Best Peanut Butter: Top Picks for Creamy & Crunchy Fans Alike

peanut butter


With new protein powders and energy bars coming on the market every day, athletes sometimes forget about protein-packed "real" foods, including pantry staples like peanut butter. That's a critical error because there are plenty of reasons to make peanut butter a regular part of an athlete’s diet. It's satisfying, it's filling, it's protein-rich, it can lower your risk of heart disease, and it can be used in a number of different ways.

If you've ever spent any time browsing the peanut butter aisle of your local supermarket, you know the options are nearly endless. So how can you decide which product is best for your lifestyle and your athletic needs?

Well, we've tested some of the top options, and we have answers. Here are some premium picks for the best peanut butter in a variety of categories, via the ACTIVE Reviews Team.

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The Best Peanut Butter - Our Top Picks

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What to Look for in Peanut Butter


Texture

Chunky or creamy; Stir or No Stir

We all have our own preferences when it comes to peanut butter texture, but we did our best to put our personal tastes aside when reviewing these products. We made sure the crunchy options weren’t too smooth, and the smooth ones weren’t too gritty. If you aren’t sure whether a particular peanut butter needs a stir, you can check the top of the peanut butter for liquid buildup. This is a telltale sign that the oil has separated from the peanut butter.

 

Ingredients

When shopping for peanut butter, you'll want to review the ingredient list. Do you want peanut butter made with all-natural ingredients? With salt added to preserve flavor? Without any added sugar?

Best Overall - Jif

Best Overall  - Jif

SPECS

  • Serving size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 7g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Sugar: 3g

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Choosy moms choose Jif, and choosy athletes do, too! The Jif brand is a household name for good reason: It offers the smooth and creamy flavor people want from their peanut butter with just enough added sugar to satisfy their palate.

Jif is a decent source of protein, relatively low-carb, and it has a small ingredient list. It’s filling and flavorful at an inexpensive price point, making it a valuable addition to any pantry.

What We Like

  • Modest price point
  • Filling and satisfying
  • Great source of protein
  • Smooth, creamy texture, and excellent flavor

What We Don't Like

  • A little bit of added sugar
  • Not recommended if you're looking for something all-natural

BUY: Jif

Best Crunchy Peanut Butter - Skippy Natural Super Chunk

Best Crunchy Peanut Butter - Skippy Natural Super Chunk

SPECS

  • Serving size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 7g
  • Fat: 17g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Sugar: 3g

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Chunky peanut butter: You either love it or you hate it. If you're in the first camp, Skippy Natural Super Chunk is for you. With big nut pieces and plenty of texture in every bite, this is our pick for the best crunchy peanut butter.

In terms of nutritional value, Skippy Natural Super Chunk has minimal added sugar and a low carb count. It's a decent source of protein, though you'll want to monitor your intake to control fat consumption.

What We Like

  • Decent price point
  • Good source of protein
  • Low-carb option
  • Excellent chunky texture

What We Don't Like

  • A little bit of added sugar
  • Not recommended if you or your family members prefer the smooth variety

BUY: Skippy Natural Super Chunk

Best Natural Peanut Butter - 365 Whole Foods Organic Peanut Butter

Best Natural Peanut Butter - 365 Whole Foods Organic Peanut Butter

SPECS

  • Serving size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Sugar: 2g

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Many athletes prefer their peanut butter with only natural, holistic ingredients. If this sounds like you, look no further than 365 Whole Foods Organic Peanut Butter. Made from just one simple ingredient, dry-roasted organic peanuts, it doesn't have any added salt or sugar. So while the flavor may not be quite as robust as other options, it's your best bet for peanut butter without any artificial additives.

If you’re used to processed nut butter, the initial taste of natural peanut butter like this one may be a little bit jarring. However, you may find that you prefer the earthier taste after just a few spoonfuls. 365 Whole Foods Organic Peanut Butter is a healthy and satisfying option with very low sugar content and ample protein, making it an excellent pantry staple.

What We Like

  • Only organic ingredients
  • No artificial salt or sugar
  • Earthy, nutty taste
  • Low sugar content
  • Vegan

What We Don't Like

  • Flavor may take some getting used to if you're used to peanut butter with added sugar
  • May be a bit pricier

BUY: 365 Whole Foods Organic Peanut Butter

Best Creamy Peanut Butter - Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

Best Creamy Peanut Butter - Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

SPECS

  • Serving size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Sugar: 2g

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Looking for peanut butter that goes down smooth? Try Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, whose irresistible creaminess is the product of gluten-free, all-natural ingredients.

This peanut butter’s texture is so outstanding that it almost distracted us from its equally exceptional nutritional content. With rich, filling protein, a low carb count, and minuscule sugar content, Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter should impress any athlete.

