Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

There are a few food combinations that never get old. Peanut butter and jelly is one of those combinations for me. I will gladly eat a PB&J most any day. This recipe using that delicious combination recently called out to me from the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s Cookies.

One note about baking these. The directions give a wide range for the baking time: 45-60 minutes. With the jam layer, there was not a good way to test these for doneness. The old toothpick trick would not have worked well. I baked mine for 45 minutes, and they were just right to me.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are so sweet and nutty. A terrific crowd-pleasing recipe!

After mixing up this simple recipe, I was rewarded with a delicious, dense treat. While the predominant flavor is peanut butter, the jam adds a little extra kick of sweetness. I used strawberry, as recommended in the recipe, although you could easily substitute your favorite flavor. For sandwiches, I definitely prefer grape. What flavor of jelly do you like with your peanut butter?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for preparing pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing pan
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 & 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups strawberry jam (or other flavor)
  • 1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9″x 13″baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed of an electric mixer. Mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs and peanut butter, and beat about 2 minutes or until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add vanilla and mix.

Transfer two-thirds of dough to pan and spread evenly. Spread jam on top of dough. Crumble remaining dough on top of jam. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden. Rotate pan half-way through baking. Tent loosely with foil if bars are getting too dark.

Cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edges to loosen. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies.

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  1. Fe McB June 27, 2008 Reply

    love these, love that book. have you tried making the chocolate crackles yet? they are to die for!

  2. katy June 27, 2008 Reply

    those look amazing! pb&j really is the best combo. i’m not sure i have a favorite jelly, but i love peanut butter and bananas!

  3. Katrina June 27, 2008 Reply

    These look great. Love the combo of pb & j. My favorite jam would have to be raspberry. I do love grape though. I also love a pb & h (honey), as well as the old pb & b (banana). Can you just not go wrong with peanut butter in any way? I think not.

  4. Susan June 27, 2008 Reply

    That is an awesome picture!
    I’d have to stick with the strawberry jelly/jam. Although, I’ve been known to switch it up with blackberry.

  5. Nick June 27, 2008 Reply

    Oh man, I love the sound of these. I recently tried making a healthy peanut butter and jelly breakfast bar that came out decent, but a little dry. These look way better though, I think you’ve sold me on them.

  6. Bekindi June 27, 2008 Reply

    Funny, I got up this morning and had peanut butter and jam on toast, then came here and saw this!
    These+me=meant to be.
    Thankyou for sharing 😀
    My favourite jam is the homemade nectarine one mum makes, it’s just not as good as the plum!

  7. jennifer June 27, 2008 Reply

    Fe McB, I haven’t tried those yet, but they sound delicious!

    katy, I have lots of favorite jelly flavors. Hard to pick just one!

    Katrina, raspberry is one of my very favorites.

    Thanks, Susan! Blackberry sounds good. I need to get some soon!

    Nick, these aren’t exactly healthy, but they are definitely delicious!

    Bekindi, it’s a sign! I don’t think I’ve ever had nectarine jam. Sounds interesting.

  8. Patti June 28, 2008 Reply

    Wow…these look absolutely amazing!!! I’ve tried to make my own PB & J bars before, but I’ll definately have to try these!

  9. Amanda June 28, 2008 Reply

    PB & J is like the quintessential combination. I can think of nothing better… besides chocolate and peanut butter, of course :) I read some other people who bought this cookbook and they enjoy it too. Do the recipes seem pretty reliable? And is the layout reader-friendly? Some of Martha’s books don’t seem to be too trustworthy.

  10. jennifer June 28, 2008 Reply

    Patti, let me know what you think if you try these.

    Amanda, I’ve liked every recipe I’ve tried from this book. It seems more approachable than some of her earlier books. Lots of pictures, clear instructions. I think it’s a great choice for anyone who likes to bake cookies.

  11. Kevin June 28, 2008 Reply

    Those look so good. What a great way to use such a classic flavour combo.

  12. brilynn June 28, 2008 Reply

    I’ve been loving this book too, I’ve made so many recipes out of, eventually I’ll do a big round up post. Those bars looks delicious!

  13. love, tastespotting June 29, 2008 Reply

    wow…love these and would LOVE to see this re-submitted to TasteSpotting – our cropping tool cropped your picture in a funny way yesterday…maybe resubmit already cropped to 250 x 250 so it looks perfect?

    looking forward…


  14. jennifer June 29, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Kevin!

    Brilynn, it’s a great book. I’ll be on the lookout for your post.

    tastespotting, I’ll resubmit. Thanks!

  15. Sandie June 30, 2008 Reply

    What a great twist on an old standby – these sound so comforting. My favorite jelly with peanut butter? Strawberry… followed closely by grape, blackberry, cherry, raspberry, orange marmalade, kadota fig…. (should I go on?)

  16. Patricia Scarpin June 30, 2008 Reply

    I have been meaning to make bars again, Jen. These are amazing!

  17. Elle June 30, 2008 Reply

    Ooooh, these look so good! I’ll bet the kids would love them!

  18. jennifer July 1, 2008 Reply

    Sandie, it sounds like you have about as many favorites as I do. :-)

    Patricia, they are wonderful!

