Peanut Butter and Apple Butter Sandwich: A Fall Twist on a Childhood Fave

Can a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich stand up to the original PB&J?

Published Oct. 19, 2021.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been in the news, as you may have noticed. Several Sundays ago, during a rain delay at the Kansas City/Buffalo NFL game, players were served PB&Js in the locker room. There were reports of player complaints about the ratio of peanut butter to jelly, and soon there was a national debate about what makes an ideal PB&J.

Speaking personally, it’s not the ratio that’s important. I might be in the minority opinion, but my favorite jelly for a PB&J isn’t strawberry or grape. It’s apple. Stay with me.

My grandparents kept a menagerie of preserves, jams, and jellies. Though they had the typical grape and strawberry, I preferred apple jelly’s light, complementary flavor. After all, it’s not so strange to slather peanut butter on apple slices, right? 

As for the sandwich, my tastes were simple: potato bread, chunky peanut butter, and apple jelly. Sometimes my grandfather would toast it up with a bit of butter, but that was a special treat.

PB&J Bars

In this cookie version of the favorite pairing, a fruity jam center brightens the flavor of a sturdy but soft peanut butter shortbread base that doubles as a cobbler-style topping for this rich, satisfying bar cookie. Learn the recipe today.  

Since apple jelly is hard to find, the recent hullabaloo about PB&J had me thinking about other apple spreads. What about apple butter? 

Well, I went to the store, picked up a jar of apple butter on sale, and made a sandwich: two toasted slices of multigrain bread, a medium layer of crunchy peanut butter on one side, and a generous layer of apple butter on the other. The results were just OK. I cooked down the store-bought stuff with a touch of cider and added a little cinnamon and clove. 

The next sandwich: two toasted slices of good brown bread from a certain favorite restaurant, a liberal layer of my spiced apple butter, and the same amount and type of peanut butter. Diagonal cut, naturally. The new combination exceeded my expectations. It had a depth of apple flavor I really enjoyed boosted by the toasty fall flavors from the additional spices and cider.

My advice? Make your own apple butter. That way, you can alter it to suit your needs based on sweetness and spices (cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg being my personal favorites). 

PB&AB: It’s like a seasonal version of my favorite childhood snack. You should try it.

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