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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

These delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars taste like the dessert form of a classic PB&J sandwich! Indulge in unique and scrumptious treats that will take your taste buds on a journey with their nostalgic and comforting essence. The soft and chewy peanut butter cookie base, combined with a gooey jam center, creates a taste that is simply unbeatable. The outer corners caramelize because of the baked jelly, so even the edge pieces are to die for.

These cookie bars are incredibly easy to make with basic baking techniques and ingredients, including premade jam from a jar. Plus, you likely don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to purchase anything! There are no specialty ingredients required. This treat is perfect for surprising the kids after school or for sharing with friends at a gathering. I personally cut the bars into 18 squares for a more generous serving, but you can also cut them into 24 servings if you want smaller portions.

Read on to discover how to make these incredible cookie bars in less than an hour! With their perfect balance of nutty peanut butter with sweet, fruity jelly, they will leave everyone wanting more.

Baked PB&J cookie bars on a plate

Recipe Overview

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie bar (82g)
  • Number of Servings: 18
  • Time to Cook: 30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients in PB&J Cookie Bars

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ⅓ cup jelly, your preferred flavor
Ingredients for making cookie bars

Instructions for Making Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Reserve measured jelly for later.
  2. Mix the softened butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add both sugars and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, then the peanut butter, mixing until incorporated.
  3. Finally, add the dry ingredients. Once the dough is thoroughly mixed and smooth, reserve roughly 1 cup of it for the topping.
  4. With the majority of the cookie dough, spread it into a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. I highly suggest the parchment because the jelly caramelizes on the sides, and it could be hard to remove them without it.
  5. If jelly from a brand new jar is used, use a spoon to break it into smaller pieces, making it easier to spread. Carefully spread it over the cookie dough in the pan.
Peanut butter and jelly cookie dough

6. Break little flakes of the remaining cup of cookie dough, dispersing it over the top of the jelly. You can leave it like that for a rustic look or carefully use an offset spatula to spread most of it out. Bake the cookie bars in the oven for 25 minutes and cover them with foil.

Peanut butter bars before going into the oven

7. Bake them for 10-12 minutes longer. The top should be golden brown and slightly cracked. It should not be shiny anymore.

8. After removing them from the oven, you can run a knife around the sides to loosen any jelly directly touching the pan for easier removal, as it will harden. Allow them to rest and entirely cool in the pan before unmolding them.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Jelly Flavors: I used strawberry jelly for this recipe, but you can use any flavor you want! For instance, use grape, raspberry, or blackberry. You can also use jam with seeds if you prefer!
  • Vanilla Extract: Swap out the vanilla extract for almond extract instead to increase the nutty flavor of the cookies.
  • Peanut Butter: You can use crunchy peanut butter when making these peanut butter bars if you wish. However, the peanut butter will likely soften, so it doesn’t necessarily provide the crunch you get when you eat it in other ways, like on toast. But if that’s all you have, it will surely work!
  • Flour: AP flour is definitely best for this recipe, but cake flour can work in a pinch. Remember that this will slightly change the texture of the baked goods.
  • Butter: omit the salt in the recipe if you want to use salted butter instead.
Cookie bars on a plate and platter

Tips and Tricks for Making Peanut Butter Cookie Bars with Jelly

  • Storage: Store these peanut butter jelly cookie bars in an airtight container or a resealable bag. They can be stored at room temperature for about 5 days. You can also freeze them for up to three months!
  • When you spread the jelly mixture over the peanut butter cookie base, leave some room around the edges. During baking, the jelly softens and some will spread to the sides to fill that empty space.
  • The peanut butter bars might look soft when you take them out, but they will eventually firm up when they cool. Therefore, it’s important not to overbake them! As long as they turn from shiny to matte, have cracked on top, and have a deep golden color, they are done! The suggested bake time is a helpful guideline.
  • If you find it difficult to spread the jelly or reserved cookie dough on top of the bars, you can make it easier by placing the bars in the refrigerator between applying the different mixtures. This will help the cookie dough base become firmer and easier to work with.

Related Recipes

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

Valentine’s Day Linzer Cookies

Baked PB&J cookie bars on a plate

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

Chewy, gooey cookie bars with hints of peanut butter and fruity jelly.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 people

Equipment

  • electric stand mixer with paddle

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • cup brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ⅓ cup jelly flavor of choice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Reserve measured jelly for later.
  • Mix the softened butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add both sugars and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, then the peanut butter, mixing until incorporated.
  • Finally, add the dry ingredients. Once the dough is thoroughly mixed and smooth, reserve roughly 1 cup of it for the topping.
  • With the majority of the cookie dough, spread it into a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. I highly suggest the parchment because the jelly caramelizes on the sides, and it could be hard to remove them without it.
  • If jelly from a brand new jar is used, use a spoon to break it into smaller pieces, making it easier to spread. Carefully spread it over the cookie dough in the pan.
  • Break little flakes of the remaining cup of cookie dough, dispersing it over the top of the jelly. You can leave it like that for a rustic look or carefully use an offset spatula to spread most of it out. Bake the cookie bars in the oven for 25 minutes, then cover them with foil.
  • Bake them for about 10-12 minutes longer. The top should be matte, golden brown and slightly cracked. It should not be shiny anymore.
  • After removing them from the oven, you can run a knife around the sides to loosen any jelly directly touching the pan for easier removal. Allow them to rest and entirely cool in the pan before unmolding them.

Notes

Nutrition Info:
  • portion size: 82g
  • calories: 320
  • total fat: 13g (saturate fat 6g)
  • cholesterol: 39mg
  • total carbs: 47g
  • fiber: 1.1g
  • sugar: 31g
  • protein: 4.4g
  • calcium: 34mg
  • iron: 1mg
  • potassium:84mg
Keyword jam filled cookies, peanut butter, peanut butter cookies

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