You might be thinking, “why would I want to learn how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” There are a few reasons why this childhood favorite is so popular. For one, it’s easy to make all you need is a few simple ingredients and a bit of patience.
Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover bread you might have lying around. And last but not least, it’s delicious!
Fewer food combinations make the world raise an eyebrow at the standard American diet more than the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
It’s a staple of the diet of kids aged 5 and under, but let’s be honest – when there’s a good glob of peanut butter, a thick layer of jelly, and a good loaf of bread supporting this combination, it really is culinary heaven.
Any old peanut butter and jelly sandwich is fairly decent by itself. A basic sandwich in our house involves the cheap $1 loaf of bread, generic chunky peanut butter, and the big jar of grape jelly that’s less than two bucks that you sometimes have to ask the store manager to bring out because they don’t like stocking it. It’s good… but it’s not great.
For the very best in peanut butter and jelly, you might think that you’ve got to go upscale, but you don’t. You can actually put together the perfect sandwich for less than $2 per serving.
Table of Contents
- How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
- Step #1: Get the Jelly
- Step #2: Find the Bread
- Step #3: Get the Peanut Butter
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Recipe
- 2 slices of bread, toasted
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 2 tablespoons jam or jelly
- Spread the bread with peanut butter.
- Spread the jam on one piece of bread. Put the two pieces of bread together.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Alternatives
- Does orange marmalade go with peanut butter?
- Is there a difference between jelly and jam?
- What’s the best type of bread to use for a PB&J?
How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Obviously, this is all subjective and I’m certain there will be disagreement, but here’s the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Step #1: Get the Jelly
Everyone has their favorite kind of jelly and/or preserves: strawberry, grape, orange marmalade, peach… they’re all good choices.
For the perfect sandwich, however, I had to take a trip down to the local Irish import store to pick up a jar. It’s Duerr’s chunky ginger and they’re not lying when they describe it as “chunky.”
The chunks in it are nice and thick, but the flavor of the ginger isn’t overpowering and it compliments the peanut butter very well.
In the spicy version the preserves work in a pinch, but you tend to lose the subtlety of the flavors with the other varieties or with ginger marmalade.
Step #2: Find the Bread
My doctor says that I’m supposed to be gluten-free and for the most part I do a pretty good job of following instructions. When it comes to gluten-free bread, however, it just doesn’t stand up to the weight of the perfect sandwich. It crumbles, becomes a mess, and even the dogs won’t lick up the crumbs from the floor.
The next thing you’ve got to do is get some butter melted. At the same time, you’re going to want to heat up a skillet. I prefer an iron skillet for this, but even a large frying pan with a flat bottom will work.
Melt the butter not in the pan, but in the microwave. Heat up the pan like you’re going to sear meat while you’re melting the butter. You want it nice and hot, but not smoking. Brush the melted butter on just one side of the bread and then quickly flash toast the buttered side of the bread.
This admittedly takes some practice. It will literally be done in 1 second flat. Too long and you’ve burnt your expensive and potentially homemade bread.
Too fast and the butter congeals into this kind of lumpy, fatty ickiness. Perfection gives you a caramelized brown crust that traps the butter flavor inside the bread itself. Do both slices this way to get to a golden brown.
Step #3: Get the Peanut Butter
Now I know this isn’t exactly fair, I have a little machine at the grocery store that lets me buy a pound of peanuts and instantly grind it down into peanut butter naturally.
That’s the best method by far for this peanut butter and jelly sandwich! You can grind your own at home if you have a high-quality blender or food processor – in a pinch I’ve used a Ninja. To make the perfect sandwich, however, I need to go outside of the country and invest in some maple bacon Monkey Butter.
Spread the Monkey Butter on nice and thick, then carefully spread the ginger preserves because it’s thick and the chunks of ginger can cause the bread to tear.
If you do it all within a couple of minutes of toast searing the bread, you’ll have just enough warmth to create the most amazing flavor combination.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Recipe
The most important part of any PB&J is the bread. It needs to be soft, but hearty and able to hold up against the gooey peanut butter and jam or jelly. You want it slightly sweet so that it complements the salty peanut butter well without overpowering it.
