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How to Freeze & Use Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

I know what you’re thinking… really Amanda?? Did you have nothing else to write about today? It’s not that, really, I swear! I’m actually quite surprised at how many people are unaware of the magnificent time saver: frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

I have 4 kids. Over the years, I have made more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sack lunches for school than I care to count. I learned this little time saving tip probably 7 or 8 years ago and have been doing it ever since.

If you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for you child’s school lunch, this will save you a considerable amount of time each morning. The first trick to a great PB&J, one that doesn’t end up with jelly seeping through the bread, is this:

On one side of the bread you spread your peanut butter, then on the other side, put a thin layer of peanut butter. On that thin layer, add a layer of jelly. The peanut butter acts as a “raincoat” and the jelly does not soak through the bread.

I buy an extra loaf of bread just for this purpose (please note, the pictures only show half a loaf as I needed to make more and that’s what I had on hand). I do an assembly line of sandwiches, then when they are all made, I slip each one into a plastic sandwich bag. Then you put each sandwich back inside the bread bag. Store the bread bag in the freezer.

When it comes time to make little Johnny’s lunch in the morning, take one sandwich out of the bag and put it into his lunch bag. By the time lunchtime rolls around at school, his sandwich is perfectly thawed and tastes great.

No, they will not be soggy when they thaw out. This is the MOST common question I receive about this method. And yes, they still taste good! This according to my kids. :)

I even appeared on a local news station once and shared this, among several other time saving tips for back to school such as:

  • Buy a bag of chips or pretzels dedicated to lunches. Make up individual baggies of snacks (zipper bags are best for this) and place them back into the empty chip bag. Each morning you just reach in and grab one.
  • Cut carrots and celery into sticks and store in baggies.
  • Buy small fruits such as clementines and grapes, or dried fruits such as dried cranberries and raisins, and make up individual baggies.
  • You can also freeze sandwiches with deli meats, such as ham, turkey, bologna and salami. Make baggies of a piece of lettuce and an individually wrapped piece of cheese to toss in the lunch bag with the frozen sandwich. You can also buy mustard and mayonnaise packets from places like Costco, Sam’s Club and restaurant supply stores.
  • To keep jelly from oozing out the bottom of the sandwich, after placing everything inside the lunch bag, place sandwich on top laying flat. Standing it up can cause the jelly to leak out the bottom as it thaws.

So there you have it. :) I’m curious, did you already know about the frozen PB&J trick? Or did you learn something new today?


I submitted this to Tip Me Tuesday

Me

100 Responses to How to Freeze & Use Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

  1. 1
    April says:

    Thank you for posting this! I had no idea that you could freeze them. I see the frozen ones in the store that are so expensive so I never buy them. My son takes PB and Jelly every day. This will be a great time saver!

  2. 2
    learningtocookeatandenjoydeliciousfood says:

    I never heard of this before and I think that I am going to have to try that this weekend as I prepare my meals for this week!! I always used to eat PB&J when I was a kid, but dont have time to make them these days!! ;(

  3. 3
    dawn says:

    i do this too! i have no kids, but a hungry hubby and myself. i do this with egg & cheese breakfast sammies too. lol

  4. 4
    Susan says:

    No way! I have 5 kids and wake up at 6:00 every morning to start the assembly line lunches. Except I'm the only worker on this assembly line. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea to pieces and I'm so going to try it. I'm really excited to try this out.
    I have to laugh though. Have you ever read Calvin and Hobbs? My youngest son reprimanded me yesterday for putting a meat and cheese bagel sandwich in his lunch instead of the beloved PB&J. I just thought a little variety would be nice. Not in his case.

  5. 5
    Aly says:

    I actually make homemade "uncrustables" for my kids and freeze those! It is a fantastic and quick trick for easy snacking or lunch!

  6. 6
    cookies and cups says:

    I do this too! Whenever I tell people they are like, really?? It is such a great tip and huge time saver! People are gonna thank you for this!

  7. 7
    Risa says:

    You taught me something new today! My little girl isn't into pb&j just yet but I still love this tip!

