Nut butter alternatives for nut allergies

I used to hate my nut allergy. Growing up with a nut allergy meant never getting to enjoy Tim Hortons’ Timbits when one of my classmates brought them in to school. It meant being the dork who had to wear a fanny pack so I could carry my Epi-Pens with me at all times. It meant never knowing what a PB&J sandwich tastes like.

But now? I don’t mind it so much. There’s now a local bakery with nut-free baked goods to keep me happy. I ditched the fanny pack in grade 6 when I bought my first real purse. And I’ll still never know what a PB&J sandwich tastes like… but at least I now have a lot of alternatives!

Nut free nut butters: alternatives for nut allergies

Since discovering nut-free nut butter alternatives, my feelings about having a nut allergy have totally changed! It really doesn’t bother me so much anymore because I don’t feel like it restricts me – there’s always something I can replace it with. Of course I still feel a bit limited when it comes to packaged goods or eating from bakeries, but that just gives me incentive to get creative in the kitchen and make my own version!

This post highlights some of my favourite nut butter alternatives that I most commonly use in my kitchen:

soynutbuttertitle

Made from roasted soy beans, this is probably the closest nut-free alternative to peanut butter in terms of taste. Soy nut butter was actually my first experience with a nut free butter. I first tried it when I was away at camp, and I remember being scared to eat it because it looked so much like peanut butter! Well, I not only survived eating it, but I became hooked on it. The first thing I did when my mom came to pick me up from my 2 weeks away at camp – before I even said hi or hugged her – was ask to drive straight to the grocery store to buy a jar!

Nutrition notes: Good source of omega 6 and monounsaturated fat, protein, and fibre.

Favourite recipes: Chocolate chip soy nut butter Larabars, Super charge me cookies*, White chocolate blondies with chocolate peanut butter frosting*, Peanut butter balls*, No bake energy bites*
*Sub soy nut butter for the nut butter used in the recipe

Brands: The Soy Nut Butter Company, Wowbutter,

sunbuttertitle

While soy nut butter is my peanut butter replacement for sweet recipes, I often use sunflower seed butter for the savoury ones. It works perfectly in place of peanut butter in stir fry sauces and other Asian dishes! That being said, it also works well in sweet recipes – but it imparts a noticeable sunflower seed flavour to the product.

Nutrition notes: High in monounsaturated fat, as well as protein, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B3, and zinc.

Favourite recipes: Tofu stir fry with sunflower seed butter sauce, PF Chang’s lettuce wraps*, African chickpea stew, Rad rainbow raw pad thai*, Sunbutter banana protein bars
*Sub sunflower seed butter for the nut butter used in the recipe

Brands: Sunbutter, Trader Joe’s, MaraNatha, Nuts to You Nut Butter, Better Than Roasted

Tahini

Unlike my other favourite nut butters, tahini (made from sesame seeds) has more of a bitter flavour. Because of this, I tend to use it exclusively in savoury recipes. I love pairing it with lemon in sauces and dressings, and of course it’s a necessity for hummus!

Nutrition notes: Good source of monounsaturated and omega 6 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B1, and vitamin B3.

Favourite recipes: Protein power goddess bowl, Protein power bowl, Quick sesame soba noodles

Brands: Nuts to You Nut Butter, Silver leaf

coconutbuttertitle

If you like coconut, you will love this butter because its strong coconutty flavour. Unlike coconut oil, it’s made by pureeing coconut meat in a high speed food processor, so it retains all the fibre and other nutrients. It acts like coconut oil though in the way that it can change from solid to liquid when exposed to warmer temperatures – because of this, it’s great for “melting” over oatmeal or baked goods straight out of the oven!

Nutrition notes: Coconut butter is almost purely saturated fat – but don’t get scared away just yet! The saturated fat in coconut is different from the saturated fat in animal products, so it gets absorbed and burned for energy a lot faster. Don’t go and start eating a cup per day though – lots of research is still needed to determine the health effects of coconut.

Favourite recipes: Coconut cookie dough oatmeal, Coconut truffles

Brands: Artisana, MaraNatha

This post just highlights some of my most commonly used nut butter alternatives, but these are by no means the only ones that are available. Over the years I’ve stumbled upon other kinds such as sunflower pepita butter, pepita butter, and even roasted pea butter. And whether you have an allergy or not, these are all delicious and healthy nut butter alternatives to try!

Has anyone tried any other nut butter alternatives that I didn’t highlight here?

What’s your favourite nutless butter?

35 Comments

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35 Responses to Nut butter alternatives for nut allergies

  1. You know, I never realized that there was such a thing as soy nut butter until now. Living under a rock, party of one haha. I am a huge fan of sunflower seed butter, though. Definitely love getting a jar of that every now and then to change things up :)

  2. sunflower seed butter is my fav!!!!!

