Peanut butter is a pantry essential. Packed with protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats, this “nut” butter (peanuts are technically a legume, not a nut) is an inexpensive plant-based protein source that is incredibly versatile and nutritious. “It can be a great addition to recipes, sandwiches, and fruit if someone is trying to add some protein, healthy fats, and vitamins to their diet,” says registered dietitian Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, of Nutrition Now Counseling.
To reap its benefits, healthy peanut butter should have just two ingredients: peanuts (duh) and sometimes a pinch of salt. But today’s manufacturers—even the “all-natural” brands advertising themselves as healthy—pack their PBs with additives you simply don’t need.
To help you avoid the less stellar jars and find the best peanut butter, we reached out to registered dietitians to find out which brands are worth buying. Here’s our definitive list of the healthiest peanut butters.
What are some benefits of peanut butter?
When you’re shopping for peanut butter, there are a few things you should look out for when you check out the label.
Nutritionists shared the following nutritional criteria they look for when selecting healthy peanut butter brands:
How to choose the best healthy peanut butter
With those criteria in mind, dietitians gave us their personal recommendations for the best peanut butter you can buy.
One thing to note before you head to the grocery store: You shouldn’t be afraid of the oil on top of your peanut butter—that’s the natural separation that occurs when brands don’t add any emulsifiers or extra oils to make peanut butter spreadable. “You can always mix the oils in when you get home and keep your peanut butter in the refrigerator to prevent natural separation,” recommends Shira Sussi, MS, RD, CDN of Shira Sussi Nutrition, registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
The 17 best healthy peanut butter brands you can buy.
Let’s see which brands passed the test.
Ingredients: Organic Dry Roasted Peanuts, Sea Salt
Although we like this brand because of its low sodium count, we like it more because it has the smoothest texture (thanks to a unique double-grind process) without needing any added oils.