How To Choose Healthy Peanut Butter

June 16, 2010   65 Comments

Peanut butter is a great addition to a healthy snack. Spreading it on apples or crackers is an excellent way to add fat and protein (and taste!) to a dull food.

Which Peanut Butter is Healthiest?

But, not all peanut butter is created equal. My husband recently found that out on a recent shopping trip. He does half of the grocery shopping, but peanut butter is usually my domain. Why? Because he is Australian.

Australians grow up with something called Vegemite (which tastes NOTHING like peanut butter) and is a yeast extract. It is best served in Australia to Australians.

So, he didn't know which brand to buy and thought they were all the same (like Vegemite). Below is a photo of the ingredients list in the peanut butter he chose:


What is my problem? (hey, snack girl, you have a partner who does some shopping - stop whining!) It has sugar and oil added to it. There is absolutely no reason to put anything in peanut butter.

The ingredients list on peanut butter should look like this - Roasted Peanuts. There are plenty of brands in the supermarket that don't add anything to peanut butter and I'm not sure why Walmart decided to add stuff to theirs.

I have written another scintillating post on peanut butter – What is the Healthiest Peanut Butter? to help you find the best brand.

Also, I have taken a close look at Jif – which is one of the nation’s best selling peanut butters here: Natural Jif: What’s the Dif?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just grind up peanuts and put the butter in a jar versus adding other stuff? I actually bought a brand at Costco that said "All Natural" that had added oil. The front of the label tricked me into a huge jar of peanut butter with an ingredient I didn't want.

If you are used to added sugar in your peanut butter, you will have a shock when you eat plain peanut butter. Then something magical happens! You begin to prefer peanut butter without anything added. It tastes better without the sugar (trust me).

Peanut butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber and other vitamins that you need. Choose the right one and eat it with pleasure.

What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?

Other posts you might like:

What is the Healthiest Peanut Butter

What is the Healthiest Peanut Butter?

What is the Healthiest Peanut Butter? It should be easy to find the healthiest peanut butter but it isn’t....


Natural Jif: What's The Dif?

After Snack Girl's recent exposé on Whole Grain vs Original Wheat Thins, readers have started sending her other potential food fakes....

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!


So have I been fooled all this time with my Peanut Butter and Company choices! I love Bee Knees, and I KNOW it has added honey, but I didn't realize it also added palm oil and evaporated cane juice. What brand do you like? Can you tell?

I love natural peanut butter, the one with "just roasted peanuts" - I don't know how anyone could eat anything else! YUM!

Most of us grew up on PB&J. The only kind we knew had all that "stuff" in it. We got used to the sweeter taste but most stores don't offer a really healthy brand. I get Trader Joe's brand. Funny how the natural peanut oil rises to the top and has to be mixed. Very little has to be used as it is very potent with peanut taste. Here's to the original peanut!!

Karen MacNab

Wellness Consultant

I have been making my own peanut butter or sunflower seed butter for a while using a food processor. Sometimes the peanuts or sunflower seeds do not form a proper butter, instead they become a thick dry paste that is all wrong for speading. I think this may mean they're a little old. When this happens I very slowly drizzle a bit of either peanut or canola oil in until the texture changes. Usually it takes about 1 tablespoon, or sometimes less, for a pound of nuts/seeds. If I add oil, I also add 1/4 teaspoon of salt just for flavor. A pound of nuts/seeds will fill a 16 oz jar, so I don't feel especially bad about adding that amount of salt.

If the oil starts to separate and rise to the top later, I stir it well with a knife and store it in the fridge.

Smuckers has an all natural version with no added oil or sugar. Also Trader Joes sells a healthy peanut butter too.

Here's a tip: If you stick your natural peanut butter upside down in the fridge when you first buy it, later on when you open it up, it will be much easier to stir the oil in.

I like Skippy Natural or Natural Balance. Yes they have added oil (palm or flax) but I like a little bit of sugar to cut the overwhelming peanut taste of just ground peanuts. It's just my personal preference. I hate to eat straight peanuts and that what the real "all natural" peanut butters taste like to me. I suppose I'm a little strange, however I do refuse to eat low fat peanut butter which lastes like plastic to me.

I always drain off a little of the oil before I stir it in.

I LOVE Crazy Richard's Natural PB! And my favorite way to eat PB is a grilled PB sandwich. It's the best.