  3. Cat

    Ooh soy nut butter! Need to look out for that one. I went through a phase of being obsessed with pumpkin seed butter – loved how green it was! I think I OD’d on it now because it doesn’t appeal so much. Tahini is one of my classic favourites though ;)

  4. Awesome post girl! Not sure I would be up for the coconut butter (I have something against it lol) but I really want to try soy nut butter I can’t believe I never have! I cannot imagine what it was like to have an allergy before the world become more friendly (still not awesome) to them. But I am glad you have found ways to enjoy the flavors without the side effects and I am biased but I think some of your recipes beat baked goods!

  5. Sunflower seed butter is one of my all time favorites! It’s got such a unique flavor and it tastes amazing with everything! My favorite brand is Once Again Nut butter….but the sunbutter brand is delicious as well!

  6. Great post lady! It’s great that there are so many alternatives out there for people with nut allergies. Coconut butter is a huge favourite of mine (that jar I bought in TO? Almost gone…) and i’ve been meaning to try sunflower seed butter.

  7. tahini is one thing I really like the taste of but have never thought of buying it. my family always has it in the house ( thanks to lebanese blood!) but not something I have had myself.

  8. i have to finally by that sunflower butter! everyone loves it! and the leaving camp part made me laugh…so something i would do “hi mom,nice to see you but we gotta go to the store asap”

  9. I’m lucky enough not to have any sort of nut allergy, but I’m so happy to see that there are so many alternatives out there to people who do!

  10. You know I love this post :D I’ve come to terms with my peanut allergy as well over the past couple of years, and having delicious alternatives definitely has a lot to do with that. I’d have to say that coconut butter is my absolute favourite, but I just tired soy nut butter for the first time last week and it’s making its way up my list as well!

    A few butters I tried that you didn’t mention here are pumpkin seed butter and hemp seed butter. Both interesting, but definitely situational.

  11. Can I just say the day I got a purse saved my reputation as well? I’ll never forget photos of me at camp with that not-so-stylish fanny pack. Why didn’t they have cute fanny packs back then like they do now!

    I still complain from time to time about my nut allergy – more so when eating out or because a lot of desserts contain nuts, but you are right, there are some great alternatives. Thanks for putting a positive spin on it. Truth be told, I wish I could at least have sunflower / pumpkin seeds to compensate, or almonds for that matter.

    I love making hummus with tahini, or a dressing, but have you ever tried it on toast as is? Just curious, not sure how it would taste!

    • Chelsea

      Hahaha I know right? I HATED my fanny pack!

      I’ve never tried tahini plain on toast… I think it might be too bitter for my tastes? I’ve heard some people pair tahini with honey though, so maybe that would be good.

  12. Oh Sunbutter and coconut butter, how I love you. My two current faves and I don’t even have a nut allergy!

  13. Ever since I first came across your blog, I’ve been intrigued by soy nut butter- we have soy nuts here but not the butter!

    Tahini or sunbutter make amazing asian stir fry sauces- and on tofu!

    Maybe we should invent chicken butter or steak butter.

  14. What an interesting read! I had no idea about any of these, but now I do! Will definitely try using some of them out! I hope some day when I open a business, I will be able to provide many options for people with nut allergies. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for considering us allergy people in your future business plan! ;) What kind of business do you want to start?

  15. Oh man try tahini in sweet recipes! The bitter flavour totally gets mellowed with some brown rice syrup, honey, etc. And it gives your treats a complex flavour!

    I have never tried soy nut butter despite seeing it every time I go grocery shopping. I might just have to try it out! I love me a good “nut” butter ;)

  16. monika42sharma

    Hi Chelsea, Thanks for welcome us ! Chelsea, thanks you so much for teaching & telling about Butter ! I’m a food lover & I love eating various kind of food but I hate butter, I don’t have reason why but this is true, Which you have shared about Butter & Now I think I should move on Butter ;)

  17. Dre Shapiro

    Thanks for writing this. I am very new to the “nut-free lifestyle,” having just had a bad reaction to almonds and been advised to stay away from nuts. I have sunflower seed butter but I wasn’t sure if it was safe to eat. FWIW I’ve only ever had reactions to whole nuts, never nut butters (I’ve tried almond butter and cashew butter in addition to peanut butter, and the only whole nuts I’ve ever reacted to are Brazil nuts and almonds).

    • Chelsea

      Hi Dre, perhaps you didn’t react to the nut butters in the past because you weren’t sensitized to them yet? People tend to not react to something they’re allergic to the first time they try it.

      I’m glad this post was helpful to you! :)

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  19. It would be really hard for me to choose between sunflower seed butter and coconut butter…they’re both SO good! I’m not a big fan of tahini. I keep trying to make myself like it but haven’t had much success…and I can’t really tell a big difference when I add it to my hummus. I’ll have to check out some of those recipes you linked! And I have GOT to try soynut butter! I keep forgetting!

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