17 Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich Alternatives

There's nothing better than a good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich to bring back childhood memories of packed lunches and after-school snacks. Although we could argue for days about crusts on or off or diagonal versus lengthwise cuts, it may be time to broaden our horizons. Let us dabble in our own creativity and venture into peanut butter and jelly sandwich alternatives.

These variations have the same salty-sweet flavors and creamy-cool textures we were raised on, just with a twist. Peanut butter and jelly have never let us down, and it may continue to be a household lunch staple. That doesn't mean you can't explore the benefits of culinary creativity and play with a few funky additions, swaps, and replacements. Heck, we might even experiment in some unconventional ways to use peanut butter, but, in the end, you'll have a stocked repertoire of go-to classic handhelds that you may enjoy just as much as old reliable.

Tahini and dark berry jam

The key to finding the perfect swap for a good ol' PB&J sandwich is to replace each element with similar flavor profiles and mouthfeels. For instance, tahini is dense and creamy, so it makes a fantastic ingredient to try in place of peanut butter. It's made from ground sesame seeds and can be quite thick and sticky with a mildly bitter flavor. Often mixed with a liquid, tahini can become quite creamy, so if you find your tahini hard to spread, whisk it with a bit of water.

Dark berry jam like blueberry, blackberry, current, or dark cherry balance the nutty and bitey flavors of the tahini, and make for a sophisticated, grown-up version of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich we have all grown to love.

Peanut butter, honey, and banana

The peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich could almost be considered the early morning version of PB&J. Making its way onto the brunch scene, this sandwich contains many elements of America's favorite while kicking jam to the curb. Instead of mashed berries, this version contains another sweet fruit to complement the sticky, salty peanut butter.

Bananas and peanut butter are no strangers to each other, so it's no wonder they make a perfect pairing. Our favorite liquid gold, honey, and cinnamon are often added to give the sandwich a boost of sweetness and a spicy kick. We recommend using crunchy, unsweetened peanut butter to balance the natural sugars and add texture. Toasting the bread can also add a satisfying crunch, and can help to strengthen the structure of the well-loved open-face version.

Grilled almond butter and jelly

The toasted almond butter and jelly sandwich is simply PB&J's more successful, grown-up sibling. Made with almond butter, it holds a meatier and grainier mouthfeel than the classic peanut version. Almond butter is worth the added cost, as it is richer, thicker, and nuttier. While you may be used to pairing your nut butter with jam, we recommend giving jelly a try for this version.

Jelly is made from strained fruit, and it doesn't contain skins or seeds. The delicate lightness of jelly pairs beautifully with the deep nuttiness of almond butter, and the two come together to complement each other beautifully. Don't forget to toast (or grill) that bread. There's nothing more satisfying than melting almond butter and jelly, oozing between two crispy slices of crunchy, warm toast.

S'mores sandwich

Camping isn't complete without a crackling fire, blood-curdling ghost stories, and ooey-gooey s'mores. Bring the fun inside with peanut butter and s'mores sandwiches. When looking for sweet treats to swap with jelly, what better replacement than chocolate and marshmallows? Chocolate and peanut butter are a universally loved combination, and with a puffy, fluffy, toasty marshmallow smack-dab in the middle, what could go wrong?

Spread a thick layer of peanut butter onto cinnamon swirl, whole wheat, or white bread. Add your chocolate bar and marshmallow, and use a panini press, hot pan, or oven to do the roasting. Don't forget, the fun goes both ways! Next time you're huddled around the campfire, remember that peanut butter is the surprising ingredient you should start adding to your s'mores.

Peanut butter and maple syrup

If you grew up in New England or Canada, then you know that maple syrup can be used as a sweetener in pretty much anything. From maple lattes to pulled pork, there are many common and unconventional ways to use maple syrup in the kitchen. This sticky sweet syrup has layers of smokey and woody flavors that can enhance almost any dish in a way that cane sugar can't hold a candle to.

Swap jam for maple syrup when putting together the ultimate New England PB&J. Use thick or creamy unsweetened peanut butter, hearty wheat bread, and a drizzle of amber maple syrup. Consider mixing the syrup right into the peanut butter to avoid the syrup from dripping. Use buttered and toasted bread for an unmatched peanut butter and maple syrup sandwich.

