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.
While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe, Mark Overbay helped local farmers harvest, roast and stone-grind peanuts into fresh peanut butter. Attempting to replicate the spreadable American peanut butter, they added a little honey, sea salt and coconut oil to the mix. “The deliciously fragrant, mouthwatering result was a revelation that the best foods are often the simplest, made with fresh ingredients, care and craft,” says Overbay. Returning home to Durham, North Carolina, he launched Big Spoon Roasters in 2011. He and his team don’t just buy any ingredient they need; they look for heirloom-quality ingredients from local people they know and trust. They also don’t make just any old nut butter: If you’re shopping Big Spoon, get ready for flavor explosion with varieties like Fiji Ginger, Chai Spice and Hot Mamba with chiles.
See more: North Carolina Gift Guide