What's the Deal with Powdered Peanut Butter?

Ingredient Intelligence

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What's the deal with powdered peanut butter? Have you seen this stuff in the grocery store? It keeps catching my eye in the organic aisle — specifically this PB2 powdered peanut butter claiming "85% less fat, calories." Have you tried it? I finally picked up a jar and tested it out, next to a scoop of real peanut butter.

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So, what is powdered peanut butter? It's essentially powdered peanuts that have been pressed to remove much of the oil and fats. Theoretically this leaves the taste but reduces the fat and calories, leaving you with a peanut powder that can be reconstituted in water.

It sounded too good to be true, at least to this peanut butter-lover. I've always felt like nearly 200 calories was a big commitment for just 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, so an option that offered peanut butter with less than half the calories sounded pretty great.

I tried the PB2 out next to Natural Jif peanut butter spread because I wanted a super creamy, slightly sweet peanut butter to really give this stuff a run for its money.

The Nutrition

First, the nutritional details.

  • Natural Jif Peanut Butter Spread: 190 calories & 16g of fat in 2 tablespoons
  • PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter: 45 calories & 1.5g of fat in 2 tablespoons

Now, this comparison is a little misleading, because 2 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter, when reconstituted, actually makes just 1 tablespoon of spreadable peanut butter. So double the calories and fat for the powdered peanut butter. Even so, 90 calories, compared to 190 calories, for 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is a pretty big reduction.

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The Taste

So, how does it taste? I tried both side by side. The Jif was everything you expect out of a creamy "peanut butter spread" — a little sweet, super smooth, a little bit of guilty pleasure.

I mixed the powdered peanut butter up with a tablespoon of water as instructed, and it quickly came together in a sticky, slightly gritty spread. The PB2 does have a little bit of salt and sugar, so the taste was pleasant and very peanutty. It had a faint lingering bitterness, though, that reminded me ever so slightly of beans.

Overall, taste-wise, while there was certainly a difference between these two, I could certainly see using this in a sandwich or a smoothie — anything where the fat content wasn't necessary. I would be more careful about substituting the PB2 in cookies or other desserts.

The other thing to mention, of course, is price. For getting less (fat, calories) you actually need to pay more. I paid about $7 for the powdered peanut butter, which gives 15 (reconstituted) tablespoons, compared to about $4 for the Jif peanut butter spread with 28 tablespoons.

Find it: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, $6.81 for 6.5 ounces at Amazon

PB2 isn't the only option on the market, though; there are other brands of powdered peanut butter and peanut flour. (See a list of sources at the National Peanut Board.)

Have you tried this, or any other version of powdered peanut butter? What did you think of it?

(Image credits: Faith Durand)