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Peanut Butter Spread Vs Peanut Butter — What’s The Difference?

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Have you ever seen “peanut butter spread” on the supermarket shelf and wondered how it was different than just “peanut butter”? If yes, keep reading!

So, what is the difference between peanut butter spread and peanut butter? Both peanut butter spread and peanut butter are made from ground-roasted peanuts. However, peanut butter spread is a different version of peanut butter that contains more additives and less than 90% peanuts.

Read on for more information on peanut butter spread and peanut butter, how the two compare in terms of their ingredients, taste, texture, and basic nutrition, and much more!

What Is Peanut Butter?

A perfect accompaniment to jelly, peanut butter is a staple in many American households. Unless you have a peanut allergy, chances are that you’ve grown up eating this yummy snack!

Spread on bread or eaten with apples and bananas, the United States has the highest per capita consumption of peanut butter in the world.

Made from roasted and ground peanuts, the purest form of peanut butter simply contains roasted peanuts ground to form a smooth paste. It is incredibly easy to make at home and takes hardly a few minutes.

Many commercial varieties have additives such as sugar and oils to prevent separation. These can add flavor, change texture, and increase their shelf life.

There are smooth and chunky varieties of peanut butter, where the former is turned into a smooth paste, while the latter has little chunks of chopped peanuts to give the spread more texture.

In the US, Jiff leads the peanut butter market and is considered the tastiest peanut butter with the most flavor. Skippy is another popular brand that has great taste and an impeccable texture.

In order to be considered peanut butter, it must contain at least 90% peanuts. Anything that contains less than that amount will be considered a peanut butter spread, which brings us to our next topic!

What Is Peanut Butter Spread?

Peanut butter spread, also called peanut spread, is made in the same way that peanut butter is made — with roasted peanuts that have been ground.

The only difference between the two is that peanut butter spread contains less than 90% peanuts and includes other ingredients such as sweeteners, dried fruit, and flavorings.

Peanut butter spread can be used in the same way as peanut butter, such as served on bread, crackers, cake, apple slices, or even ice cream.

It can have an addition of hydrogenated oils, corn syrup solids, sweeteners, and sugar. It is very important to check the ingredients when buying peanut butter spread so that you know what you are consuming.

You can buy ready-made peanut butter spread in the market or make your own at home by adding things to regular peanut butter.

There are no limitations to what you can and cannot add to make peanut butter spread — you can add flavors and can also make it healthier!

Nuts ‘N More Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Spread is a popular option that’s also available in several different flavors such as cookies n cream, toffee crunch, mint chocolate chip, birthday cake, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Peanut Butter Spread Vs Peanut Butter Similarities And Differences

The basis for peanut butter and peanut butter spread is the same. Both are made by grinding roasted peanuts into a paste and are enjoyed in the same ways.

The main difference between the two is the added ingredients in peanut butter spread that provide a different taste and texture as well as have an effect on its nutritional value.

Let’s look at how the two compare!


Both peanut butter and peanut butter spread have a nutty taste since they are made with peanuts. Peanut butter contains more peanuts than peanut butter spread and will most likely always taste nuttier.

The flavor is more towards the earthy side with most peanut butters being a little sweet and salty. Some commercial varieties have additional sweeteners added to them which make them sweeter.

In comparison, peanut butter spreads have extra ingredients added to them that alter the taste of the spread based on what is being added.


The texture of peanut butter and peanut butter spreads can vary between brands and the ingredients added to them.

All-natural peanut butter with only peanuts is more likely to undergo oil separation and not be as smooth as other varieties with additives.

Other than the ingredients, the way that the two are prepared has a huge effect on how their texture will be.

Peanut butter can either be smooth or chunky. Both are thick and spreadable, but the smooth one is creamier since it has been turned into a fine paste.

Chunky peanut butter has bits of peanuts in it that make it both smooth and chunky at the same time.

Depending on the type of peanut butter used to make peanut butter spread, the latter can also have textural differences based on its variety.


Since peanut butter contains more peanuts when compared to peanut butter spread, it is likely to have more fiber and protein.

It will also have a higher fat content than most peanut butter spreads due to the number of peanuts present in it.

The majority of fats in peanuts are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, whereas most peanut butter spreads contain trans-fatty hydrogenated oil, which is bad for health as is linked to high cholesterol and heart disease.

Also, since peanuts have a lot of calories, peanut butter is likely to be more calorie-rich than peanut butter spreads. 

You must keep in mind that the ingredients added to peanut butter spreads will also factor into the overall nutrition, which is why it is important to read the label before purchasing.


Both peanut butter and peanut butter spreads are essentially the same thing, save for a few things such as the percentage of peanuts and the type of ingredients added to them.

That being said, they can be used in the same way, the most popular one being spread on bread with some jelly — PB&J sandwiches are a huge part of American culture and are a favorite among people of all ages!

Other ways to use the two include:

Peanut Butter Spread Vs Peanut Butter — Comparison Chart

Here are all the ways peanut butter spread and peanut butter compare with one another:

Peanut Butter SpreadPeanut Butter
Ingredients< 90% roasted peanuts, other additives≥ 90% roasted peanuts
TasteLess nutty, additional flavors from added ingredientsNuttier
TextureSmooth or chunky, depending on additivesSmooth or chunky
NutritionContains trans-fatty hydrogenated oilContains more heart-healthy fats
UsesAs a spread, dip, topping, etc.As a spread, dip, topping, etc.

Which Is Better, Peanut Butter Spread Or Peanut Butter?

When it comes to the taste and texture of peanut butter spread and peanut butter, they are more or less the same since they both contain roasted ground peanuts.

You can choose between the smooth and chunky variety based on what you prefer. Also, look for added ingredients in peanut butter spread, such as nuts or chocolate, as they can alter both the taste and texture.

When it comes to which one is healthier, peanut butter is hands down the winner as it contains more heart-healthy fats as compared to additives such as hydrogenated oils found in peanut butter spread.

Peanut butter spreads are oftentimes labeled as “reduced fat” as they contain fewer peanuts than peanut butter since they naturally contain a lot of fats.

However, since the fats in peanut butter are heart-healthy and associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity, they are always a good option, unless the peanuts have been replaced by something healthy in peanut butter spreads.

In conclusion, if you want a healthier snack, we suggest you pick peanut butter. If you want added flavors, peanut butter spread is a good choice. In the end, it all comes down to what you prefer!

Related Questions

Now that you know all about peanut butter spread and peanut butter and how the two compare, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!

What is the difference between peanut butter and peanut butter powder?

Peanut butter is a spread made by grinding roasted peanuts that sometimes includes salt, a sweetener (ex. honey), and occasionally preservatives if commercially made.

Peanut butter powder, also called peanut powder and powdered peanut butter, is roasted peanuts ground into a flour-like powder. It is not the same as peanut flour and can be used to make peanut butter.

How long does peanut butter last?

Unopened peanut butter can last around 6-9 months without refrigeration.

A jar of opened peanut butter can last up to 3 months in the pantry, after which it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator, where it can maintain its quality for another 3-4 months. 

How do you know if peanut butter has gone bad?

You can tell that peanut butter has gone bad by just looking at it. Spoiled peanut butter will be hard and dry and it might develop a darker color; it may also start to smell bad.

If your peanut butter looks weird (not watery, think discolored with a strange consistency) and smells off, don’t eat it — just toss it.

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