    Thanks, Elle! I bet your right.

  19. auntjone July 1, 2008 Reply

    I might have to make these tonight! My jelly preference for nearly all applications (pb, toast, etc) is strawberry, but I find myself longing for the good old days when mom would can homemade black raspberry jelly. To be 6 years old again….sigh.

  20. bakingblonde July 1, 2008 Reply

    I love PB, it is food of the Gods and I am loving the look and sound of these bars!! They are on my short list of ‘must try recipes” for sure!!

  21. Mara July 1, 2008 Reply

    Be still my heart, that first image made it flutter! These look DIVINE. Bookmarked!

  22. Dragon July 1, 2008 Reply

    YUM! Every time I come here, I want to immediately run to my pantry to see if I have the required ingredients. Sadly I don’t have the PB. :( I’ll have to wait to try it.

  23. giz July 1, 2008 Reply

    I have that cookie book of Martha’s and I stop every time I see that recipe. Now I’m convinced – I have to make it. That top picture is calling my name.

  24. Sophie July 2, 2008 Reply

    What a great marriage of two flavors. I love how your pictures always come out so good, I can almost taste the yummy desserts! This one is extra gooey, so I know it has to be good! :)

  25. Make and Takes July 2, 2008 Reply

    Perfect twist on a classic. I can’t believe I still don’t have that book!

  26. jennifer July 2, 2008 Reply

    auntjone, I love black raspberry! I have some in my pantry that I’m waiting to use in just the perfect thing.

    bakingblonde, you can’t go wrong with peanut butter!

    Thanks, Mara!

    Dragon, these are worth the trip to the store to get peanut butter. :-)

    giz, I think it’s well worth making. Hope you will, too!

    Thanks, Sophie!

    Make and Takes, I bought that book the day it was available. Love it!

  27. Hannah July 2, 2008 Reply

    We love these!


  28. Catherine July 3, 2008 Reply

    Oh. I am still kind of stuck on the self-saucing chocolate pudding. I may never move on. Anyway, this is a great blog, we have put you up on our site because it is so very well done. Forgive me while I slip away to hit the chocolate sauce…

  29. jennifer July 3, 2008 Reply

    Hannah, they’re the best, aren’t they?

    Thanks, Catherine! I understand that chocolate sauce can kind of grab hold of you. 😉

  30. Hannah July 3, 2008 Reply

    I was wondering if any of you knew of a really good coffee cheesecake recipe. Or mocha cheesecake.
    Its for my moms bday, and I want it to be mouth tantalizing!


  31. Maya July 4, 2008 Reply

    These look absolutely scrumptious!

  32. jennifer July 4, 2008 Reply

    Hannah, I’m not really a coffee/mocha fan, but I’ll see what recipes I have in my cookbooks. I’ll drop you an email when I find one that sounds good.

    Thanks, Maya!

  33. Eeva-Maija July 7, 2008 Reply

    Hello! I was reading through your blog and at one point at least you mentioned how encouraging it is to read comments when writing a blog, so I thought to drop you a line. I’m an amateur baker from Finland, Europe and decided two days ago to find two baking blogs that really inspired me and to become a regular reader, one from a Finnish writer and the other from a foreigner. When finding BoB my decision to pick you as the non-Finnish writer was fixed. I’ve now browsed through all of your posts and have already tons of recipes I want to try out! I also like that you don’t only post to recipes, but tell a little about your life and likings as well, it’s so much more fun to read with that personal touch!

  34. jennifer July 7, 2008 Reply

    Eeva-Maija, thank you so much! I’m flattered! :-)

  35. bakingblonde July 8, 2008 Reply

    YUM!! I love peanut butter and am always looking for new recipes to try out! The picture of these looks absolutely sinful!

  36. jennifer July 8, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, bakingblonde! Peanut butter is one of my favorites.

  37. Cyndi July 9, 2008 Reply

    These were so yummy! I ate so many of them that I am embarrassed. My only question is, although you said they are supposed to be dense…….should they have been crumbly too? Not so much dry, just crumbly.

  38. jennifer July 10, 2008 Reply

    Cyndi, I’m glad you liked them. They were a bit crumbly for me, too.

  39. chiffonade August 6, 2008 Reply

    Your site is beautiful. I came to it via a search for coffee cake (which I printed and am in the process of baking, BTW). The PB&J bars look amazing! I’d love to try them. The last time I made PB&J bars, they were Ina’s and they were excellent. Definitely want another PB&J bar recipe in the quiver.

  40. jennifer August 6, 2008 Reply

    chiffonade, thank you so much! I hardly ever make Ina’s recipes, and I really don’t know why not. I’ll be sure to track down her pb&j bars recipe.

  41. Bernardette January 25, 2009 Reply

    My co-worker makes these and brings them into the office. They are so good I could be bribed into committing violent acts just to get some 😉

    They’re absolutely divine – and I’m not even a sweets lover!!

  42. Kayleigh January 19, 2012 Reply

    I absolutely love ligonberry jam on my peanut butter! It’s a little tart and cuts right through the peanut butter’s heaviness!
    Before I discovered Ikea, however, the favorite was no-sugar all fruit strawberry or raspberry preserves. MMM. 😛

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