Peanut butter plays a pretty powerful, but mundane, background role when it comes to pantry staples. Whether we eat it in sandwiches, in sauces, or simply by the spoonful, most of us have a jar stowed away somewhere in our cupboards (unless you’re allergic, in which case, we doubt you’d have clicked this). And much like choosing a favorite kind of mayonnaise, peanut butter brands can spark some strong allegiances; many families have made a point of buying the same kind of PB for years. Still, since there have been so many new peanut butter contenders marketing themselves as more natural, healthy alternatives in recent years, we had the nutty idea to pit a few newer peanut butter contenders against older, more stalwart favs. For this taste test, we tried eight brands of (mostly) creamy peanut butter, all available online or in grocery stores. Here are our creamy peanut butter rankings, from too perfect to too much.
Peanut Butter & Co. The Bee’s Knees Peanut Butter ($5.49 for 16 oz)
Yes, this peanut butter is a bit pricey. But when it came to overall taste, texture, and consistency, Peanut Butter & Co. had the best PB for our money. This peanut butter definitely veers to the sweet side, so if you don’t care for sweeter PB, you may want to keep moving. It’s also not factory-smooth, instead straddling the line between conventional creamy and natural butter. If you like just a little bit of natural oil with your creamy peanut butter, without it being too close to homemade, Peanut Butter & Co.’s offering is a great middle ground.
Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter Blend ($4.99 for 16 oz)
Justin’s PB is just a touch less sweet than Peanut Butter & Co.’s. And if you insist on a perfectly smooth surface with your creamy peanut butter, their blend won’t quite be for you. There’s a slight grit to the peanut butter that detracts from the smooth finish, but reminds you what the product is made of. Other than that, however, it’s pretty perfect for those who want natural tasting peanut butter without any major chunks.
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Best Natural Peanut Butter
Santa Cruz Organic’s Dark Roasted Peanut Butter ($6.79 for 16 oz)
If you’ve never had dark roasted peanuts before, then Santa Cruz’s offering is definitely worth trying. The nuts take on an almost chocolatey taste, which gives this natural butter a uniquely robust flavor. Santa Cruz’s PB, while natural, also isn’t swimming in natural oil, so you won’t have to do that much stirring to enjoy it on your sandwich. This doesn’t taste like the peanut butter you may be used to, but it just might become your new fav.
Best Honey-Flavored Peanut Butter
Peter Pan Natural Honey Roast Creamy Peanut Butter ($2.69 for 16.3 oz)
One of our testers grew up with Peter Pan’s creamy, so this was definitely a nostalgic taste for some of us. The company’s natural offering keeps the silky smoothness of factory-made peanut butter, which is a plus-side if you’re averse to any texture in your PB. The sweetness in the peanut butter also tastes more convincingly of honey than the “honeyed” brands offered by some competitors. Given that it’s half the price of some of our other picks for the same size, this is definitely a solid choice for any lovers of honey peanut butter.
Creamiest Peanut Butters
Jif’s Creamy Peanut Butter ($2.49 for 16 oz) and Skippy’s Creamy Peanut Butter ($3.19 for 16.3 oz)
Both of these brands have the silky texture that’s only achievable through machinery. Both of them also taste nearly identical, and have similar price points. They’re essentially interchangeable, so if your family demands perfectly smooth peanut butter, feel free to stock up on whichever is on sale.
Not Our Favorites
Adam’s 100% Natural Peanut Butter in Creamy ($3.39 for 16 oz) and All Natural Laura Scudder’s Old Fashioned Nutty Peanut Butter ($3.49 for 16 oz)
There’s natural peanut butter, and then there’s too natural. Like stuffing your mouth full of raw peanuts natural. Adam’s PB is definitely peanut butter, but only in the sense that it is just peanuts blended into butter; if there’s sweetener added, you cannot taste it, so the earthy taste of peanuts is a bit overwhelming. Laura Scudder’s brand, on the other hand, just has a lot going on: a copious amount of oil separation, creamy peanut butter, and sprinkles of chopped up peanuts. We’d definitely say it’s the peanuttiest butter, but we’re not sure that’s a compliment. If you want to inject pure peanuts into your mouth, then go ahead, but otherwise, we’d skip these varieties.
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