While they are each basically made of the same ingredients, the primary difference between crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter is how the roasted nuts are prepared. In creamy peanut butter, all of the peanuts are ground to be the same texture. In crunchy peanut butter, some coarsely-ground peanut fragments are left to provide that extra texture.
Crunchy vs. Creamy Peanut Butter: What is the Difference?
There are two areas where there’s a difference between crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter: the nutrients and the texture.
As far as the health aspect, they are very similar. Of the small differences is the fact that crunchy peanut butter typically includes about a gram more of fiber than does creamy. Fiber is important for regulating your digestive system and for keeping you fuller for longer throughout the day.
While both forms of peanut butter have a healthy dose of protein involved, creamy peanut butter has just a bit more. Protein is essential for a healthy body. Both peanut butter varieties have the same amount of calories and fat content. Both varieties are also filled with zinc, potassium, vitamin B3, and other essential nutrients.
The texture is the more obvious difference between the two products. When crunchy peanut butter is made, the peanuts are not ground up as uniformly as in the smooth variety. This process gives you more of that bumpy texture that many people enjoy. Other than that, it’s essentially the same product in every other way.
What is Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter has been around since the 1800s and is primarily made out of roasted and ground-up peanuts. In fact, 90% of it is strictly peanuts. The other 10% is made up of salt, dextrose, vegetable oil, and corn syrup to ensure it’s smooth and tasty flavor.
Nutritional Benefits of Crunchy and Smooth Peanut Butter
Although the numbers may be slightly different between the two varieties, in essence, both crunchy and smooth peanut butter are very healthy in a number of ways.
For instance, about 20% of peanut butter is protein, which enhances your metabolism and makes you feel full for longer so you can manage your weight. With that in mind, it’s important to not go overboard when eating it as too much of anything can be unhealthy. Also, the protein content in peanut butter helps you to preserve your muscle mass and keep your bones healthy.
The reason peanut butter is so healthy is because of the nutritional value of the peanuts themselves. They contain resveratrol, which is an antioxidant that reduces cardiovascular inflammation and lowers your blood pressure which is key to avoiding harmful diseases.
Peanut butter is also good for your health due to the fact that it includes monounsaturated fatty acids, which keep your heart strong. The antioxidants (vitamin B, magnesium, and vitamin E) are also essential for fighting off various types of cancer. Finally, because peanut butter doesn’t contain much in the way of sugar. Adding it to your diet can contribute to lower blood sugar levels.
Why Some Prefer Smooth Peanut Butter
While it’s great that there are many options, many people still reach for the smooth peanut butter when given a choice. In fact, studies by the National Peanut Board say that 56% of people prefer smooth vs. crunchy. There are several reasons why this is so:
Crunchy Can Be Hard on Soft Bread
If you primarily use your peanut butter to make sandwiches, then you may find that crunchy peanut butter can be a bit hard to handle. The large peanut chunks can get stuck in the bread and make the sandwich less than desirable.
Creamy Peanut Butter Is Typically Better for Baking
Depending on the recipe, creamy peanut butter may be the better option for your next treat. Especially if you’re looking for smooth textures for brownies and frosting. You could put crunchy peanut butter in a blender, but it may not be worth the extra work.
Sticking With Tradition
Some people just like the tradition of eating smooth peanut butter and want to avoid the extra chewing necessary to get through the chucky stuff.
Alternatives to Peanut Butter
If you’re not on either side of the crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter argument and you want to try something different that doesn’t involve peanuts, then you're in luck. Consider some of these peanut butter alternatives:
Folks who love the protein and nutty taste of peanut butter but don’t want the peanuts can try cashew butter, which is made from roasted cashews. In addition to being delicious, cashew butter is also loaded with healthy amino acids and magnesium for a growing body.
Another nutty alternative is almond butter, which is just as rustic but with less sugar and more nutrients. The flavor of almond butter is a bit richer than the flavor of peanuts, making this a suitable alternative.
If you’re looking for a great source of magnesium and iron, and you love the nutty flavor of peanut butter, try walnuts. This alternative will provide a sweeter and milder flavor than traditional peanut butter, and it has a similar texture.
If you love pistachios, then you can add them into your sandwich and get a great nutty, earthy, and sweet flavor while eating the same amount of calories as peanut butter. Pistachios are also loaded with potassium, which helps control your blood pressure.
Brazil Nut Butter
Those not crazy about the sweetness of peanut butter can try Brazil nut butter. It has a similar texture and a creamy flavor. It’s also a great source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B.
Options If You Don’t Like Peanut Butter but Still Want the Crunch
If you don’t like nuts at all, then there are other alternatives that you can try. These options substitute nuts with a variety of other ingredients that offer a similar texture:
Sunflower Seed Butter
This is about as close as you’ll get to the texture of peanut butter without including any actual peanuts. It still has a nice nutty flavor, and it’s very spreadable.
You can get a similar texture to peanut butter and get a unique Middle Eastern nutty flavor with Tahini. It’s also very low on sugar, so it’s healthy, but if you want to add some flavor, pair it with honey or jam.
Soy Nut Butter
Similar to peanut butter, the soy nuts in soy nut butter are roasted to provide that rustic taste. Plus, soy milk is dairy- and gluten-free and is packed with protein.
Coconut butter is a fine paste made with shredded coconut, so it provides a unique flavor that’s very rich and tasty when paired with jam.
Peanut Butter Recipes
There are countless different ways that you can use peanut butter to make your next treat or full-on dish. Here at Moms Who Think, we have a few recipes you may like:
Peanut Butter Cake – Add a bunch of tasty ingredients, including peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs, and create this gooey cake.
Cheesecake With Peanut Butter – The perfect cheesecake can be made with peanut butter, vanilla, whipping cream, and a bit of love.
Peanut Butter Fudge – If you love fudge, you’ll adore this peanut butter take on the dessert that also has vanilla and marshmallows!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge – Peanut butter plus cocoa and a handful of other tasty ingredients create this perfect treat.
Peanut Butter Pie – This amazing pie incorporates peanut butter, whipping cream, and more to create a new family favorite.
There may be no real end to the crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter debate, but one thing is for sure, both options are tasty and good for you. Try both options when you get the chance and elevate your next snack or dinner dish.