Food & Drink The best supermarket crunchy peanut butter, tried and tested

The best supermarket crunchy peanut butter, tried and tested

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Yes (no crop is without its issues), that has to be balanced with the nature of groundnuts – they don’t grow on trees, and trees suck carbon out of the atmosphere. Nonetheless, they still produce less carbon than grains or soybeans. But in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, peanuts are among the most efficient producers of protein out there.

So, happy with peanuts? Then peanut butter is a good way to boost your nut intake, and protein count, especially if you are cutting back on meat, fish and dairy. It’s also even cheaper than those raw peanuts, with the least expensive peanut butter I tried, Sainsburys Stamford St Co, coming in at 29p per 100g – although that had one of the lowest peanut contents, at 87 per cent, and included added ingredients, rapeseed oil, palm oil, sugar and salt, none of which has any nutritional benefit to speak of.

Prices did vary enormously, rising to £1.64/100g for the most expensive, ManiLife organic peanut butter. ManiLife at least did give a source of the peanuts – Argentina. Marks and Spencer and Pip & Nut also use Argentinian peanuts, as apparently these are higher in monounsaturated fats and oleic acid, a fatty acid also abundant in olive oil that’s an antioxidant.

But none of the other brands deigned to share where their peanuts come from, perhaps because the provenance changes all the time as prices on the world market shift. Me, I’d like to know: does it bother you? Let me know in the comments online.

How you feel about the added salt and sugar is very personal – and also depends how you’re going to use it. I love peanut butter in Indonesian-style dressings, for gado-gado salads of crunchy vegetables, and to cook into West African-inspired stews. For that I’d want peanut butter without sugar. Equally, for a cheesecake or ice cream, a salt-free one might be better.

With the notable exception of Sun-Pat, which includes stabiliser E471, there was nothing too alarming in the ingredients of any of the peanut butters except palm oil, which has question marks over its sustainability and edges those jars into the Ultra-processed Food category. It makes for a stiffer texture (the less adulterated ones tended to be oilier) as well as dampening the flavour and nutrition levels a bit.

It seems churlish to quibble about something so nutritious and good value, though. After all, the best cheap ones weren’t bad at all, and if you’re worried about cost (who isn’t these days?) they are still good to eat and loaded with protein. And that is definitely true.

The taste test

Peanut butter

ASDA Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.99 for 340g (58p/100g)

Soil Association certified (good) and containing just peanuts and salt, with a runny, shiny consistency. Sadly it tastes rancid (despite having a sell-by date of October 24). I had to spit it out. Awful.

No stars

Waitrose Duchy Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

£2.50 for 340g (73p/100g)

Very separated and runny. Tastes faintly rancid, with a lingering bitterness. This would be a disaster on a PBJ sandwich. I’m disappointed in you, Waitrose.

No stars

Tesco Crunchy Peanut Butter – Classic Recipe

£1.25 for 340g (37p/100g)

Thick gleaming paste, large chunks of nuts. Faintly vegetal, off flavour, and slightly bitter. The stuff of the school sports pavilion.

Sainsbury’s Stamford Street Co. Crunchy Peanut Butter

99p for 340g (29p/100g)

Looks smoother than the others – like a toffee spread. It tastes sweet, rather than confected, but the peanut flavour isn’t strong.

Peanut butter

Lidl Mister Choc Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.09 for 340g (32p/100g)

Pale in colour with a satin-y, thick paste. It’s quite salty and tastes slightly cabbagey – I don’t love it.

Aldi Foodie Market Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.25 for 280g (45p/100g)

Very separated, dark and shiny. I can see flecks of skin, which I like, as well as the chunks of nut. However, there’s no salt and the flavour that comes through is oil, not peanuts.

Asda Just Essentials Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.22 for 340g (36p/100g)

There’s nothing objectionable about this one. It looks creamy and thick with rough chunks of nuts. It’s got a mild flavour and is a bit sweet.

Asda 100% Peanuts Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.80 for 340g (53p/100g)

A very runny and shiny texture with small bits of nuts. It sticks to my mouth and has a vegetal taste where I could do with a more peanut flavour.

