The Best Things To Add To Your Peanut Butter Sandwich That Aren't Jelly

Very few foods are as entrenched in American society as peanut butter. A product found in more than 90% of U.S. kitchens, according to National Peanut Board, the ubiquitous nature of peanut butter isn't much of a mystery. Beyond the indisputable fact that it's exquisitely delicious, peanut butter is easy to store, easy to use, and cheap. Its history of affordability and availability has made it a mainstay of American cuisine for more than a century, even being used to help ease the burden of meat rationing during World War I (via Smithsonian). And despite its high-calorie count, peanut butter is an exceptionally healthy food, offering a range of nutrients and health benefits — if you avoid the high-sugar, overly-processed varieties advises WebMD.

Peanut butter can be found in appetizers, entrees, and desserts, with recipes from soups to roasted turkey utilizing the ingredient. Of course, while you can use peanut butter in both sweet and savory dishes, nothing tops the classic peanut butter and (fill-in-the-blank) sandwich. Now, when we say fill-in-the-blank, most people default to jelly. But given that there are so many foods that pair well with peanut butter, it feels shortsighted to stick exclusively to that option. Frankly, if you've only ever consumed a peanut butter sandwich with jelly, you haven't yet truly lived. So, with an eye toward expanding your culinary horizons, here are the best things to add to your peanut butter sandwich... that aren't jelly.

Marshmallow crème

If you're from New England, then you don't need us to elaborate on why the fluffernutter may be the best peanut butter sandwich in existence — even surpassing jelly as an option. But for those of you who've never experienced the delightfully gooey combo of peanut butter and Fluff — or any other brand of marshmallow crème spread — stop what you're doing, and find a way to try one ASAP.

Frankly, it's a wonder this classic regional sandwich hasn't overtaken its jelly-filled counterpart on the national leaderboard. Perhaps the enthusiastic adoration for the fluffernutter — which is so ingrained in that region's cultural lexicon that it was added to the dictionary in 2021 (via — is truly limited to New England, and much of the nation remains in the dark about this legendary creation. For the uninitiated, consider how fantastic the melted center of a roasted marshmallow tastes; add peanut butter, and you'll get a sandwich that's good at any time, for any meal.

Whether you go for the original Somerville, Massachusetts-based brand Fluff or not, you won't be disappointed with this sandwich. And soon enough, you'll be wondering whether you ever needed jelly in the first place.


One of the healthiest foods at our disposal, peanut butter has the ability to be a monumental component of a well-rounded meal plan. It's high in protein and fiber, and studies have shown it can reduce one's risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (via WebMD). Frankly, if you're looking to ditch jelly from your peanut butter sandwich to truly embrace its nutritional value, there may be no better replacement for the sugary-fruit byproduct than bananas.

You really can't go wrong when you combine fruit and peanut butter, and with their soft-yet-robust texture and subtle sweetness, bananas have a strong case for being the best match out there for the nutty spread. Plus, since bananas themselves are also nutritional powerhouses, adding them to your peanut butter sandwich can make for a well-rounded and filling meal or snack, as  Livestrong points out.

Of course, as this is America, there's no shortage of ways to take something superbly healthy and destroy any and all nutritional value in the name of increased deliciousness. So if you're inclined to up the decadence factor in your peanut butter and banana sandwich, take inspiration from Elvis Presley's alleged favorite snack, add bacon and cheese, then pan fry it in butter.


Ants on a log have for decades been a beloved childhood snack and go-to option for beleaguered parents desperate to improve their child's nutritional intake beyond chicken nuggets and snack cakes. The utter simplicity, ease, and cost associated with this snack, with raisin "ants" dotting peanut butter smeared onto a celery "log," explains why it's become such an iconic aspect of so many Americans' childhoods, as Michigan State University explains.

It's no surprise that peanut butter much improves the bland, nearly-flavorless profile of celery, which adds a pleasantly fresh crunch to the otherwise texturally-lacking food. But the clear reason why "ants on a log" works so well with kids is the ants, or raisins — AKA nature's candy, as a pre-Brat Pack Molly Ringwald called them. The combination of raisins' sweet taste and chewy texture makes them a fantastic foil for the salty creaminess of peanut butter, so it stands to reason that the duo will work on any canvas, whether it's on a celery stick or in a sandwich.

Perhaps it never crossed your mind to combine peanut butter and raisins on a sandwich. Yet it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? After all, the wonderful flavor found between peanut butter and raisins isn't reliant on celery. So feel free to ditch the lighter, less-filling celery for the heartier option of two slices of bread. Or don't skip the celery, but chop some up, and add it to a peanut butter and raisin sandwich instead.