Purchase the organic peanut butter...I get mine at Target and Kroger. There's no oil in 'em.

And here's a great Summer snack with peanut butter...

Krema Natural all the way!! It doesn't go on sale much and is about .40 cents more per jar than other natural styles but SO worth it. I am not sure why...maybe they use higher quality peanuts or something. It is the best! Peanut Butter on high protein/fiber toast with half a sliced banana=best breakfast ever!

I love natural PB. For longest time I fresh ground it from a grinder at wholefoods. Now I just buy it from Kroger. They have a crunchy and a smooth variety that is just peanuts and salt. I like the salt. It makes a huge difference to me.

The reason manufacturers add other ingredients is simple. Fake sugars and fake oils are cheap. When you add them to real ingredients (like peanuts) it acts like a filler and they get more volume per peanut ;-) It "spreads" out their profits!

My husband is British so we have lots of Marmite around the house which is the equivalent to Vegemite in the UK. Can't stand the stuff and he despises peanut butter so I guess we are even. You are right, going from Skippy to the natural stuff takes some getting used to, but I can't imagine ever going back. Trader Joe's makes awesome peanut butter with nothing added.

Here here!

Check out my post on this subject:…

I LOVE my Trader Joe's PB! It's the best. I share it with anyone who will take some, and they're always astounded at the incredible flavor. We keep the cheap stuff in the house for our dog, and the last time I opened a new jar I tasted it. It was like eating wax! I can't believe I ate that stuff for years, but who knew how bad it was?

But I like my peanut butter the way it is... that doesn't make me some troglodyte people!

My doctor (practicing in functional medicine) recommends eating organic almond butter, with no added sugar, salt or oil. Marantha makes crunchy and smooth, and it tastes delicious on apples, crackers, etc. Regular peanut butter can contain pesticide residues from the spraying of the peanut plants with round-up and other weed killers.

Just go to Trader Joes and buy peanut butter. It is fantastic. We will never go back to the store bought name brands. they taste like plastic compared to real peanut butter.

My favorite way to eat it is after a great work out and between meals when I am famished...I smear it on apples or pears. It is the best and fills me up.

thanks for your blog!

Not all Costco's carry the same products - but my local Costco in Kansas City has Almond Butter has one ingredient - "dry roasted almonds" and I LOVE it!

Almond butter is also another option, and a good substitute for peanut butter. Calorie-wise they are similar, but almond butter has a slight edge in fat content, as well as calcium and iron.

I'm Australian and I have to admit, its a slightly cruel but oh-so-amusing national passtime to give Vegemite to unsuspecting foreigners... Snack girl is right though, Australians grow up on the stuff and it's sort of hardwired into our national food psyche. Its so healthy though, everyone else is missing out! Less than 10 calories for a decent serving and its the "worlds richest source of vitamin b" (thats on the label, we all know it by heart, just like the vegemite song :-D) And there is NO better hangover cure than vegemite on toast!

We use PB2, powdered peanut butter. I like a little sugar taste in mine and I can make it any consistency my kids like by adding plain water. Ingredients... Roasted peanuts, sugar, and some salt. I am OK with salt as we don't use it at all in the house, or in cooking for that matter. Try it!

Thanks SnackGirl for the information.

Has anyone tried PB2? Bell Plantation makes a Peanut Butter and also Chocolate PB that are preservative free and contain no artificial sweeteners. The are also 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter with only 45 calories for 2 Tablespoons.

I have not tried it yet but really want to. Unfortunatley it's not sold in local stores where I live although going to try to order online although would love to hear if anyone else tried it. So far I read some reviews and people really seem to like it.

Any help/information would be great. Thanks!!!

If it doesn't have to be peanut, nor chunky, I'd recommend mac-adamia nut butter.

Not only does it taste and smell fantastic, but it's also much healthier (has more of the monounsaturated oil type than olive or peanut, and in the little polyunsaturated fat that it does have, it's omega3/6 ratio is much better!)

Dear Bodyhacker,

We LOVE PB2. It's the only peanut butter we eat and I have five children 9 and under....they ALL love it! We are military and our Commissary actually carries it!! Haven't tried the Chocolate one, but friends say it's delicious. Not sure if I want to go there seeing my kids love the plain one, I'm afraid they would prefer the chocolate peanut butter over the plain peanut butter :)


Thanks so much for the information and that is fanastic news! :-) I am so happy to hear that because I have been really wanting although wanted to make sure before ordering online.

