If you’re not allergic to peanut butter, you’re not close with anyone who happens to be allergic to peanut butter, and you live in North America, this delightful spread is probably a staple in your cupboard. Children love it. Adults love it. Even most doctors love it and love their patients to love it.
Whether your digging in with a spoon like it’s a carton of ice cream or spreading it onto a PB&J sandwich like a professional, peanut butter is one of the best examples of delicious and nutritious foods around.
Buying in bulk is a time-honored tradition in some families and it’s hard to shake. So what do you do when you end up with a 3-pack of 5lb containers of peanut butter and no one to share it with but your dog?
Can you freeze peanut butter? Yes, you can freeze peanut butter, and you shouldn’t lose any flavor or compromise the texture either. It likely won’t extend the life of your peanut butter beyond what storing it in the fridge or even your cupboard would do, however, so it may not be worth it.
If freezing peanut butter is on your bucket list, this article is going to take a deep dive into the process of freezing and defrosting peanut butter. For the rest of you, we’ll also discuss alternative ways to store peanut butter as well as providing some clever ways to put your peanut butter to use.
Freezing Peanut Butter – The Complete Guide
Peanut butter can be frozen, and you have some choices as to how you want to accomplish the task.
If you have a 3-year supply of jars of peanut butter and a sizeable deep freezer, your first option is to simply place the entire jar, unopened into your freezer.
If you’ve bought a plastic container, you shouldn’t have a thing to worry about. If your peanut butter came in a jar, you’ll want to keep an eye on it over the first 24 hours.
It may expand as it freezes and if there wasn’t enough space available for the expansion, you might lose your peanut butter to a cracked or broken jar. This doesn’t happen often, but it is a risk.
If you have an opened jar of peanut butter that you don’t think you’ll be able to finish off within the next 9 months, you will want to re-package the peanut butter before freezing it.
The worst thing for any food that goes into your freezer is air and moisture, so you’ll want to transfer the peanut butter to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
Do your best to remove all air from the bag or container. If there’s a lot of space left between the lid and your peanut butter, you can cover the surface with plastic wrap to offer one more layer of protection to your peanut butter.
You can also freeze your peanut butter in smaller serving sizes. My favorite way to accomplish this is to fill ice cube trays with my nut butter and freeze it. Once frozen, you can crack them all out and transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
One cube is usually about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, which just happens to be a recommended serving size, so this is a great way to monitor and ration out your peanut butter if you’re concerned about your willpower.
How Long Does It Take to Freeze Peanut Butter?
How long it takes peanut butter to freeze will depend on how much you’re trying to freeze in a single container.
If you’re freezing an entire, unopened jar, it could take 6 hours or more to really freeze thoroughly.
However, if you’re freezing it in single-serving sizes, such as in an ice cube container, it will probably only take 45 minutes to an hour for the individual servings to freeze well.
The type of peanut butter you are freezing may make a difference to how long it takes to freeze as well. Pure peanut butter will freeze quite nicely, approximately according to the times just outlined.
However, the more added sugar, salt, oil, and miscellaneous preservatives and other ingredients that are in your peanut butter, the less able we are to predict freezing time.
Some peanut butter may never freeze, if there are enough non-peanut ingredients, but honestly, there were too many options to test, so you may have to find out with your own preferred brand and mixture.
How Long Does Peanut Butter Last in The Freezer?
Peanut butter that is well sealed will last about 6 – 9 months in your freezer. Longer than that and you’ll probably start to notice the taste change. It may simply start to lose flavor, which is depressing, but it may also develop a staleness or freezer taste that is much worse.
While we’re on the topic, did you know that you can freeze peanut brittle? Read this article to learn more.
How to Defrost Peanut Butter
Defrosting peanut butter is as simple as taking the container or portion out of your freezer and leaving it on your counter to thaw.
Defrosting Frozen Peanut Butter
If you’ve frozen an entire container, you will have to thaw the entire container in order to use your peanut butter, and it’s not a good idea to refreeze it a second time, so make sure you freeze with strategy.
If you’ve got a large portion of peanut butter, it is probably a good idea to place the container on a plate and let it thaw in your fridge overnight. Smaller portion sizes will likely take upwards of 20 minutes to thaw, depending on the size.
Defrosting Pure 100% Peanut Butter
100% pure peanut butter is, without a doubt, the more flavorful and healthiest peanut butter you can buy, but it does have one major flaw: the oil and the nut butter separates.
This is one of the most frustrating parts of opening a brand-new jar of peanut butter. It can take a considerable amount of time to blend the oil and nuts smoothly without dumping the oil all over yourself or your counter. Once you’ve managed it though, you’ll experience 100% pure bliss.
If you’re defrosting an entire container of 100% pure peanut butter, you will have to go through this process just as you would if you were opening it up fresh from the store.
However, you froze your peanut butter in smaller portion sizes, having pre-blended the butter so that it was nice and smooth before you froze it, you’re absolutely going to want to thaw your peanut butter in the fridge.
Keeping it cold will reduce the separation. If it thaws on your counter, it will more than likely separate all over again.
Thawing Peanut Butter with Additives
Peanut butter that has been manufactured with added sugars, salt, oils or chemicals doesn’t tend to separate. If you’re able to get your peanut butter to freeze, you should have no trouble thawing it on your counter, out of direct sunlight.
