Taste Test: Grocery Store Peanut Butter

By Meredith Davin

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Photo by Izzi Clark

After reading about a Nutella taste test, I immediately wanted to try it with peanut butter. I’m partial to Jif, but every peanut butter deserves a chance at my heart. How would I choose between all the peanut butter brands? Last week, I had the members of Duke Spoon participate in a blind taste test of eight different peanut butters from Harris Teeter [a grocery store].

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

The Set Up

After numbering eight plastic cups, I filled each of them with a different peanut butter. I put the jars away, so participants wouldn’t see which kind they were trying. Participants had the option of eating the peanut butter on bananas, pretzels or (my personal favorite) with a spoon. Read on for the ranked results of our blind peanut butter taste test.

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

The Results

8. Smucker’s Natural - $3.99

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

Half of the peanut butters we tested claimed to be “natural” (made without hydrogenated oils), but this one was visibly different. Even after several stirs, the oils remained separated, and the texture was too grainy. It takes an acquired taste to appreciate this peanut butter.

Taster Quotes:

"Really oily and salty. Too runny and not good for dipping." 

"After getting over the whole separated oil factor, I know it’s less sweet than the others. It’s less homogeneous in texture." 

"It’s my favorite one because I like natural peanut butter."

7. Valu Time - $1.67

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

As the cheapest peanut butter Harris Teeter had to offer, Valu Time deserved a chance in the lineup. The participants were not impressed, and we decided it’s worth the extra dollar for a better brand of peanut butter. Lesson learned: leave this one on the rack.

Taster Quotes:

"Very sticky, wow."

"Kind of bland. It also looks too orange."

"Dry and flavorless."

6. Peter Pan Natural - $2.99

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

I’d never heard of Peter Pan before this taste test, but it’s the third largest peanut butter competitor after Skippy and Jif. The flavoring was a little off, and some participants were dissatisfied.

Taster Quotes:

"Not as flavorful as the others, but not bad." 

"Really peanutty. Tastes like I’m eating peanuts." 

"No. Just no."

5. Harris Teeter Generic Brand - $2.49

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

For a generic grocery store brand, this peanut butter fared well. It had great consistency and creaminess, according to taste testers. Could store brand possibly outshine our name brand favorites? Almost, but not quite.

Taster Quotes:

“Not impressed. This one for sure isn’t my favorite.” 

"Ridiculously smooth. I like it." 

"Not that salty, tastes like what I eat normally."

4. Skippy - $3.29

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

Growing up, I thought Skippy was the peanut butter for cool kids—you know, the ones who rode bikes without helmets. When Duke Spoon members tried it, the flavor was reminiscent of childhood but surprisingly unsatisfying. Many noted it tasted too sugary and a bit artificial.

Taster Quotes:

“This is definitely Skippy or Jif.” 

"It tastes fatty, but it’s definitely growing on me as I eat more of it." 

"Smooth but a little dry. Very obviously Skippy."

3. Jif - $2.99

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

I grew up eating Jif, so naturally, I was disappointed when it didn’t win first place. Tasters said it was notably sweeter than all the others. The impeccable creaminess was a plus, but the flavor was a bit overbearing.

Taster Quotes:

“Nice and creamy.” 

"Very salty and sweet. The flavors are a little overwhelming." 

"It’s okay. Really nutty."

2. Jif Natural - $2.99

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

Jif Natural had a pleasant flavor combination without the intense sweetness of the other peanut butters.  Its unusual stickiness was appreciated, and it paired well with the pretzels and bananas.

Taster Quotes:

“Wow, it’s 100% my favorite. I really like the after-stick effect.” 

"I could eat this all day." 

"Not as sweet as the others, but that’s the best part about it."

1. Skippy Natural - $3.29

Photo by Izzi Clark
Photo by Izzi Clark

Photo by Izzi Clark

Skippy Natural had a harmonious blend of sweetness and creaminess. This one was by far the winner, with multiple tasters declaring it as the favorite. I’d never tried Skippy Natural before the taste test, but I’m never turning back.

Taster Quotes:

“I’m really passionate about this one” 

"Great consistency, not too sticky. Kind of melts in your mouth." "The perfect amount of sweetness." 

 So there you have it—Skippy Natural takes first place. The real question now remains, will choosy moms still choose Jif?  

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This article originally appeared on Spoon University and was written by Meredith Davin. 

Spoon University is a food network for our generation, where all the content is produced by college students. They cover everything from simple recipes and local restaurants to dining hall hacks and healthy living tips. For more, like their page on Facebook.