours look so good. I know my kids would go nuts for these.

  50. Holy yum! These bars look gorgeous.I know once I make these, nothing can stop me from finishing them in a day!Have a nice weekend!

  51. Candace says:

    omygosh! Seriously? These look ah-amazing. I love PB&J. The peanuts on the top just add to the beauty. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  52. Claudia says:

    Oh boy! I can’t wait to make those. All that’s needed are the peanuts and we’re on.

  53. vanillasugar says:

    god i haven’t made these in ages! i miss that gooey center stuff.
    smart girl to use rasp. ^5

  54. Angela says:

    Oh my goodness, those look good! Next year, I want to come to your Super Bowl party;)

  55. Pam says:

    My kids will love these bars… bookmarked!

  56. Seasonally inappropriate or not, I am glad that your brother had asked you to make this! This looks so GOOD! I totally believe you when you say that this is one of the most amazing thing that has come out of your kitchen :)!

  57. Angela says:

    I had to include you in my Valentine’s Day blogroll today. You have so many romantic recipes!

  58. MM says:

    I won’t recoil in horror. I’ll give you a high five!

    I have an award for you on my blog. No need to do it if you don’t have the time. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog!

  59. brilliant idea! deliciousness, come to mama!

  60. Kristen says:

    I think I need to go get a spoonful of peanut butter now. What a great bar cookie.

  61. sweetlife says:

    I have had these bookmarked for what seem slike forever, so glad you made them…and loved them..i’m exicted!!

    have a great weekend!

  62. Your brother sounds too funny…These do look really fantastic 🙂

  63. Bridgett says:

    Good stuff with the raspberry jam in there. My kids would probably request these at an inappropriate time too, lol.

  64. I know that I absolutely cannot make these, because I know that not a single one would leave the house, which means that every single one of them would end up on my hips!!
    Sue 🙂

  65. I saw Ina make these and thought they looked amazing–that and your photos are why I can never make them here as I would eat them ALL! 😉

  66. Laura says:

    These look so good! I understand your frustration with your brother’s unseasonal cravings but I think this is the kind of thing you should eat all year round! And I love that you used raspberry jam… Sounds super delicious and can’t wait to try these!

  67. HA ha , i wish , i really wish my dear bro had cookie and cake requests , he does , of lemon bars and a few more , but not muc of a sweet eater!
    That said , aint ur bro happy to be featured here. Again.
    And wait , i thought when u were baking the Italian cookies , he was ”helping” u around ur place …and u were clanking pots and pans or should i say baking trays to get his attention,lol!
    I remember , he came over to ”help” and couldn wait for them to set 🙂

    Ok that said , i still havent got the italian cookie outa my mind and now i cant get this one outa my mind!
    Was trying to fit the Italian C in feb and hope i do:-)
    Absolutely fantastic!

  68. Tasha says:

    This is my kind of dessert! I’m thinking the fact they contain some whole wheat flour cancels out the 2 sticks of butter, right? Okay, maybe not. Perhaps I better have a way to share most of these before I make them and am tempted to eat the entire batch myself.

  69. these are fun an American classic I am trying to get better at thinking in season have a fun weekend Joanne

  70. “…add a glass of milk”. Enough said!


  71. Peggy says:

    Umm yeah, PB&J is good any time of the year for me! I wouldn’t be able to share, so I would probably have to cut the ratios down a bit for this one! Oh hell, I’m not gonna lie, I’ll make it as is and not feel guilty about how many I eat! =)

  72. Sanem says:

    This looks dangerously delicious!

  73. marla says:

    Sweet, salty – salty, sweet. I don’t even know what to think here. These PB & Jelly bars are complete perfection!! Yes indeed. 2/3 cup of salted peanuts in there – you are killing me & I love every second of it!! xo

  74. Since these would be devoured ENTIRELY by me, I don’t think I should make them. At least not until I have a nice 4th of July party to justify them. However, you have given me a mean craving for PB&J for lunch.