  8. 8
    Tiffiny Felix says:

    I love this! The frozen ones at the store kill me for how much they cost. I remember when they first came out, "Really? *Really*?!" And then my older sister showed up with some on one of her visits. I was shocked, and gave her an appropriately hard time ;) Also, I never thought about putting the PB on both sides of the bread to keep the jam in. Genius!! :)

  9. 9
    Jenn @ BentoForKidlet says:

    I knew about freezing peanut butter and jelly and it is one of my favorite time savers for a busy morning! I keep a lot of lunchbox ready staples in the freezer!

  10. 10
    jillbert says:

    Very interesting! I don't have kids, but I may try this for my own lunches! I don't like scrambling to get my lunch together the night before, or worse, in the morning when I'm trying to get out the door.

  11. 11
    Becky says:

    um… this is awesome! when i have kiddos of my own i'm SO going to take a page out of this book!

    thx!

  12. 12
    Heidi says:

    Thanks for the great idea! I buy my daughter those frozen ones that are WAY to expensive to save time in the morning. Next weeks lunches with be made with these instead. Thanks for saving me some money :)

  13. 13
    Amy E. says:

    I had not heard of this, nor even thought it could be done and still taste good. I also like the ideas in the list for hints. Evidently to one of my kids there is no other kind of sammie cept' a PB&J. Fine by me, takes out the guess work!

  14. 14
    Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Definitely learned something new. Wondering whether I can convince my husband to start taking these to work, I find making his sandwiches so dull, if I could make them in bulk once a week….. I don't think he's going to buy it somehow!!! My 2 year old might like them though when he is bit bigger and goes to school – only the "food police" in UK schools might send stroppy letter home in his lunchbox if I give him same thing every day!

  15. 15
    Leslie says:

    Great idea. I mean they sell those "Crustables" at the store..but I have never thought to do it myself! Thanks for the SUPER idea! What a time saver in the morning!

  16. 16
    Megan says:

    Sadly, we don't do pb&j at our house (nut allergies), but I do buy the big bags of chips/pretzels and individually bag them ahead of time for their lunches.

    There are days when I wish their school had a cafeteria.

  17. 17
    HoneyB says:

    Amanda you have great tips! Oh, and I love to eat PB&J and so does Grumpy! He has taken them in his lunch box many times!

  18. 18
    Amanda says:

    April – thanks! Hope you like them better than the store bought :)

    learningtocookeatandenjoydeliciousfood – it's definitely worth the effort and really doesn't take too long!

    dawn – see I knew I wasn't the only one! LMAO

    Susan – LOL Oh yes, I have heard that rant before. it wasn't until high school that my daughter showed an interest in deli meats!

    Aly – Excellent!!

    cookies and cups – Isn't it funny how people react? I did the same thing when I first learned about it.

    Risa – just remember, don't tell them, they'll never know. She'll love it!

    Tiffiny Felix – thanks! that second layer of PB makes a huge difference ;)

    Jenn @ BentoForKidlet – so helpful isn't it?? :)

    jillbert – I'm with you sista! At night I just want to relax :-p

    Becky – Thanks Becky! it'll save you lots of time :)

    Heidi – you bet! Always happy to help a fellow mom save moola :)

    Amy E. – I used to do the deli meats for hubby. He never complained!

    Sarah, Maison Cupcake – the secret here is not telling them that you freeze them. Don't offer that information and there will be no preconceived notions on their part ;)

    Leslie – yep yep! Hope you try it :)

    Megan – while you can't do tuna this way, you can do lunch meat!

    HoneyB – Thanks Shelby, I appreciate it! :)

  19. 19
    Culinary Cory says:

    I totally learned something new today. I don't really have a need to freeze PB&J in mass quantities. But if I ever do, I know where to turn.

  20. 20
    noble pig says:

    This is a great idea! I would never have thought about doing that!

  21. 21
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks Amanda, What a great idea, especially spreading a thin layer of PB before the jelly so it wont seep through. Going to give it a try.

  22. 22
    Jacque says:

    Well, now, I learned something today thanks to you. Now all I need to do is get my kids to like PB&J's, LOL.

  23. 23
    Amanda says:

    Cory – well you see, even without kids you learned something new! ;)

    Cathy – It's definitely worth he extra few minutes :)

    Anonymous – Thanks! That second layer of PB makes a huge difference!

  24. 24
    Amanda says:

    Jacque – LOL! Well there's always freezing deli meats! ;)

  25. 25
    Jelli Bean says:

    New to me! Good idea. I love pb and j.

