Taste Test: Peanut Butter

by in Taste Test, December 8, 2009

peanut butter brands
To us, peanut butter is important stuff. You can use it in so many dishes — with apples, in a sandwich, in baked goods and more. You want to be sure you’re choosing the healthiest brand. I have my favorite (which is included on this list), but we wanted to see how a few of the most popular brands stacked up.

Peanuts and peanut butter contain healthy fats as well as protein, but some packaged butters have extra extra oils and sweeteners added to the mix. For our 1 to 5 rating (5 being the highest), we considered taste, texture (we tested only smooth varieties) and sugar content for a basic two-tablespoon serving. As for price, all the brands tested ranged from $2.79 to $3.19.

Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar
Our Take: I was raised on this stuff, but that was before I learned about added sweeteners and hydrogenated oils! Though it does have a good flavor and creamy consistency, I’m turned off by the added sugar and unhealthy fats.

Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 180 calories, 16 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar
Our Take: This natural peanut butter contains peanuts, flaxseeds and salt. It had a nice peanut flavor but a slightly gritty texture. Like most peanut butters made without extra oils, this brand needed to be mixed well initially to stir in some surface oil (if refrigerated after the first mix, it no longer separates). The flax adds some omega-3 fat but also affects the flavor. If you’re a peanut butter purist, it’s better to get your omega-3s elsewhere. (Here’s an article on better choices for omega 3-rich foods.)

Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar
Our Take: This one had almost exactly the same ingredients in Skippy — added sugar and hydrogenated oils — but it did have a more peanutty flavor (my guess is they use a different variety of peanuts).

Trader Joe’s
: 5
Nutrition Info: 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar
Our Take: This is the peanut butter we keep in my house. The only ingredients are peanuts and salt. It has great flavor, a silky smooth texture and won’t separate once refrigerated. I’ve been recommending it to clients for years and have been able to convert even the most loyal brand-name peanut butter lovers.

Smart Balance
Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 200 calories, 18 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar
Our Take: I was surprisingly disappointed by this jar. Made with peanuts, flaxseed and palm oil (for texture) it is sweetened with molasses, but has a stale flavor that was, honestly, kind of gross. We also tried the Smart Balance “naturally sweetened” with agave nectar instead of molasses but it had a bitter and unappealing after taste. My husband (a fellow PB lover) asked if we could throw these two jars out pronto).

Tell Us: What’s your favorite peanut butter?

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Comments (304)

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  2. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about Taste Test: Peanut Butter | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog .

  3. ass says:

    it is good

  4. julia says:

    Teddie is incredible!! However, it is hard to find outside of New England, isn't it??

  5. Holly says:

    I completely agree why would you try the flaxseed one?

  6. Katie says:

    The reduced fat Jif is a favorite of a friend of mine, but it is MUCH sweeter than I'd expect from peanut butter – so much so that pb&j can get really sweet with most jellies. Be sure to check out the label and see what you think.

  7. its only like 2 grams less in fat

  8. Diane says:

    I have found that shaking the jar prior to opening makes mixing the pb so quick and easy.

  9. Randy says:

    I agree with you on the Smuckers, esp. about the mixing part

  10. Patty says:

    Hi Stephen, I agree Smucker's Natural is the best!!!!

  11. Barbara Ames says:

    I agree Stephen. Since the nearest Trader Joe's is more than 5 hours away from where I live, I can't try that one, but the ones that I see avalable in my super market are very pedestrian.

  12. Joy Zamierowski says:

    I LOVE Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter, especially the crunchy. It is wonderful on a banana, because the sweetness of the banana isn't overpowered by the sweetness in the peanut butter. I too will try Trader Joe's.

  13. Janet says:

    Yes…the best!

  14. joyce says:

    I'm with you. I have tried them all and I think it is the best of the boughten

  15. fran says:

    okay- here is my supreme weakness, Peter Pan Honey Roasted. I turned my whole family onto it and when it goes on sale- STOCK UP like crazy. Keep one at work, one in my main vehicle(never know) and of course home!

  16. alicia says:

    that's my favorite!! i love the honey taste!

  17. Kevin McPeanut says:

    Definitely the best tasting. So its not natural……what IS these days! Sometimes I can't stop spooning this stuff! Watch out though, it will put weight on you quick! I think I'll go grab me a spoonful now.

  18. annetta says:

    We have to vote for JIF it is always on our shelves and we dare not run out. I haven't had tradder Joe's because it is a long way to a trader Joe's. When I go to my son's in Richmond I will get some and try it

  19. Debbie says:

    Jif has corn syrup. Don't touch it!

  20. verna says:

    i like jiff chunky

  21. Melanie says:

    Marantha is carried by other stores other than Whole foods.

  22. MarkOne says:

    I believe you're talking about Maranatha. And it is great. Nothing but organic dry-roasted peanuts and sea salt. I'm not addicted to Jif anymore!

  23. Fran says:

    I LOVE this peanut butter- I pick it up at the health food store…I will try the website, thanks Linda!

  24. Mark says:

    I add a half cup of Splenda to Smucker's all Natural and for some reason the Splenda acts like a binder to keep it from separating. I've tried others and made my own but always go back to the Smucker's

  25. Fran says:

    Haven't tied this….is it better or the same as regular PP PB?

  26. Sarah says:

    YES! Maranatha is my brand of choise. Yum, yum.

  27. Skippy Natural fan says:

    I love Skippy Natural its creamy with no need to stir. The ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil and salt. It has 190 cal. 16 grams of fat and 3 grams of sugar. The only problem is finding it. The major super markets don't carry it and I have ask the store managers if they can stock a few, they do but once they are gone they don't re-stock until asked. But target carries Skippy Natural and they stock the the bigger 26.5 oz jar….love it and at a reasonable price!

  28. Moore says:

    That's my favorite too! It's awesome! :)

  29. Frances says:

    I like Skippy

  30. Maggie says:

    Nope, you have to trek to Trader Joe's. It'll be worth it, though – they have all kinds of cool and different things! And, if you like wine, they have very good, inexpensive ones.

  31. CHRISTIAN says:

    I agree, Naturally More is the best-lower in fat & carbs and higher in fiber & protein. Price is good also. I get it @ Wal Mart in SC.

  32. Joand. says:

    Jif is the best. Why look elsewhere? If we don't want add ins, why not just eat the peanuts or grind them up ourselves?

  33. stacey says:

    I am with you 100% Coeze's is the best there is – expensive and worth it. Nothing compares.

  34. Evelyn says:

    I think you have to be careful about that. As I understand it, there is a mold that can grow on peanuts. When you get peanut butter from a Farmers Market or any other place where it is not a regular food processing company, you don't know whether or not moldy peanuts have been used. Anyone have more information on this?

  35. Craig says:

    I like Crazy Richards as well. I only buy Peanut butter made from from peanuts (and perhaps a pinch of salt).

  36. david says:


    Please send me the website where this can be bought. harts4man@gmail.com

  37. Lee Anne says:

    It is so tasty though

  38. Holly says:

    I wish I could find this in the NE… everyone raves about this. Right now Teddie Bear Super Crunchy will have to do! :)

  39. katie in Reno says:

    Adams is the best to me-crunchy -never any additives and its been around forever.

  40. Miry says:

    The one I grind on the spot at Whole Foods is my very favorite; organic, fresh and nothing added. Best ever!

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