Slathered on toast, spread over baking, whizzed into a smoothie or simply spooned straight out of the jar, we just can’t get enough of peanut butter.
But what makes a good jar? Is it the addictively crunchy stuff that floats your boat, or do you prefer your peanuts to be silky smooth and easily spreadable? And what about ingredients? For peanut butter purists, anything but 100 per cent peanut is a complete no-no; then there are those of us who might like a sprinkling of sea salt, a spoonful of sugar, or even a swirl of something altogether more indulgent.
Then there’s the palm oil issue: many brands use palm oil to stabilise for creamy, spreadable peanut butter without the oil separation. But environmentalists say that the growing and harvesting of palm oil destroys indigenous settlements and contributes to deforestation. Others claim that the alternatives (like soy and corn) are even worse for the planet due to the amount of land and water required. Sustainably grown palm oil might be an answer, but demand for it means it’s still problematic.
The peanuts used in peanut butter can also vary; organic, health-focused brands now tend to use “hi-oleic” peanuts which are sweeter and higher in monounsaturated fats than standard peanuts, but this comes at a premium price point. Recently brands have been experimenting with different roasts, whereby a longer roast leads to a stronger and darker colour and flavour of peanut butter, while others use raw or blanched peanuts for a lighter, creamier result.
We tested a plethora of peanut butters, looking for the most delicious jars out there but sticking to peanut butters only – you won’t find almond or cashew butters in this list, however tasty. So, from giant tubs of the pure stuff to help you achieve your dream gym gains, to naughty but nice nut butters and family-friendly tubs that make breakfast time a pleasure, we’ve got the perfect peanut butter for you.
To make the cut, each jar had to be truly scrumptious and unique in some way. We have included a range of price points, and ensured there are a variety of styles to choose from in the edit – sweet, salty, plain peanuts, palm oil free and everything in between. Let’s get munching.
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ManiLife deep roast crunchy peanut butter
ManiLife has four kinds of peanut butter: all are worth your cupboard space and all boast a Great Taste Award, but this particular version has an unprecedented three stars. Using tasty hi-oleic peanuts grown on a family run farm in Argentina (mani = peanut in Argentine Spanish), these peanut butters are all made and blended in small batches for a super-creamy spread. As the original inventors of the dark roast – a happy accident when they thought they’d burned a batch of peanuts – we’ve had to pick the deep roast crunchy peanut butter which is a rounded and intense version of the best peanut flavour for nut butter addicts.
This pot is 99.1 per cent peanut, and the rest of its flavour comes from some good sea salt – considering there is no palm or any other oil in here, it’s awe-inspiring how evenly creamy this peanut butter is. We love the fact there are a whole range of sizes of nut chunks from nibbly-nobbly bits to whole nut halves. Spoon it straight into your mouth, dip your apple slices or give yourself a breakfast treat.
Kellogg’s crunchy nut peanut butter
Ok, so we wouldn’t look too closely at the ingredients for this one (there’s palm oil, sunflower oil, glucose syrup, stabiliser and more) but it cannot be denied that any Crunchy Nut devotee will find this stuff dangerously addictive.
Made from a mix of standard roasted peanuts and honey roasted peanuts, this peanut butter is teeth-shatteringly crunchy and satisfyingly sweet: we’re talking straight out of the jar territory here. Caramelised sugary nutty nibs are generously spread through a creamy, evenly textured base – that’ll be the palm oil – with plenty of honey and salt for even more flavour reward. A bit OTT for your toast on the regular, but you could whip up some extremely indulgent bakes with this. We warn you though: once you pop you really can’t stop.
Whole Earth smooth organic peanut butter
Whole Earth boasts a dizzyingly comprehensive range of nut butters, with nine types of peanut butter alone, spanning different roast levels, smoothness, organic, oil-free and hi-oleic variations. They’re all great but after much delicious deliberation, we settled on this organic, smooth jar.
We felt it had a fabulous texture, with a luxurious thickness to it and no oil separation at all thanks to the small amount (nine per cent) of organic sustainable palm oil used. There’s also a trace of sea salt in there, which lends it a pleasant savouriness and works nicely with the pale roast (their dark roasted is very dark). The result is a very grown-up, lip-smacking peanut butter that we would enjoy on toast, in smoothies, banking and more: a little goes a long way.
Meridian richer roast crunchy peanut butter
Meridian never uses palm oil in its products, sustainable or otherwise, and this jar contains just 100 per cent hi-oleic peanuts and nothing else, making it perfect for vegans and peanut butter purists. We like this richer roast, which is toasty and well-flavoured but not overpoweringly so, as the peanuts have been blanched then roasted. As is usual with palm-oil free products, some oil separation is normal but easily remedied by either storing the jar upside down or just giving it a really good stir before use, then you’ve got a perfectly runny, extremely nutty butter good to go. We love to snack on this jar and can vouch for its yumminess in a bowl of porridge too. Though it is salt and sugar-free, there is nothing bland about this butter, just more of that nutty goodness. And as they don’t fly any of their ingredients over, it’s good for the planet too.
