20 Crunchy, Creamy Ways To Upgrade Your PB&J

20 Crunchy, Creamy Ways to Upgrade Your PB&J

Sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a staple in lunchboxes everywhere, and when we are feeling a bit nostalgic for our earlier years in the school cafeteria, we can't help but make this quick sandwich for lunch.

We are all adults here, so why not elevate this childhood mainstay with some delicious additions from nutritious chia seeds (so you can feel less bad about that sugary jelly) or go all-in with a peanut butter and jelly Monte Cristo that checks all the boxes: salty, sweet, crunchy — and bacon.

We already know we have the (fourth) Earl of Sandwich who lived during the eighteenth century to thank for inventing the bready convenience food, but who put peanut butter and jelly together, and how can we thank them?

According to The Food Timeline, Julia Davis Chandler is responsible for the first known reference to a PB&J in 1901, and it didn't take long to catch on with the kids. Still, in the early 1900s, peanut butter prices were high and this luxury item was reserved for the wealthy, but as the prices dropped, the popularity rose among children of all classes. By the 1920s, when sliced bread was invented, peanut butter and jelly was an unstoppable phenomenon.

Don't fight the nostalgia; instead test out one of our 20 variations on PB&J that are creamy, crunchy, and everything you would want from this iconic sandwich.

Include Bacon

Everything is better with bacon. This hot, melty spin on your childhood favorite with fig jam, bacon, and American cheese will have you wondering why you were making your PB&Js all wrong your whole life. If you're not into American cheese, extra-sharp Cheddar works great here, too. — Suzanne Lehrer

For the Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Bacon Melt recipe, click here.

Make It Spicy

Combine Sriracha and creamy peanut butter for a spreadable, spicy version of your favorite peanut butter and jelly. Sweet, spicy, and salty makes one delicious combination.

For the Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Sriracha recipe, click here.

Add Some Crunch

Yet another way to incorporate healthy chia seeds into your diet. Sprinkle the raw seeds right over top your usual peanut butter and jelly combo for added texture and nutrition.

For the Healthy Seeds Peanut Butter and Jelly recipe, click here.

Sweet and Salty

Granola, pretzels, whatever salty snack you choose, the added saltiness and crunchy texture will make your peanut butter and jelly that much more satisfying.

For the Extra-Crunch Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich recipe, click here.

Add Some Class

Tap into your inner molecular gastronomist with this recipe for jelly caviar served on a bite-sized blini with honey-roasted peanut butter spread.

For the Peanut Butter Blini With Jelly Caviar recipe, click here.

Sushi Sandwich

The perfect faux sushi treat to pack in your kids lunchboxes or pack for eating on-the-go.

For the Peanut Butter and Jelly 'Sushi' recipe, click here.

More Cheese Please

Warm, melty Brie, blueberry jam, and sliced pear make the perfect grilled cheese and PB&J hybrid sandwich.

For the Hybrid PB&J Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Let Them Eat Cake

Use sweet panettone to make this jam-filled French toast with hazelnut and peanut butter spread.

For the Raspberry Jam and Hazelnut Spread-Stuffed Panettone French Toast recipe, click here.

Perfect for Breakfast

This recipe does breakfast right, pairing a beloved staple — French toast — with the delicious combination of peanut butter and jelly. Crave Cooking Light Cookbook

For the French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich recipe, click here.

Heat It Up

This recipe is a great play on the traditional peanut butter sandwich that most children love and enjoy. This particular grilled cheese elevates the original by adding banana and Monterey Jack cheese to create an unexpected flavor combination that creates a new experience for children. — Lauren Gordon

For the Honey Roasted PB & J recipe, click here.

Strive for Perfection

While simple in nature, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be dissected into an art, and if you follow this recipe, you'll make one perfectly, every time. — Anne Dolce

For the Perfect Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich recipe, click here.

Add Some Herbs

Looking to add something green to your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? This recipe uses strawberries and chopped basil for a bright and fresh flavor. Southern Peanut Growers

For the Peanut Butter, Strawberry, and Basil Sandwich recipe, click here.

Ham It Up

Blackberry jam, Applewood-smoked bacon, peanut butter, and fresh bananas are griddled for this PB&J version of a classic Monte Cristo sandwich.

For the King of Monte Cristo recipe, click here.

Elvis Is Alive

This sandwich is, of course, in very dubious taste. But exercising dubious taste is all part of the whimsical hungover experience. And, anyway, this post-modern hymn to American excess between two slices of bread, this portion of rock and roll history, this hearty helping of artery-clogging flimflam, is far more than a mere sandwich — it is a legend. — Milton Crawford

For the Elvis Presley Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Sandwich recipe, click here.

Jelly Rolls

This recipe solves the age-old problem of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich becoming boring. Make these bite-sized pinwheels for a snack or to serve as an appetizer at your next kids' party. — Heirloom Tomatoes

For the PB&J Pinwheels recipe, click here.

Swap Out the Bread

Swap out the traditional bread for a whole wheat tortilla in this recipe. It might sound strange, but trust us, you will be hooked.

For the Peanut Butter and Jelly Spirals recipe, click here.

Creamy Jelly

Swap the Nutella for creamy peanut butter, and whip your jelly with mascarpone for a decadent, sweet flatbread treat.

For the Raspberry-Nutella Naan Pizza recipe, click here.

Add Some Fruit

Skip sticky jelly for in-season berries with your peanut butter sandwich. Add a drizzle of honey to this fresh take on a classic PB&J for sweetness.

Click here for the Peanut Butter and Berries Sandwich recipe, click here.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sauce

A lunch bag-inspired variation on a classic chicken satay. — Greater Boston Gala Girls

For the PB&J Chicken Skewers recipe, click here.

Blenders On

Skip the bread altogether for this post-workout smoothie recipe using high-protein whey, frozen berries, and creamy peanut butter for a healthy twist on the lunchtime classic.

For the PB&J Smoothie recipe, click here.