Looking for an alternative to Peanut Butter? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple nut-free Peanut Butter Substitutes. I’ve also included a list of ideas that do contain nuts for people who don’t have peanut allergies.
What is Peanut Butter?
Peanut Butter is a paste or spread made from grinding peanuts. It can be made with peanuts as the only ingredient but some commercial varieties also include sugar and vegetable oils and additives like emulsifiers to stop the oil separating out.
Peanut butters can be ground until they are completely smooth. OR have chopped peanuts added in for a crunchy texture.
In terms of nutrients peanut butter is gluten-free and contains protein, heart-healthy fats and fiber. It also has the bonus of providing vitamins like niacin, vitamin E, folate and Vitamin B6. It also contains minerals like manganese, magnesium and zinc.
The Best Nut-Free Peanut Butter Substitutes
1. Chickpea Butter
You can buy commercial peanut-free lunchbox friendly peanut butter alternatives made from ground chickpeas which are a brilliant option for people who love peanut butter but have allergies.
It’s easy to make your own Chickpea Butter (garbanzo butter) as well!
Just puree 1 drained can of chickpeas with 6-8 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil until smooth and you have a beautiful creamy texture.
For a closer flavour match roast the chickpeas first. If you like it sweeter add in a pinch or cinnamon and a tablespoon or two of honey or maple syrup.
To make a crunchy chickpea butter stir in flax seeds, chia seeds, roast sunflower seeds or roast soy beans (soy nuts) at the end.
Peanut butter and tahini are very similar from a nutrition and consistency perspective. They can be used interchangeably in baking so no need to adjust quantities.
However the flavor of tahini is less nutty and more bitter. For some people (like my children!) the bitterness of tahini isn’t going to work.
But for people who love complex flavours, tahini can be a super delicious alternative to peanut butter in both savory and sweet dishes like smoothies. Adding a little salt will help balance out the bitterness.
I love a little snack of tahini on a spoon instead of peanut butter. And it’s great with your overnight oats.
3. Sun Butter
Sunflower seed butter has a similar consistency so works really well as a peanut butter substitute. If you want a closer match to crunchy peanut butter add in some chopped roast sunflower seeds.
4. Pumpkin Seed Butter
This puree made from ground pumpkin seeds works in a similar manner to sun butter.
5. Soy Nut Butter
Similar to chickpea butter, soy nut butter is a commercial spread made for people with nut allergies. It’s made by pureeing soybeans with oil and adding flavours.
6. Jam or Jelly
If you’re using peanut butter as a spread on a sandwich or toast, just jam alone can be a thing of beauty. If you want to replicate the saltiness of peanut butter a tiny pinch of sea salt flakes will add an unexpected depth of flavour.
For sweet dishes like cheesecake, tarts or pies, jams can be an excellent peanut butter alternatives.
7. Salted Butter
While I love peanut butter on toast as much as the next person, old fashioned butter melting into the toast can be just as good as peanut butter. The only problem is that nutritionally you’ll be missing out on the protein from peanut butter.
8. Greek Yogurt
This will take your dish in a completely different direction. And won’t work as a spread on toast. But is a good option for things like smoothies for people who have nut allergies or sesame seed allergies.
A nice tangy yoghurt can work to add creaminess to sauces or savory dishes. Just remember it’s much more watery than peanut butter so will make for a runnier end product.
9. Coconut Butter
Personally I’m not a huge fan of the oily consistency of coconut butter but if you can’t have peanuts then it is an option. Actually coconut butter and jelly sandwiches are sounding pretty good right now.
To make your own just puree shredded coconut in a food processor until you have a creamy buttery mass.
10. Apple Butter
Basically the same idea as jam, apple butter will be OK for sweet dishes but of course it won’t provide any creamy goodness.
11. Sesame Seeds
If your recipe calls for a drizzle of tahini, often a sprinkle of white sesame seeds or black sesame seeds will give the same nutty flavour highlight. Just the texture will be different.
If you have a high powered blender or food processor, you can toast sesame seeds and grind or blend your own sesame seeds to make super fresh tahini. However I find it slightly gritty which I’m not a fan of.
12. Sesame Oil
A good substitute if you just want a little nutty flavor. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger flavour than peanut butter so use sparingly. Won’t work if you’re using peanut butter as a spread or anywhere you need a thicker paste like texture. And will be a bit weird in desserts.
In savory recipes where peanut butter is being used as a sauce, hummus can be substituted successfully. Hummus on toast is just as good as peanut butter and will add similar nutrition in terms of protein.
14. Black Sesame Paste
I’ve included this last on the list because it’s not a very common ingredient so it’s not likely you’ll have this butter made from black sesame seeds. However if you do, feel free to use it as a peanut butter substitute. Of course the color will be completely different but the slightly nutty flavor will work surprisingly well.
The Best Peanut Butter Substitutes WITH Nuts
1. Almond Butter
Almond butter is my number one alternative to peanut butter because it’s very similar in texture, color and flavor. The taste of almond butter is slightly sweeter but it’s a subtle difference. Most commercial almond butters are smooth so if you want to replicate crunchy peanut butter you’ll need to add some chopped roast almonds.
2. Cashew Butter
Cashew butter is another excellent alternative to peanut butter.
3. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Any chocolate hazelnut spread like Nutella will work well as a peanut butter substitute in sweet applications like cookies, cakes, croissants, pastries, cheesecake or on toast. Might be a bit weird in your satay though :)
4. Macadamia Butter
Since macadamias are a lot more expensive than peanuts macadamia butter is a pricy alternative. But super delicious. Macadamias are very high in fat so the texture of macadamia butter is more oily and runny thank peanut butter which may be problematic in baked treats or anywhere where the consistency of the peanut butter is going to have an impact on the dish.
That being said, I love making a decadent satay curry using macadamia instead of peanuts.
5. Other Nut Butters
Brazil nut butter, Hazelnut butter, Pistachio Butter, Walnut Butter, Pecan Butter, ABC butter (which contains almonds, brazil nuts or cashews) or any combination of the above using tree nuts like pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts. All add the creamy richness and nutty flavor that you get from peanut butter. The flavor profile of these nut butters are slightly different but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
6. Chopped Roast Peanuts
If you don’t have peanut butter but roast peanuts are available you’ll get the same flavor hit as peanut butter with a different texture. Which may or may not be a good thing. And if you have a food processor you can always grind them to make your own peanut butter.
What’s the best way to store Peanut Butter?
I keep mine in the pantry because I use it frequently. It lasts for months and months at room temperature but if you don’t use it very often it will last for longer if kept in the fridge.
Is it possible to substitute butter with peanut butter?
It is possible to substitute butter with peanut butter BUT you’ll need to adjust the quantities. Butter is about 85% fat where as peanut butter is only around 50% fat. Peanuts contain protein which isn’t present in butter so this will impact the consistency. For recipes calling for melted butter you would be better to substitute peanut or other oil. But where the butter is used in a puree or when creamed with sugar peanut butter can work.
And of course there will be the flavour differences as well. Although the peanutty goodness might be a welcome addition to your experience.
Favourite Peanut Butter Recipes
Delicious Peanut Butter Flavour Pairings
+ Chocolate & Peanut Butter
+ Honey & Peanut Butter
+ Maple Syrup & Peanut Butter
+ Greek Yoghurt & Peanut Butter
+ Jelly / Jam & Peanut Butter
+ Blueberry & Peanut Butter
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- Almond Meal / Almond Flour
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Peanut Butter
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!
Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe here.