Hello and welcome to the J List, where I (June) write a monthly column about whatever I have been thinking about recently. This month: peanut butter. You may be wondering why I am qualified to be providing this very official no-funny-business peanut butter ranking. It’s because I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast nearly every single day until eighth grade. This diet horrified my mother, who begrudgingly prepared my sandwich day after day, but don’t worry – she made sure I got my veggies in at lunch. This holiest of condiments has long possessed a piece of my heart, and I’m pretty sure there is a permanent peanut butter pocket in my stomach. If there are others who are as passionate about peanut butter as I am, I have yet to meet them. So, if you also love peanut butter (or would like to dispute my ranking) please send me an email at [email protected], because I would love to hear from you. I hope you enjoy this month’s J List!
#1 Brand: Smucker’s
I grew up on Smucker’s Natural and Smucker’s grape jelly (fight me on grape jelly, I dare you) sandwiches. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for this peanut butter. You can’t be afraid of a little oil on top. You have to mix it in – that’s what makes it so delicious. This peanut butter is labeled as creamy, but since it is natural, it will not be as smooth as Jif or Skippy. The flavor is honestly immaculate and it will always be my go-to.
#2 Brand: Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s surprised me, I’ll be honest. I was wowed by the darkly roasted peanut flavor of this brand, but such a richly flavorful peanut butter may overwhelm after a few bites. However, this peanut butter was delicious and I can see myself purchasing it in the future.
#3 Brand: Jif
I don’t believe you are a hardcore peanut butter fan if Jif is your favorite. If you cannot appreciate natural peanut butter, I don’t think you get it. However, as far as the no-stir creamy variety goes, Jif is up there. It checks all the boxes: smooth, good peanut flavor. Yeah, that’s it. There are really only two boxes.
#4 Brand: RX
The only reason RX peanut butter made the list was because I saw it in Kroger and thought, “wow, I have to try that!” It did not disappoint. Maybe it doesn’t count because there are dates on the ingredient list, but the flavor is immaculate and vaguely chocolatey, which is surprising because there’s not actually any chocolate in it. However, the texture is a bit clumpy and it will glue your mouth closed. Beware.
#5 Brand: Skippy
Although equally creamy, Skippy is slightly inferior to Jif. The texture is almost there, but I think it lacks a certain peanuty punch with its mild flavor.
#6 Brand: Peter Pan
Peter Pan is smooth, like, suspiciously smooth. This texture is by far the creamiest of all the brands I tried for this article, but the flavor is lacking, as it tastes more of sweetness than of peanut. If you don’t really like the flavor of peanut butter, Peter Pan is for you.
#7 Brand: Kroger
Kroger brand peanut butter was exactly what I expected. You have to wait for the flavor to hit, and it does not have the same wow factor as Jif and Skippy, but it is cheaper. This would be a
good peanut butter to bake with.
#8 Brand: Maranatha
For the second most expensive peanut butter on this list, I was disappointed to discover Maranatha was by far the worst. It is more like cashew butter than peanut butter because there isn’t any salt. At the store, I didn’t even see a salted version from this brand, but online it says there is one. So just be careful you don’t buy this particular version from Maranatha.
Originally Published in the Spartana Issue 7 (April 2021)