Definitely understand about the Chocolate flavor :-) especially if they really like the plain PB although if I end up trying the chocolate flavor I will definitely let you know if we like it!

Thanks again and have a great day.

Wow I guess i didn't really think about it before but i love peanut butter and it's probably just as tasty and 10x as healthy to get one without any thing added, that's first thing on my grocery list now!

Laura, if I may, without knowing at all where you are at on your journey to holistic, natural, good health with food - don't be discouraged if it doesn't seem "just as tasty" in the beginning. Speaking from experience, the path to whole foods eating takes time and takes time to "re-condition" the palette and shift from sugars, processed foods etc to an appreciation for true foods. It is a journey I promise is worth it, though!

I love Arrowhead Mills peanut butter. It has no additives and is easy to spread (hard clumpy PB is my pet peeve)

I am amazed at how hard it is to find healthy peanut butter out there, and ones that are reasonably priced at that. It seems like with less ingredients, the healthier versions would be cheaper, but oh well. I recently found Crazy Richard's Natural peanut butter and I'm wondering what your opinion is on its healthiness.

@McKenzie - Crazy Richard's is great! I have tried it and it has only peanuts - and it tastes good.

Snack Girl: "why...add stuff?" has always been my question about pb too (especially the sugar)! Adams Natural PB has always been my fav, and last wk bought their "No Stir" version because the store was out of the regular, and...mystery solved! Sue's right (6/16/10) - once cheap fillers/oils added, the pb is flavorless, so then they have to add the sugar too, or no one would eat it. Bought the No Stir because it was the only one left on shelf w/ no sugar, but it's as bland as can be. Those hydrogenated oils just dilute the peanut flavor too much. Next time, I'll wait for the good stuff.

I toast my peanut butter on bread,than sprinkle a little wheat germ and slice banana on it. It is good. It is good with honey also.

We much prefer the natural peanut butter made with only peanuts in our house but why can't they make bigger jars of it?

I have a vitamix and have been wanting to try making my own PB in it--has anyone done that?

what is healthiest all Natural peanut butters you would recommend that have nothing added but just peanuts!

Krema Natural Peanut Butter and Crazy Richards Natural Peanut Butter have one ingredient: Peanuts! Visit our website for more information.

I use Adams all natural Creamy peanut butter. I can't believe no one has mentioned it. Only peanuts. Once you get used to healthy peanut butter,you never go back. I ran out of peanut butter last month so I used some of my grand kids pb and it was way too sweet.There are many unhealthy things in Skippy,and Jiff. I love Adam's

KREMA! Only one ingredient: Peanuts...and doesnt have to be refrigerated.

Greetings, had to share a site with you about Peanut Butter. It's 'BELLPLANTATION.COM". They make and sell a powdered Peanut Butter that it great. They remove 85% of the fat. Two (2) TBSP = 45 calories, 13 from fat. Total fat is 1.5 g or 3% Check out this site and tell me what u think .

@Carolyn...This is great. I am going to order this to use in my protein shakes and smoothies!

I luv the all natural peanut butter. At first it taste plain but once I continue to eat it the more I really started likeing it.. it a very healthy choice:-)

I eat Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter. It's delicious, readily available and if you have a Walmart in your area you can buy a large jar for less than $5.00. I eat Bobs Gluten Free RedMill oatmeal for breakfast every morning with cinnamon and 1-2 tbs Smuckers Natural PB. Delicious, packed with keeps me going at work until lunch. LOVE IT!

If you are eating anything hydrogenated, you are shortening your life. Don't take my word for it. Look it up.

Has anyone tried Bell Plantation's PB2?

What about Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter? The ingredients are "Peanuts, contains 1% or less of salt...... Whats your take on this brand?

If you don't have to stir in the oil it's because the oil has been hydrogenated. There's nothing worse to eat than hydrogenated oil.

we eat our natural peanut butter with a cup of hot chocolate. It's delicious.

Marmite or Vegemite? No comparison with PB except that you spread it with a knife. Unless you have grown up with it, run away from it with all deliberate speed. Tried it in New Zealand on a long natural area tour; I became ill and nauseated as in a bad case of sea sickness and couldn't get back to my hotel soon enough. It was instantaneous. There are just some things that persons from the western Hemisphere should not eat - period! Very luckily we in the U.S. separated from the British Empire before this vile product was invented.

