For years, peanut butter was always the shining star of nut butters. There was only one choice when it came to what to tuck in between slices of bread, along with jelly, of course; one choice for a nutty spread to swipe on apple slices; and one choice for a creamy snack that kicked hunger pangs from morning to night. And then almond butter crept in.
Now it seems like it's almond butter that is stealing the show. With almost as many choices at most grocery stores, choosing one is a daunting task — especially since many come with a steep price tag. So I gathered our staff for an in-office taste test to find the best. Now, hopefully the next time you're at the store, your choice will be a little easier.
How We Selected the 6 Brands
I started by taking a good look at major grocery stores in New York City to see what was available, and then I selected brands that are easily found nationwide.
To keep things consistent, I left crunchy almond butters out of the test and only selected the creamy varieties. I also went for almond butters that were salted, whether that meant that it was clearly marked on the label, or that it was listed as an ingredient.
How We Set Up the Blind Taste Test
I spooned the almond butters into bowls and assigned each bowl a letter. Testers could choose to sample the butters plain, with plastic spoons, or on baguette slices. The testers wrote down their thoughts on tasting sheets.
The Taste Test Results
There wasn't a stand-out winner among the six almond butters we tasted. Instead, there were a handful that stood out based on their own unique qualities. So we feel confident recommending four of them, depending on what you're looking for in your almond butter. On the other hand, there were a couple that we feel we can't recommend, as we couldn't find a positive quality no matter how many spoonfuls we ate. Here are our results.
Our Top Recommendations
The Almond Lover's Almond Butter: Trader Joe's Salted Creamy Almond Butter
"So nutty and yummy!" said one tester. This almond butter had a bold almond flavor with a nice balance of sweet, salty, and roasted notes. Its creaminess and mouthfeel were spot-on, and it was easy to spread.
Price: $.50 per ounce
The All-Around Crowd-Pleaser: Maranatha All-Natural No-Stir Creamy Almond Butter
Nothing particularly stood out about Maranatha, but it hit all the right marks. It was nice and thick, but still spreadable, and its flavor was solid — nutty and not too sweet or too salty.
Price: $.83 per ounce
The Peanut Butter Imposter: Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter
For the peanut butter lovers among our testers, this was a favorite. That's because it reminded them of the other nut butter in both texture and flavor — a gateway into the almond butter world without deep-diving into it. It was extra creamy — "almost silky," as one tester pointed out. And while it did indeed taste like almonds, the flavor was mild and sweet, making it almost taste like peanut butter if you just closed your eyes.
Price: $.62 per ounce
The Nostalgic One: JIF Creamy Almond Butter
Without even knowing it was JIF, one tester commented: "It's like JIF trying to jump on the almond butter bandwagon." That's because this almond butter had exactly the same look and feel of the childhood favorite. It was sweet and ridiculously creamy, but some testers felt it didn't have enough almond flavor. Price: $.67 per ounce
The Ones That Fell Behind
The majority of our testers weren't impressed. Instead of being creamy, it was actually quite watery and it had little to no taste. The texture was also a concern. "It's too grainy — it tastes a bit like almond shells," said one tester.
Price: $.50 per ounce
Our testers were later surprised to find out that Justin's didn't fare well, as many said they always expected it to be a solid choice among almond butters. But our testers overwhelmingly called it out for being bland and flavorless. And it had a "weird consistency" – it was super thick, grainy, and even a bit chalky.
Price: $.87 per ounce