How Do I Choose the Best Peanut Butter?

Lainie Petersen

When choosing peanut butter, consider how you plan to use it, your personal preferences as to taste, and whether you have any nutritional concerns. There are several different types of peanut butter on the market, so unless you need a particular type for a recipe, you may wish to sample several different kinds to find out which you prefer. Some nut butters contain sugar as well as additional oils that you may wish to avoid in your diet; as such, you should always read ingredient labels before making a purchase. One final consideration is cost. While peanut butter is generally inexpensive, there can be a significant price differential between brands, so if cost is a concern for you, you may wish to compare prices or keep an eye out for coupons and sales that can save you money.

Natural peanut butter contains only ground up peanuts.
Natural peanut butter contains only ground up peanuts.

Before you go shopping, think about how you will be using the peanut butter in your household. Many people enjoy spreading nut butters on bread or crackers to make a nutritious, inexpensive meal or snack for themselves. If you will be eating peanut butter in this way, you may be concerned about the flavor and texture of the spread. Some people prefer crunchy peanut butter, which has little pieces of crushed peanuts in it, while other people prefer creamy spreads that have a smooth texture. Some brands also contain more sugar than others, so you may wish to pay attention to the sugar content in the product that you buy.

An allergy to peanuts can be life-threatening, so many people with sensitivities substitute almond butter.
An allergy to peanuts can be life-threatening, so many people with sensitivities substitute almond butter.

One thing to consider is whether you want a product made entirely of peanuts or if you are open to buying a nut butter that contains additional ingredients such as sugar or non-peanut fats. So-called natural peanut butter is typically made from finely ground peanuts and perhaps some salt. One disadvantage to this type is that its oils typically separate from the solid peanut butter as it sits. This means that you will have to stir the product before you can use it in cooking or spread it on bread. Some companies get around this problem by blending the peanuts with an additional type of fat that prevents this separation from happening.

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If using peanut butter in a recipe, it is very important to find out which type you should use, as differing textures and flavors can make a big difference in how your recipe turns out. On the other hand, if you do have a favorite recipe, you may wish to experiment with different peanut butters to see which brand works best. Through this experimentation, you may find that you can give your recipe a new twist, producing a tastier and perhaps even healthier version of a favorite dish.

Peanut butter comes in both creamy and crunchy textures.
Peanut butter comes in both creamy and crunchy textures.

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