Peanut butter is one of those pantry staples that offers a multitude of uses in the kitchen. From being the protagonist of the beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to serving as a key ingredient in many baked goods, a jar of peanut butter will always come in handy. It can also be a delicious addition to savory dishes, like stir fried peanut tofu or thai peanut noodles or soup.
Peanut butter is also nice to have around when you’re looking for a quick and healthy snack, as it even goes great with vegetables like carrots and celery. Natural peanut butter, though high in fat, has plenty of nutritional benefits and just a few spoonfuls can be quite filling.
However, maybe you just finished off the last spoonful of peanut butter in the jar, or perhaps someone in your family has a peanut allergy. Fortunately, there are a number of nut and seed butters that you can use in place of peanut butter without significantly altering taste and texture.
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Nut butters are popular for their nutritional value and smooth texture. Peanut butter is perhaps the most common of nut butters, and you can find a wide variety on grocery shelves, ranging from natural peanut butter to very sugary, processed products.
Peanut butter tends to have an earthy, toasted, sweet, and fatty flavor. Peanut butter comes in smooth and crunchy varieties, both of which serve a specific purpose depending on what type of recipe you are preparing.
Peanut butter has quite a distinct flavor, and it is easy to identify when it is incorporated into dishes or baked goods. However, peanut butter can also be enjoyed on its own, by the spoonful, or spread over some apple slices for a healthy snack.
Natural peanut butter, the type that doesn’t contain excessive amounts of sugar or additives, is rich in vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of plant protein and healthy fats.
When it comes to cooking, peanut butter is very versatile.
Though peanut butter certainly has a distinct flavor that makes it easy to identify in a dish or dessert, there are various options when it comes to finding substitutes. Perhaps you or someone that you are cooking for is allergic to peanuts, or maybe you would just prefer to use something with a lower fat or carbohydrate content.
You have a number of options when it comes to substituting peanut butter, ranging from other nut butters to seed butters. That way, you won’t have any problems accommodating people with other nut allergies.
So, without any further ado, here are the top 4 best substitutes for peanut butter!
1. Almond butter
Almond butter is one of the best substitutes for peanut butter thanks to the fact that it is one of the alternatives with the most similar flavor. It provides that nutty, earthy flavor that so many people love peanut butter for. However, almond butter doesn’t tend to be as sweet as peanut butter.
Almond butter is an even healthier alternative to nut butter, as it contains more fiber, Vitamin E, and calcium, and is also richer in omega-3 fatty acids than peanut butter. It offers a smooth texture very similar to that of many peanut butters as well.
This is one of the best substitutes for peanut butter when it comes to baking, thanks to its similar texture and flavor profile and the fact that it pairs well with chocolate. It can also replace peanut butter on a classic PB&J and goes great with banana slices and chocolate chips for a sweet afternoon snack.
You can easily make almond butter at home by grinding lightly toasted almonds, honey, and a dash of salt. If your food processor is old or not so powerful, you might have to add a drizzle of neutral oil to smooth everything out.
2. Cashew butter
Cashew butter is another excellent peanut butter alternative as it offers a creamy flavor and texture while packing an impressive nutrient profile. Like peanuts, cashews are high in healthy fats, and also have high concentrations of iron, magnesium, vitamin B3, and calcium. However, you should keep in mind that cashew butter is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein than peanut butter.
Cashew butter is another great peanut butter substitute when baking and pairs especially well with dried fruit. It is a delicious alternative when making granola or energy bars, and is especially delicious with dried cranberries or cherries.
Cashew butter can also replace peanut butter in tofu and chicken stir fries where it will offer a similar fatty and nutty flavor while still being a peanut-free option for those who suffer from peanut allergies.
3. Sunflower seed butter
Moving onto nut-free alternatives, sunflower seed butter is one of the closest alternatives to peanut butter that you can find. It has a very similar earthy flavor and creamy texture, and as a plus, is a great option for people with peanut and tree nut allergies.
Sunflower seed butter is also incredibly healthy, as it is packed with omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E. While you can find sunflower seed butter at most grocery or health food stores, it is also very easy to make at home, as you just have to grind up sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor.
Sunflower seed butter has just as much protein as peanut butter, and it’s a great alternative if you are avoiding nuts or legumes.
Our last peanut butter substitute has quite the reputation on its own, but is also an excellent alternative for people with peanut allergies or who don’t like the taste of peanuts. Tahini is an important ingredient in a variety of cuisines, like Persian, Eastern Mediterranean, and North African, but nowadays it can be found all around the world.
Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which are packed with omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, fiber, and vitamin B1. It is also very easy to make at home, as you just have to toast sesame seeds and grind with a drizzle of neutral oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Tahini is usually sold unsweetened, so if you are baking and a recipe calls for sweetened peanut butter, you might have to increase the amount of sugar, or alternatively, add a dollop of honey or date syrup to maintain a Middle Eastern flavor profile.
Tahini has a very earthy and not as fatty flavor, so keep that in mind when using it as a peanut butter substitute. However, it can be a delicious addition to brownies or cookies, and is one of the best peanut butter substitutes when it comes to salad dressings.
Substituting peanut butter with another nut or seed butter is really quite simple. The recommended ratio is 1:1, as the texture and volume of all nut and seed butters is very similar.
Keep in mind that if a baking recipe calls for a peanut butter that already has added sugar, you will probably have to increase the sugar or sweetener in the recipe if you are using another nut or seed butter. Most nut and seed butters other than peanut butter are sold without added sugar, meaning that they don’t aren’t as sweet as many commercial peanut butter brands.
Also, a natural nut or seed butter will likely be runnier than processed peanut butter, so if you need something with a thick consistency in your recipe, you can add a little bit of flour or cornstarch to your nut or seed butter to thicken it.