Is peanut butter vegan? Whether it’s crunchy, creamy, or mixed with jelly stripes in a jar, we all crave it. Find out which ones are vegan-friendly and try our delicious recipes using your favorite peanut butter brand.
Peanut butter has always been there for us.
As kids, we proudly made our own sandwiches without having to bribe an older sibling to do it. It also helped us survive anxious middle school cafeteria years.
And as adults, we learned to add it to our smoothies and shakes as a great way to enjoy a protein-rich, on-the-go meal.
It’s a part of every meal too, from peanut butter oatmeal in the morning to peanut butter energy balls in the afternoon, and savory vegan pad thai noodles for dinner.
As long as you’re not allergic to it, peanut butter is a delightful and nutritious food (If you are allergic to peanuts specifically, some alternatives are cashew butter and almond butter while seed butters are great for those with multiple nut allergies).
Here are some of the health benefits you get from every bite:
- Heart-healthy fats: It contains mostly monounsaturated fat, which, if eaten in moderation, improves your cholesterol levels
- High in protein & low-carb: A serving of 2 tablespoons contains 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber with very low carbohydrates, making it a satisfying and low-glycemic food for diabetics
- Good source of vitamins & minerals: Peanut butter provides vitamin B3 or niacin (helps the body convert food into energy); vitamin E (an antioxidant and helpful for preventing heart disease); copper and manganese.
Essentially, peanut butter is a yummy paste made from roasted, ground peanuts, but if you follow a vegan lifestyle, you may be wondering...is peanut butter vegan?
How is peanut butter made?
While it’s possible to make your own vegan peanut butter, most people use the commercially-prepared versions in the grocery store.
It’s a simple manufacturing process:
- First, machines gently crack the shells and shake up the peanuts to remove the thin skins
- Then, the peanuts are sorted into grades, for different uses
- The ones headed to your peanut butter jar go through a roasting machine
- Next, they are blanched and ground into a fine paste
- Now, they are ready for flavoring: salt and sugar
- In some cases, manufacturers add an extra oil as a stabilizer to prevent the natural peanut butter oil from separating while some are made without any additional oil
- The final product is piped into jars, then sealed and labeled, hoping to end up in your kitchen one day
Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular brands to find out which are vegan.
Which store-bought peanut butter is vegan?
If you’re following a vegan diet, you can enjoy most types of peanut butter as long as they don’t contain dairy, honey, or Omega-3 additives (like anchovy and sardine oil).
Which non-vegan peanut butter ingredients should I avoid?
For strict vegans, here are a few things to watch out for:
- Palm oil (not animal-derived but farming and harvesting methods are controversial)
- Refined sugar that has been processed with bone char (animal bones treated with heat)
- Mono- and diglycerides (emulsifiers that are sometimes animal-derived)
- Risk of cross-contamination with milk or other animal products that are produced on the same machines (e.g. fish oils for Omega-3 fatty acids)
Although some of the products in the vegan column below may meet one or more of the above conditions, we are considering them to be vegan for purposes of this article. However, if you are following a strict vegan diet, it’s best to check directly with the company about the source of their ingredients.
|Jif*||Creamy, Extra Crunchy, Natural Creamy, Natural Crunchy, No Added Sugar Creamy, Reduced Fat Creamy, Simply Jif®||Natural Creamy Honey, Natural Crunchy Honey, Creamy Peanut Butter (with) Omega-3 DHA & EPA|
|Peanut Butter & Co||Smooth Operator, Cinnamon Swirl, Dark Chocolatey Dreams, White Chocolatey Wonderful, Simply Smooth, Simply Crunchy, Crunch Time, Mighty Maple, Old Fashioned Smooth/Crunchy,||The Bee’s Knees|
|Peter Pan||Creamy, Crunchy, Natural Creamy||Honey Roast Creamy/Crunchy|
|Skippy||Creamy, Super Chunk, Reduced Fat: Creamy, Super Chunk Blended with Plant Protein: Creamy, Chunky||Roasted Honey Nut™|
|Smart Balance||Peanut and Flaxseed Oil Spread: Creamy, Crunchy|
|Smuckers*||Natural: Creamy, Chunky, Creamy with No Salt Added Organic: Creamy, Chunky Goober® PB & J Stripes: Grape, Strawberry|
*Both Smuckers and Jif are owned by The J.M. Smucker Company
Here are a few vendors who have wholesome selections for vegans:
- Whole Foods 365
- Santa Cruz Organic (this is one of my personal favorite peanut butter brands)
- Crazy Richard’s
How to make vegan peanut butter?
Sometimes, you’ll see a jar of peanut butter with only one item in the ingredients list: peanuts! That’s how easy it is to make your own peanut butter at home. The hardest part is choosing an adorable glass jar to store it in.
Here are some mouthwatering recipes for homemade peanut butter:
- Beaming Baker has step-by-step photos so you can see the butter consistency at each stage in the food processor
- Jessica Gavin gives you tips on how to roast peanuts properly and add flavors like cocoa or cinnamon
- Not Enough Cinnamon has a fabulous peanut butter tutorial - just omit the honey or switch to maple syrup for a vegan version
How to store homemade peanut butter?
You can store freshly-made peanut butter in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for a few weeks. Alternatively, you can refrigerate it for a few months - or even freeze it.
Here’s a mind-blowingly simple way to store homemade peanut butter to avoid the messy stirring.
How can I use peanut butter in vegan recipes?
Peanut butter is more than a spread for your sandwiches. Try these fantastic peanut butter recipes and see how versatile it can be!
Breakfast & Smoothies
- This strawberry banana peanut butter smoothie is creamy, packed with protein, and pretty in pink!
- Here’s an easy way to prep tomorrow’s morning treat, with delicious leftovers for the rest of the week: chocolate peanut butter overnight oats.
- How about an apple banana smoothie with peanut powder topped with fluffy vegan whipped cream?
My Plantiful Cooking’s vegan peanut butter noodles combine yummy carbs and crispy tofu. Nutriciously has a savory peanut sauce recipe that’s ideal for Asian dishes or as a dressing for salads.
Snacks & Desserts
- Try my no-bake peanut butter energy balls but I’m warning you - you will need to hide them from your family if you want them to last longer than a day!
- These are the best vegan peanut butter cookies when you want a quick and easy treat with just 3 ingredients.
- Erin Lives Whole has an amazingly easy recipe for chocolate peanut butter bars.
- Lazy Cat Kitchen features a delicate vegan peanut butter mousse to impress at your next dinner party.
- Check out Ambitious Kitchen’s decadent vegan peanut butter caramel to add a touch of sweetness to your kitchen creations.
Most peanut butter is vegan but it’s important to know what non-vegan ingredients to avoid if you follow a strict diet. In that case, make your own at home and enjoy it for weeks!
But if you’re perfectly fine with your childhood favorite, Skippy peanut butter, don’t just make a sandwich - enjoy all the scrumptious ways to cook and bake with it too!
Whatever brand of peanut butter you choose, there are all kinds of peanut butter recipes to try. So, whether you enjoy a creamy texture or a crunchy one, go stock up on your favorite jars of peanut butter!
More questions answered
- Is cocoa powder vegan?
- Are M&Ms vegan?
- Are Oreos vegan?
- Are bagels vegan?
- Are pretzels vegan?
- Is tomato sauce vegan?
- Is frosting vegan?
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