Top 10 Healthiest Nut Butters, Ranked

Who doesn’t love a good nut butter? Nut butters are delicious and indulgent snacks rich in plant-based proteins, healthy fats and, of course, nutty flavor. It used to be that peanut butter was pretty much the only option on the shelves, but those days are long gone.

Nowadays, health food stores are stocked with all manner of nut and seed butters, and your options are even more greatly multiplied if you’re willing to consider making your own butters. With that in mind, here are 10 of our favorite nut butters, ranked from least to most desirable based on health benefits, availability and other factors.

10. Sunflower Seed Butter

It should be said that there are no “bad” nut or seed butters, as long as you enjoy them in moderation and purchase butters without added sugars or artificial ingredients. That said, sunflower seed butter comes in at number 10 on our list for two reasons: its omega-6 content and its lack of availability.

Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning that we need them in our diet. However, most Americans tend to consume high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in comparison to omega-3s. This imbalance, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, can lead to inflammation in the body. Therefore, it’s best to exercise moderation with foods high in omega-6s.

Additionally, sunflower seed butter isn’t always easy to come by, so it comes in at #10 on our list. There are several health benefits to sunflower seed butter, though, including its high vitamin E and magnesium content.

9. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter has gotten a bad reputation in the health community lately, and for good reason. While it’s technically not a nut butter, this legume makes for a tasty spreadable treat … But it should probably remain just that: a treat, and not something you should eat every day.

Peanuts are a widely sprayed crop, with huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides being used on US crops. And for peanuts, that’s a huge concern.

“The anatomy of the peanut is what makes organic peanut butter a worthy buy even though the cost is about double the regular variety,” says Business Insider. “Peanut shells are permeable and peanuts grow underground, absorbing pesticides and chemical fertilizers from the soil. The nuts, due to their high fat content, retain these inputs. The USDA has found pesticide residue in traditional peanut butters.”

And there’s another concern when it comes to peanut butter, too: Aflatoxins. These toxins are the result of mold growth on peanuts, which grow in the dark, moist soil. If you’re going to enjoy peanut butter, it’s best to opt for the Valencia or Jungle varieties, as these peanuts are grown above ground and are less susceptible to the inherent problems of underground growth.

8. Tahini

Tahini, also known as sesame seed butter, is a healthy spread option that has a bit of a different taste from other nut seed butters. This flavor makes it perfect for savory recipes such as stir frys and hummus. Unhulled tahini, which is made from the whole sesame seed, is best as its nutritional value is left intact. Tahini is rich in minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, lecithin, potassium, calcium and iron.

7. Hazelnut Butter

Hazelnut butter is rich, creamy and delicious. Not only that, it holds numerous health benefits, and may even lower LDL cholesterol and improve blood lipids, according to studies conducted by the American Society for Nutrition. Hazelnuts are also high in manganese, fiber and magnesium, along with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

The main reason hazelnut butter isn’t higher on our list? Many hazelnut butters contain large amounts of added sugar (hello, Nutella), despite masquerading as health foods. Watch out for added sugar if you purchase a hazelnut or hazelnut-chocolate spread!

6. Walnut Butter

Walnut butter is a great addition to your diet if you are looking to add healthy fats. Walnuts have a high in fat-to-protein ratio compared to other nut butters, with approximately 10 g of fat and 2.5 g of protein per serving. Despite their relatively low protein content, they are healthful because of their rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The only downside to walnut butter, aside from the comparatively low protein content, is that it tends to be difficult to find.

5. Brazil Nut Butter

With a delicious and unique flavor, Brazil nuts are an extremely healthful food. They’re particularly rich in selenium, which is known to fight inflammation and potentially even boost your mood. Brazil nuts are also rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

4. Cashew Butter

With a characteristically creamy and sweet taste, cashew butter is perhaps one of the most indulgent-tasting butters on our list. However, it’s not exactly a guilty pleasure: Cashews are low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat, which means they are excellent for cultivating sustained energy throughout the day. Cashew butter is also rich in magnesium, which gives it a calming effect. Another major bonus: Cashew butter is relatively easy to find in your local grocery store.

3. Pumpkin Seed Butter

Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are extremely nutritious. Rich in phosphorus, magnesium and manganese, they can help contribute to all of the body’s systems. Added bonuses to pumpkin seed butter include plentiful amounts of zinc (important for immune support) and tryptophan (great for promoting restful sleep). Finally, sprouted pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of vegan protein.

2. Pistachio Butter

Who doesn’t love the taste of pistachios? In addition to being mildly sweet and festive in flavor, pistachios are lower in calories per serving than other nuts, weighing in at 160 calories per ounce. They’re also higher in protein and lower in fats than other nuts — and while I am a big fan of healthy fats, the fact remains that lower-calorie, protein-dense foods are a great tool for fitness and weight loss.

1. Almond Butter

It should come as no surprise that almond butter comes out on the top. High in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium and iron, almond butter is incredibly nutrient dense. It is also probably the most easily accessible nut butter aside from peanut butter, and pairs well with all manner of meals. When it comes to nut butters, the almond reigns supreme.

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68 comments

Sharon F
Sharon Fabout a month ago

There are ads on this page showing women with excessively long hair. It is Spring! Time for short hair. Excessively long hair takes more water to wash, shampoo, conditioner, electricity for drying, etc. Also many women are wearing too much eye makeup, which, when washed off goes down the drain and into the waterways--not fair to fish, aquatic life, etc. All of this is harmful to our precious environment. Please be considerate.

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Elaine W
Elaine W3 months ago

I am sure that I would enjoy these but the price tag is beyond the budget. Even peanut butter is high priced these days.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Thank you

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Andrea B
Andrea B3 months ago

Yum

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Cate S
Cate S3 months ago

Thanks - pumpkin seed butter - now that is new to me.

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Glennis W
Glennis W3 months ago

Great info Love all butters . Thank you for caring and sharing

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