The quick answer to the question - Is peanut butter vegan?
Yes! Nearly all peanut butter is vegan despite it having the word butter in the name. The only ingredients in the majority of peanut butter brands are simply roasted peanuts cut up and grounded to make a paste, some salt and possibly some oil and sugar. Do a quick scan of the ingredients list to make sure.
Most peanut butters are vegan, however, some of the more artisan brands might include honey which is obviously not vegan.
The Good News
- Peanut butter is a good source of protein for vegans.
- Most people love the taste. It brings back memories of childhood when they eat it.
- Peanut butter is very easily made from scratch using peanuts bought in bulk. Not only does this allow you to control the ingredients, but you now have zero waste peanut butter. Making your own will be cheaper than the ‘natural’ peanut butters you find in the store. You can even customise it and add ingredients like cocoa powder, vanilla or cinnamon or even add different nuts to make a blended nut butter like peanut and cashew nut butter.
- A small number of brands might include another sweetener. This is usually honey and this would make it not vegan.
- Some peanut butters contain sugar and some sugar made from sugar cane are processed with bone char to filter it during the manufacturing process. It is often difficult to tell just by looking at the label if the sugar used has been filtered in this way or not. Many vegans will not worry about this too much and others will either check with the manufacturer or choose a brand that is labelled or certified vegan or organic.
- Peanut butter can be high in fat and salt. Enjoy it in moderation.
- Some brands of peanut butter contain palm oil. While this is technically vegan, many people like to avoid this ingredient due to the concerns that it is not healthy and that the growing of palm is linked to deforestation in many tropical countries where it is grown. Some brands choose palm oil that has been certified as ‘rainforest friendly’ and will notify consumers on their packaging and will discuss this issue on the website.
- Some peanut butters contain hydrogenated vegetable oil. Many people have health concerns about this ingredient.
- Some people are allergic to peanuts with some suffering severe reactions. In this case, substitute peanut butter for another kind of nut butter like seed butter or cashew butter.
- Many of the popular brands are owned by big multinational companies which might sell a lot of non-vegan food or products tested on animals. For this reason some vegans prefer to choose different products.
How is it used?
Peanut butter can be used as a topping on toast or oatmeal for breakfast, in an Asian noodle stir fry, dips and a delicious addition to granola bars.
Our favorite vegan peanut butters
The peanut butters listed here do not contain any added palm oil or sugar and while they might not be certified vegan, they are.
- Check ingredients to be sure
- Choose brands that are labelled vegan if the sugar and palm oil are of concern to you.
- Make your own from scratch if you can.
What else is vegan?
We'd love to hear from you! Do you have any questions? Share YOUR favorite peanut butter brand or recipe in the comments below!