Nut butter is truly a magical ingredient. Its creamy texture can be spread on toast, mixed into baked goods and even eaten by the spoonful when you need a quick boost of energy from its high levels of plant-based protein.
These days, there are many types of nut butters on the market, from walnut and pistachio to Brazil nuts and sunflower seed varieties. And although we love our peanut butter at Bob’s Red Mill, there are a whole wealth of peanut butter alternatives to dive into.
Let’s take a look at the different nut butter types to see how they differ.
Walnuts are known for having a high omega 3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 fats are good for the heart and have also been shown to improve symptoms of arthritis. They contain more omega-3 fatty acids than pecans (which have the second highest concentration). Keep in mind that walnut butter has to be stored in the fridge because of its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Its distinctive earthy flavor tastes great on a slice of toast or even straight from the jar. You can also combine it with your favorite almond or peanut butter for additional flavor.
Peanut butter is likely the nut butter you’re most familiar with. Whether in a pb&j sandwich or mixed into a batch of cookies, peanut butter has been a classic staple for many of us growing up.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain about seven grams of protein, so it’s the perfect addition to give your morning toast a bit of extra nutrition. When purchasing peanut butter, make sure to read the label (as many peanut butter brands have added sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup). If you’re looking for a more nutritious peanut butter with a high source of protein, opt for natural varieties that contain just raw or roasted peanuts and salt.
Almond butter can be utilized in all the same ways peanut butter can: on your waffles, in your smoothies, spread on toast or in cookies and baked goods. Two-thirds of its fat is in the nutritious monounsaturated form, and it has more calcium than your average peanut butter. Although it tends to be a bit pricier, look for raw almond butter that is free of any added ingredients. It’s the best almond butter you can buy (and it has the creamy, fantastic taste to prove it).
It’s true: pistachio butter exists, and it’s wonderful. It is lower in fat than many of the other nut butter varieties and is less oily in consistency. It has high levels of copper, which helps build strength in your bones and tissues while providing you with lasting energy. Search for this less-common nut butter in specialty stores or online.
Cashew butter is somewhat sweet in taste with a smooth texture. It’s lower in fat than other kinds of nut butter, and the majority of its fat is monounsaturated. It also provides a high amount of copper, which is essential for iron use in the body. Like all nut butters, look for a cashew butter that only contains cashews and salt.
Brazil Nut Butter
Another somewhat exotic nut butter, the brazil nut is a nutritious fruit that comes from the rainforests of Central and South America. This nut is high in selenium, a mineral that has proven to have positive effects on DNA repair and the immune system.
The coconut is technically a seed, a nut and a fruit. And when turned into coconut butter, its texture is grainier than the others on this list (because of how the coconut oil separates and rises to the top). Its tropical flavor tastes amazing in smoothies, on toast and mixed into baked goods. When it comes to their health benefits, coconuts are rich in fiber and provide a wide variety of essential nutrients.
These are just some of the various nut butters available on the market, but there's a world of nut butter out there to taste and explore. Why not try macadamia nut butter, pecan butter or soy nut butter the next time you shop?
Nut Butter Recipes
So, now that you’re familiar with the wide variety of nut butter types, here are some homemade nut butter recipes for incorporating your favorite butters into your bowls, bars and cookies.
There’s a reason why so many smoothie and juice bars are now serving smoothie bowls. They’re creamy, refreshing and thick enough to eat with a spoon (it’s almost like eating a bowl of ice cream with toppings, making the act of eating breakfast tasty and exciting). These Chocolate Berry Breakfast Bowls are made with banana, mixed berries, Chocolate Protein Powder Nutritional Booster, almond butter, honey, almond milk, Gluten Free Apple Blueberry Granola and Hulled Hemp Seed. Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at home or take your bowl of beauty on the go!
These incredible Cheesecake Fudge Bars, inspired by Clean With a Dirty Mind, are both vegan and paleo-friendly. They’re full of plant-based protein and healthy fats, and are wonderfully creamy without containing any dairy or soy. The crust combines Flaxseed Meal and Paleo Baking Flour, the fudge layer contains almond butter and the cheesecake layer uses blended raw cashews for a flavorful nut butter taste. These are so fun to make and are both delicious and nutritious. Top them with toasted nuts, seeds and fruits for decoration.
