Noticed peanut butter spread on the shelf and wondered if it’s the same as peanut butter? Is there are a difference? Is it better or worse for you? What if it’s reduced fat compared to peanut butter?

Peanut butter spread has existed for quite awhile now. It’s a different version of peanut butter which will have more additives.

If you want the full details of what each of peanut butter and peanut butter spread are and want to know who would win a peanut butter vs peanut butter spread showdown, keep reading!

I detail all of this below.

Peanut Butter Vs Peanut Butter Spread

What Is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter needs little introduction. It’s a very popular item in the US which has the highest per capita consumption of peanut butter in the world.

But what actually is it?

Not surprisingly, peanut butter is made from peanuts. In its purest form, you simply just need to take roasted peanuts and ground them so they form a paste. That’s all it takes. Natural peanut butter generally only consists of this.

However, commercially, peanut butters usually have additives such as salt, sugar, other oils and items to stop any separation in peanut butter. This can add flavor, change texture and result in a peanut butter that lasts longer and is cheaper to manufacture.

However, to be labeled peanut butter, it must consist of at least 90% peanuts.

To give some perspective, it takes around 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.

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Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter

What Is Peanut Butter Spread?

Peanut butter spread or peanut spread can be made in the same way as peanut butter. It’s made from roasted peanuts which have been ground.

However, the big difference is that it won’t contain 90% peanuts. It’ll contain possibly a lot less.

The difference could be made up by a range of things. Hydrogenated oils (otherwise known as trans fats), corn-syrup solids, sweeteners and sugar are common. It can even be dried fruit or flavorings – although dried fruit tends to only be added in homemade peanut butter spreads.

It’s important to check the ingredients list when considering buying peanut butter spread so you know what you are getting.

Sometimes, these are labeled as being reduced fat compared to regular peanut butter. This is likely to be the case since peanuts naturally contain a lot of fats. However, the majority of fats in peanut butter are heart healthy and if the peanuts have been replaced by something that isn’t healthier, while the spread may have less fat, it won’t be better for you.

You can make your own peanut butter spread by adding things to ground peanuts that you like or to even make it healthier.

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Peanut Butter Vs Peanut Butter Spread

So how do peanut butter and peanut butter spread compare? When it comes to a peanut spread vs peanut butter showdown, you probably already have a fair idea who might win… But let’s consider the options!

Note that all of these comparisons will differ based on what exactly is in the peanut butter and peanut butter spread that you buy. These are generalizations based on what you are likely to find.

Protein And Fiber

As a general rule, peanuts are likely to have more fiber and protein than the additives in the peanut butter spread that replace the peanuts. So it’s likely that peanut butter will be more protein and fiber rich than peanut spread.

Fat Content

It’s quite likely that peanut butter will have a higher fat content than many peanut butter spreads because of the high fat content in peanuts.

However, the majority of fats in peanuts are of the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind which are good for you. Whereas, many peanut butter spreads contain trans-fatty hydrogenated oils which are linked to heart disease and high cholesterol.

It’s healthier to have more fat of the good kind (so monounsaturated) than more fat of the bad kind (hydrogenated).


Peanuts have a lot of calories so peanut butter is likely to have more calories than peanut butter spread.


The texture can vary between peanut butter brands and peanut spread brands. It depends what has been added to it. A “natural” peanut butter with just peanuts is more likely to see some oil separation and not be as smooth as a peanut butter spread.


This is really personal preference. If you aren’t a huge fan of a full-peanut taste, you are likely to prefer peanut butter spread.

Peanut Butter Vs Peanut Spread – Which Is Healthier?

Generally, peanut butter is going to be healthier than peanut butter spread. The additives to the spread are not likely to be as healthy as the benefits you can get from peanuts.

Some things added to peanut butter spread, like hydrogenated oils are very unhealthy and should be avoided.


As a general rule, if you want the healthiest choice in a peanut butter spread vs peanut butter decision, pick the peanut butter. It will depend exactly what has been added to each option, however.

Some people will probably find they prefer the smoothness and taste of peanut butter spread and it can often be a lot cheaper. If you have it just occasionally, this is probably a fine choice. However, if you love to have peanut butter daily, your best bet is to buy natural peanut butter with as few additives, if any, as possible.

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I hope you have found this guide to peanut butter vs peanut butter spread useful. Want to learn if peanut butter is good for your skin? Click here. You can find my guide to peanut butter powder vs peanut butter here, a sunflower seed butter vs peanut butter comparison here, all the best peanut butter for protein here or all my peanut-related guides here.


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