Peanut butter is a rich, nutritious staple every health nut has in their pantry. If they aren’t using peanut butter, they’re using another type of nut butter — the shelf-stable spreads are packed with protein, healthy fats, and an alphabet soup of other nutrients.
Though it’s most-often used to make a classic PB&J, there are infinite other ways to eat peanut butter as a snack or ingredient in your meal. Use it as a dip for your pretzels or use it to spice up a boring bowl of oatmeal. It’s the perfect ingredient to make Greek yogurt more satisfying as a snack. If all else fails, grab a slice of bread and spread a glob of the stuff for a boost of nutrition you’ll struggle to find in any other sweet spread.
But foregoing Nutella for this healthier toast topper could backfire if you’re buying the wrong brand. Some of the most popular peanut butters might be the best tasting, depending on your palate — but they’re often filled with additives, overly processed, and spiked with unnecessary amounts of sugar.
We did a little label browsing for you and scoured for the absolute simplest, least processed peanut butters on the shelves.
Adams makes peanut butter in crunchy and creamy varieties. You can also choose from their selection of organic, unsalted, and no-stir options as well. Be aware that the no-stir variety contains vegetable monoglycerides from palm oil — not as simple as their other jars, which only contain peanuts and (unless you’re watching your sodium and opting for unsalted) salt.
Justin’s is known for more than just their plain peanut butter. They also sell better-for-you candies and treats, sweetened nut butters, and adorable snack packs. But their peanut butter boasts all the benefits of just two simple ingredients: dry roasted peanuts and palm oil. As peanut butters go, this is one of the healthiest to spread on your sandwich.
MaraNatha produces a good selection of organic nut butters. If you’re looking for our simplest pick, though, it’s the creamy, no-salt-added, organic peanut butter. The brand uses 100 percent USDA-certified organic peanuts and grinds them twice to create a velvety smooth consistency, making the taste as pure and delicious as possible.
Sometimes, when labels say “natural,” the product itself is anything but. But Once Again’s Old Fasioned Natural Peanut Butter lives up to its promise. They even keep the skins on the peanuts before they make their peanut butter, allowing the true sweetness of the nut to come through in this spread’s unique taste. If you’re really into it, consider buying a 9-pound tub (we’ll be honest, this would probably last us for not much longer than one week).
If you’re craving something sweet, you can turn to Peanut Butter & Co. for their flavored nut butter blends. But if you’re craving straight-up peanut butter, their Old Fashioned Smooth option is right for you. It has no added sugars or oils, sticking to the basics that already taste great.
There are foods you should always buy from Trader Joe’s and some you should never buy from Trader Joe’s. Peanut butter falls in both of those categories. While Trader Joe’s organic version of peanut butter is natural and omits added sugars and oils, its standard variety is packed with both. If you’re worried about ingredients, opt for the organic — the only ingredient is organic peanuts.
365 might be Whole Foods’ generic budget brand, but the quality of this peanut butter didn’t drop with the price. Their creamy peanut butter contains the only two ingredients peanut butter needs: peanuts and salt. Whole Foods tests all their peanut butters to ensure quality, according to their website. There’s no sugar added, and a 12-ounce tub is only $2.29.
Light and dark roast isn’t just for coffee anymore — Santa Cruz organic peanut butters come in both flavors, as well as salted and unsalted. But just because they added some pizzazz to their roasting process doesn’t mean they added any other fluff to their product. These peanut butters contain no hydrogenated oils or artificial ingredients.
RXBars have been known for their simple ingredients and nutrient-dense snack options; even after they were bought by Kellogg in 2017, that doesn’t seem to be changing. The company launched RX Butter, a line of nut butter snack packs with the same dedication to simplicity and steering clear from excessive food processing.
With only roasted peanuts and sea salt in each jar, the classic creamy peanut butter from Wild Friends is a tasty and reliable healthy fat to incorporate into your diet. You can use this peanut butter for more than just snacking — peanut butter has lots of other money-saving uses for around the house.