The healthiest peanut butter contains only peanuts and nothing else.

@Kathie I think that Smuckers brand of peanut butter is very healthy - the one with just salt and peanuts. Thanks for your question!

Hey what about Peter Pan ? The honey roasted one. The label says it contains roasted peanuts but i has hydrogenated vegetable oils does that make it less healthy?

@Arden - adding extra oil is just unnecessary with peanut butter. Try to find one without it added. (it isn't easy)

Great question!

Oh, I feel your pain. It's so scary isn't it? But think about it this way:Are you going let this ruin your life? Are you going to give into it like this?Being alert is smart, however, don't let it bemoce who you are. Let it be just a part of who you are.I found out about mine about a year ago. I'm almost 21. I know it's scary, and I know that it is a big deal. But please, don't let this rule over you. You need to find an allergy support group. They will understand, and make it easier for you. Good Luck to you.

I am another Aussie here who loves Vegemite and Marmite and Promite :)

However, I have been eating Peanut Butter lately and am glad I discovered the healthier versions in the supermarket.

The question is, do you eat it with butter/margerine or plain? If you make a sandwich that is....before your healthy eating days.

There are no Peanut Butters in my usual supermarket (Sainsbury's) that doesn't have added sugar or oil

snack girl, or anyone i guess, question:

If i buy the natural peanut butter and drain the oil on top, how would that change the nutritional info?

I was completely surprised at how hard it was to find PB without sugar. I don't understand why it is needed. Someone suggested Teddy's Creamy Unslated PB and I love it! It's just peanuts. My daughter gets a PB&J sandwich everyday and I use Teddy's PB with Smucker's Natural Grape Jelly (it has sugar instead of HFCS). Jelly should have sugar, but PB shouldn't. I use it so much I leave it out on the counter so it doesn't get hard from being in the fridge. No where on the jar does it say it has to be refrigerated, and I've really looked.

what about betternpeanutbutter

I'm trying to live a healthy lifestyle starting from scratch but peanut butter is my weaknesses. What brands could I find that don't have all the added ingredients, where can I get them, and(as a new college student) what healthy peanut butters affordable?

TRUE: -->If you are used to added sugar in your peanut butter, you will have a shock when you eat plain peanut butter. Then something magical happens! You begin to prefer peanut butter without anything added. It tastes better without the sugar (trust me).

HA love the comment about Vegamite!

I went through this process and now I can't eat sugar added peanut butter and I am a sugar fiend! (trying to be a recovering sugar fiend!)

I have hated the smell and everything else about peanut butter since I knew how to chew. I have recently been into eating healthier and it seems everywhere I look there are recipes/health snacks that call for it. I kept looking thinking, "no I don't have to eat peanut butter to kick my habit of satisfying my sweet tooth" but I haven't found a solution yet. My inner fit self(that I close my eyes every night and wish that I would wake up to) beat my cravings and I decided to try peanut butter. I usually would just have jelly sandwiches, but always dreamed of liking PB&J's (: So with all that I dove in and had a smidge on some waffles. I am still alive so I think it's time to actually buy a jar myself. Since I would be starting from the beginning I don't want to train my self to like that sugar filled unhealthy PB. I have read about 3 articles on the site about the healthiest version, but didn't see a conclusion. So my question is, what PB should I begin to incorporate into a healthier version of my very large sweet tooth, that will help bring it back down to a healthy size.

Try any natural peanut butter with no additional ingredients except 90 mg of salt or less. You can pour off half of the oil before mixing it up. After you refrigerate it you won't have to mix it again.

Hey Snack Girl, i have just discovered your blog and am loving it but had to laugh when i read the post on peanut butter as I live in Australia and love vegemite, while I like peanut butter it dosen't compare to vegemite which is salty, delicious and has much fewer calories and fat than PB :)

Crazy Richards has one ingredient, PEANUTS!!! It's so good, why do they put all those unhealthy things in peanut butter anyway?? Maybe the additives are cheaper than the peanuts so they become a filler?

The name brands usually contain hydrogenated peanut oil which avoids the oil on top, but is very unhealthy. Palm oil does the same and may even have health benefits, but growing it on virgin land is bad for the environment.

When I start a new jar of Smuckers natural I pour off some of the oil and mix the rest between the new jar and a clean old one.

I eat it from a spoon with a large cup of hot chocolate to which I add some extra cocoa. It's great.

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