DIY PB&J Uncrustables

DIY Uncrustables Square

I don’t know how things are in your home, but in our family weekday mornings can be just a little bit hectic.  And while there are many things that contribute to the chaos, at the top of our stressor list is the dreaded task of making school lunches.

Every time we hit the freezer aisle at the grocery store, my daughter begs us to buy a box of Smuckers Uncrustables for her lunches.  And while I will readily admit that the idea of just plopping a ready-made sandwich that I know she will love into her lunch bag and calling it good sounds like a perfect solution to our weekday morning time shortage, I’m not quite ready to spend between $0.75 and $1.00 a pop for peanut butter and jelly!

But then a few months ago I came across this handy little sandwich sealer & de-cruster and realized it was the perfect solution–I could just make my own Uncrustables, saving money, making our mornings a little easier, and making my daughter happy all in one shot.  It’s a Win-Win-Win!

I have found that the key to making these as cost effectively as possible is to snag the bread when it is super cheap, which at Publix means Buy 1, Get 1 Free.  I also try to stock up on peanut butter and jelly when they are on sale.  1 loaf of bread makes 10 sandwiches and uses about 10 ounces of peanut butter and about 5 ounces of jelly. Using those ratios, I figured I spent between $0.25-$0.30 per sandwich, or about a third of what the ready-made version would cost.

NOTE:  Many readers have asked for an alternative to peanut butter, as many classrooms are now peanut free.  If this is an issue for you, I recommend trying WOW Butter, a PB alternative that tastes just like regular peanut butter!

DIY Uncrustables 1

Here is what you need:

soft sandwich bread
peanut butter (or WOW Butter for peanut free schools)
sandwich sealer & decruster
Ziploc sandwich bags

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Step 1: Spread out your bread on the counter or paper towel.  I did one loaf at a time, which gave me 20 slices (enough for 10 sandwiches.)  It doesn’t have to be Wonder Bread, that just happened to be what was on sale at Publix.

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Step 2: Spread peanut butter in center of each bread slice.  Do not spread all the way to the edges.

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Step 3: Spread jelly over peanut butter on half of the bread slices. Then place peanut butter only slices on top of PB&J slices to make sandwich.

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Step 4: Use sandwich sealer & decruster to cut off crusts and crimp edges together.

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Step 5: Place sandwiches in sandwich bags, seal, and freeze.  To serve, thaw at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or place in lunch bag in the morning so that it is ready to eat by lunchtime.

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Note:  There will be a lot of crusts left over, and if you are anything like me, you hate the idea of wasting food!  I let my crusts dry out on the counter for a few hours, then use them to make a yummy breakfast casserole.  You could also use them to make Kalyn’s yummy homemade bread crumbs!

DIY Peanut Butter & Jelly Uncrustables

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How do you simplify your morning routine?

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{ 46 comments… add one }

  • Anna March 17,

    Clever idea – one nice thing about it is that you could use healthy bread and natural peanut butter instead of the sugary kind that’s in the ready-made ones.

    • janet August 11,

      whip up almonds and make your own almond butter and sliced strawberries or babana slices

  • Tracy March 17,

    Genius! Why have I not thought of this before?!!

  • Debbie March 17,

    I do this all the time for my boys. 1 wants pbj and 1 wants just pb. Works either way! quick n easy. I have around sealer, but will have to look for this, I’ve also used cookie cutters before to make shapes. Just for a change.

  • Sherry Allebach March 17,

    This is a time saver, and cleans up quick for our homeschool day! Thanks for the tip!

  • LindaE March 17,

    My boys love PB&Js and I use a circle cookie cutter to cut off the crusts. What are you using the crimp the edges? Yours look so neatly crimped, are you doing this with your fingers?

    • janet August 11,

      she has a cutter/crimper from wonderbread, costs about $8 shipped on amazon.

      • twila cox July 23,

        I got one for .50 at store. Not same but still works so check out walmart especially now at back to school time….

  • Mandy Tirado March 17,

    You can make this even cheaper by making your own bread. It costs about 75 cents a loaf to make, including water and electricity (assuming you’re making 2-4 loaves at a time). Also, if you store these in a glass airtight container in the freezer with wax or freezer paper in between each one you can save more money. When you want to pack a sandwich in a lunch box (that you of course purchased at a thrift store/rummage sale/bag sale for under $2) you just wrap it in a cloth napkin. In total, the sandwiches and their storage can cost even less, including water and electricity. I believe it would then be about $0.70 each including all of those calculations. I live in a small town, so my cost may be lower than yours if you’re in a city.

  • Jeanne March 17,

    I bought the sandwich sealer/ decruster and it is garbage!

    • Ruth Soukup March 18,

      Really? Did it break? We haven’t had any problems. Granted it is a made-in-China piece of plastic, but it does just what it is supposed to. I’ver heard that Pampered Chef makes one too, but I think it is round and a little pricier. You might want to check it out! :-)

    • Lynde F. July 18,

      Thanks for letting me know I just ordered one–off to cancel!

      • Anonymous October 5,

        I ordered one also. I have yet to have the sandwich “seal”. I can cut crusts off with a knife and don’t need this piece of plastic taking up space in the drawer.

    • Anonymous January 31,

      On YouTube there is a video that says to use a fork
      To crimp the edges

  • Jennifer Sheran March 19,

    I think Pampered Chef makes a fancy sandwich crimper that is more sturdy. This is a great idea. I would use almond butter as well. I wonder if freezing egg salad would work to mix things up a bit? Thanks for sharing.

    • Laurie October 5,

      No eggs turn spongy after being frozen.

