- PB&Js have made their way into the homes and hearts of many Americans.
- Because of the deep connection, there is actually a pretty strong ongoing debate about the right way of making this classic sandwich.
- INSIDER asked several chefs how to make the best PB&J and one thing they agreed on is that high-quality ingredients are essential.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
If you grew up in America, chances are that you grew up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This explains why the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is so near and dear to many peoples’ hearts, so much so that there has been strong debate regarding the proper way of making this classic sandwich.
To help settle this debate once and for all, INSIDER spoke to several chefs to find out what they think the best way of making a PB&J looks like. Here’s what they said:
Chefs agree that the best bread for a PB&J is classic white.
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Ingredient quality is arguably the most important thing to consider when making the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich, according to James Furnish, executive chef, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Kapalua, Maui. It’s ideal to use homemade or locally made ingredients as much as possible, he said, and it starts with the bread.
For Chef Furnish, he likes uses two slices of homemade, classic white bread – keyword being homemade. If you don’t have the time to make your own bread, don’t worry, you’re not out of luck. According to Carey Bringle, pitmaster and owner of Peg Leg Porker in Nashville, just about any classic white bread that’s soft will also suffice.
“A fresh, white bread is the best way to start – something like Wonder Bread! Got to have the stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth vibe,” Bringle told INSIDER.
Homemade peanut butter makes all the difference.
- Photo-Dave/ iStock
After you’ve picked out your bread, you can get to the meat of the sandwich – the peanut butter. The best option is to actually make your own, according to executive chef of Proper Food, Juan Munoz, and it’s so fun and simple.
“This way, you can control the sweetness and consistency, whether you like it smoother or chunkier,” Munoz explained. “You can sweeten with any host of natural sweeteners like agave, maple syrup, honey etc., and can avoid the preservatives and refined sugar of store-bought peanut butter.”
Again, if you’re not able to go homemade, look for a salted natural crunchy peanut butter that’s fresh ground if possible, Furnish suggested.
Go for a flavorful preserve or consider adding a hint of spice.
Once you’ve made your peanut butter, it’s time to choose a jelly or jam. One option is to go classic by choosing a strawberry or raspberry preserve. Just note that the jelly must be very flavorful so you don’t have to use too much. Otherwise, it will make the bread soggy, according to Matthew McPherson, chef and owner of The Noodle Bar by Iterum Foods.
“A strawberry preserve from last season’s late harvest gives added sweetness and flavor and utilizes used fruit or ugly fruit,” McPherson told INSIDER.
Alternatively, you can add a hint of spice to your sandwich for a spin on the classic PB&J, Bringle recommended, such as a strawberry jalapeño jam or a peach habanero jam.
“I get mine from our local farmers market here in Nashville. A tiny drizzle of spice here will go a long way,” Bringle said.
Toast just one side of your bread.
This next step may throw some people off, but it makes all the difference in the end result. The trick is to toast just one side of the bread, according to Furnish, and then put the PB&J together with the toasted sides on the inside.
“Toasting one side will add more texture and flavor. And having it on the inside will protect the roof of your mouth,” Furnish told INSIDER.
The peanut butter to jelly ratio is most important.
The next step is perfecting the peanut butter to jelly ratio, an essential component in making the perfect PB&J, Munoz said.
“The secret is putting peanut butter on both halves of the bread. There should only be enough jam to taste the fruit, but the peanut butter should be the showcase,” Munoz told INSIDER.
Step up your PB&J by adding a few extra ingredients.
Finally, to truly get a chef-inspired PB&J, you have to add a few extra ingredients to make this sandwich shine.
Consider adding a little salt (to your taste) and some balsamic syrup, Furnish suggested, for an adult twist on a timeless childhood classic.
Other popular additions include bananas, chocolate chips, and marshmallow fluff.