  26. 26
    biz319 says:

    I had no idea – I would have thought they would be soggy by lunch time! I don't like PB&J's, but my daughter does – I learned something new today!

  27. 27
    Chow and Chatter says:

    wow thats kind of cool to know i don't like them but i am a Brit have a lovely weekend

  28. 28
    Tasty Eats At Home says:

    It's funny – it seems like such an obvious solution, but I've never thought of such a great time-saver. Amanda, you're a genius!

  29. 29
    Barbara Bakes says:

    This is definitely a new trick to me! If I'd have known this earlier, maybe my kids wouldn't have been force to take hot lunch at school!

  30. 30
    Susan says:

    I make lunches every night for the hubby and I and love the idea of making a week's worth of lunches at one time. Knowing I can do it with lunch meats is great. Thanks for the super tips Amanda!

  31. 31
    Amanda says:

    Thanks all :) I hope it's helped some of you!

  32. 32
    jill blevins says:

    You are amazing! I'm now your new fan. Thank you for sharing.

  33. 33
    Wrecking Belle says:

    Woah! I had no idea about this! I love to eat peanut (or almond) butter, honey, and cinnimon sandwiches, but never have time in the morning to make them for lunchtime at work. This trick will totally be tried in my house. Hope it works for me!

  34. 34
    Amanda says:

    Thank you Jill!! :)

    Belle – Hope it works for you too! Been working here for years :)

  35. 35
    Don says:

    I am shocked all you moms are able to send peanut butter to school. And jealous!

  36. 36
    Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" says:

    I've never thought to freeze my own, but have seen them in the stores. My kids aren't big on PB & J though, but maybe if I cookie cutter shape-cut them, then freeze they might just eat them! =)

  37. 37
    Suzanne says:

    Another new wrinkle for my brain. Awesome idea!

  38. 38
    Rexanne Mancini says:

    I had no idea!

    I will be sharing this tip (and linking) with my site visitors!

    Thank you SO much for posting this.

  39. 39
    Amanda says:

    Thanks Rexanne! :)

  40. 40
    Jersey Girl Cooks says:

    Great idea! I learned something new! I wonder if it works with Nutella since my son doesn't eat jelly. I always put the PB on both sides of the bread…it works great.

  41. 41
    Amanda says:

    I can't see any reason why Nutella wouldn't work :)

  42. 42
    marla says:

    Amanda, love that you share this simple but very valuable technique with us. I do put ready made sandwiches in the fridge, but no the freezer. love the idea of the PB as a sealant.

  43. 43
    Anonymous says:

    Great idea. I will have to try it. My daughter came up with a great snack idea. You put pb & j between 2 graham crackers and freeze them and eat them cold. They are soooo good.

  44. 44
    Deeba PAB says:

    You are a mad genius!! Love ya!

  45. 45
    Anonymous says:

    seriously how long does it take to make a pb&j sandwich?

  46. 46
    Amanda says:

    Anonymous – It's not a matter of how much time it takes, it's a matter of having one less thing to do in a busy morning when trying to get out the door. Thanks for your feedback though ;)

  47. 47
    Anonymous says:

    My Mom used to make these for my sister in the 1980's (I always hated peanut butter and had to make my own sandwiches). Interesting tidbit–I read that Smucker's tried to patent their frozen PB&J for having PB on both sides to prevent the jelly from leaking. In a move I felt incredibly reasonable for the patent system, they were turned down because it was common sense.

  48. 48
    Jaki says:

    Hi! How long do the frozen sandwiches last for?

  49. 49
    Amanda says:

    Hi Jaki, that's a good question. I've had mine in there as long as two weeks as I usually make a loaf at a time and some days my kids eat the school's hot lunch. I'm sure they would probably be fine for up to a month.

  50. 50
    Ludicrous Mama says:

    You can buy a sandwich-pocket maker from Pampered Chef to make them look like the store-bought frozen kinds, or an UnKrustables (I got mine on Amazon) for a square version. Super fun, and helps keep the jelly in. Another fun idea would be to use cookie cutters or sandwich cutters (like Lunch Punch and Evriholder – both on Amazon) to make the sandwiches into shapes before freezing. I use mini cutters on lunch meats and cheese, then freeze in snack baggies, and thaw out and add crackers for my own Lunchables too. (I have the deli custom slice my meat at twice their normal thickness, a '2' on our deli's machine, to help them hold their shape better, and be thicker like the cheese and Lunchables meat.)

