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A peanut butter and jelly (or jam) sandwich, or PB&J, includes one or more layers of peanut butter and one or more layers of jelly or jam on bread. Jelly is a fruit based spread, made primarily from fruit juice, while jam contains crushed fruit and fruit pulp.[1] Sometimes the sandwich is eaten open-faced, or with one slice of bread folded over (effectively a "half sandwich"). The sandwich is quite common and popular in North America, especially for children; a 2002 survey showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 of these sandwiches before graduating from high school.[2] Smuckers manufactures a commercial sealed crustless sandwich made of peanut butter and jelly.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread
Alternative namesPB&J
Place of originUnited States
Serving temperatureRoom temperature
VariationsPeanut butter and jam, other nut butters, with butter or marshmallow fluff, or with hazelnut chocolate spread
Food energy
(per serving)
403 kcal (1687 kJ)

There are many variations on the sandwich; for example, honey or sliced fruit can be substituted for the jelly component, e.g. a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Marshmallow fluff can also be substituted for the jelly, or simply added for extra flavor; this sandwich is called a "fluffernutter". On the flip side, the popularity of almond butter has inspired some aficionados to transition to "almond butter and jelly" (AB&J) sandwiches; other nut butters are less common. Cream cheese, substituted for the peanut butter, makes a "cream cheese and jelly" (CC&J) sandwich. Nutella is another possible substitute for one of the spreads, either N&J or PB&N.

A common problem with the sandwich is that the jelly or jam can make one slice of bread soggy owing to the high water content inherent to the ingredient. This is especially the case when the sandwich is prepared ahead of time as part of a bag lunch. The solution developed by aficionados is to create a barrier that protects the bread by taking advantage of the hydrophobic properties of oil present in the peanut butter, often in an emulsified solution. By spreading peanut butter on each slice, the jelly or jam is contained and isolated in the center, and the sandwich can safely be made ahead of time.


Peanut butter and strawberry jam create a red-orange contrast.

Peanut butter was originally paired with a diverse set of savory foods, such as pimento, cheese, celery, watercress, saltines and toasted crackers.[3] In a Good Housekeeping article published in May 1896, a recipe "urged homemakers to use a meat grinder to make peanut butter and spread the result on bread." The following month, the culinary magazine Table Talk published a "peanut butter sandwich recipe.[4][5] In the early 1900s, this sandwich was adopted down the class structure as the price of peanut butter dropped. It became popular with children as manufacturers began adding sugar to the peanut butter, and with the advent of sliced bread in the 1920s (which allowed children to easily make their own sandwiches) peanut butter sandwiches became a common meal for children.[6] It was not until the 1940s that jelly was added to peanut butter sandwiches. It is believed that US soldiers during World War II combined the bread, peanut butter and jelly found in their rations together into sandwiches, and that their return popularized the peanut butter and jelly sandwich among the general population.[7] Since World War II, both peanut butter and jelly were found on US soldiers' military ration list.[8] The National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day occurs annually in the United States on April 2.[9]


A peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with white bread, two tablespoons each of peanut butter and strawberry jelly, provides 403 kcal, 18 g fat, 58 g carbs and 12 g protein which is 27% of the Recommended Daily Intake of fat and 22% of calories.[10]

While roughly 50% of the calories are from fat, most of them come from monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats, which have been linked positively with heart health.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What's the difference between jam, jelly and fruit preserves?". Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  2. ^ "PB&J is A-OK". Prepared Foods 171.10. Prepared Foods. October 2002. p. 32. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  3. ^ Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea. University of Illinois Press. p. 35.
  4. ^ McWilliams, Mark. The Story Behind the Dish: Classic American Foods. ABC-CLIO. p. 166.
  5. ^ Lau, Maya (June 7, 2013). "Who Made That?". New York Times Magazine.
  6. ^ "Food Timeline". Lynne Olver.
  7. ^ "The History of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich". HowStuffWorks. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  8. ^ Why Do Donuts Have Holes?. Citadel Press. p. 127.
  9. ^ Ward, Matthew (April 2, 2019). "April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day". WMC News. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Jegtvig,, undated, "How Nutritious is a PB&J?", archived from the original, January 13, 2006. Accessed December 20, 2017.
  11. ^ Corleone, Jill. "Are Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?". Retrieved 31 March 2012.

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