Almond butter, like middle parts, fanny packs and talking in abbrevs, is a trend that simply won’t die — and I’m not complaining.
The high-protein, low-carb spread makes a wonderful mid-afternoon snack to satiate any unexpected hunger pang. It’s also typically less oily than peanut butter (which I also ranked, here) and packs a bit more health benefits like high vitamin E, iron and calcium content, as well as "healthy" fats.
But like all beloved trends with staying power, seemingly everybody wants to get in on the craze, creating a market that is overrun with literally dozens of jars that promise to be the tastiest, creamiest and healthiest of the bunch.
Of course, not all almond butters live up to these expectations, so I taste-tested nine of them to help steer you in the right direction. As with all prior taste tests, these are the options that are most readily available online and in stores. And to keep things as fair as possible, I avoided any crunchy varieties because texture brings in a whole other level of complexity. And ain’t nobody got time for that (or at least my teeth don’t, for the sake of chewing consistency).
Check out the final verdict below.
9. 365 by Whole Foods Creamy Almond Butter
Not only was the oil separation a pain in the rear end to deal with, but its taste was almost paint-like. I should have eaten it with a brush and applied it to my tongue in broad strokes (or so it seemed) because this is not something that should ever be marketed as a food product and, frankly, should have been packaged in a can. It’s quite shocking coming from Whole Foods, but if the health food chain’s mayonnaise was any indication, it's been slacking on some of the basics. Bleh.
8. Happy Belly Almond Butter
If you’re craving a bowl of almond soup, pull up a chair and dig right into Happy Belly’s almond butter. This was repugnantly runny, no matter how hard I stirred. I’d even recommend a rebrand to Sad Wrists because that’s about all I was left with before I had one taste (which was just OK), donated the jar to a neighbor and moved on to other joint-friendly options.
7. Good & Gather Creamy Almond Butter
Like 365 and Happy Belly, this was entirely too thin in consistency. It did, however, have decent flavor. So even though Target missed the mark (for lack of a better term) with its Good & Gather brand’s iteration, it gets a pass. But it’s not something I’m going to hunt for during a shopping trip … or will I? Nobody ever leaves Target with what they were expecting.
6. Artisana Organics Raw Almond Butter
I wanted to like this one the most because Artisana relies on literally nothing but raw, organic almonds to create its jar. But that’s precisely the problem: It relies on nothing, meaning it is pretty one-noted and deserving only of a participation award (or maybe a certificate of distinction). That said, the purity of the product was unlike anything else on this list since the company chose not to roast the nuts before blending. I do want to call the brand out on texture, though, because this was far from smooth and creamy — it was downright chunky (which is fine, but #falseadvertising).
5. Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Salted Almond Butter
Trader Joe's hardly ever misses, and this was no exception. I loved the harmonious balance between sweet and salty, but I could not stop thinking about how delicious it would be in a stir-fry or satay mixed with Asian ingredients like ponzu sauce, Sriracha and sesame oil. So, yes, stock up on it for a sandwich or spoonfuls throughout the day, but incorporate it into your cooking for an even more exciting foray into almond butter usage.
4. Barney Butter Bare Smooth Almond Butter
This was probably the easiest to spread, but I’m a bit disappointed in Barney Butter for using controversial palm oil in its recipe. Sure, the company attests that theirs is sustainably harvested in Malaysia, but with so many other companies ditching the ingredient altogether, it seems like it could figure out a way to opt out of it, as well. That said, this almond butter was tasty and had a wonderful, lip-smacking mouthfeel that mirrored the texture of peanut butter. And for it to not have any added salts or sugars was pretty impressive and an added bonus.
3. Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter
Creamy, creamy, creamy! Did I say creamy? CREAMY. I’m not sure how the Costco brand managed to nail its consistency, but it’s the perfect hybrid between a peanut butter-esque Barney Butter and Happy Belly soup. You may have to stir it a little bit, but you can also just place it in the fridge and avoid manual labor altogether. Perhaps best of all, this jar is free of any oils, sugars or additives, making it as pure as you can get (unlike the things I witnessed at a dive bar in Seattle last week).
2. Justin’s Classic Almond Butter
Justin’s almonds aren’t just roasted — they’re dry-roasted, resulting in an added depth of flavor that will make your eyes roll behind your head. While its texture was silky-smooth, there was also a slight crunch to it, which felt like a welcomed detour on the palate. I really had zero complaints other than the price, but nothing good comes cheap (or so I’ve learned in my 30s, which has been a huge pity for my savings account. I hardly knew ye.).
1. MaraNatha Natural Creamy Almond Butter
Oh, the things a little sugar can do. MaraNatha’s original almond butter recipe adds a bit of the sweet stuff, but it really did make it the best of the bunch. I didn’t know whether or not I should be ashamed of the outcome or just accept the fact that I’m a stereotypical American who appreciates a little sugar in something that doesn’t really need it, but here we are and I stand by this decision. It was damn-near perfect in taste, consistency and spreadability, making it a now-permanent pantry staple to satisfy all of my future almond butter needs. The company does sell a sugar-free option, though (and a caramel one, if you want to go in the opposite direction), so all of you health nuts can rejoice in a more keto-friendly alternative while I judge you from afar.