  75. I love Skippy Natural peanut butter! And we all know peanut butter is good for us, right? I think my husband would sink to his knees if I made these for him 😉 The biggest problem is he would want concord grape jelly and I would want cherry preserves.

  76. Those peanut butter jelly bars look sensational! I could eat a few slices right now!

  77. Kevin says:

    The classic combo in bar form. Perfect!

  78. Nadji says:

    Quelle gourmandise.
    A très bientôt

  79. Todd says:

    These look freaking fantastic. I’ve never had a PB&J bar. I feel a deep need to remedy this situation.

  80. Barbara says:

    Well darn. I was going to make them for company next week. But they’d be in the house and I’m still dieting.
    Love Ina. These looked great when I saw her make them and even better now. I would almost kill for one. (Is it because I’m starving for a sweet??)

  81. Rachel says:

    What’s crazy is these look Amazing.. but I hate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

  82. Yasmin says:

    These are such viabrant little treats! They look delicious! My mother would love these because everyweekend she says “It’s peanut butter day!!” and has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is because she is a teacher and can’t have peanuts during the week due to childrens medical needs. I’ll have to make these for her, thanks for the recipe!

  83. I grew up in a household where we couldn’t have peanut butter because my sister’s allergic. I’ve had a really tough time growing to love the peanut butter/jelly combo, but I definitely understand the appeal.

    These bars sound like something I could totally get into.

  84. Reeni says:

    These look dangerously addicting! I can see why your brother was lured in by them!

  85. Maria says:

    Joanne, that looks fantastic! I need a piece or two right now!

  86. Elizabeth says:

    I think I’m like your brother. I crave ice cream when it’s below zero and crave chili when it’s 90 degrees outside. I think it’s a sickness.

    Anyway, these look great. And I absolutely hate peanut butter & jelly.

  87. Pam says:

    These would make a perfect mid morning snack at school, don’t you think?!

  88. Sarah says:

    Lookin good lady! So, I haven’t ran outside for like two weeks. It is bitterly cold here and I HAVE to get motivated to get out there again. Any tips?
    Also, thanks for the sweet posts!

  89. Claudie says:

    I think you just knocked me off my chair. Seriously, those bars look AMAZING. And I _really_ mean it. Your brother is so lucky to have a sister baking such amazing treats. Now I just have to figure out how _not_ to run down to the grocery store (in the 10min before it closes) and get all those ingredients for a late night baking (and overeating) session…

  90. Monet says:

    Yes. These look DELICIOUS. I adore PB and J though…I could eat one every day of the week and be happy. You are such a sweetheart, and I know any sibling would feel lucky to be in the same family as you! Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday. Rest, rejuvenate and spread some love!

  91. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Yum! I made these same bars not to long ago. I’m pretty sure I would marry Ina Garten if it were legal….haha 🙂

  92. Indie.Tea says:

    Those sound really good. And comforting, like childhood goodness. And they’re waaaay prettier than I expected – something about the unexpected, jewel-bright jam peeking through…

  93. Little Inbox says:

    Oh yes! What a nutty affair! Must be delicious!

  94. They look fabulous! Such a great treat for your brother…

  95. Beth says:

    My mouth watered as I saw those photos. I will be making these for my family!

  96. Joanne says:

    These look amazing … I’m having my 2nd cup of coffee right now, and would love to have one of these to go along with it!

  97. Shannon says:

    oh. my. god. i’m pretty sure i shouldn’t make these 😉

  98. Yep, Ina always makes me want to cook. And, I can’t get enough of peanut butter lately. These do look dangerously good!

  99. Kerstin says:

    Mmm, best flavor combo ever 🙂 It would be hard not to eat the whole pan!

  100. My favorite sandwich as a cookie bar? Yes please! These look fabulous and I know my boyfriend would just love to chomp on a couple of them right away.

  101. Kimberley says:

    Holy moly! It’s funny – I just responded to your comment on my truffles with “the best way to not eat them all is to give them away” and that’s exactly your advice with these equally addictive treats. They look amazing!

