Coconut butter and peanut butter are creamy spreads that contain no animal products. They are popular for that reason, and because they are considered healthy when consumed in moderation. How much alike are they? Can you use one instead of the other? Read the SPICEography Showdown below to learn more.
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How does coconut butter differ from peanut butter?
Coconut butter and peanut butter come from the seeds of different plants. Coconut butter is made from the white flesh of the coconut, which is ground to a paste, while peanut butter consists mostly of ground peanuts. In some cases, peanut butter will contain palm oil or other stabilizers that have been added to keep it from separating, along with salt and/or sugar to enhance the flavor.
Coconut butter and peanut butter have differing tastes and aromas. Coconut butter has a mellow coconut flavor and aroma, with the coconut’s distinctive sweetness. The nuttiness of peanuts is more intense, and they will give natural peanut butter (with no stabilizers or sweeteners) a strong caramelized note and a more savory overall flavor profile. Some kinds of peanut butter will have sweeteners and can range from slightly sweet to very sweet.
Coconut butter and peanut butter have contrasting nutritional profiles, with coconut butter providing a small amount of a few important nutrients. You will get a little protein from it, and a couple of valuable minerals (calcium and iron). Because it is largely made up of coconut meat, coconut butter will also provide a significant amount of dietary fiber. Peanut butter is a concentrated source of multiple important nutrients, including protein and minerals like potassium and iron. It will also have fiber, but not as much as coconut butter.
Coconut butter and peanut butter don’t look much like each other. Coconut butter is a pale beige with a shortening-like consistency. Peanut butter is medium brown. Natural peanut butter contains no stabilizers, so it will have a thick liquid consistency at room temperature and harden to a stiffer paste if you refrigerate it. Stabilized peanut butter will have a stiff, clay-like consistency at room temperature.
Availability is another big area of difference between coconut butter and peanut butter. Coconut butter is growing in popularity, but is not as easy to find in most places as peanut butter.
Can you substitute one for the other?
Coconut butter does make an excellent peanut butter substitute. You can use it in place of peanut butter as a spread and in pastries. It can add creaminess and richness just as well as peanut butter can, or better. It is a great alternative if you are avoiding peanut butter because of an allergy. You will need to keep its strong and distinctive flavor in mind since it will bring the flavor of coconut.
You can use peanut butter in place of coconut butter with no trouble in most cases. Its fat content and distinctive but instantly recognizable flavor allow it to work in most of the recipes that require coconut butter. The flavor will be noticeably different, but still enjoyable. Keep the potential for allergic reactions in mind when replacing coconut butter with peanut butter.
When should you use coconut butter, and when should you use peanut butter?
Use coconut butter if you have a peanut butter allergy and need a spread or want to give a coconut flavor to oatmeal, smoothies or baked goods.
Use peanut butter as a spread and for adding the peanut flavor to cookies and muffins.