Why Vegans Won't Eat Every Brand of Peanut Butter


Jan. 9 2024, Published 10:48 a.m. ET

Jar of smooth peanut butter with a spoon full of PB next to it and some peanus in shells to the side
Source: iStock

Whether you’re new to the vegan lifestyle or have been eating plant-based for some time, it’s still tricky to know for sure what you can and can’t eat. For example, is peanut butter vegan?

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While the popular spread and smoothie addition is made primarily from nuts, not all brands are vegan-friendly. We give some tips on what to look out for, and we’ve also included a bunch of fun peanut butter-inspired recipes.

Three jars of Natural Jif peanut butter on a store shelf
Source: Getty Images

Though Jif's natural peanut butter is vegan, 10 percent of its formula includes sugar, palm oil, salt, and molasses.

Is peanut butter vegan?

Yes, most peanut butter brands are safe for vegans to eat. However, there are also a lot that aren’t. Read the label, and you’ll often discover that dairy or non-vegan sweeteners like honey have been added. For instance, Peanut Butter & Co makes a variety of its PB with honey.

It’s also worth noting that some of the vegan-friendly options aren’t exactly healthy. The majority of mainstream peanut butters contain things like hydrogenated oils, added sugars, and preservatives.

Your best bet is to search for peanut butter that contains nothing but roasted peanuts and salt. If it’s organic, even better. Trader Joe’s stocks a lot of vegan items, one of which is organic peanut butter.

These are some other healthy brands to try:

  • Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter
  • Teddie All Natural Peanut Butter
  • Woodstock Organic Smooth Peanut Butter.

Peanut butter features as the star of these vegan recipes.

Vegan recipes that center around peanut butter? Um, yes, puh-leeze! From sweet treats and smoothies to baked goods and salad dressing, this recipe roundup will have you racing to the kitchen.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Butter

VegAnnie says this delectable treat is “basically like a peanut butter cookie that has been blended up into a spreadable, peanut-butter-y form!” I suspect it’s intended to spread on toast, but I’m imagining taking the jar to the couch with a spoon.

Vegan Instant Pot Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

This instant pot peanut butter oatmeal from Rainbow Plant Life is healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and easy on the pocket. Talk about ticking all the boxes. It's an easy throw-together-and-leave meal that simplifies breakfast and is perfect for meal prep. (Recipe starts at 4:02 in the video.)

Curried Peanut Butter Chickpeas

Food stylist and recipe developer Lucy from Lucy and Lentils says that peanut butter ”adds a nutty and rich flavor as well as thickening the sauce.” I suspect these curried peanut butter chickpeas would pair well with poppadoms, naan bread, or dosa, as she suggests.

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Crispy Peanut Tofu and Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry

Minimalist Baker’s tofu and cauli stir fry recipe features a five-ingredient peanut-y sauce for tossing the crispy baked tofu in. Serve it with sautéed veggies for a delicious, nutritious vegan meal to impress your family and friends.

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Vegan Peanut Butter Rice

This easy and quick peanut butter rice from The Fiery Vegetarian looks every bit as tasty as it sounds. Pair it with some sauteed greens or peas and a protein for a satisfying meal, or whip it up as a side to impress dinner guests instead of plain white rice.

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Easy Peanut Salad Dressing

Hell Yes It’s Vegan (don’t you just love that name?) has created a handy peanut dressing that can be used in a multitude of ways, not just on salads. You could pair it with air-fried tofu for a delicious dip, serve it as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or pour it over pasta for peanut noodles. The options are endless!

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