Peanut butter is one of the few foods that manages to be highly nutritious, tasty, and affordable all at the same time. You will be hard-pressed to find an alternative that provides all three of those characteristics. While it’s not easy to replace, here are a few of the best peanut butter substitutes available.
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Your best bet: Cashew butter
High-quality cashew butter consists entirely of ground cashew nuts. Cashew butter has a similar consistency and appearance to that of peanut butter. It is rich like peanut butter, you will need to ensure that you get roasted cashew butter if you want the closest flavor match. Cashew butter is good as a spread for bread and is also used in vegan recipes as a substitute for dairy products. Cashew butter has the benefit of being one of the more popular and familiar nut butters, so it is relatively easy to find.
Where cashew butter is lacking as a peanut butter substitute is in nutrition. It does not have many of the amino acids and beneficial fats that you would get from peanut butter though it does have some valuable nutrients. It also has more carbohydrates than other potential peanut butter substitutes. While it does have nutty notes, its flavor is still milder than peanut butter’s.
A decent second choice: Almond butter
With its reputation as one of the healthiest nut butters, almond butter is arguably also one of the tastiest. Many people believe that it has a richer and nuttier flavor than peanut butter. It’s full of healthy fats, vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and iron. It has a high fiber content as well. Yet another benefit of almond butter is the fact that it contains fewer calories compared to an equivalent serving of peanut butter.
It is quite easy to taste the difference between almond butter and peanut butter, so it might not work in applications that need the peanut flavor.
In a pinch: Sunflower seed butter
Sunflower seeds are roasted and ground to make the most popular seed butter. Sunflower seed butter has the advantage of not being a nut compared to most of the other substitutes on this list. The fact that it is a seed means that it won’t trigger nut allergies. In addition to looking a lot like peanut butter, sunflower seed butter has a similar consistency. Its flavor profile does have nutty elements that make it a good enough substitute for many people. Sunflower seed butter can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores.
The main drawback with sunflower seed butter is that it doesn’t taste as much like peanut butter as other substitutes.
Pecan butter has a strong reputation for being healthy. It provides more antioxidants than any other nut butter. It has a distinctive, nutty flavor that isn’t exactly like the taste of peanut butter, but it can do a decent job as a stand-in.
Hazelnut butter is best known for its role in chocolate and hazelnut spreads, but it has its own character. It has a strong nuttiness similar to that of peanut butter.
Cookie butter is not a nut or seed butter at all. On paper, it has very little in common with peanut butter. It consists of crushed cookies that are blended with vegetable oil until the mixture takes on the consistency of peanut butter. While it is not food that you eat for its health benefits, you can use it like peanut butter as a spread and as a snack on its own.