The Nutella Taste Test: We Tried Every Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread and Ranked Them

The Nutella Taste Test: We Tried Every Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread and Ranked Them

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Ariel Knutson
Dec 16, 2014
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Chocolate-hazelnut spreads have earned their place among the peanut butters and jellies of your supermarket aisle. Nutella might have started the widespread fandom, but other heavy hitters have recently entered the ring, including products from brands such as Jif, Hershey's, and Justin's.

Does Nutella deserve its status? Or is an upstart competitor even better? I asked the AT Media staff to participate in a blind taste test of seven different chocolate-hazelnut spreads. Can you guess which spread won our blind taste test?

Setting up the taste test at our New York office.
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

How We Set Up the Blind Taste Test

For the blind taste test, I purchased seven brands of chocolate-hazelnut spread, including Nutella. I gave each brand a letter and spooned them into labeled containers. Then I put them out on a table, with lots of thinly sliced baguette, and asked everyone at the office to try each spread, give me their thoughts, and then tell me what they thought of each.

The labeled cups.
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

The Results!

Here are the results from the least-favored to the most.

7. Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend - $11.99

Justin's makes a great peanut butter, but when it comes to this chocolate-hazelnut spread, it just doesn't taste right. It looked very different from the other brands (soupy with small nutty bits), and was the most expensive. The ingredients, however, are top notch.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "This one is super grainy."
  • "This is trying to be organic."
  • "Why is this one grainy?"
  • "Tastes too healthy."
  • "This one tastes like peanut butter."
  • "This is way off, and not in a good way."
  • "This one is not Nutella."
  • "This one is so soupy, it tastes like peanut butter."
The tasting frenzy begins!
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

6. Natural Nectar Choco Dream Spread - $6.29

I found this brand at Whole Foods and wanted to include another organic option in the taste test. This is the only one that included "soy flour" in the ingredients – wonder if that has something to do with the different taste and look?

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "Doesn't look great, very chalky."
  • "I don't like this one."
  • "Tastes like frosting."
  • "I don't like how this one looks."
  • "This one has a nice taste. It isn't overpowering."
  • "This one tastes like paste. What's the matter with it? I don't like it."

5. Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread - $8

I'm not going to lie, I really thought this one was going to win even before the taste test started. I've had it before and remembered liking it. It comes in a nice glass jar with fancy-looking writing. There were a couple people who said it was their favorite, but then a couple people noted it was their least favorite. The strange aftertaste won out.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "Consistent flavor and light."
  • "Super sugary with a weird aftertaste."
  • "Tastes like honey."
  • "The aftertaste on this one is weird."
  • "This one is nice and good."
  • "Boring."
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

4. Hershey's Spreads: Chocolate with Hazelnuts - $3.38

A handful of people in the office said Hershey's was their second favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread. One person even said it was their favorite. There were, however, a few people who really didn't like it. It's a little more sweet than the others, but it has a smooth, creamy texture to balance it out.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "This is very nut forward with a whole lot of sweet."
  • "I don't like the texture of this one."
  • "This is sweet, too candy like."
  • "I really like this one, this is my favorite."
Emma, our recipe editor, overwhelmed by the sheer variety!
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

3. Nice! Hazelnut Spread - From Walgreens, price varies store to store

This is the chocolate-hazelnut spread from Walgreens. It's their generic brand of Nutella with similar ingredients (although it says it uses vegetable oil instead of palm oil). Three people in the office said it was their favorite.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "This one is not Nutella, but I like it. It's softer."
  • "It's nice. The sweetness feels natural, not cloying. More chocolatey than the others."
Carrie from our creative services team, tasting very intently.
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

2. Jif Chocolate Hazelnut - $2.98

This was the underdog that rose above the noise. It tastes similar to Nutella, with points taken off for smoothness and consistency. It wasn't too sweet, and had a great chocolatey flavor. Four people said it was their favorite.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "Not too sweet"
  • "This one is a solid contender. I really like it."
  • "This one is more chocolatey than the others."
  • "Tastes like quality organic goodness."

1. Nutella - $3.48

Ta-Da! Nutella remains the king of all chocolate-hazelnut spreads. Are you surprised? It has a smooth consistency and balanced flavors. While some people thought it was a little boring, eight people said it was their first choice.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "This has those toasty notes."
  • "This has the most nut flavor."
  • "I'm pretty sure this is real Nutella."
  • "The flavor comes in waves."
  • "Has a bad chemical aftertaste."
  • "This one is kinda bland."
  • "This is the chocolate equivalent of fluff."
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

To be honest, we were all a little surprised that Nutella still won out in our blind taste test — is it just because that's what people are used to?

Have you ever done a taste test for Nutella and other chocolate spreads? Do you have a favorite that we missed here?

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