  102. I love Ina. 🙂 My little brother would love these as well, except I’d have to make them with grape jam. Nothing else I’m afraid, according to him, will do with peanut butter. Brothers are like that, aren’t they? They look fabulous. 🙂

  103. Anonymous says:

    This is one of my longtime favorite recipes, but I prefer to use seedless raspberry jam. I recently made a batch as a token of thanks for the plow guys. They loved them!

  104. Chris says:

    Oh my flipping goodness…..

    I don’t do sweets but these PBJ bars are making me want too try these, especially with the peanuts on top. Bookmarked!

  105. chrysta says:

    OMGOMG! These PB&J bars look just too good. LOVE your photos. These are definitely bookmarked. Thanks so much girl!

  106. Hey girl!! You need to follow me on twitter! I just gave you the Stylish Blogger Award!

  107. Catherine says:

    Joanne, these bars look delightful!
    Your story reminds me of my own two kids! My son is always requesting something different.
    Adorable post. This recipe is definately a keeper. My daughter and I just love Ina Garten.

  108. Velva says:

    As soon as I saw this post, I began to swoon. I made Ina’s peanut butter and jelly bars during the holidays. They remain one of my favorites. They are absolutely delicious.


  109. Miriam says:

    These are beautiful! I think peanut butter & jelly is one of the most perfect foods; the sweet and salty together satisfies just about every craving. Perfect! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  110. Megan says:

    MUST make these! If they had grape jelly, I could pass, but I always make my pb & j sandwiches with raspberry jam. Love the combo. It must be okay to eat these in place of a sandwich, right? They’ve got basically the same ingredients. 🙂 Also, love your pictures!

  111. These are such a sophisticated and comforting spin on PB&J. These bars look dangerous, especially with raspberry jam, which is my all time favorite. Will bookmark.

  112. Eliana says:

    Peanut butter and jelly has never looked so good. I seriously wanna eat this right off the screen right this second. Before going to bed. YUM!!!

  113. ABowlOfMush says:

    Wow these look absolutely stunning! Delicious!

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog 🙂

  114. grace says:

    these are always appropriate as far as i’m concerned. what’s not always appropriate, however, is breaking out with that stupid ‘peanut butter jelly time’ song in the middle of a crowded place. sometimes i do that–it’s a powerful force. 🙂

  115. Paul Wynn says:

    Dang just looking at this treat makes me salivate for milk…

  116. girlichef says:

    Wow, they do look amazing…no wonder they’re addictive. Bookmarked 😉

  117. Karen says:

    These look absolutely delicious (and I don’t even care for peanut butter!)

  118. Sarah S. says:

    Same brother that wanted vanilla cupcakes for his birthday? Silly boy! Clearly you are an awesome sister to have around.

  119. katecooks says:

    i’ve made these before! aren’t they so delicious?! i actually sent them to my sis for her birthday one year. a nice MIT study snack 🙂

  120. Natalie says:

    i want to make this, and probably not share with anyone…

  121. Marisa says:

    Hmmm… bet your “roommates” loved all those bars you saved for them. 😉 I’m just imagining how good this’ll be with apricot jam (not a big berry jam fan… I know, I know) – YUM!

  122. Dana says:

    I LOVE that recipe. I’ve made it countless times and people always go crazy for them. I agree about Ina. I watch her and think everything she makes looks delicious even the meat. Kind of.

  123. Johanna GGG says:

    this sounds delicious – your brother has excellent taste – here is a good reason to proclaim he is your family

  124. Oh. My. God. There is not a single bad thing about this recipe. I can totally see how these would be a danger. Must. Make. NOW.

  125. Hi there,
    At the request of one of my readers I made a gluten-free, vegan version of these. They’re terrific. Thanks for the inspiration!

  126. […] going to take a detour from mac and cheese heaven to ask you a question.  If you could eat peanut butter and jelly bars to help find a cure for cancer…would you do […]

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