Have I reached the peanut butter apex?
March 3, 2009 3:20 PM   Subscribe

What uncommon, not-brand-name peanut butters are good to try?

I'm becoming a peanut butter connoisseur.

I grew up on Peter Pan, converted to Jif, then discovered the stirrable ones out there. I fell in love with Arrowhead Mills' smooth with the valencia nuts, thought Peanut Butter and Co.'s basic creamy was decent, (loved the flavored), was a bit disappointed with Brad's Organic, and tried a bunch more basic, Whole Foods-type brands.

So what else is good out there? I don't care if it's crunchy or smooth, has added flavors, or is bottled in unlabeled jars by some guy in a shack in Minnesota--I'll have it shipped.

Also, I live on the East Coast, so it may be that there is a plethora of them I'm unaware of.
posted by world b free to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
San Diego-based spread comes to mind. They make mind-blowingly good nut butters in all sorts of different flavors.
posted by mynameisluka at 3:24 PM on March 3, 2009

Safeway organic. Crunchy or Creamy. Delicious.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:34 PM on March 3, 2009

I've heard that Koeze all-natural P.B. is good stuff.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:34 PM on March 3, 2009

I find Smart Balance to be really good among supermarket-available brands. It may not be as obscure as you're looking for.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:40 PM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: Buy a jar of homemade peanut butter from Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis. Sticky and chunky, sweetened with honey, spiced with cinnamon... it's divine.

posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 3:45 PM on March 3, 2009

When I lived in San Francisco my favorite PB was the Food Mill's.
posted by birdie birdington at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I toss a couple cups of peanuts and a little sugar and a bit more salt into the cuisinart and let it do its thing until it forms a ball. Then I add a tablespoon or so of peanut oil. In a few minutes it becomes a nice, smooth, tasty paste. Yummy.
posted by serazin at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2009

I was raised on Laura Scudder's Peanut Butter, and thought you always had to stir peanut butter until I went on a family trip. We bought Jif or something, and realized some stuff was never split between oils and near-solids. It was enlightening.

I've tried some cheaper never separated types, but always go back to Laura Scudders. I once finished a container of other brand, and started a container of Laura Scudders. The other brand looked oddly flat in color, by comparison.

Of course, you can always make your own peanut butter. If you don't add a bit of oil, it's very solid. Also, you should have a rather sturdy blender or food processor, or making peanut butter might might drastically shorten the blender's life.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:50 PM on March 3, 2009

Trader Joe's house brand is present but not common on the east coast, and I like it.
posted by Zed at 3:50 PM on March 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah, DIY an experiment with different nuts. I made honey almond butter a few weeks back and it was crazy good.
posted by electroboy at 3:50 PM on March 3, 2009

Krema, made in Columbus OH. Superb!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:53 PM on March 3, 2009

If by the East Coast you mean New York City, Fresh Direct's honey-sweetened peanut butter is the best I've ever had. I still miss it.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:06 PM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: A while back I received a gift membership in a peanut butter and jelly of the month club from some friends. My favorite two peanut butters from the club were:

1) Nutty's Original Honey Roasted. (I've only seen this online so far, at least for my area.)

2) Cream-Nut Natural Peanut Butter. (I've also seen this in Whole Foods.)
posted by sharkfu at 4:23 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding electroboy, have you made a tour through the wonderful world of non-peanut nut butters yet? I really like both cashew and almond butters, and sunflower butter is tasty also. (Side note: sunflowers are not nuts, and are the best non-nut PB substitute I've come across.

With regard to making your own: if you don't want to invest in the industrial-strength blend, see if your whole foods, like mine, has a grinder that spits out fresh peanut and almond butter. It is indeed quite solid in texture and rather unspreadable, but also delicious.
posted by heyforfour at 4:32 PM on March 3, 2009

Naturally More peanut butter has flaxseed and flaxseed oil in it. It's a little bit crunchy, but not too crunchy. Slightly sweet. Trader Joe's sells an imitation of it that I have not tried, but looks very similar.
posted by hooray at 4:35 PM on March 3, 2009

Costco's Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter contains only dry roasted organic peanuts and salt. I find it dee-licious and it's just $7.39 (SoCal price) for TWO 28-oz jars.
posted by FuzzyVerde at 4:45 PM on March 3, 2009

Response by poster: Making my own is definitely on the agenda--esp. some almond butter, which I love.

These are all great, guys!
posted by world b free at 4:47 PM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: Laura Scudders is my favorite. It's a national brand, but not a major one. And it's good and peanutty, not sugary.

I also really like Smart Balance, but that may be my "oooh, Omega-3!" bias talking. It's also pretty expensive.

