Peanut butter or jam? 13 of the best peanut butters, tried and tested

Madeleine Howell
High in protein, and lower in sugar than jam: why peanut butter is top of the shopping list - 4kodiak

Peanut butter is set to overtake jam as Britain's favourite breakfast spread after a backlash against sugary foods, consumer affairs editor Katie Morley reports.

 Sales of the nut-based spread were up by nearly a fifth last year and are set to break through the £100 million barrier in 2018, thanks to the introduction of a number of new "healthy" upmarket versions.

Our newfound appreciation for the condiment over and above jam, which typically contains around 10g of sugar per tablespoon, appears to be driven by the rise of more expensive brands that are lower in sugar, organic and less likely to use palm oil as an ingredient.

Brands at the top end of the market include Whole Earth and Meridian - while some supermarkets have introduced their own premium ranges of peanut butters.

But how do they actually taste? We enlisted The Telegraph's most ardent peanut butter fans to find out in a grand tasting, in which our judges tested both smooth and crunchy varieties for flavour and texture (please note that some of those we tested have smooth or crunchy counterparts not listed here).

While we do provide some notes on the ingredients in some products, it's always worth checking the label for nutritional value in order to maintain a balanced diet.  

Waitrose Duchy organic smooth and spreadable peanut butter

£1.99 for 340g, waitrose.com

Waitrose Duchy Organic: a little too sticky for our peanut butter panel

This peanut butter boasts a distinctive, strong aroma of peanut, which is pleasing. It errs on the side of salty, rather than sweet, and it was felt to stick to the mouth a little too much for our roster of peanut butter fans. 

6/10

Lidl Mister Choc crunchy peanut butter

99p for 340g, Lidl

Lidl's peanut butter offering is a naughty treat

While this brand of peanut butter from Lidl has no discernible peanut aroma, it tastes of roasted peanut and is almost smoky in flavour - with a satisfying crunch, reminiscent of peanuts with the shell left on. It's very salty, and more savoury than expected. Kids would love it, we felt, and it tastes a little naughty. 

8/10

M&S crunchy peanut butter

£1.45 for 340g, Marks and Spencer

Our number one peanut butter: addictive, sweet and salty

A clear winner: this own-brand offering boasts a silky and almost creamy texture paired with crunch, a strong roasted aroma and tastes sweet and salty in equal proportion. Our judge found it addictive, and pleasant with chunks of apple as well as on toast. 

10/10

ASDA crunchy peanut butter

£1.28 for 340g, ASDA

ASDA peanut butter: heavy on salt to taste

Far too salty and gritty in texture, this peanut butter was far from creamy and proved an effort to spread evenly on toast. 

4/10

Aldi The Foodie Market Wholenut smooth peanut butter

£1.29 for 340g, Aldi

A virtuous offering on a budget

This one is natural-looking, and as the label proudly proclaims, there is no sugar added. While it doesn't taste bad, it's a little plain; there's no sweetness, and only a hint of saltiness. It's a virtuous choice, and could be used as a base for a dressing or a sauce as well as spread on toast. 

7/10

Selfridges Selection ReBalance smooth peanut butter

£5.99 for 190g, Selfridges

This is pure, 100% peanuts - but has a watery consistency

We were intrigued by the Selfridges offering, composed of 100% peanuts, with nothing added. But we weren't sure about the resulting texture; it proved to be a very thin, dribbly, liquid-like substance with a watery consistency - rendering it unsuitable for toast. The lack of seasoning was pronounced. That said, it would certainly be top of the list for those seeking the 'purest' of product - and would make an excellent base for a salad dressing. 

5/10

Biona Organic crunchy salted peanut butter

£2.49 for 250g, Holland and Barrett

Biona Organic is a tempting crowdpleaser in taste and texture

This spread suffered from natural oil separation in the jar, but we didn't mind. It made up for it with an intense, tempting aroma of smoky peanut. It spreads well, and has a mid-way texture between smooth and crunchy, with a nice balance of both sweetness and saltiness.

9/10

Essential Waitrose crunchy peanut butter

£1.70 for 454g, Waitrose

Essential Waitrose crunchy peanut butter is a treat paired with jam

This product is a little sweet for a palate used to less sugary brands: the brown cane sugar is prevalent, and it's almost as sweet as honey. It's the type that sticks to the roof of the mouth a little, and would go well with jam. It's not overly crunchy. 

7/10

Meridian crunchy peanut butter

£2.89 for 280g, Holland and Barrett

Chunky, but a little bland

The nuts in this butter are chunky and visible, and while it looks appetising to some, it may not be for everyone. There's no inviting aroma, and it was disappointingly bland. While perhaps a healthy choice, the lack of seasoning was a shame. We felt that it was fine on toast, but best paired with a salty butter. 

6/10

Whole Earth smooth organic peanut butter

£2 for 340g, Tesco

Well-defined and light-tasting

A little disconcerting in colour, this option has no aroma but proved to have a light-tasting, well-defined combination of sweet and salt. It doesn't cloy, and would be perfect on it's own, with either toast or plain bread. 

9/10

Tesco smooth peanut butter

£1.30 for 340g, Tesco

Tesco smooth peanut butter: not "peanut-y" enough for our judges

Light in colour, Tesco's own-brand peanut butter is slightly cloying and doesn't taste overtly of peanut. It's also bitty and rough, for a smooth take. 

4/10

Sun Pat crunchy peanut butter

£2.49 for 340g, Waitrose

Sun-Pat: an inoffensive store cupboard essential

This famous brand has a decent level of saltiness to it, and a significant crunch to it, but other than that it's rather non-descript buy. 

5/10

Biona Organic chilli peanut spread

£2.99 for 250g, Healthy Supplies

Chilli peanut butter: bells and whistles for your condiment cupboard

This spread was greeted with a chorus of oohs and aahs; it would make for a light-hearted prank served on toast to loved ones, but would really shine in a satay sauce. Chilli peanut butter is bells and whistles for your condiment cupboard arsenal, and it's fun and original, but though it has a kick, the chilli was a little subtle, and it could actually could have benefited from yet more spice, and more sweetness.  

7/10

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