Despite having butter in its name, peanut butter never contain dairy, and most peanut butter brands are vegan-friendly.
Let’s find out why.
What Is Peanut Butter?
In the United States, Peanut Butter must contain at least 90% peanuts to have the right to be called peanut butter. The rest can typically be any combination of peanut oil, vegetable oil, sugar or other sweeteners, salt, and various preservatives.
It’s a giant market, worth about $1.3 billion in the US only (2020 numbers)!
Despite this commercial definition, natural peanut butter is made from 100% peanuts, nothing else.
The only acceptable additive to Natural Peanut Butter is salt.
Commercial brands tend to add sugar or oil to their peanut butter to make them more spreadable and prevent the oil from separating at the top – which is perfectly natural in pure peanut butter.
To come back to the name, Peanut Butter is only called this way because it has a texture similar to butter.
Is Natural Peanut Butter Healthy?
Natural Peanut Butter is a great ingredient for recipes, as long as it’s made from 100% peanuts.
- Rich In Protein (7.6 grams per 2-tablespoon serving).
- Contains Healthy Fats (16.1 grams per serving).
- Low In Carbs (6.9 grams of carbs, including 2.5 grams of fiber).
Beyond macronutrients, it’s also a great source of micronutrients:
- 17.5 mg of Calcium
- 0.8 mg of Iron
- 4 mg of Sodium
- 50.8 mg of Magnesium
- 118 mg of Phosphorus
- 213 mg of Potassium
- 2.5 mg of Vitamin E
- 5.2 mg of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- 1 mg of Zinc
As a result, pure Peanut Butter is a very healthy ingredient on a vegan diet.
Is Peanut Butter Vegan?
Natural Peanut Butter is absolutely vegan, given that it only contains peanuts.
However, let’s have a look at the most common commercial brands. Most of them are plant-based, some are made in facilities that also process dairy products, and some even contain honey!
Some have a chocolate flavor, sometimes containing milk or milk powder.
Is Jif Peanut Butter Vegan?
Jif’s Original or Creamy Peanut Butter is technically plant-based since it contains no animal-based ingredients.
However, it is made in the same factory as Jif Omega-3 Peanut Butter (made with Fish Oil) and Jif’s Natural Peanut Butter With Honey (made with Honey) which aren’t vegan.
As a result, Jif’s original is not marketed as a vegan product, even though it’s considered plant-based.
Is Jif Peanut Butter Healthy?
Any of Jif’s Peanut Butter options are made with sugar. However, their Peanut Butter labeled as Natural is still made with added sugar and oil bringing as much as 8 grams of unnecessary carbs per serving.
Can Jif Be Used In Recipes?
No, most recipes call for Natural Peanut Butter made with 100% Peanuts.
All our Peanut Butter Recipes require one made with 100% Peanuts.
Is Skippy Peanut Butter Vegan?
Skippy’s Peanut Butter is exactly in the same boat as Jif. They make very similar high-sugar products.
While most of their range is made without animal products, they are all processed in the same facility as their Natural Honey Peanut Butter.
On top of it, Skippy either uses GMO oils (in their normal Peanut Butter) or Palm oil (in their Natural Peanut Butter). The latter is a major contributor to deforestation.
So while Skippy Peanut Butter is mostly technically plant-based, they are not a great vegan option. And some varieties do contain non-vegan ingredients.
Is Skippy Peanut Butter Healthy?
Skippy’s entire Peanut Butter range contains unnecessary sugar (from classic sugar and/or corn syrup) and sometimes unhealthy oils.
Can Skippy Be Used In Recipes?
No, Skippy’s Peanut Butter is not suitable for recipes due to its high sugar content and different behavior when cooking due to additional oil.
Is Peter Pan Peanut Butter Vegan?
Peter Pan has been around since 1928 and was originally sold in tin cans. This first recipe was made with only peanuts and salt – so it did tick all the boxes of good peanut butter.
However, Peter Pan’s Peanut Butter range is all made with added sugar and in the same factory as their Honey Roast version which is not vegan-friendly, so there is a risk of cross-contamination.
On top of that, the entire Natural range contains Palm oil, a leading factor in deforestation worldwide.
Is Peter Pan Peanut Butter Healthy?
Like many other large commercial brands, Peter Pan adds sugar and oil to their range.
These unnecessary additives and empty calories make it more spreadable and eliminate the natural separation between fat and solids that happen in pure peanut butter.
As a result, their peanut butter range is far less healthy than pure peanut butter.
Can Peter Pan Be Used In Recipes?
As long as peanut butter is not made with 100% peanuts, it can’t be used in most recipes.
You might find here and there some recipes specifically made with a particular brand (generally for promotional purposes), but if a recipe calls for generic peanut butter, it means 100% peanut.
How To Spot Vegan Peanut Butter?
Apart from these three main manufacturers in the US, there is a myriad of smaller and distributor brands worldwide.
Spotting a vegan peanut butter is easy but depends on your definition of veganism.
To do so, look at the ingredients on the nutrition label and the ingredient list at the back of the jar.
- It must not contain animal-based products (honey is the most frequent animal-based add-on).
- For some vegans, eating anything from a brand that uses animal-based products is off-limits. If you’re one of these, commercial brands generally note if a product is made in the same factory as animal-based ones, and they would not be considered vegan.
- For many vegans, eating any product that heavily contributes to the climate crisis is impossible. This would include palm oil, often used to make peanut butter more spreadable.
Can I Make My Own Peanut Butter?
As it’s often the case, the best way to have healthy, natural peanut butter is to make it yourself!
All it takes is good-quality peanuts and a (very) strong food processor.
It doesn’t take much time and good peanut butter recipes normally only include peanut butter (and sometimes salt).
15+ Vegan Recipes With Peanut Butter
If you love peanut butter, I’m sure you’ll enjoy any of these delicious recipes of ours!
Vegan Fudge With Peanut Butter
Vegan Cookies With Peanut Butter
Vegan Brownies With Peanut Butter
Vegan Oats With Peanut Butter
Vegan Smoothies With Peanut Butter
Vegan Pre-Workout With Peanut Butter
Vegan Desserts With Peanut Butter
Allergy-friendly Vegan Alternatives To Peanut Butter
If you are allergic to Peanuts, there are a few healthy alternatives to peanut butter:
- Almond Butter (if you’re not allergic to tree nuts)
- Cashew Butter (if you’re not allergic to tree nuts)
- Hazelnut Butter (if you’re not allergic to tree nuts)
- Sunflower Seed Butter (not a nut butter)
- Soy Butter
- Pea Butter
- Chickpea Butter
Peanut Butter is a great vegan and healthy ingredient when made with only peanuts.
It can be used in many recipes to add creaminess and a delicious taste while adding healthy nutrients.