    • 50.1
      maria says:

      I never knew you could do lunch meat and cheese in the freezer. I have often wondered but thought it would turn out funny when it thawed. I like the idea of lunchablss but think they are full of to many additives. I think I might try this

  51. 51
    Anonymous says:

    I love this idea! We are going to another town two hours away for a zoo trip and I like to bring pb and j's all the time!! thank you so much!! :)

  52. 52
    Ruthie says:

    You are a ROCKSTAR!! I am 7 months pregnant and my 2 other kids are about to start school next week. I am doing some research to try to figure out how to make lunches every night more easily. I'm really actually hoping to get my 7 y.o. and 4 y.o. to make them themselves! But I thought I'd make a bunch of PBJs for them to throw in, and googled instructions on how to make & freeze them. I was hoping some brilliant Mommy would have shared her secret with the world! Thanks so much! I might survive this back-to-school and newborn baby season after all!! :)

  53. 53
    Amanda says:

    Hey Ruthie, that's awesome! So glad you were able to find it and it was helpful! Congrats on the new baby :)

  54. 54
    Anonymous says:

    my daughter was with me at the grocery store the other day, and was complaining cause I wouldn't buy her uncrustables. I told her that surely I can make these and freeze them myself for a lot cheaper than that. Thanks for the tips. I am trying to make after school snacking easier, since I am not always home when they get out of school.

  55. 55
    Amanda says:

    I think it's Pampered Chef (?) that sells a sandwich crimper and you can make your own uncrustables using the method above and the crimper.

  56. 56
    Anonymous says:

    Shame on me, I buy the uncrustables to save time… new trick for sure… as well as a $$ saver! Thank you for sharing!!!

  57. 57
    Vanessa says:

    Thanks SO much! I have been spending a ton on those Smuckers ones at the store and my daughter love pb&j sandwiches, so they go QUICK. I’m going to try this this weekend! Thanks again!

  58. 58
    Laura says:

    Thanks for posting this! I am using a cookie cutter to make Mickey Mouse-shaped PB&J for my daugther’s third birthday party. Knowing that I don’t have to wait until the morning of the party to make these is a giant relief!

  59. 59
    Liz Callens says:

    I just found this and can’t wait to get it done this weekend and save us some time in the mornings! Thanks!!!!!

  60. 60
    Jessica says:

    This is a great idea, I’m actually doing PB&J’s as part of the menu for my daughters 1st birthday. I have a Mickey Mouse sandwich cutter and I’ve been thinking how am I going to make them and have them “fresh” but yet make them ahead of time. Now I know! Thanks a bunch!

  61. 61
    Holli says:

    Super great idea! We already do the circle pb&js – cut them with a cookie cutter. But freezing them is such a great time saver – PLUS it will act as a bit of a cooling agent in the lunch box, keeping food cool. Awesome – thanks!

  62. 62
    Steve Iversen says:

    I am in corporate sales and have been for many years, so I am out and about most days. I eat several PB sandwiches every day. I just eat one whenever I get hungry. I will be freezing some tonight and trying this for the first time. Also, for those with weight battles, I don’t know if it is coincidence, but am in my 50s and I go through about a jar of PB every two days. I have always been slim and sometimes have trouble keeping weight on, and my cholesterol has always been good
    Maybe all the PB does it, who knows?

    • 62.1
      Amanda Formaro says:

      Awesome Steve! not sure if that contributes or not, but it’s great you are doing so well :) I’ve been doing this for many, many years. Just pulled one out of the freezer this morning for my youngest son’s lunch :)

  63. 63

    [...] be packaged ahead of time.Menu: Pb & J Sandwiches cut into dog shapes with a cookie cutter (freezing instructions if you want to make these ahead of time)Annie’s Cheddar BunniesBaby Carrots (ie. bunny [...]

  64. 64
    Boshka Diaz says:

    This is awesome ! I love you post! I have 3 kids on my own under 5, 3 & 2. I really appreciate the tip :)

  65. 65
    amber says:

    I wish I had seen this at the beginning of summer for all of our picnics. Thanks great tip had no idea.

  66. 66
    Anne says:

    Thank you for posting this! I look forward to trying it!

  67. 67

    [...] a mum of 4 Amanda’s Cookin knows what she is talking about… and if making and freezing sandwiches ahead of time helps, [...]