If you're a superfan of jelly in any or all flavors, you may be aware that jelly has a smooth and silky texture because it's made with fruit juice rather than the fruit itself, explains Eater. Similarly, if you've ever gone to the grocery store, you've likely noticed most jellies are derived from berries, be it one kind, or a mix of several varieties.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, for those of you eager to replace jelly in your peanut butter sandwiches without reinventing the wheel, what better way to start that shift than with berries — otherwise known as jelly in its whole, pre-processed form. It may not have the added sugar found in jars of jelly, but truthfully that's a good thing since Americans eat far too much added sugar already. Besides, the inherent sweetness of fresh berries makes any added sugars superfluous, meaning fresh berries can be a delicious (and possibly undetectable) replacement for jelly (via Driscoll's).

Rather than nitpick between types of berries, we'll lump them all together, as adding any berry to your peanut butter sandwich — whether it's strawberries, blueberries, or any other variety — will leave you sufficiently satisfied.


Unless you've been living under a rock for the entirety of your life (which, for your sake, we hope you haven't), you likely know how heavenly the combination of peanut butter and chocolate can be. It would be an egregious understatement to declare this combo merely well-liked, because you'd be hard-pressed to find another food pairing more beloved. After all, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups aren't just popular in this country: they were the best-selling Halloween candy in the U.S. as of 2021 (via Candy Store).

Since there's no confusion over what peanut butter and chocolate tastes like when combined, there's a fairly simple replacement for jelly: chocolate hazelnut spread. Mostly known from the brand, Nutella, chocolate hazelnut spread makes a wondrous addition to any peanut butter sandwich. And the additional flavor of hazelnut isn't detrimental, since it (surprise, surprise) meshes quite well with peanut butter — even if peanuts aren't technically nuts, but legumes, as Harvard Health clarifies.

For anyone eager to adapt their love of peanut butter and chocolate to sandwich form, the addition of chocolate hazelnut spread won't let you down, whether it's sandwiched between bread slices, or mixed together in the bread itself.


Sometimes, a thing that seems incomprehensibly bizarre at first glance isn't as inconceivable once you start digging in. So while you may not initially jump to the idea of adding cheese to your peanut butter sandwich, the fact remains that peanut butter and cheese have a history of working well together. Frankly, the notion of a peanut butter and cheese sandwich shouldn't be that hard to fathom, given the existence of the popular peanut-butter-and-cheese crackers snack. Though it may be difficult to pinpoint why, exactly, this snack cracker combo works so well, as Spoon University ponders, there's no denying that it is a delightful flavor mashup.

If you're opting for a cold sandwich, consider a nuttier-tasting cheese, which is likely to compliment the obvious nuttiness found in peanut butter. But if you want to make the most of your cheese and peanut butter sandwich, consider going the grilled cheese route, as you just may find your mind blown by the sandwich's "savory sweetness," according to USA Today.


Everything's better with bacon, right? This phrase has become such a well-known commandment in our culture, that the video game, "Halo Wars," has an unlockable achievement called "Everything's Better with Bacon" (via TrueAchievements). Of course, just because you hear something over and over doesn't necessarily make it true... though in this case, a piece of salty, smoky, crispy-yet-chewy bacon does, in fact, make everything a little bit better.

Most likely, given the widespread understanding that bacon improves every meal it touches, you may have heard about bacon and peanut butter being combined on a sandwich before. The presence of both items can be found in numerous food items, from the newly trendy peanut butter bacon burgers — all the rage in 2022, according to Bloomberg — to a twist on the classic PB&J.

Regardless of any additional accouterments, though, there's no denying that one of the best things to add to your peanut butter sandwich is bacon. The result will always be a delightfully sweet and savory concoction, one you'll never find yourself walking away from unsatisfied.


Did you see the word mayonnaise and do a double-take? Surely that's some sort of typo, you presumed, because how in the world could any rational person believe mayo is one of the best things to add to your peanut butter sandwich in lieu of jelly? If that was your reaction, then you clearly aren't from the south, where this traditional sandwich isn't just well-known: it has a long and storied history in southern U.S. cuisine.

Something of a comfort food in the region, this uniquely unorthodox sandwich can be traced back to the Great Depression, per Garden&Gun. Precisely why someone first thought to combine these two ingredients is unclear, though a lack of other available food options appears a likely reason. Yet some speculate there may be another, far simpler explanation, since mayo tops all other condiments in the south. According to food writer and cookbook author, Sheri Castle, as stated in HuffPost, "a lot of people are going to start with getting a jar of mayonnaise out of the fridge" when making a sandwich, regardless of the type. In other words, for many people in the south, mayo goes on every sandwich, and peanut butter is no exception. No matter where you stand on the desirability of a mayonnaise and peanut butter sandwich, one thing is clear: it may be the quintessential example of contrasting culinary preferences between subsections of the United States.