Whole fruit PB&J

If you're all about that whole-food plant-based lifestyle, we get it! Somehow, you just feel better after cutting refined sugars and processed junk out of your diet, but that doesn't mean you can't indulge in your favorite sandwich every once and a while. Look for whole fruit jam without added sugars, or better yet, make it yourself by simply boiling down mashed berries.

Consider making your own version of fresh berry jam by mashing or mincing up your favorite fruits, and mixing them with a little maple syrup or honey. Use this paste in place of jam, for the most refreshing peanut butter and jelly sandwich of your life. Seriously, this homemade jam hack changes everything. Round it out by using whole Ezekiel bread, or your own homemade whole-food recipe.

Peanut butter and onion jam burger

Okay, while some of these variations seem familiar or safe, we are just getting started. Ever heard of peanut butter and jam on a burger? That's right, we are throwing meat into the mix with no regrets.

You may have just started to hear whispers about the nutty addition that will change your hamburger forever, though it may still feel like quite a stretch. This truly is one of those "don't knock it until you try it" situations. Peanut butter gives hamburgers a boost of density, creaminess, saltiness, and richness that, until now, we thought couldn't be reached. Our only recommended addition is to include onion jam to the mix to add a balance of sweetness, and a break from the dense mouthfeel of both the meat and peanuts. This is truly not your mother's PB&J.

Peanut butter and apple jelly

When autumn approaches, it seems like food everywhere gets a pumpkin spice facelift, whether we want it to or not. Let's avoid falling into the pumpkin spice trap and tap into some other fall-time classics like apples and cinnamon.

Consider using apple jelly in place of your classic strawberry or raspberry go-to. Apple jelly pairs well with peanut butter, or almond butter, and has a tangier, lighter flavor. Often made with cinnamon, apple jelly has that unforgettable autumn flavor that can transport you to the season of warm flannels, cozy socks, and pumpkin patches.

No apple jam on hand? Try making your own easy ingredient swap for an autumnal PB&J sandwich by mincing apples, and mixing them with cinnamon and maple syrup. Use a few spoonfuls of this mixture for a seasonal twist on a classic.

Peanut butter, cream cheese, and jelly

What is dense like peanut butter, spreadable, mild, and tastes good paired with almost any bread and fruit? Ding, ding, ding! The winner is cream cheese, and it's not here to replace peanut butter, it's here to enhance it. While you can simply swap peanut butter for cream cheese, we'd like to think the more the merrier when it comes to spreads. Peanut butter can majorly upgrade your plain old cream-cheese bagel, and, when it comes to jelly, we have a plethora of flavors to choose from.

Try pairing your peanut butter and cream cheese sandwich with a classic like raspberry jam, or get creative by making red pepper jelly to complement the cream cheese. Really, any jelly that would pair with mild cheese on a charcuterie board is up for consideration. This creamy sandwich should be layered with jelly smack dab in the middle to break up the density of the peanut butter and cream cheese.

Hazelnut butter and chocolate sandwich

While we could just recommend slapping some Nutella on a few slices of bread and calling it a day, we prefer to do things from scratch, and the difference is noticeable. Instead of peanut butter, try getting your hands on a jar of hazelnut spread, or make your own by roasting hazelnuts and grinding them up in a food processor until smooth. If you haven't tried hazelnut butter before, we can assure you it's the right nut butter for you.

Smear on a slice of whole-grain or sourdough bread, and add a dark chocolate bar. Be sure to toast the sandwich on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a panini press in order to ensure the chocolate is good and melted. Use a little butter to add a salty crispness to the outside of the sandwich, and be sure to set aside some time to think to yourself why you haven't tried these peanut butter and jelly sandwich alternatives sooner in life.

Peanut butter, bacon jam, and maple syrup

Maple bacon, meet peanut butter. The salty-sweet combination of maple syrup and bacon has been a breakfast staple throughout time. Who doesn't love it when syrup drips off a pile of fluffy pancakes and makes its way over to the crispy, salty bacon on the side of your plate? It's time to put them together with purpose and add a smear of our favorite nut butter.

Use two slices of fresh sourdough bread, a thick smear of peanut butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a spoonful of maple bacon jam to complete this unique peanut butter and jelly sandwich alternative. If you're feeling extra ambitious, add a few slices of extra crispy maple bacon to the mix, and toast your sandwich in a little bacon fat. This odd-ball combination works quite flawlessly to make an incredibly distinctive sandwich, that might just become your new favorite.

