Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars work as a wonderful grab-and-go bite for desserts, snacks, or even breakfasts! They’re kid-approved and are made with healthy ingredients, making them the perfect option.
The perfect dessert-style PB&J
There’s nothing that can transport me right back to childhood like a good, old fashioned PB&J. An elementary school staple for many of us, those sandwiches were a delicacy. I remember looking forward to lunch at school like it was yesterday!
As I got older, the PB&Js became less of a staple in my life, but I’ve always remembered how delicious they were, and every once in a while whip one together when the craving strikes.
This time, however, I wanted the familiar peanut butter and jelly flavor, but I didn’t want a sandwich. I instead wanting something more dessert-style. I thought about making some sort of peanut butter and jelly brownie, but I quickly realized that probably wouldn’t work.
Finally, I settled on PB&J bars, and the results were exactly as I expected. Crunchy on the outside, and ooey-gooey delicious on the inside. As always, I created these with healthy ingredients to serve as a wholesome dessert, snack, or even quick breakfast.
These healthy peanut butter and jelly bars are totally kid-friendly and make a wonderful filling grab-and-go option!
Ingredients used to make peanut butter and jelly bars
The peanut butter base ingredients make up the majority of our list, with jelly and crushed peanuts reserved for the toppings.
- Chopped peanuts
Tools used to create PB&J dessert bars
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich dessert bars require only five different kitchen items to make. Here’s a complete list:
How to make healthy peanut butter and jelly bars
PB&J dessert bars are so easy to make! We will be mixing most of the ingredients to form a tasty peanut butter dough that will be used as a base. Then, we’ll top that with a jelly layer, followed by another layer of peanut butter! Prep time only requires 5-10 minutes.
To start, preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
Then, add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until fully mixed to make the peanut butter dough.
Press 2/3 of the peanut butter dough into the bottom of the pan until evenly spread.
Next, add a layer of jelly, then crumble the remaining dough on top. Add crushed peanuts.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden on top.
Let cool for 30 minutes before placing in the fridge to cool for another hour. I recommend letting them sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours before cutting.
A healthier dessert bar recipe
I am huge on taking desserts and turning them into healthy lifestyle-friendly alternatives! For this recipe, I stuck with that mindset and used ingredients deemed healthier in the food world. These ingredients are all-natural and are great for using in place of their processed alternatives.
Natural peanut butter
As you probably know, I am all about natural ingredients! Since regular peanut butter tends to have a lot of chemicals and preservatives, I always go for all-natural options. My favorites are the drippy kinds, like the Whole Foods or Trader Joes brands. Peanut butter should always separate between uses, as this indicates natural ingredients. Avoid brands whose labels include hydrogenated oils, palm oil, or are labeled “reduced-fat.”
Like with coconut oil, you will find maple syrup in pretty much all of my baking recipes. It’s the perfect all-natural sweetener and is so much better than using granulated sugar. Plus, it’s delicious!
When it comes to jelly, I like to stick with natural, organic brands, or I opt to make my own! Processed jelly can be very high in sugar, so choosing wisely is important.
Substitution options for peanut butter and jelly bars
If you find yourself short on maple syrup or are in need of a different oil option, here are some quick hacks! These ingredients are all easy swaps and can be used if you find yourself in a pinch.
- Peanut butter: You can use any nut butter in this recipe, though I recommend sticking with an all-natural kind.
- Coconut oil: Like with the butter, you can replace coconut oil with any similar high fat cooking oil.
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup can be swapped with molasses or honey. You may need slightly different amounts, so start with a smaller measurement and add more to taste.
- Baking soda: If you find yourself out of baking soda, you can use baking powder! You’ll need 1.5 tsp of powder for this recipe.
- Jelly: Finally, feel free to use any jelly or jam flavor that you’d like.
Note: I do not recommend using more than 1-2 substitute ingredients, or the bars may not turn out as intended.
Peanut butter jelly recipe tips
Here are some quick tips for making the best PB&J bars ever!
Can I use a different sized pan?
Of course! Though I use an 8×8 pan in this recipe, any pan size should work. You will need to adjust the cooking time, as different pan sizes will cook at different rates. Be sure to check your bars frequently to prevent overcooking.
Can I add extra toppings?
Oh, yes! Feel free to add whatever you’d like to the top. Some fun ideas include chocolate (or white chocolate) chips, mini M&Ms, crushed KitKats or Twix bars, crushed Reece’s Cups, coconut flakes, or even fruit slices that go with the jelly flavor! It’s your recipe, so go crazy.
How should the bars be stored?
Keep these bars refrigerated in a secure, airtight container to keep them fresh. Enjoy within 3-4 days.
Try these PB&J recipes next!
Did you love this delicious peanut butter and jelly recipe? If so, you’ll like these as well!
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Walnut Butter and Strawberry Chia Jam Sandwich
- Healthier Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups
Recipe by Erin Morrissey and Photos by Quarter Soul Crisis
Base + crumble topping:
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, a drippy brand like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup jelly (I used natural strawberry)
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts *
- Preheat oven to 350F and line 8×8 pan with non stick spray or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined.
- In a large bowl, mix almond flour, baking soda and salt.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until fully mixed.
- Press 2/3 of peanut butter dough into bottom of pan until evenly spread.
- Add layer of jelly, then crumble the remaining dough on top, along with crushed peanuts.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden on top.
- Let cool for 30 minutes before placing in the fridge to cool for another hour. I recommend letting them sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours before cutting!
- Store in fridge. Enjoy!
*photos omit peanuts in crumble topping but highly suggest adding them in!
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