  • Donna Robbins March 23,

    I make these all the time for my GD. I mix 1/2 cup peanut butter with 1/2 cup low sugar jelly. Total 16 tbls. I then scoop a scant coffee scoop ( about 1 3/4 tbls.) of the mixture and place it in the center of one slice of bread. Top with another slice of bread, and use the Wonder bread crimper. I really have to press hard, and sometimes even have to finish cutting the bread off with a paring knife. This will make 10 sandwiches. If the filling spreads to the crimping line, the sandwich will not seal. I have been doing this for about a year, and love that I can control the type of bread and the filling.

  • Anonymous March 23,

    Use the crust for croutons or let the kiddos take it to feed the ducks!

  • Ania B. March 28,

    Very unhealthy :(

    • Anonymous June 7,

      Give it a rest. Kids love pb&j. It’s not unhealthy

      • Pam August 7,

        It IS unhealthy – she’s right. These sandwiches have pretty much no nutritional value whatsoever.

        • Anonymous September 27,

          You are WRONG! PB is healthy for kids!

          • laurie October 5,

            junk peanut butter and cheap white bread are not healthy, but these can be made healthier. Use a real peanut butter like Adams and an organic bread like Franz Buttermilk bread and a good quality lower sugar freezer jam and then there’s at least some substance to it. But it’s OK to have it once and a while for fun. I don’t process all the proteins in peanut butter so i feel hungry right after eating it so it doesn’t work for me as a meal.

        • Wayne July 30,

          Healthy? GI in WW11 lived on them and then most of Europe ofter the war. High in protein, replaced meat for many.

  • Rebecca Mayes April 29,

    I use the pampered chef sandwich sealer and it is fabulous. It is metal, so you start by using the circle for cutting the shape. Then, you push down on the plunger which seals the sandwich. LOVE!!!

  • Candace May 5,

    When I make these I just use the lid to the peanut butter jar to cut and deal them. When you push down and twist the lid, it seals the edges.

    • Anonymous October 11,

      Good idea!!

  • Anonymous May 16,

    Ruth, thank you for the kid-friendly idea! I must say I’m really disappointed for those of you who went out of your way to make negative comments about this clever solution for those of us who have children who like these sandwiches. There could certainly be more UN-healthy.
    Ruth, I personally want to thank you for all of your hard work and taking the time to share with us. In fact, you have inspired me (completely clueless so lots of research) to start my own blog. I really don’t want to start drama because I just despise that “CyberSpace Dramatic Divas- PLEASE READ NEXT SENTENCE- I am not at all saying any of this meets that criteria in the least… Everyone has a right to their opinion, and if you dislike this idea, you have every right. My opinion, however comes from this perspective- this is a product sold in all grocery stores- in fact my daughter’s elementary school offers these as an alternative to the main course in case they don’t like it. No drama, please, just stating opinion.

  • Real Power Makeover June 9,

    I love doing this for my daughter. I use whole wheat bread, almond butter, and her favorite organic jelly. Not cheaper than the smuckers version, but I have more control over what she is eating. With a finicky three year old, this is an easy way to make sure she eats her lunch. I also sometimes use a carrot apple puree instead of the jelly, and she eats it without complaint. It is a great way to sneak in veggies.

  • Vanessa July 11,

    I love this! During the school year my eldest child begs for these. I’ve tried to make them but could never seal them. Where did you buy a sandwich sealer? I super stoked about this.

    • Anonymous July 11,

      So super stoked I can’t type. Haha

  • heather August 5,

    love this! definitely making these. thanks!

  • llesli August 6,

    Thanks for posting this. One of my twins is allergic to peanut butter and I’m always looking to make everyday recipes with peanut alternatives so she never feels left out. Awesome that I can make my own uncrustables for her.

  • Marie August 7,

    Great idea!

    Off to purchase the sandwich sealer…and my children’s favorite Smucker’s strawberry or grape jelly, and Jif’s creamy peanut butter.

    P. S. Lining the kitchen counter with wax paper is “cheaper” and stays in place longer than paper towels.

  • Michele B August 7,

    Do these get soggy?

  • Anonymous August 8,

    I like this idea and would even be willing to try tuna salad or chicken salad with chopped lettuce inside.

  • Anonymous August 11,

    I bought a sandwich sealer from Panpered Chef. You can get one here they are only $11

  • Marciea Pinder August 11,

    Pampered Chef sells one called the Cut-N-Seal for $11

  • Anonymous August 18,

    Do you have to cut and seal the edges for this to work?

    • Ruth Soukup August 18,

      The sandwich sealer & de-cruster does that for you! So easy! :)

  • Joanna October 9,

    I wish we had all your stuff in Poland… My boys would be more than delighted…

  • Heather October 22,

    So this might have been asked but I was wondering if the sandwiches get soggy making them ahead of time. I remember as a kid the jelly would soak through the bread on that side. For that reason I don’t premake my kids sandwiches until that morning. Thanks. I would love to make things eaiser.

    • Tenley October 24,

      That’s why she says to use peanut butter on both sides and only jelly in the middle-the peanut butter will protect the bread!

  • Laura P January 14,

    I recently got a Pampered Chef sandwich sealer at an adoption fundraiser after I read this post! I am so excited to make my 1st batch today -and make my husband happy by not wasting the crust by using one of your recipes above!

  • lainey March 27,

    I bought a sandwich cutter that removed the crust and made a diagonal cut through the sandwich at the Dollar Tree. i use it all the time for my son’s sandwiches. i don’t think it crimps the crust but you can still freeze them.


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