Funky Nut caramel crunch peanut butter
This stuff should come with a warning, and not just because it is extremely not vegan. A mix of roasted peanuts (59 per cent) swirled with proper chunks of fudge, swirled with caramel and topped with a thick layer of even more caramel, we wish you luck just keeping this for a weekend treat. It tastes just like a Snickers in a jar, and one-pot seems to disappear alarmingly quickly considering how indulgent this is.
There’s a lot of ingredients in here, and with oils (including unsustainable palm), dairy, stabilisers and various sugars most of them are not nutritious, but really, who cares? There are whole halves of peanuts in here alongside smaller nibs, and it’s all contained in a thick buttery spread that is extremely moreish on toast, crumpets, banana bread, pancakes and porridge – that’s if you can wrestle it away from any passing children, who of course, love it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
KP crunchy peanut butter
We’ve included this KP peanut butter as it has created the first stabilised (ie. no oil separation) palm oil free nut butter on the market. And yes, it is the perfect, spreadable, spoonable texture on opening: just asking to be dolloped and with no off-putting oily layer. It comes at a cost though as its used a blend of cocoa butter, rapeseed oil and soya oil to compensate, which many climate experts may have a problem with.
On a strictly taste and texture basis, this is a very tasty peanut butter and one of only a few crunchy versions that passed muster with fussy kids. We liked the evenly blended peanuts, the gentle golden toasted roast level and the approachable texture, plus generous salt seasoning (though they say they’ve reduced their salt content). A good, palm oil free everyday product, if you can make the environmental questions add up.
Bulk crunchy roasted peanut butter
Gym bros and straight up peanut butter addicts alike will find this pure peanut butter from Bulk a budget-friendly godsend. Made with 100 per cent peanuts, this is a great value, great tasting, kilo of nutty goodness pulling in an impressive 29.1g of protein per 100g.
As it’s oil free, this product isn’t stable but a swift stir is all that’s needed to ensure your peanut butter is perfectly textured. These peanuts have undergone a light roast and the flavour is raw and nutty, ideal for anyone who likes a natural flavour from their peanut butter, and the nuts are nicely crunchy and chopped uniformly medium-fine. We’d add this to smoothies, curries, apple slices and more; at this price, you can afford to be generous with it after all.
Yumello salted date crunchy peanut butter
The Berber-inspired nut butters from Yumello are just that: inspired. With tempting flavours like smoky harissa and salted date, they’re pushing the envelope of run-of-the-mill breakfast spreads and we particularly love the salted date crunchy peanut butter. It’s at once thick, fudgy-textured, slightly sticky and just the right side of sweet. Made from medium roasted sweet hi-oleic peanuts (86 per cent) and expertly mixed with fat, sticky dates to a smooth texture, there’s also a dab of coconut oil in there to stabilise and a pinch of salt for balance. We found this peanut butter to have no oil separation at all as the texture is so thick it’s nigh on impossible. A triumph for toast and a slightly healthier choice for the sweet-toothed among us who’d rather not resort to refined sugars for breakfast.
Pip and Nut the ultimate extra crunchy peanut butter
Yet another nut butter containing those hi-oleic peanuts, only this time we’ve found them in one of Pip and Nut’s 12 delicious, exclusively palm oil free , concoctions. We’ve plumped for the humbly named the ultimate extra crunchy peanut butter, which does exactly what it says on the jar.
Boasting a serious 99.7 per cent peanut content with just a touch of sea salt, we’re not sure what witchery jhas been employed to make this quite so impressively crunchy without using tricks like caramelisation or extra sugars, but it does have a noticeable extra bite. The texture is looser than others, so the result is a silky, saucy, spread that is peppered throughout with those super-crunchy nibs which have been given a slightly deeper roast than standard. The runny texture means that oil separation is not so much of a problem for this peanut butter and it is definitely the one we’d pick for drizzling over pancakes and porridge. We also love the mini tear-sachets which are ideal for snacking on the go and pre or post-exercise.
Skippy extra smooth creamy peanut butter
Skippy is not messing about when it comes to being smooth; this is the most velvety, creamy and dreamy peanut butter we’ve ever found. Ingredients-wise, we’re looking at 91 per cent of peanuts – great – but unfortunately all that silky smoothness comes at the cost of a big old dose of hydrogenated palm oil – eek. There’s also sugar and salt in there, which all accounts for how addictively luscious this peanut butter is: the flavour is pure nostalgia and of course kids will love it. Spread it on toast, on pancakes, on your baking and more.
The verdict: Peanut butters
ManiLife’s peanut butters are the nuts: they taste good, do good and are free from any potential nasties, and this three-star winning version gets our casting vote. However, we’ve enjoyed all of the nut butters on this list, and have found ourselves going back again and again to the naughty but nice Crunchy Nut and Funky Nut butters. A little bit of what you fancy does you good, after all.
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