Skip to content
Ask The Allergy Chef: Peanut Butter Alternatives

Peanut Butter Alternatives and Substitutes for Sandwiches, Cooking, and Baking

    If you’re managing a peanut allergy, or perhaps your child is in a peanut free classroom, get ready to learn all about peanut butter alternatives that can be of service. We’re living in a time where peanut butter substitutes are widely available. Once you’ve reviewed your options, I suggest sampling what’s available. Several brands sell small pouches of their spread so you can give it a go. You can also watch this video on RAISE where we’ve sampled on camera a range of peanut butter alternatives so you know WHAT to expect.

    Types of Seeds and Nut Butters

    There are currently several types of seed and nut butters to choose from. The most common you’ll see in stores include:

    • Almond Butter (nut)
    • Hazelnut Butter (nut)
    • Sunflower Seed Butter (seed)
    • Tahini (seed from sesame)

    Less common options that you might need to order online include:

    • Cashew Butter (nut)
    • Pine Nut Butter
    • Pistachio Butter (nut)
    • Pumpkin Seed Butter (seed)
    • Macadamia Nut Butter
    • Walnut Butter (nut)
    • Watermelon Seed Butter

    Nut Free and Seed Free Peanut Butter Alternatives:

    Allergy Friendly Butters and Spreads Options

    Nut-Free Alternative to Peanut Butter

    For those who need nut free and peanut free options, you’ll want to stick to seed based butters and spreads. You can also have tiger nut butter, which is poorly named. Tiger nuts are not tree nuts.

    Some of you will be able to tolerate coconut, and there are coconut spreads available on the market these days. Usually, these are flavoured and have some kind of unrefined sugar added to the product.

    Refer to the list above and look at the items labeled (seed) for ideas. There’s also the legume and vegetable butters listed above.

    Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter, and Tahini by The Allergy Chef

    Using Food Chains to Introduce Peanut Butter Alternatives

    If you have a picky eater who loves peanut butter and nothing else, AND they need peanut free lunches, you can help them adjust. Food Chains is a term that refers to starting with one food, then adding in other foods until you reach the end of the chain which is the desired result. Let’s say you want to get to sunflower seed butter. A food chain might look like this:

    Peanut Butter > Peanut Butter Toast > Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookie > Crunchy Peanut Butter & Sunflower Seed Butter Cookie > Crunchy Sunflower Seed Butter & Peanut Butter Cookie > Crunchy Sunflower Seed Butter Cookie > Sunflower Seed Butter Toast > Sunflower Seed Butter

    You’ll notice there were two cookies that look the same. That’s because the first time you’ll use peanut butter in a higher ratio, such as 70%, then swap the next time you make the cookie and have the sunflower seed butter as the primary butter.

    Food chains take time and creativity. Be sure to include variations of foods your child already enjoys as part of your chain to make the process easier (and more familiar) for them.

    Nut Free Substitute for Peanut Butter in Baking

    Have I got fantastic news for you! All nut, seed, legume, and tuber based butters/spreads are a 1:1 exchange in baking. The exception will be coconut spreads. Those you’ll need to play with to see what the best ratio will be.

    For all others, in terms of VOLUME, the replacement is the same. However, with TASTE, you might be surprised.

    Some peanut butter alternatives have very pungent tastes, and won’t require much product to bring the flavour forward. This will really come down to personal preference though. In our home for example, a little bit of watermelon seed butter goes a LONG way.

    Peanut Free Peanut Butter Cookies by The Allergy Chef

    Your Alternatives to Peanut Butter Questions Answered

    As usual, I love answering your questions. A question we often see is: What’s the best peanut butter replacement? I wish I could tell you there’s a straight and universal answer, but there isn’t. It’s going to come down to personal preference where taste is concerned.

    Is There a Nut Free Butter?

    Yes! There are several nut free butters to choose from. Interestingly, most people think peanuts are tree nuts, but they’re actually legumes. So peanut butter is actually a nut free butter. However, I’m guessing you’re here because you’re also peanut free.

    You can enjoy nut free butters derived from seeds, legumes, and tiger nuts (which aren’t tree nuts).

    What do Schools use Instead of Peanut Butter?

    Most schools use SunButter and WOWBUTTER. SunButter is a seed based spread that’s derived from sunflower seeds. It comes in an organic, unsweetened variety, as well as creamy and crunchy.

    WOWBUTTER is a soy based (legume) butter.

    Both SunButter and WOWBUTTER are brands that offer commercial options geared for schools. They both also offer individual dip-style cups of their spreads.

    What Peanut Butter Alternative Tastes Most like Peanut Butter?

    I’m going to share some wise advice from a friend of mine: if you’re not use to peanut butter alternatives, nothing will really taste like peanut butter to you. If you’ve adjusted to eating some alternatives, then many options will appeal to you, including major brands such as WOWBUTTER.

    From our taste testers, I’ll also add this: peanut butter has a distinct taste, and nothing is a perfect replacement for it. We think almond butter might come close, but again, they’re different.

    You can watch our review here, where we compare peanut butter to other nut and seed butters.

    Does WOWBUTTER Taste like Peanut Butter?

    Given that WOWBUTTER  is also derived from a legume (soy) the taste and texture aren’t super far from peanut butter. Our taste testers have reviewed WOWBUTTER and you can read all about it here. They do a side-by-side comparison with peanut butter as well.

    Additional Resources

    Creamy WowButter and Crunchy WowButter by The Allergy Chef Is Tahini Gluten Free? Learn About Sesame Seed Butter from The Allergy Chef
    Crofters Organic Spreads by The Allergy Chef Packing Gluten Free, Nut Free, Allergy Friendly Lunches by The Allergy Chef
    Food Allergy Help 101: Back to School Food Allergy Help 101: Lunch


    Free Recipe Week

    Pop in your info and I'll send you TWENTY amazing recipes. Each recipe is Gluten Free, and Top 9 Allergy Free.