As we're all well aware, it's hard to find a fruit that doesn't mix harmoniously with peanut butter. And since we're not here to discover those anomalies, but rather to highlight the best things to add to a peanut butter sandwich, we'll focus on another fruit that can easily replace jelly: apples. We all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and when you throw peanut butter into the mix? You'll only be increasing the nutritional profile for both of these exceptionally healthy foods. Healthline emphasizes that the combination of peanut butter and apples can aid your digestive health, help with blood sugar regulation, and reduce inflammation throughout your body.

Yet the health impact found from adding apples to your peanut butter sandwich is only one piece of the equation. The other, perhaps more crucial reason, is the undeniable fact that the creamy, salty nuttiness of peanut butter mixes perfectly with an apple's crisp sweetness. It's not a surprising or unexpected flavor addition, since fresh apples will always pair well with peanut butter. So if you're sick of jelly, go nuts with a few slices of apple on your peanut butter sandwich. Whichever variety of apple you fancy, you'll be happy with the results.


Realistically, whether or not you'll enjoy honey added to your peanut butter sandwich depends on your palate and the type of peanut butter at your disposal. If you're using a standard brand of peanut butter, such as Skippy or Jif, and there's already added sugar in the product, the addition of honey may be too cloyingly sweet for some to handle. However, if you opt for a peanut butter variety with an ingredient list of just "peanuts" and nothing else, then adding honey to your sandwich may be one of the best decisions you can make.

Given the fact that honey is a naturally-occurring, liquid-sugar product, it's perfectly logical that adding it to a peanut butter sandwich will act as a perfect sweetener, particularly for a peanut butter formula that has no added sugar. Additionally, honey is known to contain high levels of antioxidants and can provide a sweet and healthy addition to your sandwich (via WebMD).

You don't need to be Winnie-the-Pooh-level obsessed with honey, though, to enjoy it on your peanut butter sandwich. And whether you're opting for raw honey (which, according to Healthline may have a higher nutrient level than the more common pasteurized options) or otherwise, you'll be pleased with your decision as you chow down.

Cream cheese

If you're a fan of cheesecake, and you're a fan of peanut butter — and, realistically, how can you not be — then you should strongly consider adding cream cheese to your peanut butter sandwich. In essence, when you combine these two ingredients together, it results in a deconstructed peanut butter cheesecake between two slices of bread.

Frankly, we're salivating at the very idea of a slice of cheesecake in a sandwich, even if it sounds like a heavy, high-calorie option. But therein lies the glory of adding cream cheese to a peanut butter sandwich; while the flavor profile of peanut butter cheesecake comes through, the bottom line is that it's not actually cheesecake, so overindulgence is less of a concern.

It may not be as well-known or used as the combination of cream cheese and jelly — either sweet jellies or the common appetizer with red pepper jelly — but cream cheese with peanut butter offers a "salty contrast" not found with jelly, according to Reddit user, u/penultimate-tumult.

Pulled pork

When it comes to the best things to add to a peanut butter sandwich that aren't jelly, we may have been a bit neglectful of savory components in assembling this list. But just because there may be more sweet-leaning suggestions to consider doesn't mean there aren't any entree-type options. And, like its pig-derived cousin in bacon, one of the best additions to your peanut butter sandwich can be pulled pork.

Not unlike the way peanut butter compliments a warm burger so well by melting down into a type of sauce, as Bloomberg points out, the addition of peanut butter to a pulled pork sandwich can be illuminating. Peanut butter works so well with pulled pork, in fact, that some may not even notice its addition. They'll just be amazed at the delicious flavors dancing in their mouth. 

The key to this unexpected pair delighting your taste buds is in the way in which you serve it. Make sure you combine peanut butter with warm pulled pork, as this allows the peanut butter to thin out and coat the pork, creating an irresistible combination you won't forget.


"Come on, now," you might be thinking, "this is supposed to be a list of potential additions to your peanut butter sandwich besides jelly." Look, we understand that reaction. But before you throw up your hands and reject this option, consider that preserves and marmalade are distinctly different from jelly, despite their obvious similarities.

Preserves are made from whole fruits, with large chunks usually remaining in the final product, whereas jelly is made from fruit juice and is strained after the cooking process to ensure it is completely smooth (via Fine Cooking). Marmalade differs from jelly in the same way, as it is simply the citrus variety of preserves (via Eater).

Essentially, a clear and distinctive difference exists between jelly, preserves, and marmalade. But given the fact that preserves and marmalade are made the same way, we'll combine these two choices as one to appease any sticklers. All things considered, though, if you're looking for a similar item to jelly to balance out peanut butter, but would like just a bit more textural excitement, add some preserves or marmalade to your sandwich.