Best Peanut Butters

Updated November 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
354 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best peanut butters

Last Updated November 2019

Peanut butter is beloved by people of all ages. Whether you’re spreading it with some jelly on bread for lunch or dipping celery in it, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein. It also tastes great in plenty of baked treats and smoothies. This versatile staple is a must-have for any pantry.

As you can imagine, there are a plethora of peanut butters on the market. Before you decide which one to get, there are a few things to consider. Are you searching for an all-natural organic peanut butter? Do you have a preference for crunchy or smooth? You may also be searching for peanut butter with low salt and sugar.

Regardless of your criteria, it won’t take long to find a peanut butter that satisfies your cravings. At BestReviews, we’re pleased to offer a shopping guide that can help inform your decision. Keep reading before you add a peanut butter tub to your cart.

It’s easy to overindulge with peanut butter. Remember that one serving is only two tablespoons, which is more than enough to pack a nutrient-dense punch.

Key considerations

A brief history of peanuts

The popularity of peanuts can be traced back to 1500 BC in South America where Incas used peanuts as social offerings and ground the nuts with corn maize as a beverage. Peanuts weren’t commercially grown in North America until the 1800s. The nut’s popularity grew with the Civil War and the emergence of PT Barnum & Bailey Circus, where dry roasted peanuts were sold. John Harvey Kellogg may have created the first known peanut paste in the US during the late 1800s, initially meant for his older patients who had trouble swallowing solid foods. The inventor George Washington Carver helped increase the peanut’s popularity by finding over 300 uses for them, including peanut butter. Today, peanuts are one of the United States’ most popular cash crops, thanks in part to peanut butter and its presence in snacks, baked goods, and on grocery store shelves.

Peanuts are grown in Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America. The United States, incidentally, grows about 10% of the world’s peanuts. Peanut butter is relatively easy to manufacture. A large volume of peanuts are ground to a medium fineness in an industrial grinder, then into smaller pieces in a second industrial grinder. For chunky peanut butter, manufacturers may modify the grinding intensity or add some larger peanut pieces. While the peanuts are grinding, ingredients such as salt, sugar, and oil are added to the mix.

Nutritional value

Peanut butter isn’t just tasty in treats, it can also be part of a healthy diet. Two tablespoons of it contain a whopping eight grams of protein. The nut butter also contains zinc, folate, magnesium, and other vitamins.

Not your average peanut butter

If you're accustomed to the taste of popular peanut butters, Crazy Richard’s will come as a surprise. It's all-natural and great for dipping fruit and making smoothies. You may even find the peanut butter's subtle sweetness refreshing, as there are no added sugars — a bonus for the diet-conscious.

Chunky vs. smooth

Ah, the old debate between chunky and smooth peanut butter. It comes down to preference, though each has its pros and cons. For what it’s worth, a survey from The National Peanut Butter Board says that 60% of Americans prefer smooth peanut butter over chunky. Smooth peanut butter is commonly used in recipes for meals and snacks. The texture makes smooth peanut butter much easier to spread on bread. Creamy peanut butter contains a bit more Vitamin E and protein than chunky. Chunky peanut butter, on the other hand, contains slightly more fiber, more saturated fat, and a little bit more folate than smooth.

Added oils

A tub of peanut butter may have palm oil, partially hydrogenated oil, or palm fruit oil listed in the ingredients. Oils are integrated into peanut butter to maintain freshness and preserve its shelf life. In recent years, concern has risen over the effects of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol. Partially hydrogenated oils do contain trans fat. As the food industry has become more aware of trans fats drawbacks, partially hydrogenated oils have become less popular in peanut butter. Fully hydrogenated oil doesn’t include trans fats, and neither does palm oil or palm fruit oil.

Natural vs. conventional

Natural peanut butter only contains two ingredients: peanuts and salt. It also requires stirring, as oil settles on the top. Natural peanut butter is a decent option for those who are averse to additives and want to try clean eating. Conventional peanut butter includes sugar and added oils. You may notice that natural peanut butter is grainier in nature. If you like to carry peanut butter on the go, or simple prefer the taste of the old-fashioned stuff, feel free to stick with conventional.