Peanut butter and jam breakfast toast

If there's one thing millennials are known for, it's the ability to make any combination of food into a fancy version of breakfast toast. And it doesn't stop at avocados. Consider making your all-American classic sandwich an early riser.

The first rule in making any sandwich into breakfast toast is to make it open-faced and on quality bread. Use whole grain or sourdough toast, and load it up with peanut butter, jelly, and a plethora of toppings. Try adding hemp or chia seeds, dried fruits like raisins or chopped dates, syrups like honey or maple, and fresh fruits like strawberries or sliced apples. It's all about presentation, so when it comes to toppings, the brighter the better. This truly is a simple way to upgrade your PB&J sandwich, without having to reinvent the wheel.

PB&J on banana bread

Sometimes, it is what's on the outside that counts. We've talked a lot about swapping out your peanut butter and jelly, but not so much about changing up the bread. While we've established that bananas and peanut butter make a fantastic couple, it's time to think about incorporating the fruit in a more subtle way.

Try using brown butter banana bread. Smear your peanut butter and jelly on thick, and then toast the outside in a buttered pan until the bread becomes crispy and holds together sturdily. While this may be better suited for breakfast or dessert because of its added sweetness, it's a surefire way to use up all that extra banana bread and is a recipe you'll want to make again and again.

Peanut butter, bacon, and jelly

One simple addition to your classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich can make it soar. Although this version isn't vegetarian-friendly, it certainly deserves consideration from our meat-eating community. Bacon is salty and dense like peanut butter, and pairs beautifully with anything sweet. Therefore, we believe that bacon deserves a place on this classic sandwich.

Try grilling your peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bacon for the ultimate crunchy, crispy, savory, and sweet handheld that just seems to have it all when it comes to texture and flavor. Although it may seem like an odd pairing, bacon has found its way onto almost any sandwich and is no stranger to sweet dishes including cupcakes, pancakes, and even candy. Try cooking bacon in your oven for a hands-off, quick clean-up version that won't leave your stovetop and backsplash splattered with fat.

Elvis's favorite sandwich

When it comes to peanut butter and jelly sandwich alternatives, Elvis Presley forges the path with his sandwich that sounds like it's straight out of a pregnancy cravings cookbook. His famous peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich, per Southern Living, has gained popularity across the world, with variations sprouting up all around. Some include jelly, some omit banana, and others add cheese, but all included the famous combination of peanut butter and bacon. We recommend starting with the classic peanut butter, banana, and bacon version, and including a little jelly to taste for added sweetness if desired.

It ain't nothin' but a flawless combo of sweet and savory, crispy and smooth. We certainly can't help but fall in love with this recipe. It's one of those sandwiches that's always on our mind, and that's all right.

Peanut butter and jelly french toast sandwich

While PB&J has always been a classic lunchtime handheld, let's not forget about the most important meal of the weekend: brunch. Take your french toast to a whole new level with this easy alternative. Who says you have to stick to white or wheat bread? Mix it up with the sweet flair of french toast, smeared with our favorite combination of peanut butter and jelly, and drizzled with maple syrup.

Have you heard of a brunch option so decedent? Don't attempt to eat this sticky-sweet creation with your hands, as a fork and knife are the only way to go when it comes to french toast peanut butter and jelly. Sprinkle your brunch dish with cinnamon, powdered sugar, or cocoa powder. Top with sliced bananas, or other fresh fruit. And don't forget to smother it all with rich and fluffy whipped cream.

Cookie butter and jam

Why leave all the fun for lunchtime? It's time to take your classic PB&J up a notch and turn it into the dessert of your dreams. Instead of using peanut butter, try turning those leftover cookies into homemade cookie butter by grinding them into a paste, or buying a jar of pre-made cookie butter. That's right, we are recommending that you pair bread with cookies and jam... don't tell your mom! It's the ultimate sugar fest that we're sorry we didn't discover sooner.

Cookie butter has a similar texture to peanut butter but is much sweeter in flavor. If you're used to sweetened peanut butter, this may not be too far of a stretch from the class peanut butter and jelly sandwich you've grown to love, but if you're used to buying Teddy's, then brace yourself for the sugar fest to come. This certainly is our sweetest peanut butter and jelly sandwich alternative and makes for the perfect after-dinner treat.