Nutrition Articles

Go Nuts for Nut Butters!

A World of Choices Beyond Peanut Butter

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Homemade Nut Butter Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 2 cups of nuts or seeds (your choice) on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning, until nuts are fragrant. Cool slightly, then place the nuts or seeds into a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until a smooth paste forms. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt per cup of nuts or seeds if you’d like (this enhances the flavor; omit if you’re watching your salt intake). Kept in an air-tight container in the fridge, your homemade butter will last for weeks!

Nutrition and Serving Sizes
Thanks to their healthy fats, all nut and seed butters are high in fat and calories. Regardless of nut variety (peanut, hazelnut, almond) and type (natural or regular), one 2-tablespoon serving has about 200 calories, 15% of your RDA for protein, and about a quarter of your daily allowance for fat. Watch your portions to keep your calories in check!

Type of Nut Butter (2 Tbs.) Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Peanut, no sugar added  190-210  16-17 g  7-8 g  6-7 g
Peanut, sugar added  190  16-17 g  7 g  6-7 g
Almond  190-200  18-19 g  5-7 g  6-7 g
Cashew  160-190  14-16 g  4-6 g  8-10 g
Hazelnut  180  17 g  4 g  5 g
Hemp  180  13 g  9 g  4 g
Macadamia  230  24 g  2 g  4 g
Pistachio  180-190  13-15 g  6-7 g  9-10 g
Pumpkin seed  160  13 g  10 g  4 g
Sesame tahini  190  17 g  6 g  7 g
Sunflower seed  180-220  12-20 g  6-9 g  5-9 g


Be sure to read labels to find the nutrition profile that fits your needs, especially if you eat a low-sugar or low-sodium diet.

New Ways to Enjoy Nut Butters
That ping-pong-ball-sized serving can be a healthful addition to sensible foods like whole grain bread, crackers or pita; fruits (apples, bananas) or vegetables (celery or even carrot sticks). You can’t beat the old PB & J sandwich, but there are plenty of other uses for peanut and other nut butters.
  • Spread nut butter on a slice of whole-grain toast and top with sliced strawberries or jam.

  • Spoon 1 Tbsp. of chocolate-hazelnut butter in a bowl of plain oatmeal and top with sliced bananas.

  • Spread almond butter on a whole-grain waffle.

  • Add 1 Tbsp. of nut butter to a smoothie for extra protein and thicker texture. Here's a great recipe to try.

  • Spread almond butter on sliced apple for a snack.

  • Use nut butter instead of the peanut butter when making your own granola or energy bars; this recipe includes almond butter, dried fruit, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

  • Spread a whole wheat tortilla or pita with almond butter, top with sliced apple and a drizzle of honey. Try this recipe.

  • Swap almond butter into your family’s favorite peanut-butter cookie recipe.

  • Substitute sunflower seed butter or other nut butters for peanut butter or marshmallows in crisped-rice treat bars.

  • Instead of using finely chopped nuts to top seafood or chicken, try using nut butter.

  • Substitute cashew butter for whole cashews in an Asian favorite, Cashew Chicken.

  • Top your favorite sandwich or salad with tahini dressing.

Great Online Sources for Nut Butters
Barney Butter
Futters Nut Butters
Justin's Nut Butter
Koeze Cream-Nut Peanut Butter
Krema Nut Co.
Naturally More
Naturally Nutty
Once Again Nut Butter

Sources:
CalorieKing.com
FDA nutrition info on almonds, from USDA.gov
Homemade Nut Butters, from CookingLight.com
MaraNathaFoods.com
Nut and seed butter nutrition info and uses, from FuttersNutButters.com
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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

