Peanut butter gives you a heaping dose of protein, healthy fats and fiber in every spoonful, and it has a smooth, creamy texture that adds comfort to any snack or meal. That said, there are plenty of other types of nut butter out there that are just as satisfying and nutritious.
About 3 million people in the U.S. are allergic to peanuts, and so, may not be able to take advantage of all the benefits peanut butter has to offer. Alternative nut butter options like walnut butter and almond butter offer many of the same nutrients and taste great, too.
To bring some new types of nut butter to your plate, here are 10 other nut butter options to enjoy, plus all the reasons why they’re great.
Cashew butter has a creamier texture and sweeter taste than peanut butter. Nutritionally, it’s similarly high in healthy fats and many vitamins and minerals you need.
“Cashews are rich in unsaturated fats, which is a healthy type of fat that has heart health benefits,” says Amanda Sauceda, RD. “This nut is also a source of iron which you don’t see in many other nuts.”
The majority of fats in cashew butter are monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs, also found in olive oil and avocados, have shown to have beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
To enjoy some cashew butter, Sauceda suggests trying it as a creamy base for a salad dressing. The possibilities are endless!
Brazil nuts have a rich, buttery flavor and create a smooth and creamy nut butter that is slightly earthy and not as sweet as almond butter, says Amy Lippert, NTP. That being said, it’s a great butter to use in sandwiches, drizzle over pancakes or enjoy with some granola.
“Brazil nut butter is also a fantastic whole food source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber,” Lippert says. “It contains vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce inflammation by protecting your cells from damage.”
The Brazil nut’s claim to nutrition fame is that it’s exceptionally high in selenium, a mineral that plays a role in your reproduction health, thyroid gland function and DNA production, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Just one ounce of the nuts contains about 10 times the recommended daily amount of selenium.
Brazil Nut Butters We Love
“Walnuts are rich in healthy fats, specifically plant-based omega-3s that are good for heart and brain health,” Sauceda says. “Plus, there is even some research that shows walnuts are associated with better brain health.”
Walnut butter has an earthy, buttery taste, but it may also have a sharp bitter note, so it’s often mixed with other nuts that lend a sweetness. Sauceda recommends adding it to smoothie bowls or pairing it with toast and fruit.
One thing to note: Walnuts and their butter can turn rancid easily, especially with exposure to heat and air. Store walnut butter in the fridge to help it stay fresh for longer.
4. Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)
OK — this one’s technically not a nut butter, but seed butter offers a similar nutrient profile to nut butter, as it’s high in healthy fat and protein.
Tahini is a key ingredient in many Mediterranean-inspired recipes, but it’s also great to enjoy on its own or as a dip with fresh veggies. It has a relatively liquid consistency compared to other nut and seed butter, and its flavor has nutty, earthy notes.
Sesame seeds are high in both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, so eating tahini s a great way to support your heart health and reduce inflammation, Lippert says.
“Tahini contains vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1, B3 and B6, plus calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc. You don’t want to pass up on this nut butter.”
Tahini Sesame Seed Butters We Love
Sunflower seeds also make a yummy and nutritious spreadable butter. “It pairs well with fruit, oatmeal and smoothies,” says Adylia-Rhenee Gutierrez, certified Integrative Nutrition Coach and founder of YhorLife.
Nutritionally, sunflower seed butter is higher in magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper and selenium than either almond or peanut butter, Gutierrez says.
Sunflower Seed Butters We Love
Mixed nut butter is a great option that diversifies the nutrients you’ll get from it. After all, it fuses together all the delicious flavors of nuts you love, plus fiber and trace minerals to boot, Guitierrez says. “Mixed nut butter is loaded with protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, as well as fiber, protein, B vitamins, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin E.”
Mixed Nut Butters We Love
Like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds are typically eaten whole, and we rarely think of them transformed into butter. But if you’re looking for something novel, try pumpkin seed butter.
Pumpkin seed butter shares a similar nutritional profile with other nut and seed butter, though pumpkin seeds are particularly high in zinc — a nutrient you need for healthy immune function, per the ODS.
Pumpkin butter tends to be more bitter than other types of nut butter, making it important to use it in recipes with other strong flavors to help provide some balance, says Christina Badaracco, RD, LDN.
Pumpkin Seed Butters We Love
While nut butter is a great way to add protein, fat and fiber to your diet, superfood ingredients can be added to help bump the nutritional content even higher.
Superfoods (or “functional foods”) are foods that are particularly high in nutrients your body needs. Some superfood ingredients to be on the lookout for include chia seeds and flax, which have added fiber and omega-3 fats, says Amanda Lane, RD, CDCES.
Superfood Nut Butters We Love
Almond butter is one of the more popular nut butter alternatives to peanut. It tends to have a bolder and nuttier flavor, making it the perfect addition to your smoothie, hot cereal and overnight oat recipes, says Kiran Campbell, RDN.
In addition to its easy-to-spread texture and flavorsome taste, she says that almond butter is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
But that’s not all. “Almond butter is also high in iron, which supports the transportation of oxygen throughout our bodies and prevents conditions such as iron-deficiency anemia,” Campbell adds. “Plus, almonds and almond butter are also high in calcium (for bone growth), fiber (for healthy digestion) and antioxidant vitamin E.”
In case you are curious, pistachio butter does taste a lot like the pistachios you like to munch on as a midday snack.
That being said, it’s the kind of nut butter that’s perfect when blended into ice cream or cake frosting and stirred into other baked goods, according to Stephanie Coburn, RD.
Pistachio butter is not as high in vitamins or trace minerals as other types of nut butter on our list, but it still offers nutritional benefits. “Depending on the brand you buy, one two-tablespoon serving provides about six percent of your daily iron and potassium, three grams of fiber and six grams of protein,” Coburn says.
“Overall, it is still a great source of plant-based protein and heart-healthy fat,” she adds.
Pistachio Butters We Love
Factors to Consider Before Buying Nut Butter
Nut butter, without, a doubt, can be a great way to get more protein, healthy fats and fiber in your diet. That said, there are a few factors to consider before you buy one.
Our experts say you should always pay close attention to the nutrition label when you’re shopping for nut butter. Many nut butter varieties, for example, contain added sugar and salt to enhance the flavor of the product.
“Added sugars and excess salt (sodium) can negate some of the health benefits of the nuts in your butter,” Bloom explains. It’s true: Eating too much sugar is linked to an increased risk of many health conditions, and too much salt is linked to heart problems, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“Instead, opt for a nut butter that contains a small ingredient list and a reasonably low sodium and sugar count,” Bloom says.
Nut butter products can have hidden trans fat in them disguised as partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fats are used to extend the shelf life of processed foods, but they’re strongly linked to heart disease, and experts agree they should be avoided, per the AHA.
Look for nut butter that contains just nuts and salt on the ingredient list. Steer clear of reduced-fat nut butters, which are highly likely to contain additives.
It’s also important to check your nut butter label to see if your product requires stirring or not, says Mariam Eid RD, LD. Nut butter that requires stirring may not be ideal for those who want a ready-to-use product.
“If you’re not a fan of stirring nut butter, make sure you select a no-stir option,” Eid says. “Otherwise, your jar will simply collect dust in your pantry.”