Whether you grew up on Jif, Peter Pan or Skippy – or maybe your parents were a little bit hippy and fed you PB&Js spread with Adams, the OG natural peanut butter – it’s time to expand your taste buds. If you take a stroll down the spreads aisle at your local supermarket, you’ll notice the offerings have greatly expanded since you were a kid. According to Mintel, the nut-based and sweets spread category grew to $3.9 billion in 2018, due in large part to greater awareness of the health benefits associated with nut butter, including heart-healthy fats and satiating protein.
Unlike many big brands that have added sugar, oils and preservatives, however, a new crop of companies is producing craft nut (and nut-free) butters using only the best ingredients. Some are even incorporating nuts such as pistachios and pecans to create unique textures and flavors. We stirred, spooned and sampled our way through the latest small-batch spreads to bring you 10 of our favorites.
Cofounder Katie Kearney started making her own nut and seed butters at her home in Williamsburg, Michigan, because she wanted her children to eat a plant-based, organic diet. However, “the organic butters back then were a bit gross,” she says. So she began experimenting with ingredients like chia seeds, hemp and flax for omega fatty acids and cinnamon, maple and vanilla for flavor. She got so good at it that she and her husband, Tim, decided to launch a company. Today, Naturally Nutty’s top sellers are Pepita Sunseed (made with sunflower seeds), Butter Toffee peanut butter and cinnamon-vanilla almond butter. “Our motto is, ‘if we wouldn’t happily feed it to our families, we wouldn’t feed it to anyone else,'” says Kearney.