In terms of the actual ingredients, make sure you’re using organic peanut butter made from roasted peanuts (no sugar added!).
As far as jams or jellies go, I prefer homemade fruit preserves that are naturally sweetened with honey rather than refined sugar.
2 slices of bread, toasted
Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the jelly on the other. Use a knife to spread each, if needed.
Now you’re ready for your closeup! Take a bite out of this delicious sandwich and enjoy three hours’ worth of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and more (depending on how much peanut butter you use).
3 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
What’s not to love about peanut butter? This creamy spread is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E.
It also contains B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and folate that help with your body’s metabolism.
Peanut butter is also a good source of magnesium and potassium, which is important for muscle function and heart health. Plus, it provides vitamin B6 to help release energy from carbohydrates in the body.*
With its delicious taste, this spread has been loved by Americans since it was first introduced in 1894. Nowadays, you can find peanut butter everywhere—from cookies to ice cream—and even on top of waffles.
2 tablespoons jam or jelly
If you’ve never been big peanut butter and jelly sandwich fan, the idea of putting the two together might give you some pause.
But hear me out: peanut butter and jelly is one of those childhood favorites that bring back great memories for many people.
And it’s easy to see why—the combination of salty peanut butter and fruity jam is not only delicious but also quite complementary, with each flavor enhancing the other in all kinds of delightful ways.
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly are jam and jelly?
Well, simply put, they’re both made from fruit (yes!), though there are some differences between them that make each more suited for certain applications than others.
Whereas jam typically contains more sugar than jelly—making it sweeter—jelly tends to be thicker in texture; this is because when making jams from berries such as blueberries or raspberries (which tend to be less sweet than their citrus counterparts), manufacturers will often add pectin into their recipes at the end stages of production in order to thicken things up just enough without making them too cloying on your taste buds.
Meanwhile when making jellies from juices such as orange juice or apple cider vinegar mixed with sliced apples (yum!)…
- Toast the bread.
- Spread the peanut butter on one slice of toast, and spread jam on the other.
- Put both pieces together, and enjoy!
Spread the bread with peanut butter.
Spread the peanut butter on the bread. You can use a knife for this, but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to go for an extra-smooth spread, try using a spoon instead!
If you want to get really fancy, add some jelly or jam to the peanut butter before spreading it onto the bread. This will give your sandwich more flavor and crunchy textures in every bite!
Spread the jam on one piece of bread. Put the two pieces of bread together.
Spread the jam on one piece of bread. Put the two pieces of bread together. You can use any type of strawberry jam or grape jelly in this recipe, but my preferred spread is the grape jam.
I also like to use white bread because it’s light and fluffy, and peanut butter that is chunky with peanuts, which helps to weigh down your sandwich so it doesn’t fall apart when you eat it.
See Related: Different Types of Dutch Food
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Alternatives
You can’t go wrong with the classic PB&J. But if you’re looking for something new, here are some peanut butter sandwich combinations:
- Almond butter and jelly
- Peanut butter and honey
- Peanut butter, cinnamon, and jelly
- Peanut butter and jelly, banana slices, and nuts
- Peanut butter and jelly, bacon strips (mmmm…bacon)
- Peanut butter and jelly with cheese on top.
Does orange marmalade go with peanut butter?
It’s a matter of personal preference but some people swear by the combination, while others find it absolutely unpalatable. The salty-sweet combination is a proven pairing, so if you like PB&J, you’ll likely enjoy orange marmalade with peanut butter.
Is there a difference between jelly and jam?
Jelly is made from fruit juice, while the jam is made from crushed fruit. Jam tends to be thicker in texture and less sweet than jelly.
What’s the best type of bread to use for a PB&J?
The best type of bread to use for a PB&J is sturdy, white bread. This will help to prevent your sandwich from falling apart and becoming soggy. Wheat bread is a much healthier alternative to white bread, however.