What We Like

  • Only organic ingredients
  • Low sugar content
  • Low sodium content
  • Amazing smooth texture

What We Don't Like

  • May be a bit pricier
  • Comes in smaller containers than other peanut butter

BUY: Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

Best Peanut Butter for Baking - Reese's Peanut Butter

Best Peanut Butter for Baking - Reese's Peanut Butter

SPECS

  • Serving size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Sugar: 3g

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Everybody knows Reese's Peanut Butter from the world-famous peanut butter cups, but did you know the company makes a jarred peanut butter, as well? In fact, it makes such a great addition to home-baked goods that we believe it should earn a place in every baker's pantry.

Reese's Peanut Butter has a smooth, creamy texture and a balanced flavor that can elevate many sweet treats. While it does include a few non-organic ingredients, including added sugar, it still boasts a decent nutritional profile, with eight grams of protein and just seven carbs per serving.

What We Like

  • Creamy texture
  • High in protein
  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like

  • Some added sugar
  • Not recommended if you want an all-natural option

BUY: Reese's Peanut Butter

Best Single-Serve Peanut Butter - Justin's Classics

Best Single-Serve Peanut Butter - Justin's Classics

SPECS

  • Serving size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Sugar: 2g

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Single-serve packets are a built-in way to regulate your peanut butter intake, and our preferred option in this category is Justin's Classics.

Each packet represents a single tablespoon serving of creamy peanut butter and comes loaded with plenty of filling nutrients. Dry-roasted peanuts and palm oil are the only ingredients, so you'll get a heap of protein with only a tiny trace of sugar. These work well for on-the-go snacking, quick PB&J prep, and are always nice to have on hand.

What We Like

  • Natural ingredients
  • Low sugar content
  • Creamy texture
  • High in protein
  • Single-serve packets are incredibly convenient

What We Don't Like

  • Not as cost-effective as getting a jar
  • Lots of calories for such a small serving size

BUY: Justin's Classics

Best No Stir Peanut Butter - MaraNatha's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Best No Stir Peanut Butter - MaraNatha's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

SPECS

  • Serving size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 17g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Sugar: 3g

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For creamy texture and mouthwatering taste with no risk of oil separation, try the smooth, stir-free MaraNatha's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter. This is one of our favorite all-natural peanut butter products. It’s made with all organic ingredients, including cane sugar, which adds a rich depth of flavor.

Though it's slightly heavier on calories than other peanut butters, most athletes won't mind. Not only does the substantial protein content fill you up, but the absence of artificial ingredients makes this a wholesome snack or a guilt-free addition to meals.

What We Like

  • Natural ingredients
  • Creamy texture
  • High in protein
  • Organic cane sugar is a delicious inclusion

What We Don't Like

  • Slightly higher price point
  • Not recommended if you're watching your sugar intake

BUY: MaraNatha's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Best Peanut Butter for Weight Loss - PB2

Best Peanut Butter for Weight Loss - PB2

SPECS

  • Serving size: 2 tbsp
  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 6g
  • Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Sugar: 2g

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One of the best things about peanut butter is that it can help curb your desire to overeat or snack. PB2 peanut butter is a fantastic option for anyone looking to drop a few pounds, since a single serving packs a decent amount of protein, very little fat, and only 60 calories! (By contrast, most peanut butter comes with 190-200 calories per serving.)

Better yet, it's also keto-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly. Unlike other peanut butters on this list, PB2 comes in powdered form. This makes it great to mix into smoothies, but we don’t recommend trying to spread it on a sandwich.

What We Like

  • Keto-friendly, vegan-friendly, gluten-free
  • Low calorie count
  • Low fat
  • Works well in smoothies

What We Don't Like

  • Powdered; not a good option for spreading on sandwiches
  • Taste is just so-so

BUY: PB2

FAQs About Peanut Butter


How much peanut butter should you eat in a day?

A good rule of thumb is to stick with no more than two tablespoons a day to minimize your risk of peanut butter-related weight gain. However, if you’re an athlete or you lead a very active lifestyle, you may be able to eat more peanut butter to meet your nutritional needs.

Which peanut butter is the healthiest?

It really depends on your metric for healthiest, but if you value natural and organic ingredients, 365 Whole Foods Organic Peanut Butter is a good pick.

Does peanut butter go bad?

Peanut butter typically has a long shelf life. In your pantry, it usually will last 6 to 24 months unopened, or two to three months once opened.

Is peanut butter keto-friendly?

Assuming you stick to plain options without any added sweeteners or flavorings, peanut butter can definitely be part of a keto diet.

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