The 8 Best Natural Peanut Butters of 2021, According to a Dietitian

From creamy to crunchy, find the perfect peanut butter

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. You can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

If you’re a peanut butter lover, you may want to consider choosing a natural product. The term “natural” generally means that the peanut butter is free of any artificial or synthetic ingredients, and nothing has been added. However, the FDA does not have a formal definition for this term. According to the American Society for Nutrition, natural peanut butter can contain natural flavors, sweeteners, or other plant-derived ingredients, including potentially harmful high fructose corn syrup.

Choosing a natural peanut butter that is also non-GMO and organic ensures that you’re getting the highest quality nut butter, as these terms are regulated by law. Whether you prefer crunchy or smooth, unsweetened or flavored, a jar, or a single-serve packet, there's a natural peanut butter for you.

Here, the best natural peanut butters.

Best Overall: MARANATHA Organic No Sugar or Salt Added Creamy Peanut Butter

MaraNatha Peanut Butter

The best natural peanut butter is made with quality organic ingredients, and without added salt or sugar—MaraNatha's USDA Organic peanut butter checks all the boxes. It contains only two ingredients: dry roasted peanuts and organic palm oil. The convenient no-stir creamy peanut butter is all-natural and is delicious spooned straight out of the jar or spread onto toasty whole-grain bread.

MaraNatha, one of America's largest producers of natural and organic nut butters, uses only the purest ingredients with no hydrogenated oils or preservatives to create wholesome products. The company is also environmentally-friendly: they source nuts only from environmentally sensitive growers and use recyclable glass jars. If you're passionate about peanut butter, MaraNatha ensures that each jar contains superior taste and ultimate freshness.

Best Organic: Santa Cruz ORGANIC Creamy Light Roasted Peanut Butter

Santa Cruz ORGANIC Creamy Light Roasted Peanut Butter

If you’re looking for a great, well-rounded natural peanut butter, try the Santa Cruz Organic Light Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter. This organic peanut butter has a smooth, fresh flavor and offers a unique, pure peanut taste. Each 16-ounce container is well worth the price for the appealing texture and robust taste Santa Cruz products are known for.

Made from USDA Organic Spanish peanuts and a bit of salt, the Non-GMO Project Verified product is a top pick in terms of quality, taste, and price. The product is free of hydrogenated oils, added sugar, and artificial ingredients. If you prefer a more vibrant, deeper, and smokier flavor, Santa Cruz also makes a creamy dark roast. If you're a fan of crunchy peanut butter, Santa Cruz has you covered with dark and light roasts.

Best No-Stir: Justin's Nut Butter Justin's Classic Peanut Butter

Justin's Nut Butter Justin's Classic Peanut Butter

One complaint we often hear about natural peanut butter is the need to stir it each time you enjoy it because of the oil separation. The solution is easy: Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter. This natural peanut butter uses palm oil to give the product a creamy, no-stir texture, without any oil separation. It's delicious and thick, but spreads easily onto whole-grain toast, blends into smoothies, and mixes well into oatmeal or your favorite baking recipe.

It's Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, and uses sustainably-sourced palm oil. If you're looking for sweeter peanut butter, Justin's also makes Honey Peanut Butter, which combines honey, organic cane sugar, peanut oil, palm oil, and a touch of sea salt with dry roasted peanuts to create a sweet and salty spread.

Best Crunchy: Crazy Richard's Crunchy Peanut Butter

Crazy Richard's Crunchy Peanut Butter

If you’re a crunchy peanut butter fan, you’ll love Crazy Richard's natural crunchy peanut butter. This all-natural peanut butter is made with 100 percent peanuts—unlike other popular brands containing only 90 percent peanuts—and has that crunchy texture you love.

Crazy Richard's states that the ingredient list is easy to decipher: there are 540 peanuts blended into one jar with no salt, added sugar, or palm oil. Plus, the brand uses non-GMO, 100% US-grown peanuts. Without stabilizers or preservatives, the peanut butter is runny, so you will need to stir it before enjoying it.

A fun hack: store the jar upside down until the oils work their way to the jar's bottom. Give it a shake to mix, then enjoy. It can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator if you prefer a thicker texture.

