Woman’s Day editors tasted 65 jars of the sandwich staple to determine these top picks. (Someone had to do it!) But before you see the winners, learn some necessary peanut butter lingo:
Peanut butter has to be at least 90% peanuts with no artificial sweeteners, flavorings or preservatives—otherwise it must be labeled peanut butter spread.
Natural peanut butters don’t contain hydrogenated oils as stabilizers, so they may separate (you’ll see peanut oil at the top of the jar) and need to be stirred.
Tip: After the oil’s been stirred into natural peanut butter, store the jar upside down. Then you won’t need to restir before every use.
Peanut butter contains heart-healthy fats, but reduced-fat versions replace these with less nutritious carbs or extra sugar. Choose the healthiest options: unsweetened or ones with only peanuts as the ingredient.
Read on to see the cream(y) of the crop—and the crunchy favorites too.
Planters Regular Creamy
New on the scene in 2012, this thick, rich spread is bursting with old-fashioned roasted peanut flavor. Just one taste will confirm to you that Planters knows their nuts. ($2.49 for 16.3 oz)
Jif Regular Extra Crunchy
With a healthy handful of crisp, coarsely chopped peanuts and just the right amount of salt, this age-old classic truly stands the test of time. ($3.59 for 18 oz)
(See also: Supermarket standoff: dill pickles)
Peter Pan Natural Crunchy
Of all the peanut butters tasted, this all-natural option was the most jam-packed with real peanut pieces, making it a dream come true for PB-lovers who prefer the extra crunch. ($2.99 for 16.3 oz)
Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator
From the folks behind the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich shop in the world, this naturally simple yet far-from-average choice strikes a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness, making it an optimal topping to slather on almost anything. ($3.99 for 16 oz)
Smucker’s Chunky Natural
This chunky peanut butter is made from nothing but plain old peanuts and a touch of salt, allowing the robust, earthy flavor of the nuts to become the real star. ($3.89 for 16 oz)
Skippy Natural with Honey Creamy
This update on the classic kicks the sweetness and creaminess up a notch by adding real honey—the rich, velvety spread is ideal for a sweet tooth. ($3.39 for 15 oz)
Planters NUT.rition Energy Mix Berry Nut
This crunchy blend is trail mix meets peanut butter with the antioxidant power of cranberry—savor a spoonful to combat a bout of mid-afternoon fatigue. ($3.99 for 12 oz)
Peanut Butter & Co. The Heat Is On
Infused with a dangerous combination of crushed red peppers, chili powder and paprika, only veteran spice-lovers need apply. The mild peanuts are an ideal backdrop for the fiery flavor—stir it into savory soups and stir-fries to dial up the heat. ($4.99 for 16 oz)
Peanut Butter & Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl
The perfectly spiced cinnamon sugar and whole, juicy raisins in this unique spread makes it our favorite right out of the jar. Bonus: It’s much easier than cinnamon toast, so your morning routine just got faster! ($4.99 for 16 oz)
MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Peanut Spread
We know that peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven, and this treat, with its luxurious texture and deep flavor, is the proof. Plus, it contains much less sugar than other popular chocolate nut spreads. ($5.99 for 13 oz)
Can’t have peanut butter?
At last, a PB substitute that even peanut eaters will crave. Barney Butter is made from almonds in a peanut-free facility, and the pure and addictive taste and creamy texture will make you forget every bad almond butter you’ve tried. ($8.99 for 16 oz)
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