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The best almond butter

The best almond butter

If you're looking to make a change from peanut butter or want to add another nut butter to your pantry staples, consider almond butter. This protein-packed snack has a subtly nutty flavor that tastes great without being overwhelming.

Whether you're new to almond butter or simply want to try a new brand, our buying guide to almond butter can help you out. It includes helpful information as well as short reviews of a few of our favorites, including the delicious Zinke Orchards Crunchy Almond Butter, which is our number one choice for its rich flavor and texture.

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Considerations when choosing almond butter

Natural vs. traditional

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Perhaps the first thing to decide is whether you want a natural almond butter or a traditional almond butter, akin to the texture of classic peanut butter, such as Jif.

Natural almond butter tends to be made from nothing but almonds, although you can find some natural varieties with salt included. It generally has a runnier texture than traditional nut butters, especially at room temperature when almond oil may separate into a layer at the top of the jar, requiring you to stir it into the thick and heavier nut butter below, which can be a chore for some. However, this texture firms up somewhat if you store your almond butter in the fridge. Many buyers love the unadulterated taste of natural almond butter, though some prefer something with a bit more flavor.

Traditional almond butter has a thicker, smoother texture than natural varieties, without grittiness or graininess. It's usually made with skinless almonds to help achieve this smoother texture. It will contain some type of oil, often one that's solid at room temperature (such as palm oil or coconut oil) to thicken it up. Traditional almond butter usually contains salt and often a sweetener (such as sugar or honey) for extra flavor.

Smooth vs. crunchy

If you're familiar with smooth and crunchy peanut butter varieties, almond butter is much the same. Smooth almond butter is ground until it's completely smooth, with no detectable chunks of almond in it. Crunchy almond butter is only ground to the point where some small almond chunks remain (or chunks are added into smooth almond butter). Whether you should choose smooth or crunchy is entirely up to your personal preferences.

Flavor

In addition to your standard almond butters, you can also find flavored almond butters, for instance, chocolate almond butter and maple almond butter. Some of these flavors are relatively subtle, just adding a little something extra, whereas others completely change the taste of the almond butter to the point where it doesn't taste much like almond butter any more. Think about what you want from your almond butter and how you intend to use it. For example, chocolate almond butter might taste great on toast or in sweet baked goods, but wouldn't work for savory applications.

Features

Raw

Most almond butter is made from roasted almonds, which boosts the nutty flavor. Raw almond butter, however, is made from unroasted almonds and has a milder flavor more akin to raw almonds.

Organic

You can find some certified USDA organic almond butter, which means the ingredients have been grown without harsh pesticides.

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Price

Depending on brand, quality, and whether or not you buy in bulk, you can expect to pay anywhere from $0.30 to $2.50 per ounce for almond butter.

FAQ

Q. What can I do with almond butter?

A. While almond butter tastes great spread on toast or in sandwiches, it's good to expand your horizons. Try making almond butter into a savory sauce for a stir fry or noodles (much like peanut sauce), adding it to smoothies, or whipping up some almond butter cookies.

Q. Is there supposed to be a layer of oil on top of my almond butter?

A. This is completely normal with natural almond butter (the type made exclusively or predominantly from almonds). Simply stir it back in and it's good to eat. An oily layer certainly doesn't mean that your almond butter has gone rancid.

Almond butters we recommend

Our take: This high-end crunchy almond butter is made from 100% roasted almonds.

What we like: Excellent flavor and texture. Easily spreadable. Made in a peanut-free facility, which is great for those with allergies.

What we dislike: You may need to add a small sprinkling of salt for flavor.

Best bang for your buck: Justin's Classic Almond Butter

Our take: The added palm oil gives this almond butter a thicker texture and smoother consistency.

What we like: Reasonably priced. No added sugar. Tastes good and has a pleasant consistency. Uses the whole almond, including the high-fiber skin.

What we dislike: Some buyers prefer to avoid palm oil.

Our take: Made from skin-free almonds, this is a great choice for those who don't like the texture of almond skins in their almond butter.

What we like: Traditional style akin to classic peanut butter in texture and thickness. No added salt or sugar. Verified non-GMO.

What we dislike: Flavor is a little bland.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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