This recipe for Easy Overnight Oats comes to Bob’s Red Mill courtesy of Sharon Garofalow from Cupcakes and Cutlery. Make this the night before. When you wake up, pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab your jar of oats and go! It’s the perfect healthy breakfast without any extra effort. This particular recipe makes one jar, though you can easily set out additional Mason jars and create a few at a time. To make this recipe, combine Gluten Free Rolled Oats, almond butter, Organic Chia Seed, almond milk, Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster and sliced banana. Once finished, stick the jars in the fridge and wait a few hours or overnight before digging in. They’re pretty, easy and tasty, too.
At Bob’s Red Mill, we like to enjoy our nut butter in cookie form. And these Peanut Butter Protein Cookies certainly do the trick. They’re dense and chewy on the inside with a crunchy texture on the outside. This recipe is from our own Sarena Shasteen from the Bob's Red Mill team, and are now a wonderful staple in our kitchen. In addition to peanut butter, they also call for Gluten Free Quick Rolled Oats and dairy free chocolate chips—plus, you can use chocolate or chai nutritional boosters in place of the vanilla flavor if you’d like (think: one cookie, three variations).
As the recipe headnote alludes, the flavor of these gluten free Texas Sheet Cake Cookies with a Peanut Butter Twist is as big as the size of Texas. The recipe, from Kim of Kim’s Cravings, takes a beloved Texas sheet cake and gives it a southern comfort food cookie makeover. The recipe calls for creamy peanut butter, although feel free to substitute any sort of nut butter you prefer. For the icing, use creamy peanut butter (or another nut butter), cocoa powder, vanilla and honey for the perfect and decadent topping to your cookie.
These protein-rich Almond Chai Protein Truffles are perfect to pop in your mouth before or after a workout for a boost of energy. These bite-size truffles are made with almond butter, water, maple syrup, vanilla extract, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Regular Rolled Oats, Chai Protein Powder Nutritional Booster, Flaxseed Meal and chocolate chips. If you’d like to make them eliac-friendly, choose our gluten free products when creating this recipe at home.
These Paleo Gingerbread cookies from Samantha Rowland of Pancake Warriors are the perfect holiday treats (especially during a holiday baking party). They’re gluten free, grain free and so easy to make, with only one bowl needed for mixing. The recipe calls for almond butter, molasses, applesauce, Almond Flour, Coconut Flour and spices like ginger and cinnamon. They’re festive, fun to make and oh so delicious!
These Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls are packed with fiber and protein. The recipe comes from Jordyn of Almost Supermom, who has created a perfect snack for both kids and parents alike. Whether you throw them in a beach bag or a lunch pack, you can enjoy them for any occasion. Not only are these protein balls addictively delicious, but they are also easy to make. Jordyn uses Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster, pure maple syrup, Flaxseed Meal, mini chocolate chips and nut butter to form these wonder balls. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until fully combined. Form into balls using a tablespoon to get the perfect sized ball. Once you’ve made your balls, store them in an airtight container and stick them in the fridge. Enjoy as you’d like (until they run out) then make more!
These Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies are made with our Gluten Free Brownie Mix to create the perfect combo of chocolate and peanut butter. All you’ll need for the brownies is our mix, melted butter and three eggs. To create the peanut butter swirl, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt and chopped roasted peanuts.
Although we certainly love our healthy desserts, we’re equally as big of fans of nutritious smoothies as well. This Almond Joyful Smoothie calls for Soy Protein Powder, almond butter, cocoa powder, honey, light coconut milk and a handful of ice. Just blend, sit back and enjoy. We recommend pairing this easy sipper with your favorite book or shared with a friend.
Ready to take the plunge and experiment with more than just peanut butter in your nut butter routine? No matter which type you choose, nut butter brings a tasty, nutritious, spreadable and versatile ingredient into your pantry, your fridge and your meals.
Have any favorite nut butter recipes? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below!