Sunflower butter and almond butter are two of the more common nut and seed butters. Both are widely considered to be excellent alternatives to peanut butter and can be used interchangeably in many applications. That said, there are some important differences that you can learn about in the SPICEography Showdown below.
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How does sunflower butter differ from almond butter?
Sunflower butter is made from ground sunflower seeds, and some versions may contain added sunflower oil to help lighten the consistency, as well as salt and sugar for flavor. Natural almond butter is made by grinding almonds and combining them with salt. Some versions may be stabilized with oil like palm oil and may include sugar.
Because sunflower seeds and almonds have different nutritional values, sunflower butter also has a different nutritional profile from almond butter. Sunflower butter has higher levels of many vitamins and minerals compared to almond butter, which does contain more riboflavin and vitamin E. Sunflower butter also has less saturated fat than almond butter and far more sodium. Almond butter has more protein and calcium. Almond butter is not a viable option for people who are allergic to tree nuts, while seed butters like sunflower butter are a great alternative.
Sunflower butter’s taste is subtler than that of nut butters, especially a stronger-tasting one like almond butter. Sunflower butter’s roasted nutty character is grassier in addition to being milder, and it usually contains a lot more salt to make up for its naturally muted taste. Almond butter has a strong, distinctive flavor of almonds. It is very nutty with coffee notes and a hint of bitterness. Some almond butters can be gritty and not as smooth as sunflower butter.
Can you substitute one for the other?
Sunflower butter can work as an almond butter substitute, but it is not ideal. Sunflower butter lacks the main almond butter characteristic: its strong flavor. If the almond flavor is important to the dish, then you will either need to find some other way of replicating it or using another substitute. Otherwise, sunflower butter will provide the same consistency and fat content, so it will work fine in recipes for baked goods that call for almond butter.
Almond butter can work as a sunflower butter substitute since the two have similar consistencies and similar levels of fat. It won’t ruin baked goods that call for sunflower butter; however, it will give them a strong almond flavor. Some of these dishes may benefit from that flavor, but it might be undesirable in others. Another reason to avoid using almond butter in place of sunflower butter is tree nut allergies. Sunflower butter won’t trigger tree nut allergies, but replacing it with almond butter might. Make sure that no one who will be consuming the finished product is allergic.
How should you use sunflower butter, and how should you use almond butter?
Use sunflower butter like any nut butter — it’s a good spread for bread and is usually safe for people who are allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. It is a great option in baked goods, as well as a good addition to oatmeal and smoothies. Use almond butter in applications where the almond flavor will shine. It is great on its own as a spread for bread and in baked goods that you want to taste like almonds.