Please say, yes. Pretty please with peanuts on top.
Peanut butter: friend of oatmeal, star of smoothies, topper of toast, and an animal-ingredient-free spread that will keep you in line with your vegan lifestyle?
Mmmm, well that depends.
Is peanut butter vegan?
While it may have “butter” in the name, PB doesn’t actually contain the dairy product. “Peanut butter is typically made from peanuts, salt, oil, and sometimes added sugars,” says Erin Palinksi-Wade, RD, and author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies.
So, yes, that means the vast majority of peanut butters are vegan. However, some brands use animal products such as honey, or package their peanut butter in the same facilities as other foods that use animal products, such as milk, which ups the risk of cross-contamination.
So, if you want to be sure your PB is vegan through and through, hit up your fave’s manufacturer to confirm that the product actually holds up with your dietary needs, says Palinski-Wade. That’s exactly how I was able to confirm peanut butters from PB2 and Peanut Butter and Co are vegan products certified by the Vegan Action Foundation:SHOP NOW
Beyond being made with vegan ingredients, their production facilities are animal-product free, too. Plus, these peanut butters have a certification seal on their labels, so you’ll always be in the know.
Then again, if all of the ingredients in your favorite peanut butter are vegan but the final product is processed near foods containing animal products, eating it is totally up to you and your lifestyle choices.
According to PETA, you’re not any less of a vegan for eating something that might have trace amounts of animal products, especially since cross-contamination is sometimes straight-up unavoidable (think pans in restaurants used for both vegan and non-vegan dishes).
Plus, going full Nancy Drew on your peanut butter manufacturer before taking a bite of your PB&J can be a major drag. But hey, if you’ve got the time and want to confirm your peanut butter is made in total isolation from other animal products, go for it.
Gotcha, which peanut butter brands aren’t vegan?
To name a few, Jif and Skippy are not technically vegan, according to company representatives.
Jif products are at risk of cross-contact because the label’s omega-3 peanut butter is made with fish oils and their honey peanut butter is made and packaged in the same facility as the original peanut butter formula.
Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter is not considered vegan either because the sugar in it is processed using a bone char filtration system. During this process, animal bones are used to remove impurities from sugar and make the sugar bright white. And while there are no bone particles in the sugar, contact with bones means it’s not vegan.
Welp, turns out my fave’s not vegan, what can I eat instead?
If switching to a certified brand doesn’t do it for you (which is unlikely, because they’re delish), Palinsky-Wade suggests making your own peanut butter. Simply use a “high-powered food processor,” blend peanuts, maybe add a little salt, and enjoy. Yeah, it’s that easy.
And if you want to switch things up completely, try turning to nut butters such as almond, cashew, or macadamia. But remember, they’re not guaranteed to be any more vegan than peanut butter—so choose wisely.