People tend to judge when they find out that I eat almond butter for breakfast every morning—on toast, in yogurt, on apple slices, in oatmeal, and the permutations go on. “Well, that’s an expensive habit,” they say, eyebrows raised. Or, “But why when peanut butter is clearly better?”
Shelling out $13 a week for a jar of Trader Joe’s crunchy almond butter is, I concede, a bit ridiculous (and yes, I go through it that fast). Then again, so is spending $20 per week on fresh flowers.
I used to get defensive and offer up a handful of reasons why it was worth the splurge—everything from “it has double the fiber” to “its mild taste is great for baking” and “don’t you know peanuts pose the small but very real threat of toxic aspergillus mold?”
Okay, so that last one takes it a bit too far: it’s never a good look to be the person discussing toxic aspergillus mold at the dinner table. So these days, I steer clear of the topic and instead offer my two cents on which variety is best and most nutritious. And after years of sampling, you can believe that I’ve tried them all —smooth, crunchy, salty, sweetened by maple sugar, sweetened by agave, dry roasted, sprouted, etc.
Read on for the picks that I consider to be the best almond butters to buy online.
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The One That Tastes Like Fresh Almonds
Raw nut butters have an earthier and more nakedly nutty taste, which can be nice if you like to pair your almond butter with sweeter things like fruit. But because natural butters typically lack binding agents like palm oil, they can have a pasty, stick-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth quality. This one, by Artisana Organics, has that natural taste without any of the unpleasant pastiness. Plus, it’s housed in a glass jar, so you can easily repurpose it as Tupperware after you’re done.
The Eco-Conscious One
Palm oil is used as a stabilizing agent in most almond butters—and it’s a problem. Due to production pressures, the controversial ingredient has wreaked havoc on the world’s forests, wildlife, and climate. If you want to indulge without the guilt, I recommend Barney Butter. Their version is sustainably sourced from a palm oil field that exclusively harvests for the purpose of human consumption (as opposed to a virgin rainforest), and they don’t buy the product from areas that are natural habitats of the orangutan, the species most threatened by palm oil plantations.
The One That Tastes Most Like a Treat
If you’re committed to peanut butter but consider yourself almond-curious, stick your spoon in a jar of Big Spoon Roasters Chai Spice. It’s a decadent blend of almonds and peanuts, with a dash of chai spice and it basically tastes like dessert. Add a spoonful to vanilla ice cream or if you want something lighter, pair with apple slices.
The Best For Travel Snacking
When it comes to nut butters, the fewer ingredients the better. Additives like salt, sugar, and oils taste great, but they’re not that healthy. That’s why I love Thrive Market’s almond butter, which only has one ingredient: lightly roasted almonds. The resealable pouch is also great for when you’re traveling and want to easily add a nutrient-dense dose of almond butter to airport snacks like bananas and rice cakes.
The Best For Adding to Smoothies
Powdered nut butters are typically blander and chalkier compared to their spreadable counterparts. But if you have specific nutritional needs, the powdered kind—which can be reconstituted using water—is a great way to load up on protein and carbs. Barney Butter’s powdered almond butter is my go-to for those days when I’m running late and don’t have the time for a sit-down breakfast. I like to add a heaping tablespoon to my smoothies for an extra dose of plant-based protein.
The One To Get If You’re Into Supplements
It sounds like hyperbole to describe an almond butter as “revolutionary,” but this sprouted version really is. Formulated to “restore and sustain your daily cycle of deep sleep,” this $29 pick is worth the cost, thanks to its incorporation of herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. There’s astragalus (for sustained energy), peony tree root (for immunity), alisma rhizome (an anti-inflammatory agent), and dioscorea rhizome (for qi support). If you’re curious how it tastes, there’s a savory-sweet quality courtesy of the activated black sesame, cacao butter, coconut nectar, and vanilla.
The Slow-Churned One
If you’re ever been to Whole Foods, you know that nut butters are made using large grinding machines with sharp blades. While effective, these apparatuses produce heat and friction that can cause a breakdown in the vitamins, amino acids, and fats that make almond butter nutrient-dense. Because of that, some almond butter enthusiasts gravitate to butters made via stone-grounding, which is a lengthy process whereby nuts are churned through large granite wheels for up to 48 hours. My go-to in the stone-ground category is this healthful yet silky option from Windy City which tastes so good you’d swear it had more than one ingredient (spoiler: it doesn’t).
The Best Bang for Your Buck
It’s creamy, it’s crunchy, and you can get it for cheap(ish) if you buy it in bulk on Amazon. So if you’re flirting with making the jump from peanut to almond butter, I suggest you start here. Pro tip: give it a good stir when you first get it to break up the almond sediments at the bottom of the jar—that way you don’t need to scrape it out with a fork when you’re on your last few bites.
For Coconut Fans
Creamed coconut adds a hint of tropical sweetness to this delicious, spreadable almond butter from Justin’s. The texture is divine—creamy but with a bit of grit—making it super satisfying for breakfast or a late-afternoon snack.