Nearly every American is familiar with the sweet, salty taste of peanut butter; in fact, it’s found in 94 percent of American households. Peanut butter is a staple in family pantries for many good reasons: It’s made with protein-packed peanuts, and it’s economical, versatile and tastes great.

If you developed your peanut butter habit many years ago, you’ve probably settled on a favorite brand. But did you know that new peanut butters have been sneaking onto the market in the last few years, some with decidedly sophisticated flavors?

Peanut Butter Evolution

Following the all-natural food trend, many peanut butters that contain nothing but peanuts, or peanuts and a bit of salt, became available in grocery stores. Of course, this style of peanut butter is not new; in fact, its origins date back to the Aztecs and Incas.

These one- and two-ingredient peanut butters touted their healthier contents — no added sugar or emulsifiers — and many customers loved them. They did, however, suffer from a drawback that many consumers had trouble adjusting to: They had no sweetness.

So other peanut butter innovators tackled the conundrum — how to make peanut butter slightly sweet, highly spreadable and still all-natural and healthy. These new peanut butters are some of the best you’ll ever taste.

What Makes a Peanut Butter Great

These peanut butters are not made with humdrum ingredients chosen to make the most profit for their makers. They’re made with ingredients of exceptional quality, carefully chosen for the combination of flavors they provide and to deliver the best nutritional value. It’s time to compare your go-to peanut butter against the best of these new brands. Look for these factors when comparing peanut butters.

Ingredients and Nutrition

Look at the label on the jar and read the list of ingredients. A great peanut butter doesn’t contain additives and preservatives you can’t pronounce, nor should it have high fructose sugars. The less added salt and sugar, the better.

The source of the ingredients is also important. Are they all-natural? Non-GMO? Gluten-free?

Appearance and Consistency

Spreadability is one quality of more natural peanut butters that many customers accustomed to standard brands have difficulty with. In some products, the natural oils separate and rise to the top, but the fix is simple. Just stir the oil back in and refrigerate, and it won’t separate again.

Crunchy vs. smooth: Peanut butter lovers fall into one of two types: Those who love creamy and those who crave crunchy. Luckily, this difference doesn’t affect a peanut butter’s quality.

Taste

The flavor of a great peanut butter is a balance of peanuts, saltiness and sweetness.

Saltiness: Some people find peanut butter without salt to be a little bland, but too much can also overwhelm the peanut flavor. Keep an eye out for the type of salt being used in the nut butter. Not all salts are created equal. For example, Himalayan pink salt is unrefined, crunchy and loaded with micronutrients and flavor!

Sweetness: Just as some people missed the salt in unsalted peanut butter, others found they missed sweetness in unsweetened peanut butter. Just remember what we mentioned in the nutrition section above, and avoid high fructose sugars or sugar levels above 4 grams per serving, especially if they aren’t all natural sugars or sweeteners. Examples of healthy natural sweeteners include organic honey, Demerara sugar, and organic stevia leaf extract.

Betsy’s Best Cinnamon Peanut Butter

One new brand is Betsy’s Best. This peanut butter genuinely lives up to its “gourmet” name. Not only does it contain ingredients of the highest quality, Betsy has added some unique flavors that truly individualize this peanut butter.

Betsy Opyt is a registered dietitian and personal trainer, and she started on her journey to peanut butter perfection when she decided to make her own for her daughter. What does Betsy’s Best Gourmet peanut butter have that makes it special?

  • Ingredients and Nutrition: All ingredients are of the highest quality, natural, non-GMO and gluten-free. The roasted peanuts are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, as well as protein, vitamins and minerals. The chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, antioxidants and fiber, and the sunflower oil is a healthy polyunsaturated fat.
  • Appearance and Consistency: Sunflower oil helps keep the consistency smooth and spreadable, and chia seeds add a bit of crunch along with a lot of superfood punch.
  • Taste: Pink Himalayan salt creates the slightly salty flavor, and it contributes minerals lacking in table salt. Cinnamon, organic honey and demerara sugar add a hint of sweetness — the cinnamon Betsy uses is Korintji, which has a rich flavor and robust nutrients.

If you haven’t tasted Betsy’s Best, you probably haven’t discovered what you will call the Best Peanut Butter Ever. People love it so much that 83 percent of reviews on Amazon are five-star. This is just one customer’s comment,

“I am very impressed with the taste and texture of this all-natural peanut butter. The peanut flavor really comes through while the pink salt, honey, and cinnamon offer a complex and gourmet taste. It also has chia seeds which provides a nice crunch. I love making and eating a gourmet PB&J sandwich that features Betsy’s Best on whole wheat toast, with a red pepper jelly, and dry baked bacon. Trust me and give this sandwich a try. Don’t substitute the Betsy’s Best with another peanut butter, because it won’t be as good if you do. Betsy’s Best Gourmet Peanut Butter truly is gourmet and worth the purchase.”

Read more peanut butter reviews on Amazon.

Betsy’s aim is to make products with “functional food ingredients that will nourish the body, [and] flavors that will fascinate the taste buds and foster a feeling of connection with food that is good for you.” Her gourmet peanut butter certainly meets her high standards and is sure to become your new favorite.

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