DID YOU KNOW?

It’s common for the oil in natural peanut butter to separate. This is because natural peanut butters don’t have extra fats to prolong shelf life. Simply stir the peanut butter to redistribute the oil. If a processed peanut butter accumulates oil on top, that probably means it will spoil fairly soon.

DID YOU KNOW?

Peanut butter is quite useful for delivering medicine to fussy children: simply hide the pill in a spoonful of peanut butter.

DID YOU KNOW?

While it’s best when eaten, peanut butter has a number of household uses, too. You can eliminate odors, repair items, or even use it for your hair (in moderation, of course).

Features

Extra ingredients

If you’re seeking some novelty, you can find peanut butters that combine other ingredients, like jelly, chocolate, or even honey. This can be appealing if you don’t want the effort of opening a second jar for a sandwich. However, the majority of these peanut butters have extra sugar and shorter shelf lives.

Peanut butter prices

One of the many pleasures of peanut butter is its price point. Peanut butter is a fairly inexpensive indulgence, ranging from $3 to $10 for a single jar.

Inexpensive: The $3 to $5 price point is common. Several longtime favorite brands fall into this range, though it's less likely you have an organic product. You may also find more creamy than chunky peanut butters in this price range.

Mid-range: Premium peanut butters fall in the $5 to $10 price range. This includes peanut butters that are all organic and ones with additional ingredients, like honey. Some manufacturers sell peanut butter in individual packets to be consumed on the go. A packet of ten or so falls in this price range.

Expensive: Any peanut butter that's over $10 is likely sold in bulk. Even then, for some brands you can find up to three jars for $10.

A classic treat for all

Jif is known as “America’s Favorite” for a reason. This consistently smooth brand goes well on vegetables, fruits, in meals, or simply on a spoon. It doesn’t contain Xylitol, making it safe for pets to eat. Users of all ages (including moms) are fans of the taste and texture, saying it hasn’t changed since they were children. Some even maintain that JIF is better than any other peanut butter competitor. At 40 ounces, you’d be hard-pressed to find a jar at this price anywhere else.

Tips

  • Peanut allergies are quite common, especially in children. Some promising alternatives to peanut butter include almond butter, sunflower butter, and granola butter.

  • An unopened jar of peanut butter lasts six to nine months in a pantry and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. An opened jar of peanut butter can last in a pantry for two to three months and six to nine months refrigerated. Natural peanut butter is a bit different — it only lasts a few weeks in the pantry if opened, but six to nine months in the refrigerator.

Other products we considered

We like Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator for its decadence. Made from GMO-free peanuts, Smooth Operator is dangerously delicious — some finish the jar within a week. It's sweeter than typical natural peanut butter while being less sweet than popular brands.

Fear not, chunky peanut butter lovers. Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter won't disappoint. The trusted peanut butter manufacturer's chunky peanut butter goes perfectly in sandwiches or just on a spoon. It has even more chunks than your regular chunky peanut butter and is a sure crowd pleaser for kids.

You can introduce peanut butter to infants once they’ve been comfortably eating solid foods — this is usually somewhere between five and eight months. Of course, double-check with a pediatrician to be sure.

FAQ

Q. Does peanut butter expire?

A. Because peanut butter is dry and chock full of Vitamin E, it has a rather long shelf life. Opened peanut butter can last three months in a pantry before needing to be refrigerated. The easiest way to tell if peanut butter has spoiled is by noticing the texture. If it’s hard and dry, a darker color, and strange-smelling, toss it.

Q. Can peanut butter cause constipation in my child?

A. Peanut butter does include a moderate amount of fiber. Excessive peanut butter consumption without enough fruits and vegetables can cause constipation.

Q. Can my pets eat peanut butter?

A. Peanut butter is safe for dogs so long as it doesn’t include the sugar substitute Xylitol. It’s best to buy peanut butter treats manufactured for pets rather than giving them peanut butter out of a jar.

The team that worked on this review
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Ola
    Ola
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey