Inspired by the classic sandwich, this peanut butter and jelly burger is sweet and savory in all the right ways with a peanut butter mayo and addicting bacon jam.
We think of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a simple kids’ lunch. Yet this wasn’t always the case. In the late 1800s, peanut butter was considered a high-end condiment for serving with celery, cheese, and crackers at tea time. The first mention of pairing peanut butter with jelly on bread wasn’t until 1901 in the Boston Cooking School Magazine. However, the concept didn’t catch on until sometime later.
As the 1900s progressed, three critical developments in the birth of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich occurred.
- The invention and use of an automatic bread slicing machine caused the sale of sliced bread to take off in stores.
- Peanut butter became commercialized in the 1920s by companies such as Skippy. Its low cost and widespread availability, along with sliced bread, made it a staple protein during the Great Depression.
- The final component, jelly, was certainly not new either. But Welch’s concord grape jelly was. After it gained approval as a ration for soldiers in World War I, the US army added peanut butter and sliced bread by World War II. The creation of the famous sandwich was inevitable, and when soldiers returned home from war, they likely brought home with them a newfound demand.
While I don’t eat as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I still enjoy the combination (as long as it isn’t grape jelly). I think it’s the pairing of the creamy fat in the peanut butter and the sweetness of the jelly's fruit that makes the two work so well together.
That said, when I saw a peanut butter burger on a menu a few months ago, I skeptically gave it a try. Surprised to find how good the burger was, I couldn't resist the idea of making my own version at home. Just don't expect anything resembling the lunchbox sandwich.
The thing about this peanut butter and jelly burger is that it's not quite what it seems. For starters, there is no jelly. It's a sweet bacon jam made with:
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- maple syrup
- bourbon (optional)
- apple cider vinegar
And the peanut butter is actually a peanut butter flavored mayonnaise. It may sound odd, but it works. Trust me. For this, all you need is:
- peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
Finally, there's the burger. That includes:
- ground beef
- Worcestershire sauce
- kosher salt
- hamburger buns
- lettuce, red onion, cheese, and tomato, for topping
See the recipe card below for quantities.
Let's talk about this bacon jam.
You start by crisping up chopped bacon in a pan. When cooked, scoop out the bacon, leaving behind the fat, and cook the onions, garlic, apples, maple syrup, vinegar, and spices until everything is softened. Then stir the bacon back in. Almost forgot - there's a splash of bourbon thrown in, confirming this is definitely not your kid's pb&j.
Though the jam has some sweetness to it, it's not overpowering. Instead, between the caramelized onions and smoky bacon, there’s a depth of flavor that condiments such as ketchup utterly lack. Though it comes out a bit chunky, a quick run through a blender will create an irresistibly smooth jam in seconds. Though I actually like it chunky, kind of like how I like my peanut butter.
Speaking of, while the jam cooks make the mayo. It couldn't be easier. Just whisk together equal parts peanut butter and mayonnaise. When I first wrote this recipe, I said to make your own mayonnaise, but it was too many steps and ingredients. And in this case, I don't think it's worth the effort anyway since it's mixed with peanut butter.
Finally, you shape and cook the burgers. When they're done, layer on your toppings, bacon jam, peanut butter mayo and you have yourself a one-of-a-kind peanut butter and jelly burger.
- Turkey - I've made these burgers with ground turkey instead of beef and they're just as delicious. You may just want to add some breadcrumbs into the meat before shaping the patties to help them hold their shape. Ground turkey can be softer than beef.
- Gluten Free- Use gluten free buns instead of regular buns to make this gluten free.
- Grill - You can cook the burgers on the grill or a pan, it's up to you.
- Food processor - It's not necessary to puree the jam to make it smooth. So no worries if you don't have a processor handy.
If you're not eating all four burgers at the time of preparing, I suggest waiting to cook the burgers until you are ready to eat them. You can shape the patties ahead, but reheated burgers are always dried out. Meanwhile, store the bacon jam, mayo, and toppings separately until ready to use.
You should be able to store everything for up to three days, though it will depend on the freshness of your ground meat.
🥓 Top Tip
You know, while you're at it, you may want to consider doubling the bacon jam and having extra for other uses. What are some uses for bacon jam, you ask? Spread it onto a grilled cheese, serve it with cheese and crackers, stir it into potato salad, eat it with eggs and toast for breakfast. Or, let's be honest, you can just enjoy it on its own.Print