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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars feature a classic favorite flavor combination in a delicious nostalgic treat that’s perfect for snacking or school lunches. They’re gooey and rich with the perfect balance of nutty peanut butter and sweet strawberry jam. A buttery brown sugar oat crumble topping makes them even more irresistible!

stack of pb and j bars

When it comes to keeping packed lunches interesting, the struggle is real. As a kid I remember getting tired of nearly every type of sandwich my mom packed. And I was bored within the first month of school starting!

But in my defense, the sandwich rotation was typically just turkey or tunafish, with the occasional pb&j thrown in if I was lucky.

Lunchtime dessert was usually some kind of fruit. More often than not it was an apple, or if my mom was feeling adventurous, grapes. And beyond that, I really don’t remember the contents of my school lunches. I want to say milk? Maybe. Probably, because my mom was a real milk-pusher from the get-go.

Talking to my niece, school lunches these days are a lot more exciting!

Word on the street (or, more accurately, word from my niece, lol) is that kids now pack things like salad bowls, hummus, and cheese and crackers. Exotic fruit is the norm, and my niece even adds things like a square of dark chocolate for dessert and sparkling water to drink. Whoa, that’s fancy. These kids blow my mind, lol.

School lunches have come a long way! With a brown sugar and oat base and crumble topping, these Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars fit in quite nicely with the upgraded school lunches kids eat now.

overhead view of pbj bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars Recipe

With the delicious blend of nutty peanut butter and sweet strawberry jam, these bars are a crowd-pleaser! Brown sugar with notes of molasses is the perfect sweetener here. They’re subtly scented of vanilla. And they have oats to bump up the flavor and nutrition!

Who wouldn’t love one of these jam bars tucked into their lunchbox for dessert, right?!

PBJ Bars Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter – or you can use salted butter and omit the added salt; make the butter is at room temperature
  • Light brown sugar – this is the sweetener for these pbj bar cookies; brown sugar helps keep these bars moist and adds flavor notes of molasses and caramel
  • Creamy peanut butter – use whatever brand you like (Skippy is my favorite)
  • Egg – this acts as a binder for our peanut butter jelly bars, and helps us get the perfect texture
  • Vanilla – for flavor and aroma
  • Flour – the base for both the bottom crust and top crumble
  • Salt – to elevate the flavor of everything else
  • Baking powder – the leavening agent
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats – they add great texture and flavor here
  • Strawberry jam – or any type of jam you like

How to Make Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Step 1: Prep:

Preheat oven to 350F; line an 8 by 8-inch pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper so it hangs over all 4 sides.

Step 2: Make the Dough:

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and then beat in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder, and beat just to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Stir in the oats.

Step 3: Assemble the Bars:

Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam on top, leaving a rim of about 1/4 inch all the way around. Crumble the remaining 1/3 of the dough on the top.

Step 4: Bake:

Bake until the bars look golden along the outside, about 32 minutes for gooey bars in the center, or up to 38 minutes for more set bars, being careful not to over-bake.

Step 5: Serve and Store:

To avoid these cookie bars crumbling, cool completely before cutting and serving.

How to Store PB and J Bars

Store leftovers wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Or you can freeze them! Once these bars have cooled to room temperature, cut them into squares, layer them between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 6 months.

Fun and Easy Variations on This Recipe

  • Switch up the jam for any flavor you like! Strawberry jam is my personal favorite pairing with peanut butter, but you can use whatever your favorite flavor is. Grape and raspberry are also delicious.
  • For a little bit of crunch, stir 1/2 cup of salted chopped peanuts into the crumble topping.
  • Upgrade these decadent dessert bars even more with a drizzle of white chocolate once they’re cool.

More Lunchbox Treats and Snack Ideas

3 stacked peanut butter jelly bars on blue background

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars feature a classic favorite flavor combination in a delicious nostalgic treat that's perfect for snacking or school lunches. They're gooey and rich with the perfect balance of nutty peanut butter and sweet strawberry jam. A buttery brown sugar oat crumble topping makes them even more irresistible!

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F; line an 8 by 8-inch pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper so it hangs over all 4 sides.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and then beat in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder, and beat just to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Stir in the oats.
  • Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam on top, leaving a rim of about 1/4 inch all the way around. Crumble the remaining 1/3 of the dough on the top.
  • Bake until the bars look golden along the outside, about 32 minutes for gooey bars in the center, or up to 38 minutes for more set bars, being careful not to over-bake.
  • Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Notes

  • Storage: Store leftovers wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. Or you can freeze them! Once these bars have cooled to room temperature, cut them into squares, layer them between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 6 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 192IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: PBJ Bars, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars Recipe, Peanut Butter Jelly Bars

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peanut butter and jelly bars recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on September 6, 2017. I updated it with more information on August 21, 2020.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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