Pro tip: Once you get your oil-topped nut butter all stirred up, screw the lid on super tight and store it upside down.
posted by padraigin at 4:48 PM on March 3, 2009

Teddie Peanut Butter's unsalted peanut butter is without a doubt the best I've ever had. You're on the East Coast; if you're somewhere near Boston, you can find it in any supermarket.
posted by jesourie at 4:59 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kraft peanut butter (many like the Extra Creamy, especially for baking, I like the regular old green-topped jar smooth).

I tried almond butter and was sadly underwhelmed, even though I LOVE almonds.
posted by biscotti at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2009

I've got to second the recomendation for the Costco Organic brand. It's terrific (and not sourced from the now defunct Salmonella Peanut Corporation of America.
posted by scblackman at 5:18 PM on March 3, 2009

see if your whole foods, like mine, has a grinder that spits out fresh peanut and almond butter

Although note that what you get is unsalted and unsweetened, so it might at first seem kind of bland. Although now I have a taste for it, it's deliciously peanutty and the jarred stuff all tastes horribly over-sweetened.

Costco also sell an organic almond butter -- I forget the brand -- to which my reaction was also "sadly underwhelmed": tastes OK, but the texture is beyond smooth into cloyingly gummy.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:37 PM on March 3, 2009

Since no one else has mentioned it, I'll throw in a good word for East Wind nut butters. I love their peanut butter (which you may have already encountered--it's sold at a lot of coops). Granted, I may just like it because I've always fantasized about belonging to a commune.
posted by newrambler at 6:31 PM on March 3, 2009

I don't know if this is a national brand, Parkers Farm is my current favorite, I think I like it better than any other "no additives" (only peanuts and salt) butter. It is very smooth which is an issue I've had with other hippy peanut butters (gritty). There's a version with honey and the crunchy has whole nuts in it. It's in the refrigerator aisle.
posted by nanojath at 7:00 PM on March 3, 2009

I see you've tried their basic, but have you tried Peanut Butter & Co.'s other flavors?

Yum. Options include: cinnamon and raisin, hot 'n spicy, blended with white chocolate, blended with dark chocolate, blended with honey, blended with maple syrup.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 7:05 PM on March 3, 2009

Response by poster: Oh yeah, all over those. I loved the cinnamon raisin and chocolate ones...I was excited about the hot 'n spicy but found it more novelty than go-to snack food.
posted by world b free at 7:10 PM on March 3, 2009

God, when I was a kid back in the 80's my parents actually had a special peanut butter maker. It looked like a hyped-up coffee grinder.

I'll have to see if they still have that thing. If they do, I'll let you know...

Nothing like true "home-made"...
posted by Ashman at 7:26 PM on March 3, 2009

Seconding Naturally More - great stuff!
posted by cinemafiend at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2009

My husband and I found some awesome peanut butter (we're huge peanut butter fans) when we were in Mendocino, CA on our honeymoon. It looks like you can order it online from a place called Mendojams.
posted by Edubya at 9:20 PM on March 3, 2009

I'm a peanut butter addict and I've tried many of the brands listed above. The Parkers Farm listed above by nanojath is definitely my favorite. In fact I have many times commented to my so that there must be something unnatural in it (i.e. drugs) since it's so addictive.
posted by tr45vbyt at 9:41 PM on March 3, 2009

Seconding Peanut Butter & Co from NY. Ingredients: peanuts, salt. Seems unremarkable, but read the ingredient list of some other peanut butters and you'll see it filled with additives, palm oil and other garbage that has nothing to do with peanut butter.

I even have their 'Smooth operator' and 'Crunch time' shipped transatlantically...
posted by NekulturnY at 2:29 AM on March 4, 2009

In fact I have many times commented to my so that there must be something unnatural in it (i.e. drugs) since it's so addictive.

I admit I've wondered myself, but honestly I think the real deal is that they just use a better quality of peanuts. I think ordinary store brands add sweeteners and partially hydrogenated oils to make lower quality peanuts more palatable.
posted by nanojath at 9:07 AM on March 4, 2009

I came in to recommend spread, but I was scooped! The hot chile peanut "spread" (hey, it's just peanut butter) is amazing.
posted by booknerd at 9:32 AM on March 4, 2009

Partially hydrogenated oils have the benefit of being:

1. Cheaper than peanut oil.
2. Solid at room temps, so they don't separate.

But it has the drawback of:

1. Not tasting very good.
2. Not being very good for you.
posted by electroboy at 10:29 AM on March 4, 2009

PB Loco has some crazy flavors, if you're into that.
posted by DakotaPaul at 8:31 AM on March 5, 2009

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