Lidl Maribel Crunchy Peanut Butter

£3.99 for 1kg (40p/100g)

Another runny and shiny one, but the nuts are chunky this time. It’s got a bland taste that’s oily and sweet, although a bit of peanut comes through later.

Lidl Maribel Whole Nut Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.49 for 340g (44p/100g)

Thick paste that’s pale in colour. Feels dry and claggy – how it looks. There’s a biscuity flavour that’s almost nutty rather than peanutty.

Morrisons Savers Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.25 for 340g (37p/100g)

Another pale and thick peanut butter that’s biscuity in flavour. It’s quite salty and overall just fine.

Sun-Pat Crunchy Peanut Butter

£2.20 for 300g (73p/100g)

Thick, matte paste that’s got quite a confected flavour. It’s sweet and salty and is as if you’re eating peanut butter-flavour ice cream rather than the real deal.

Peanut butter

Tesco Stockwell & Co Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.09 for 340g (32p/100g)

Shiny and pale, toffee-coloured butter that almost tastes like it, too. The nuts are very crunchy so you really feel like you’re getting a snack. Tastes fresh, but not heavily roasted – good if you like your peanut butter on the sweet side. 

Sainsbury’s 100% Nuts Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.80 for 340g (53p/100g)

Shiny and a bit split looking. This one really sticks to my lips and the nuts are nice and crunchy. It’s got a mild flavour with a gentle sweetness and feels pleasingly fresh.

Waitrose Essential Wholenut Peanut Butter

£1.80 for 340g (53p/100g)

Looks like Marmite butter with its deep tan colour and it’s got a salty, toasty and caramelised flavour, too. Very distinctive.

Nuts About Nature Peanut Butter Crunchy

£2.35 for 340g at Tesco (69p/100g)

Dark coloured butter with large pieces of peanut. It seizes and dries in the mouth the same way tahini does. However, it has a nice, toasty peanut flavour that’s also very sweet.

Manilife Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

£4.49 for 275g at Waitrose (£1.64/100g)

Inside this dark, runny gloop lies huge, whole nuts. Another one that seizes in the mouth but it has quite a nice, sweet and savoury flavour. It’d be good as a satay sauce.

Whole Earth Crunchy Peanut Butter

£4.50 for 454g at Tesco (99p/100g)

Thick paste with large nut chunks. Savoury, but not very toasty.

Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter

£2.80 for 280g at Sainsbury’s (£1/100g)

If you like dark-roasted nuts then this one’s for you. Runny, dark and glossy with small chunks of peanuts and flecks of skin. However, it is rather oily and there’s not much salt.

Pip & Nut Crunchy Peanut Butter

£3.10 for 300g (£1.03/100g)

Soft texture, medium colour. Not claggy, with a reasonable flavour. Very middle of the road. Won’t fight with the jelly in your PBJ sandwich.

Asda Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter

£1.09 for 340g (32p/100g)

Thick and matte texture. Not at all oily so it’s a bit drying but it warms up in the mouth and  tastes nicer and natural with the lovely crunchy nuts. However, some may find this a bit too salty.

Whole Earth Crunchy Organic Peanut Butter

£3.80 for 340g at Waitrose (£1.12/100g)

One of the palest in colour that we tried – aside from the brown-flecked paste. There’s an earthy, unprocessed taste and a raw, rather than roasted peanut flavour comes through. A bit on the dry side.

Aldi Grandessa Peanut Butter Crunchy

£1.09 for 340g (32p/100g)

Glistening and thick. Nice texture, not claggy, good upfront peanut taste. Balanced salt, but it’s a shame about the added palm oil.

Peanut butter

Sainsbury’s Peanut Butter Crunchy

£1.09 for 340g (32p/100g)

Very pasty, but lovely savoury peanut flavour. Intensely peanut, despite containing palm oil. It is a bit dry though. This one would be great for cooking.

M&S 100% Crunchy Peanut Butter

£2 for 340g at Ocado (59p/100g)

Shiny, grainy looking and runny. Nice savouriness. A bit oily but well-balanced – not obviously sweet or salty. An excellent all-rounder.

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