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Peanut Butter Substitutes | Top Alternatives to Consider

Peanut butter is an important ingredient in many recipes. Cakes, cookies, brownies, satay, pad thai, curries, kare-kare, stir fry, and even chili can incorporate peanut butter as a key ingredient. 

If you’re looking to remove peanut butter from your kitchen, you might be a little stumped about what options remain.

Peanut butter is an extremely versatile ingredient. It doesn’t have a direct substitute, but it does have conditional substitutes. Almond butter may work in some cases, but hummus or cream cheese may be a better choice in other circumstances. 

You have tons of options. It all depends on what you’re making and how you’re eating your substitute. 

Why Are You Seeking a Peanut Butter Alternative?

You might not need to seek out a peanut butter alternative. Consider the reasons why you’re looking for a swap. 

If you’re just out of peanut butter and you don’t feel like going to the store, that’s one thing. If someone has a nut allergy, making the switch is important. 

What you shouldn’t do is find a peanut butter alternative because you believe that peanut butter is unhealthy. That’s simply not the case.

Do You or Someone in Your Household Have a Peanut Allergy?

If you or someone in your household has a peanut allergy, keeping peanut butter in the house can be dangerous. Accidental exposure to peanut butter, even in the smallest amounts, has the potential to induce an allergic reaction. 

Since peanuts aren’t actually nuts but legumes, some people with peanut allergies can tolerate tree nuts perfectly fine. If your allergy test shows negative for tree nuts, swapping peanut butter out for butter made from tree nuts is easy enough.

Are You Worried That Peanut Butter is Unhealthy?

We’re here to squash that misconception! Eating a whole jar of peanut butter in a day may be unhealthy, but eating a whole jar of almost anything in a day is bound to be less than great for you. Just make sure you understand how much peanut butter you should be eating.

Peanut butter has a deceptively small serving size. A full serving is only two tablespoons. Those two tablespoons are packed with protein and nutrients that can help energize you for a busy day or an intense workout. Peanut butter should be enjoyed in moderation like any other high calorie food, and moderation is very different from outright avoiding something.

Do You Dislike Peanut Butter?

What? You don’t like peanut butter? Well, we love peanut butter. Our Busta Peanut protein-rich superfood squares are one of our favorite midday pick-me-ups. 

We’re not here to tell you you’re wrong, but we also don’t want to tell you you’re right. 

To each their own, or whatever. 

Let’s agree to disagree ;)  

The Best Substitutes for Peanut Butter

There are plenty of perfect substitutes for peanut butter. The best substitute largely depends on why you’re substituting peanut butter and what you’re substituting it for. Not every substitute will work in every application. You’ll have to use your own discretion to find the perfect fit for every recipe or snack you intend to make.

Powdered Peanut Butter

Powdered peanut butter is the perfect alternative for people who love peanut butter, but are looking to keep the calorie count low. Powdered peanut butter still has sugar in it, but it doesn’t have any oil in it. That’s where the calories are removed. 

Powdered peanut butter is perfect for anything you don’t intend to spread something onto as powdered peanut butter becomes peanut butter when you mix it into something. 

If you’re looking to add peanut butter to your oatmeal, protein shake, or yogurt, you’ll find that powdered peanut butter does exactly what you need it to do.

Almond Butter

Almonds are a tree nut. If someone in your household has a peanut allergy but not a tree nut allergy, almond butter is a great substitution. It can be used for almost all the same things peanut butter can be used for. You can cook with it, bake with it, dip fruit into it, and make jelly sandwiches with it. This is the easiest substitute to navigate. 

Although almond butter is the most popular tree nut butter, it isn’t the only tree nut butter. Cashew butter and pistachio butter are floating around out there. Almonds, cashews, and pistachios all have distinct flavors. 

If you want a nut butter, choose the one you like the most. Make a pistachio latte with pistachio butter sauce. Make chocolate almond protein bars. Make a cranberry cashew truffle. Use these butters for the wonderful flavors they impart.

Sunflower Butter

Sunflower butter is both tree nut and peanut free. It’s made from sunflower seeds, and it’s very similar in texture and consistency to peanut butter. It also tastes similar to peanut butter, but has some earthier notes. 

Sunflower butter, like all seed butters, also has some impressive nutritional benefits. It’s loaded with vitamin E, iron, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, pantothenic acid, copper, manganese, and many other vital vitamins and nutrients. 

Sunflower butter’s neutral and earthy flavor makes it a great substitute for savory or spicy recipes that require peanut butter. You can easily use sunflower butter to make curry or satay sauces, or directly substitute it for peanut butter to make thai peanut sauce. 

Hazelnut Butter

Hazelnut butter is delicious. Any kind of hazelnut spread, especially when it’s combined with chocolate, is pretty much one of the best things that’s ever happened. The only problem with hazelnut butter is that it’s very limited in its potential applications. It’s almost exclusively a substitute for peanut butter in desserts. You can’t make vegan pad thai with chocolate hazelnut butter. Well, technically you could, but we certainly don’t want to come over for dinner that night.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese (or cream cheese substitute for vegans) is a great substitute for peanut butter in many recipes. It can take the place of peanut butter in pies, sandwich cookies, or jelly sandwiches. It’s also a great dip for fruits and vegetables, and is easy to doctor to your taste. You can add a little bit of chocolate or maple syrup to sweeten whipped cream cheese. If you’re looking for something savory, blend in some garlic and chives. 

Hummus or Chickpea Butter

If you’re looking to substitute peanut butter as a dip or spread for crackers, hummus is a great choice. Hummus is usually made from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Hummus can be made from beans, chocolate, or almost any fruit or vegetable that will blend to a similar consistency. It comes in a wide variety of flavors and can be used as a sandwich spread or placed with a charcuterie board. 

There is also chickpea butter. Chickpea butter is very similar to hummus in the fact that they’re both spreads made from chickpeas. The difference is that chickpea butter is made of roasted chickpeas and also contains sugar. The end product is something that highly resembles the peanut butter you’re familiar with -- it just doesn’t have any peanuts in it.

Tahini

Tahini is a paste made from roasted sesame seeds. It’s salty, savory, and not at all sweet. If you’re looking to eliminate sugar, tahini is a great substitute for peanut butter. Although tahini is most often used as a condiment for middle eastern dishes, like falafel or kebabs, it can also be used in other ways -- you can make a tahini and jelly sandwich if you want to.

Tahini also works perfectly as a vegan substitute for mayonnaise or as a base for sauces that would ordinarily be made with yogurt. It’s a versatile staple for every plant based kitchen. It’s a good idea to keep a jar handy, or learn how to make your own tahini and infuse it with your favorite flavors. 

The Takeaway

We love peanut butter, but we understand that some people can’t have it. Peanut allergies are serious business, and the health and safety of your family is the most important thing in the world. Thankfully, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious substitutes for peanut butter. You just have to choose the right substitute for the right recipes.

If you’re not allergic to peanuts but peanut butter just isn’t your thing, Mid-Day Squares has some vegan chocolate protein bars for you. Our Almond CRUNCH and Fudge YAH varieties are formulated without peanut butter, and we love them just as much as our Peanut BUTTA flavor. 

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sunflower-seeds

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/best-vegan-cream-cheese-options

https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-tahini-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-203314