  68. 68
    jessica massey says:

    This is a great idea! Totally making these this weekend! Do you think i could cut the crust off? before freezing?

    • 68.1
      Amanda says:

      Hi jessica :) Yes of course, you can certainly cut them off. Some people even use cookie cutters or those special “Uncrustables” makers, I think Pampered Chef sells them?

  69. 69

    [...] Month Mom offers 5 meals to freeze for school lunches in her Back to School Mini Menu.How to freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwichesHomemade granola barsTuna sandwichesNo bake energy bitesHam pinwheelsFrozen Fruit CupsHam and Cheese [...]

  70. 70
    sandra says:

    i’m going to start doing this!!! :D thank you
    ;0

  71. 71
    Kristen says:

    How long will they stay good in the freezer? Otherwise, when is the expiration date?? :)

  72. 72
    Jennifer K says:

    This is great! I’m totally going to do this. I’m thought about it, but never heard of anyone doing it. Sounds great! I’m going to start my assembly line!

  73. 73
    debbie bosak says:

    I put Nutella on one side, peanut butter on the other and bananas in the middle of it all!!!

  74. 74
    Suzie says:

    This sounds great. I’d tried some before, but the jelly seeped through. Can’t wait to try again with pb on both sides. Also, when it comes to freezing ham sandwiches, can you freeze mustard if its in between 2 pieces of ham, and can you freeze the cheese on the sandwich?

  75. 75

    [...] How and Why to Freeze Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches [...]

  76. 76
    Michelle says:

    I have been making frozen peanut butter and peanut butter & honey sandwiches for a couple of years…my kids don’t like jelly! I make them special by calling them our special “uncrustables” and take the crust off! I usually make a loaf of sandwiches every couple of weeks…great for lunch or quick meal/snack!

  77. 77

    thanks for the great ideas! I did not know the frozen PB&J trick. I’ve done the “split chips/pretzls into baggies” thing but never thought to put them back in the same big bag. DUH moment! That makes so much sense I feel silly for not having thought of it myself.

    Thanks again for the tips. I wanted to let you know that I linked to you in my post on “Tips for Packing Better School Lunches” on Creative Green Living (http://www.creativegreenliving.com/2013/08/tips-for-packing-better-school-lunches.html)

  78. 78
    Christina White says:

    thank you so much for this tip! I spend a fortune in the the smuckers sandwiches! I need to start trimming down costs and and time this is PERFECT! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  79. 79
    wayne says:

    What an awesome idea, Amanda! My boys are now in their early 20′s but I made enough pb&js to last several lifetimes… seemed like it was always at the last minute or the spur of the moment when the boys were hungry. I found your site because I Googled the question and not thinking there was a real solution. I started craving pb&js about 6 weeks ago when I started a diet (15 lbs lost and 10 to go)and always make them individually. Now I can pack an entire weeks lunch in the freezer in about 15 minutes. Brilliant!! Will this also work for Fluffernutters? Thanks for shaving time off of my already hectic work schedule!

    • 79.1

      Hi Wayne! I still enjoy a PB&J myself, so I totally understand the craving! I’m glad this tip was helpful to you :) As for the Fluffernutters, that I’m not sure about. I would think the marshmallow would be okay. I would suggest making just one of those and freezing it for about a week. Then take it out and see how it faired! :)

  80. 80
    Jamie Leitschuh says:

    How do you do your lunchmeat sandwiches? Do you put mayo or mustard on both sides of the bread before you freeze it? Do you put the cheese on there before you freeze it? Great tips!

    • 80.1

      Hi Jamie! For lunch meat I put meat on both sides of the bread, a little drizzle of mustard on one side of the meat, then sandwich cheese between the two. I didn’t put mayo on because it doesn’t freeze well and I would include a little baggie of lettuce and/or tomato that my husband could add at lunch time :)

  81. 81
    Skittles says:

    I’ve heard this trick before, but I don’t like peanut butter :( Do you know a trick for just jam sandwiches (as in how to freeze)? Thanks!!!!

    • 81.1

      Hi Skittles. Do you like butter with your jelly? That would be a great alternative. Otherwise, you could just go ahead and spread the jelly and freeze them right away, but without a peanut butter or butter/margarine “jacket” it will seep through once thawed, unless eaten right away.

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