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The Best Almond Butter
The best almond butter contains more than just ground almonds.
Top PicksSee Everything We Tested
What You Need To Know
In recent years, almond butter has emerged as a popular alternative to peanut butter. But which supermarket product is best? To find out, we rounded up the four top-selling national products (as reported by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm) and had 21 test cooks and editors taste them plain and in cherry-almond smoothies.
You can buy almond butters that are made solely from almonds that have been roasted and ground, but no products in that unadulterated style sell well enough to have made our lineup. The four top-selling products we tasted all add a solid fat (palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil) to help create the homogeneous, spreadable consistency that many consumers like. As for flavor, we greatly preferred almond butters that added sugar and especially salt—and the more, the better. The lone almond butter with no added salt or sugar was deemed bland, whereas the almond butter with the most salt (which was also tied for having the most sugar) came out on top.
Textural differences proved equally important. Three of the four almond butters were labeled “creamy,” but in reality, only the two winners were totally smooth. Although manufacturers wouldn’t reveal their processing methods, the coarser consistency of the less-preferred products was likely the result of grinding the almonds with their skins on. Because almond skins are high in fiber, they’re harder to process into complete smoothness. By contrast, the two winning products were made with blanched and skinned almonds and were truly smooth.
Our favorite, Jif Creamy Almond Butter, had a “mild,” “clean” almond flavor that was punched up with plenty of salt and sugar. Made from blanched roasted almonds, it had a perfectly even, creamy consistency and was the cheapest product we tasted.
Everything We Tested
Tasters loved this almond butter’s homogeneous, “supercreamy,” “velvety,” “peanut butter–like” texture. Made with blanched almonds, sugar, and the largest amount of salt in our tasting, this “crowd-pleaser” had a “mild,” “fairly sweet,” “clean nutty flavor that reads very clearly as almond.”
With plenty of salt and added sugar, this almond butter earned points for its “rich,” “roasted,” “sweet almondy flavor” and its “astonishingly smooth,” “creamy” texture, which was evident when tasted plain and in the smoothie.
Recommended with reservations
While some tasters liked this supposedly creamy product’s “slight crunchiness” and “earthy and nutty” roasted almond flavor, others detected an “edge of bitterness” and “burnt flavor” in both the plain butter and the smoothie, suggesting that this almond butter was produced from overroasted skin-on almonds. (Manufacturer would not confirm the presence of skins.)
Made with just skin-on almonds and palm oil, this no-frills product “taste[d] more natural,” “the most similar to eating a handful of roasted almonds.” But with no added salt or sugar (sugar occurs naturally in almonds), we found this almond butter “bland” on its own, and many found its texture “grainy” or “gritty.”
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.