Best Powdered: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

If you're looking to add a peanut flavor and boost of protein to a smoothie or oatmeal, powdered peanut butter such as PB2 is an excellent option. Peanut butter powder is a great alternative that adds the protein of peanuts, along with the flavor, but contains fewer calories and fat. Simply mix two tablespoons of the non-GMO powder with one tablespoon of water to create a spread, or blend it into smoothies or baked goods to satisfy your peanut butter cravings.

Made with roasted peanuts, sugar, and salt, PB2 contains 90 percent less fat and approximately 70 percent fewer calories than traditional peanut butter. Freshly roasted peanuts are pressed to remove most of the oil, then a small amount of salt and sugar are added for flavor. The result is a low carb, keto-friendly product that is certified gluten-free.

Best Budget: Smucker's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Smucker's Organic Natural Peanut Butter Creamy

Nut butters can be expensive, but instead of buying a less expensive, potentially sugar-filled peanut butter spread, look to your favorite brand for a higher quality, natural or organic product. Known for their dependable, family-favorite products, Smucker's Organic Natural Peanut Butter tastes great but is also budget-friendly. The vegan, gluten-free product is creamy and smooth right from the jar, with no mixing needed.

Unlike typical low-priced peanut butter spreads filled with questionable ingredients such as hydrogenated oils, sugar, and salt, Smucker's Organic Creamy Peanut Butter is made using only organic roasted peanuts and a bit of salt. The product is also kosher, USDA Organic, and Non-GMO Certified by NSF.

Best Single-Serve Packet: Justin's Nut Butter Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs

Justin's Nut Butter Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs

It can be hard to enjoy peanut butter when you're on the go. Jars are hard to pack and are typically messy; however, single-serve packets are an easy way to enjoy your favorite peanut butter anytime and anywhere. Justin's single-serve squeeze packs offer the brand's nutritious Classic Peanut Butter in a convenient, portable package. Simply rip the side slit and squeeze the nut butter onto your favorite fruit or cracker, or directly into your mouth.

Each 1.15-ounce packet holds Justin's delicious gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO Project Verified nut butter. If you're a fan of a sweeter nut butter, Justin's also makes squeeze packs with six other flavors including Honey Peanut Butter and Maple Almond Butter.

Best Unsweetened & Salt-Free: Once Again Unsweetened Salt-Free Creamy Peanut Butter

Once Again Unsweetened Salt-Free Creamy Peanut Butter

When choosing a natural peanut butter, it's always important to look at the sugar and salt levels on the nutrition facts label. Many brands add these ingredients to peanut butter to add flavor and extend shelf life; however, for people who watch their sugar and salt intake, an unsweetened, salt-free peanut butter is the best choice.

Once Again's Unsweetened Salt-Free Creamy Peanut Butter is incredibly simple. The delicious spread contains only organic peanuts. The top-quality nut butter is USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten-Free Certified, Vegan, and kosher. Because there are no preservatives—such as salt—each jar has a shelf life of three months once opened.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a top-quality, organic jar of 100% peanut butter, MaraNatha's Organic No Sugar or Salt Added Creamy Peanut Butter (view at Amazon) is best overall. For a more portable and affordable option, Justin's Classic Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs (view at Amazon) are easy and convenient.

What to Look for in a Natural Peanut Butter

Ingredients

When purchasing natural peanut butter, take a look at the ingredients on the label. The fewer the ingredients, the better. When possible, opt for a product that contains only peanuts. If you prefer a no-stir nut butter with a longer shelf life, salt and sustainably sourced palm oil are acceptable ingredients.

Nut Butter vs. Peanut Butter Spread

Some peanut butters are referred to as "peanut butter spreads" as opposed to 100% nut butter. The term "peanut butter" is controlled by the FDA, and signifies that peanuts are the main ingredient, whereas "peanut butter spreads" generally contain less than 90% peanuts.

Certifications

To ensure you're selecting the highest quality peanut butter, choose a USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified product when possible.

Packaging

When choosing a natural peanut butter, consider how often, when, and how you use peanut butter. If you frequently consume peanut butter at home, you may want to buy a large container or purchase jars in bulk. If you travel a lot or want to eat your peanut butter on the run, a squeeze pack may be best for you.