Member Comments

  • RACEWELLWON
    Almond and Cashew Butter on an Apple or Pear - great snack ! - 5/13/2014 9:30:14 AM
  • PDANNYK, Macadamia nuts would be just as good as almonds, both are low in pufas -- I think macadamia nuts more so. Unfortunately they're also more expensive. - 12/13/2013 1:51:33 AM
  • Thanks for the "ping-pong ball " serving size. Great visual! - 9/18/2013 7:17:20 PM
  • I ground it at the whole food store when the kids were little. They didn't have commercial peanut butter till they were older. Loved the Hazelnut butter! - 9/17/2013 9:04:37 PM
  • I use pb2 which is powdered peanut with no oil. mix it with a little water. 2tbsp is only 45 calories and 1.5g fat and 5 grams of protein. - 9/16/2013 5:15:36 PM
  • I make my own peanut butter in the food processor with dry roasted unsalted peanuts. It is so much better than any of the store-bought products with all that oil, salt and sugar. If you process two cups of peanuts for about 5 minutes it's perfectly creamy, not stiff or oily.
    I tried making pecan butter, but didn't like the somewhat bitter taste, so I added it to some peanut butter I'd already made and it was fine.
    I love almonds, so may try that butter next.

    Pesticides and preservatives are always a concern in the U.S., unfortunately. - 9/16/2013 1:28:12 PM
  • AHT001
    Thank you, DADKAJ! - 9/15/2013 3:56:27 PM
  • PEACENCARROTS
    I tried almond and cashew butter and really liked them! - 9/15/2013 12:33:43 PM
  • DADKAJ
    here you can find some information about the fatty acids profile of some oily stuff. linoleic is omega6 while linoleNic is omega3. the optimal ratio of 6 to 3 is considered anywhere between 1:1 to 4:1. some modern diets based on unsaturated fats source have it even 20:1 which is wrong. flaxseed is a superior source of omega3 from plant sources, walnuts are also good. all the rest from the list below contributes to the imbalance of omega6 to omega3 unless one consumes omega3 from other sources and balances it out.

    http://www.netr
    ition.com/nut
    s.html - 9/15/2013 8:12:39 AM
  • DADKAJ
    Today with the advancement in the nutrition and health science it is no longer sufficient to advocate the unsaturated fats as the absolute good. we have to distinguish between the three major unsaturated fats as omega 9, 6 and 3. people who looked into the health effects of these fatty acids already know that we are having a high and unhealthy ratio of omega6 to omega3, which is pro-inflammatory, a foundation of tissue damage and various civilization diseases. and plant oils such as sunflower oil are full of omega6 but contain very little of omega3. people would be better off with some butter instead of plant spreads such as margarines. saturated fat in moderation is not bad for us. it is its excess that affects the lipoprotein particles and our health. while these nut spreads are nutritionally better than just butter, their composition of fats from the perspective of our general diet may not be that beneficial. - 9/15/2013 8:00:04 AM
  • You have to be careful about nut allergies. I peanuts are used any time in the processing machines, there may be residue in the butter. Is it labeled that NO peanut machinery was used? - 9/15/2013 2:28:32 AM
  • Anyone know if pecans make a decent butter? - 7/13/2013 8:23:49 PM
  • SOLSTICESUN
    I buy this great product called "trilogy nut butter" …its a blend of cashew, walnut , and almond butter… Its delicious and gives the unique health benefits of each of these nuts blended into one source. They also have a trilogy butter that blends macadamia, cacao, and cherry. So good!!!

    Check it out at their site: https://www.onnit
    .com/wac-tril
    ogy-butter/?a
    _aid=Solstice - 4/18/2013 8:44:20 PM
  • I tried making my own today based on the recipe in this article and it turned out great! However, I'd like to make a note that it took at least ten minutes in the food processor, if not a bit more. The almond dust needed time to turn into a good paste (I was thinking it would just be a few minutes -- I almost added some oil but decided to wait), but with a little patience it did and it's delicious, so thanks! - 11/12/2012 2:57:48 PM
  • The only thing I know is that soybeans would not be good - my mom had to use soy butter as a kid during the second world war because there was a shortage of peanut butter and she said it was disgusting. - 9/4/2012 10:46:48 PM