I don’t typically like almond butter, but in an Epicurious taste test to declare the absolute best almond butter among the growing number of jars that line grocery store shelves, I found one that I actually loved. One that I would intentionally buy again. Instead of being grainy, musty, or verging on rancid—my three biggest almond butter–related complaints—the winner was silky, aromatic, and slightly sweet (without any added sugars or fillers).
Don’t worry though—it’s not just my opinion we’re going on here. Our almond butter taste test drew more tasters from across Epi’s various departments than any tasting in recent memory. Most of the testers did come with a preconceived opinion about which brand made the best almond butter, but after compiling their feedback on 10 samples, my favorite still came out on top—well, sort of. You see, there was one other brand that actually scored the top spot, but it comes with a catch. I’ll explain more about that in a minute, but first, the fine print:
HOW WE TESTED
We chose only unsalted, unsweetened almond butters for this particular taste test. If given the option, we picked “smooth” or “creamy” almond butters over crunchy, and ensured the nut butters had no other additives, like additional oils or preservatives. We steered away from raw butters, since it’s really not fair to compare the flavors of raw and cooked almonds, but made no delineation between “dry-roasted,” “slow-roasted,” or “lightly toasted”—the three most common adjectives used to describe almonds’ cooking process. All butters were stirred until fully emulsified, then tasted blindly by a team of Epicurious staffers with sliced pears and saltine crackers.
WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR
First and foremost, the almond butter had to have good flavor: toasty, nutty, and distinctly of almonds; with zero trace other flavors—one of our samples tasted remarkably like walnuts (not bad, just not what you expect from almond butter). Next, we wanted a nut butter that was easily spreadable. Many of the butters we tried were so runny they poured as easily as water from a faucet, others so thick they’d surely rip apart any bread you tried to spread them onto. We wanted an almond butter that reached a happy medium between those two extremes. Also, if it was labeled smooth, it needed to follow through on that promise and actually be smooth. (Spoiler alert: not all of them did.)
OUR FAVORITE ALMOND BUTTER MADE FROM 100% ALMONDS: CRAZY RICHARD’S ALMOND BUTTER
This nut butter is remarkably smooth, if a bit runny (fix that by storing it in the fridge). Commerce editorial assistant Zoë Sessums praised its distinctly rich “depth of flavor.” Even comparing it by sight to the other butters, you could see a difference: it was darker and almost the color of caramel, likely the result of a darker roast. Anya Hoffman was a fan of Crazy Richard’s “natural sweetness,” and several tasters mentioned wanting to drizzle it over oatmeal or an ice cream sundae.