What Experts Say

"Peanut butter is such a versatile and nutritious staple. It's filled with healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. I love having it with oatmeal, Greek yogurt, or in a smoothie. And, of course, you can never go wrong with a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich."—Sammi Brondo, MS, RD, CDN

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is natural peanut butter good for you?

    Yes, natural peanut butter is good for you. Packed with protein, healthy fat, fiber, and other essential nutrients, natural peanut butter is a healthy protein choice.

    However, when selecting a peanut butter, take a look at the nutrition facts label and ingredients list. Select a natural peanut butter that lists peanuts as the first ingredient and avoid any natural peanut butter with added sugar, hydrogenated oil, or palm oil.



  • How should I store natural peanut butter?

    You should store your natural peanut butter as directed on the food label. FoodSafety.gov recommends storing your natural peanut butter in the refrigerator. You should discard your opened jar after three to four months, or by the use-by date on the label, whichever comes first.

  • Can you have natural peanut butter on the keto diet?

    You can have natural peanut butter on the keto diet. However, natural peanut butter may have as much as 7 grams of carbohydrate per 2-tablespoon serving. When following the keto diet, you need to limit your daily carb intake to 20 to 50 grams a day to stay in ketosis.

    When including natural peanut butter on your keto diet, use the food label to check serving size and carbs per serving to help you track and count your carbs.



  • Is eating natural peanut butter part of a plant-based diet?

    Eating natural peanut butter can be part of a plant-based diet. The USDA considers nuts and nut butters like natural peanut butter a healthy vegetarian protein choice. Made without any animal products, natural peanut butter is a good source of protein and other essential nutrients for the vegan diet.

  • What do you do when natural peanut butter separates?

    Most natural peanut butter is made without the food stabilizers that prevent oil separation. When your natural peanut butter separates, take it out of the refrigerator and let it soften for 30 to 60 minutes, and then gently stir. 
    Or, store your natural peanut butter upside down, allowing the oil to naturally mix back in with the nut butter. Then, rotate as needed.



  • How does natural peanut butter impact cholesterol?

    According to the American Heart Association, nut butters like natural peanut butter are a good way to add health-promoting nutrients to your diet. Though most of the fat in natural peanut butter is in the form of healthy unsaturated fats, the nut butter is a source of saturated fat.
    The AHA recommends limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 6% of your daily calorie needs, or about 13 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet. Diets high in saturated fat increase blood cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
    Two tablespoons of natural peanut butter has about 2 grams of saturated fat. If you’re very generous with your serving of natural peanut butter, you may eat your entire day’s worth of saturated fat in one spoonful.
    Though research indicates that eating nuts lowers your risk of heart disease, the same cannot be said about peanut butter. To keep your cholesterol in check, stick to the recommended serving size.



Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I'm a huge fan of peanut butter. There are lots of great options on the market, such as the products above, but it's important to consider quality when choosing peanut butter. In writing this article, I looked at multiple products and brands and consulted with trusted peers in dietetics.

I believe the products in the round-up are made by trusted brands and are composed of high-quality ingredients. I would recommend the above products to friends, family, and clients, and have personally tried all of the products. You can currently find Justin's and Once Again Peanut Butter in my pantry. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Was this page helpful?
12 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Society for Nutrition. Interpreting Food Labels: Natural Versus Organic. Updated February 2, 2013.

  2. Food and Drug Administration. Food Standard Innovations: Peanut Butter's Sticky Standard. Updated January 31, 2008.

  3. Caudill H. What to Look for When Buying Peanut Butter. Food & Nutrition. Published December 1, 2016.

  4. FoodSafety.gov. Peanut Butter, Natural. FoodKeeper App. Published April 26, 2019.

  5. Natural peanut butter. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published June 29, 2019.

  6. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic diet. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing; updated June 11, 2021.

  7. USDA. MyPlate. Protein Foods.

  8. Mangels, R. Protein in the Vegan Diet. Vegetarian Resource Group.

  9. Government of Canada. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Separation of Oil in Natural Peanut Butter. Published on July 6, 2020.

  10. American Heart Association. Nut Butters are a Healthy Way to Spread Nutrients. Published August 16, 2020.

  11. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Facts About Saturated Fat. Published January 25, 2021.

  12. Amba V, Murphy G, Etemadi A, Wang S, Abnet CC, Hashemian M. Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Mortality in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1508. doi:10.3390/nu11071508