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Peanut Butter vs. Jelly: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 24, 2023
Peanut butter is a spread made from ground peanuts, while jelly is a spread made from fruit juice and sugar, usually with a gel-like consistency.

Key Differences

Peanut butter and jelly are both popular spreads, but they differ significantly in terms of ingredients and taste. Peanut butter is primarily made by grinding roasted peanuts into a paste. Depending on the type and brand, it may also contain added salt, sugar, or oil. It's creamy or chunky, offering a rich, nutty flavor. Jelly, on the other hand, is a fruit-based spread made by boiling fruit juice with sugar and pectin, resulting in a translucent, gel-like consistency with a sweet and sometimes tangy flavor.
From a nutritional perspective, peanut butter is packed with protein and healthy fats, which provide energy and can be filling. It also contains various vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E. Jelly, while low in fat, primarily offers carbohydrates in the form of sugars. Depending on the fruit used, it can provide some vitamins, especially vitamin C, but is generally less nutritious compared to peanut butter.
In the culinary world, peanut butter and jelly are often paired together, especially in the classic American sandwich, the PB&J. The creamy or chunky texture of peanut butter contrasts beautifully with the smooth, gel-like consistency of jelly. Additionally, the savory, nutty taste of peanut butter complements the sweetness of jelly, creating a harmonious flavor profile beloved by many.
While both peanut butter and jelly are versatile and can be used in various dishes, their applications differ. Peanut butter can be incorporated into both savory and sweet dishes, ranging from sauces for noodles to cookies and desserts. Jelly, due to its sweet profile, is usually reserved for sweet preparations, such as a topping for toast, filling for pastries, or as an accompaniment for meats.
In summary, peanut butter and jelly, while often mentioned together, are distinct in terms of ingredients, taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Each has its unique offerings, with peanut butter providing a hearty, nutty flavor and jelly offering a sweet, fruity touch.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredients

Ground peanuts
Fruit juice, sugar, and pectin


Creamy or chunky
Gel-like, smooth

Main Nutrients

Protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals
Sugars, some vitamins (like vitamin C)

Common Use

Both savory and sweet dishes
Primarily sweet dishes


Sweet, sometimes tangy depending on the fruit

Peanut Butter and Jelly Definitions

Peanut Butter

A creamy or chunky paste with a rich nutty flavor.
The peanut butter cookie was a hit at the party.


A sweet spread made from fruit juice, sugar, and pectin.
She topped her scone with strawberry jelly.

Peanut Butter

Can be incorporated in both savory and sweet dishes.
The spicy peanut butter sauce was perfect with the noodles.


Often combined with peanut butter in dishes.
A classic combo is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Peanut Butter

A spread made from ground peanuts.
She spread peanut butter generously on her toast.


Provides a sweet and sometimes tangy flavor.
The tartness of the raspberry jelly was delightful.

Peanut Butter

Often paired with jelly in sandwiches.
Kids in America love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


Has a smooth, gel-like consistency.
The jelly wobbled on the plate.

Peanut Butter

Contains proteins, fats, and essential nutrients.
Athletes often eat peanut butter for its protein content.


Used as a topping for toast or filling for pastries.
The doughnuts were filled with grape jelly.


A soft, semisolid food substance with a resilient consistency, made by the setting of a liquid containing pectin or gelatin or by the addition of gelatin to a liquid, especially such a substance made of fruit juice containing pectin boiled with sugar.


How is jelly typically made?

Jelly is made by boiling fruit juice with sugar and pectin.

What texture does peanut butter typically have?

Peanut butter can have a creamy or chunky texture.

What nutrients are abundant in peanut butter?

Peanut butter is rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Does jelly contain any beneficial nutrients?

Jelly can provide some vitamins, especially vitamin C, depending on the fruit used.

Can you make peanut butter at home?

Yes, homemade peanut butter can be made by grinding roasted peanuts in a food processor.

What is peanut butter primarily made of?

Peanut butter is primarily made from ground roasted peanuts.

What kind of consistency does jelly have?

Jelly has a smooth, gel-like consistency.

Can peanut butter be used in savory dishes?

Yes, peanut butter can be incorporated into savory dishes like sauces.

What fruits are commonly used to make jelly?

Common fruits for jelly include grapes, strawberries, and raspberries.

Which has more calories, peanut butter or jelly?

Typically, peanut butter has more calories due to its fat content.

Can people with nut allergies eat peanut butter?

No, people with peanut or nut allergies should avoid peanut butter.

How should peanut butter be stored?

Peanut butter should be stored in a cool, dry place. Some prefer the refrigerator to extend shelf life.

How long does jelly last once opened?

Once opened, jelly should be refrigerated and typically lasts for up to 6 months.

Is peanut butter a good source of protein?

Yes, peanut butter is a good source of protein.

Is jelly high in sugar content?

Yes, jelly is typically high in sugar content.

Is peanut butter vegan?

Most peanut butter is vegan, but it's important to check labels for added ingredients.

Is there a difference between jelly and jam?

Yes, while both are fruit spreads, jam contains fruit pulp while jelly uses fruit juice.

Why are peanut butter and jelly often paired together?

Their contrasting flavors and textures complement each other, creating a harmonious taste.

Is jelly gluten-free?

Most jellies are gluten-free, but it's always essential to check the label.

What is a classic dish that combines both peanut butter and jelly?

The peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwich is a classic dish combining both.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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