Chances are most of you know the frustration of opening a jar or packet of nut butter and having it ooze all over your hands, clothes, car, friend’s car … the list goes on and on.
Having a healthy almond, peanut or alternative nut butter on-hand when you are on the go is essential, so we were curious to see which ones tasted and functioned the best.
To maintain an even playing field, we picked up a few of the most common almond butters that are available in single-serving packets -- mainly because these are the most easy to take on the road -- and put them to the test.
Among other things, we were looking for the ease of use, taste, texture, consistency and nutritional benefits. This is how they stacked up.
Wild Friends Classic Creamy Almond Butter
Wild Friends Classic Creamy Almond Butter was the first that we tested, and unfortunately, right off the bat we ran into a nut butter massacre. The packet felt hard to knead, and we had trouble getting all the ingredients to mix. When we tore the packet open, a ton of separation had occurred and lots of oil poured out.
Despite a shaky start, we managed to get the almond butter mixed well enough and out of the package to sample. The flavor is pretty good, but just a bit more bland than some of the other options.
From a nutritional standpoint, the single-serving packet has about 6 grams of protein and 180 calories. What we like about this brand is that it is non-GMO, gluten-free and for those with allergies, peanut free. It also doesn’t contain any sugar, but does have about 10 grams of carbohydrates. What we didn’t like was the amount of work it took to get a little bit out of the packet.
Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter
Barney Butter‘s Smooth Almond Butter lived up to its name -- it was very soft and easy to knead and mix in the package.
Once we opened the packet, there was no separation of ingredients. The almond butter was creamy and had a similar consistency to traditional peanut butter.
Interesting to note: Barney Butter prides itself on its blanched almond recipe. It’s also non-GMO, made in a peanut-free facility, gluten-free and certified vegan. All of their products are made from nuts sourced and manufactured in California.
On the downside, their single-serving pack only offers 3 grams of protein (compared with 6 or 7 grams in some of the other almond butters). They also don’t seem to have an organic offering. Although it wasn’t available in a single serving packet at our local grocer, Barney does offer a “Bare Smooth” option, which contains no added sugar or salt and lends itself well to smoothies and baking.
The Smooth option has 1.5 grams of sugar, in the form of organic and Fair-Trade cane sugar, according to the list of ingredients. The rest of the ingredients are not organic.
Once Again Organic Lightly Toasted Almond Butter
We liked Once Again right out of the gates for its wide organic offering. For those with peanut allergies, note that while some of the other butters, like Barney and Wild Friends, have peanut-free facilities, Once Again does offer peanut butter products and is explicit that their “facility also processes other tree nuts, peanuts and seeds.”
Once Again also calls out the specific process in which they make their butter, using lightly toasted, un-blanched organic almonds -- which is contrary to some other butters we tried, like Barney Butter. The reasoning for this process is outlined in detail on their site, which is where we also learned this company has been making nut butters since 1976, and has evolved their process along with FDA guideline changes on raw nut butters over the past 15 years.
While this almond butter was a bit runny compared to Barney Butter, the flavor and texture was good, with some natural almond chunks as opposed to the smooth (and more processed) texture of Barney Butter. There was also no separation (we guess this is because there is only one ingredient listed: lightly toasted unblanched organic almonds) when we tore the packet open, and it spread well. Overall, this one was a big hit in the taste-test department.
We liked that Once again has 7 grams of protein in its single-serving packet, ranking the highest alongside several of the other companies we tested. In turn, it also has a higher calorie (200 grams) and fat (18 grams) count.
Justin's Honey Almond Butter
As a full disclosure, we have bought Justin's almond butter in the past, and prefer the slightly sweeter “honey” flavor as opposed to the “classic.” Justin’s is probably one of the most well-recognized and readily available butters on the market at the moment, and has risen in popularity at most major markets in our Southern California region.
What we like about Justin’s: the consistency is creamy, much like Barney Butter, but also contains a bit of natural almond pieces for texture. The Honey almond butter does contain sea salt and so has a bit more of a salty flavor than the more natural butters like Once Again, but not an overbearing amount.
Sugar is also a bit higher (4 grams compared to Once Again’s 2 grams), but protein in a single serving packet is on-point at 6 grams. If looking for a healthier route, Justin’s Classic has only 1 gram of sugar and 7 grams of protein. The classic is both vegan and gluten free, while the honey is gluten free. Both the classic and honey have 190 calories.
Yum Butter Superfood Almond Butter
We were intrigued by Yum Butter’s single packet offering. It comes in a larger, 7-ounce squeeze packet that contains about 6 servings, and is a mix of almond butter, chia and hemp seeds, and goji berries. For the sake of consistency, we could not find a plain almond butter from Yum Butter in a single serving packet, and this offering was the most minimal choice.
To compare it fairly to the others, we took a look at its nutritional value per single serving (about 2 tablespoons), and found it comparable to the others we tested, with 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat and 190 calories.
Where Yum Butter didn’t stack up was on its texture and consistency. This was easily the thinnest, runniest butter we tried, although it was helpful that the packet has a resealable cap, which mostly prevented excessive spillage.
For the taste test, the flavor was fairly good, with an aftertaste of goji and a very subtle hint of chia and flax. Overall, though, it was the texture of Yum Butter that we couldn’t get behind.
Artisana Raw Almond Butter
Admittedly, we hadn’t heard of Artisana before our taste test, but loved the idea of an almond butter with only one ingredient: raw organic almonds.
From a taste test perspective, the flavor is good -- but it does live up to its name: it tastes raw. Out of all the butters we tried, this one probably tastes the healthiest and most pure.
It had the chunkiest texture out of all the butters we reviewed and we were really happy with the overall consistency. It also stacked up nutritionally, with 7 grams of protein, only 15 grams of fat and 1 gram of sugar. The single serving packet has 169 calories.
Weighing all of these elements together, our top three picks were the following:
1. Once Again: This one had it all: high protein, organic simple ingredients and great taste and texture. Need we say more?
2. Justin’s: The one downfall of Justin's is it's not organic. Taste is on point, consistency is close to perfect, and the subtle almond pieces create texture. The protein stacks up with the others near the top of the pile, and sugar and calorie count is also comparable to other nut butters.
3.Barney Butter: Although it didn’t stand up in its protein offering against some of the other contenders, we ultimately gave Barney Butter third place because it’s texture, consistency and overall flavor were on point, and it had fairly low levels of sugar and sodium.
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