I Asked 7 Chefs for Their Favorite Peanut Butter and the Winner Was a Total Surprise (2024)

If you peek at our recipe archives, you’ll quickly discover that here at Allrecipes, we’re, well, nuts about peanut butter. From the many ways to use peanut butter beyond sandwiches to the best peanut butter desserts (including those by grandma!), we've got no shortage of ways to enjoy the spread.

Last year, we tried 11 peanut butters to find the best brand, and the same one that topped the Allrecipes Community Choice Awards in 2023 won first place: Jif.

But when we recently tapped a panel of professional chefs and cookbook authors, Jif wasn’t even mentioned. Six other brands came out on top instead. While we’ll always have a nostalgic sweet spot for the brand that choosy mothers choose, after learning which peanut butters these culinary pros swear by—and why—we may just cheat on our usual.

One brand in particular garnered more votes than the others. Read on to find out which spread reigns supreme, and to discover five other pantry-worthy PBs.

Our Panel of Peanut Butter-Judging Chefs

Qualities of the Best Store-Bought Peanut Butter

Unlike the unanimous answers we received while polling for the best mayo and best fast-food French fries, our panel had different thoughts about what they were looking for in their optimal peanut butter.

All of our cookbook authors and chefs agreed that flavor was paramount. Few ingredients were better than more, and most confirmed that they seek out peanut butter that has no added preservatives.

“It's a good time to be a peanut butter lover,” Schroeder says. “Most brands are consistently good commodity products. The only kind of peanut butter I avoid is any kind with a lot of added sugar or the kind that is swirled in the jar with jelly. The latter has a weird chemical flavor to it that is hard for me to ignore.”

Jawad and La Rocca look for peanut butter that’s all natural and organic. “Natural” peanut butter typically includes just peanuts and sometimes salt and often requires stirring since there aren’t emulsifiers included to keep the oil from separating from the paste. But not everyone loves the workout that certain all-natural peanut butters call for. “I find that extra step somewhat annoying,” Lam admits. Gillespie adds, “I don't want my peanut butter to have crazy stuff in it, but I also don't want to burn 1,000 calories stirring it every time!”

Still, there are no official FDA requirements for what can be marketed as “natural,” so you’ll notice that the brand that came out on top is labeled as natural, but no stirring is required.

The Best Store-Bought Peanut Butter, According to Chefs

If we had to declare one product as the winner of our professional peanut butter poll, it would be Skippy Natural Peanut Butter. Gillespie, Schroeder, and Lam all selected this as the best peanut butter for baking and cooking since “it has the ideal consistency for my baked goods, plus it's delicious,” Lam says.

This “natural” peanut butter doesn’t require stirring before use, which saves time. That being said, Skippy Natural has a longer ingredient list than any other peanut butter brand that earned a hat tip from the chefs. The Skippy recipe includes roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, and salt. (In case you’re curious about what’s in that jar of Jif, here’s the ingredient list: roasted peanuts, sugar, contains 2% or less of molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, salt.)

For their flavor and streamlined ingredient lists, these other options earn the stamp of approval from our culinary judges:

  • Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter. Although Schroeder likes Skippy for cooking and baking, “Kirkland is my preferred ‘everyday eating’ peanut butter. I like that it's less processed and has less ‘stuff’ added to it,” he says. The ingredient list includes dry-roasted organic peanuts, sea salt, and nothing else. Since that’s the case, it can err on the runny side at first. Simply stir the peanut butter well after opening, then store it in the refrigerator upside down. It should stay spreadable until you polish off the jar.
  • Santa Cruz Peanut Butter. As for Jawad, she’s sweet on Santa Cruz “because it is made simply with organic roasted peanuts. Some jars contain a small amount of salt,” she says. There are no added oils or sweeteners. “I love the simplicity of the peanut butter and the taste.” This option may require stirring, but it doesn’t separate as much as most natural nut butters.
  • Crazy Richard's Peanut Butter. Hill’s family used to be on Team Skippy, however, she’s slowly made the transition to this peanut butter made with a single ingredient: 100% USA-grown peanuts. Since the taste and texture differs from the original Skippy (yep, shaking or stirring is required), Hill started by introducing her kids to Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter Spread with No Sugar. “It was less sweet, but it still had the same consistency because it's made with palm oil. Once they adjusted to no sugar, I was able to switch them to Crazy Richard's and ditch the palm oil,” she explains.
  • Spread the Love Naked Organic Peanut Butter. “This product checks all the boxes: It’s 100% natural, certified organic, has no added sugar, and is made with only one ingredient… peanuts,” La Rocca raves. “I love the rich taste and creamy consistency of this peanut butter,” since no stirring is required.
  • Whole Foods Fresh Grind Peanut Butter. Made with only unsalted dry-roasted peanuts and nothing else, Thompson says he “fell in love with this freshly-ground peanut butter 20 years ago and still love it to this day.” That’s saying a lot, since Thompson is hopelessly devoted to peanut butter. “It is easily one of my favorite things. I could eat it solo as a meal,” he confirms. “I'm a long-distance runner, and my wife typically will literally meet me at the finish line with a jar of peanut butter.” Several Whole Foods Market locations include grinders on-site, so you can turn peanuts into butter yourself—and dispense only as much as you’d like to buy that day.

How to Use Peanut Butter Like a Chef

The cookbook authors and chefs agree that there’s a place for both creamy and crunchy peanut butters, depending on the application.

Whether you’re sticking with Jif, switching to Skippy, or trying one of the other cooking pro-approved peanut butters, consider these top-notch options for how to savor your spread.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Recipes

  • Make a treat. Swirl it into Peanut Butter Cookies, Peanut Butter Balls, or Dessert Quesadillas.
  • Have it for breakfast. Slather it on top of a bagel, toast, or English muffin or make Peanut Butter Granola.
  • Enjoy it in a snack. Whip up kid-friendly classics like Ants on a Log or Apple and Peanut Butter.

Creamy Peanut Butter Recipes

  • Amp up morning meals. Bulk up muffins, oatmeal, pancakes, smoothies, and other breakfast staples.
  • Make an easy, crowd-pleasing lunch. Use it for Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches or Peanut Butter Noodles.
  • Form something sweet. Fold it into a filling for traditional Buckeyes or Peanut Butter Fudge.
  • Use it in condiments. Mix it into Peanut Sauce or Thai Peanut Dressing.
  • Whip up something decadent. Add it to no-churn Peanut Butter Vegan Nice Cream, Peanut Butter Frosting, or Peanut Butter Mousse.
I Asked 7 Chefs for Their Favorite Peanut Butter and the Winner Was a Total Surprise (2024)
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