You don’t want to expose peanut butter to heat unless you’re baking with it, so don’t try to rush the defrosting process by putting it in your microwave. There is a lot of oil in peanuts and it will heat very quickly, potentially burning and compromising the health of your peanut butter.
Using Frozen Peanut Butter
A while back there was something of an internet sensation in the form of frozen peanut butter slices. It was a “food hack” that went viral mainly because the internet world ganged up on the inventor and made fun of how useless this hack is.
Well, in some ways I have to disagree. I love the idea of frozen peanut butter snacks.
I’m highly unlikely to spend time rolling peanut butter out between parchment paper and waiting for it to freeze all so that I can use it for a peanut butter sandwich, but I can think of plenty of other ways I could use a thin sheet of frozen peanut butter or, perhaps, small frozen peanut butter balls.
- Decorate your ice cream
- Add frozen peanut butter to your smoothie
- Offer a slice of frozen nut butter to your pup as a summer treat
- Use a frozen slice of peanut butter to hold a dollop of jelly for a PB&J treat minus the bread
- Drop some frozen peanut butter balls into your cereal, especially if that cereal is raisin bran
Alternate Ways to Store Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is actually a very shelf-stable product, so you can screw the lid on tight and keep it in your pantry or kitchen cupboard for up to 3 months after it’s been opened. If your container hasn’t been opened, it will stay fresh for up to 9 months.
You do want to be sure you’re storing your peanut butter in a cool, dry location that isn’t exposed to sunlight or heat from any appliances or anything like that.
If you have remarkable powers of restraint and you think your open jar of peanut butter will last longer than 3 months, you can store it in your fridge for up to 9 months.
It will be harder to spread but if you have a jar where the oil and nut butter separates, if you mix it up really well before putting it in the fridge, it will stay combined, which is a perk.
Keep reading below to learn more about delicious peanut butter.
Is Peanut Butter Healthy?
Peanut butter certainly can be considered healthy, but there are a few caveats that should be brought into consideration before making a definitive statement.
Pure peanut butter, made from nothing but peanuts, preferably organic and fresh, is a great source of plant-based protein and monounsaturated fats. Both of these macronutrients can help you feel full and satisfied.
Peanuts are moderate sources of carbohydrates, but with a decent amount of fiber, which is definitely healthy for you. It’s surprisingly low on the glycemic index as well, so it won’t send your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride.
Peanut butter even has a good supply of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins B3, B6, E, folate, magnesium, copper and almost ¾ of your daily recommended intake of manganese.
Calorie for calorie, if you’re after vitamins and minerals, you’d find a better supply in rich and colorful veggies, but what peanuts do have is nothing to complain about.
Those are the good points.
Where you want to be careful is in quality and quantity. Because peanut butter is so popular, many manufacturers try to sell it as the lowest cost possible, which often means a reduction in quality.
They add ingredients that are no good for your health, like chemical preservatives, refined sugars, and oils. And they make their butter with low-quality peanuts.
Peanuts are easily contaminated with a very dangerous type of mold that has actually been classified as a carcinogen. If you want to stay safe, you’ll want to find a high-quality peanut butter than you can rely on.
The other factor is quantity. Peanut butter is so hard to resist and can be very addictive. A serving size is 2 tablespoons and I know from personal experience, not many of us stop there. The calories pile up quickly, so be very mindful of how much peanut butter you’re actually eating.
Can you lose weight eating peanut butter?
Sure. Peanut butter can be part of a balanced, healthy diet that still allows you to lose weight. The question really comes down to how much peanut butter you’re eating, because it is high in calories and fat, so you want to be aware of serving sizes.
It’s also a good idea to stick to 100% pure peanut butter to avoid unnecessary added sugars and oils. If you’re enjoying a reasonable amount of high-quality peanut butter, it can actually be a positive influence on your diet.
The high protein and healthy fats will help you feel more satiated for longer and it can very nicely replace some other, less diet-friendly treats without causing a huge spike in your blood sugar.
How much peanut butter can a dog have?
The size of your dog makes a big difference in the question of how much peanut butter he or she should be allowed to enjoy. Try to make sure that there are only peanuts in your peanut butter, being particularly aware that there is no xylitol in the mix.
Many of us don’t exactly measure the calories we’re feeding our pets, but peanut butter should not make up more than 10% of their daily consumption of food.
For small dogs, this is probably no more than ½ tablespoon, whereas larger dogs can probably get away with a full tablespoon or slightly more.
Peanut butter for babies – is it safe?
Peanut butter can be safe for babies but also peanut anything that can be extremely dangerous for anybody. With a baby, you have no idea if there are allergies until you try it out, so you want to be safe as you introduce it to your child for the first time.
If you know your child is allergic to any food items, especially eggs, or if they have other health conditions, they could be at higher risk for experiencing an allergic reaction to nuts.
Knowing whether or not your baby can tolerate peanuts is a very important piece of knowledge to have, so you still want to introduce it to them, but in a controlled, safe environment. Like at your doctor’s office or with an allergist.
Babies with no known allergies can generally be introduced to peanut butter between the ages of 4 to 6 months. Make sure that it’s very smooth or even watered down so there is no risk of choking hazard. Peanuts themselves can cause choking, of course, but peanut butter is very sticky, so you want to monitor your baby to make sure they’re able to swallow well.
For the first few experiences with peanuts, watch for symptoms like runny nose, red eyes or any swelling or indications of irritation. Don’t panic, because babies often have runny noses, but do be aware of your child’s experience.