Peanut butter has always been in the spotlight, from the days of childhood PB&Js to college late-night cravings. What is often overlooked is the whole world of other nut butters out there waiting to be spread on toast, smeared on top of bananas or just eaten out of the jar with a spoon (guilty). But with so many tasty nut butters to choose from, it’s easy to be left wondering which is the best to buy. So we’re here to make your next trip to the grocery store a little easier with a nut butter round-up.
1. Peanut butter
Let’s start with the basics – peanut butter is everywhere, but that doesn’t mean all PBs are equal. There are many varieties — smooth or chunky, organic or processed, flavored or not. So next time you’re picking up some peanut butter, take a minute to look at all your options. My personal favorite? Peanut Butter & Co.’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter. Strange, maybe, but delicious.
2. Almond butter
My top pick of nut butters, almond butter’s creamy texture and subtle taste make it a perfect spread for toast or sweets. It’s also one of the best for your body with 3 more grams of heart-healthy monosaturated fats than other nut butters, according to Everyday Health. If you’re looking for a good brand, try MaraNatha’s organic almond butter.
Read on: Make a vegan smoothie out with bananas, almond butter, dates, cinnamon, almond milk and ginger.
3. Walnut butter
One of the least common of the bunch, walnut butter is still a great choice, especially for vegetarians with its healthy nutritional profile. It’s a good source of important omega-3 fatty acids often found in meats and fishes. Try pairing it with a sweet fruit, like an apple or banana, to complement its more mild flavor.
4. Cashew butter
Cashew butter isn’t the healthiest, because it contains lower levels of healthy fats and protein and more sugar than other nut butters, but it’s a naturally sweet, creamy spread. Try covering your veggies, such as celery or carrots, with cashew butter to get in your nutrients along with its great taste.
5. Coconut butter
I’m a huge fan of coconut butter’s flavor, although it unfortunately lacks nutritional value. Even so, a little bit won’t hurt, either as a dessert or small snack. If you’re ready to really splurge, spread some coconut butter on a cookie or chocolate bar to make a sweet treat even sweeter.
6. Soy butter
If you have a peanut allergy and are looking for a replacement, this is the butter for you. With a similar nutritional makeup as peanut butter, soy butter also has an extra benefit: it’s a complete protein and thus can be used as a substitute for meat in small doses.
7. Sunflower seed butter
Okay, sunflower seed butter is technically a seed-based butter, but still very comparable to its nut-based counterparts. It’s high in monosaturated fats as well as protein and also comes in a variety of flavors and textures. My personal favorite is Wild Friends chocolate sunflower butter. It has the perfect combination of crunchy texture (there are some seeds mixed in) and chocolate flavor.
8. Hazelnut butter
A naturally sweet, rich option, I consider hazelnut butter a dessert-worthy treat. Try spreading it on cookies or cakes, or melt it and then drizzle on top of ice cream. Although the first hazelnut butter to pop into your mind may be Nutella, a similar yet healthier option is Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, a delicious spread with only 8 grams of sugar compared to a whopping 21 in Nutella.
9. Pistachio butter
Pistachios themselves have many health benefits; they have fewer calories and more protein than most nuts and may help lower cholesterol. Pistachio butter is equally good for your health, though its chunkier appearance might not be the most appealing. It’s best paired with a more bland food, like bread or crackers, due to its strong flavor.
10. Sesame tahini butter
Made from sesame seeds containing a good dose of unsaturated fat, magnesium and iron, this seed butter is great for you, with the added benefit of excluding the tough outer layer of sesame seeds that is difficult for your body to digest.
11. Cookie butter
No, I’m not talking about the Trader Joe’s version that’s high in sugar and low in nutrients (although it’s a ten for taste). Instead, I’m referring to cookie butter that is actually healthy in addition to being delicious. Head over to Manbake and check out their version — high in protein and about equivalent to any other nut butter in carbohydrates and fats, this butter is almost too good to be true. Its ingredients include nuts, cashews and almonds, as well as whey protein, chia seeds and flax seeds. This butter is about more than its cookie taste; I like to think of it as a combination nut butter that just happens to trick my taste buds into thinking I’m eating a cookie.