To buy, or not to buy, that is the question.
With so many nut butter options out there like mixed nut butter, and nut-free spreads like sunbutter, it gets super hard deciding between them. On the one hand, mixed nut butter gives you the option of essentially having multiple nut butters in one, while sunbutter gives you a nut-butter-like-experience without containing a single nut!
The answer to that question lies in this article, where we’ll dive into the realm of spreads and specifically look at mixed nut butter and sunbutter side-by-side, taking them through a series of competitions and comparisons to see which one is truly better!
Comparing mixed nut butter vs sunbutter
Mixed nut butter often contains a mix of almonds, walnuts, cashews, and more, giving it a very nutty flavor. The spread we’re referencing in this article is the Kirkland Signature’s mixed nut butter, which has almonds as one of its main ingredients, giving it a taste similar to almond butter. Sunbutter, on the other hand, has no nuts in it, and has no allergens either! These two spreads are both great for vegan and paleo diets, with mixed nut butter being good for keto as well.
Sunbutter has a low glycemic index, which makes it good for keeping blood sugar levels down. Mixed nut butter’s glycemic index is a bit tricky due to the variety of ingredients between products, but it’s likely low – check with your physician if you have concerns.
|Mixed nut butter||Sunbutter|
|Taste||Nutty, rich, almondy||Intense, earthy, roasted|
|Texture||Creamy, slightly grainy||Smooth, creamy|
|Allergens||Several tree nuts||None|
|Paleo?||Yes||Yes (if unsweetened)|
|Glycemic index (GI)||Unknown due to a mix of different nuts/seeds; likely low||Sunflower seed=35|
What is mixed nut butter?
Mixed nut butter is made from a, well, MIX of different NUTS. These can vary from brand-to-brand and homemade mixed nut butter recipes, but you’ll often find walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts in the mix. Sometimes, like this Kirkland stuff, has seeds in it, adding another element of flavor and texture.
What is sunbutter?
Take a bunch of roasted sunflowers, add a pinch of salt, grind it all up into a creamy paste, and you got yourself sunbutter!
It also goes by “sunflower butter,” and is a dream come true for anyone wanting a similar texture to traditional peanut butter but in a nut-free version. It boasts its own unique earthy flavor, and is an easy spread to make at home. And, like I mentioned, it has no food allergens in it, making it a popular alternative to a bunch of different nut butters, like almond butter.
Differences between mixed nut butter and sunbutter
The biggest difference between mixed nut butter and sunbutter is the taste, with some differences in their texture as well.
Mixed nut butter has a rich and nutty taste, which is expected considering it’s literally made from a bunch of nuts! The flavor can vary slightly depending on what nuts are used and in what ratios – like this Kirkland butter, for example, is very almondy due to having lots of almonds in it. Sunbutter has a more earthy and roasted taste which is undoubtedly its own!
The textures are both creamy, but mixed nut butter tends to be a bit grainier – especially when it has chia seeds in it like the spread we’re referencing in this article. Sunbutter is smooth, like traditional peanut butter.
How to use mixed nut butter vs sunbutter
If you can dream it, you can use these for it!
Mixed nut butter and sunbutter are both super versatile, meaning you can get as creative as you’d like! If you want a simple use, try spreading either of them on your toast, adding them to your smoothies, or mixing them into your yogurt or oatmeal (with some blueberries and honey for an extra delicious addition!).
If you want something a little different, dip your vegetables into either as a dip, mix them into your pasta, create a sauce or marinade with either as a base, or put them into your bakes!
The possibilities are endless, and the different flavor profiles of each allow you to really experiment with different tastes and feels.
Nutrition: Mixed nut butter vs sunbutter
Mixed nut butter has a bunch of healthy fats, vitamin E, and fiber in it – but the best part is that it has the benefit of having several types of nuts in it.
For example, it has almonds that give it vitamin E and healthy fats, with cashews that provide zinc and copper, walnuts that carry omega-3 fatty acids, and hazelnuts that bring folate into the mix. It really creates a diverse and strong nutritional outlook, making it a melting pot of nutritional profiles!
Sunbutter similarly has a high amount of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. However, a lot of brands tend to add sugar into it for extra flavor, which isn’t exactly the greatest. You can avoid this by looking at the label or making your own. It’s also a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, and minerals, and is also too high in carbs for keto recipes – although it is quite a bit lower than cashew butter (4 grams vs 9 grams per serving).
|Serving size: 2 tbsp||Mixed nut butter||Sunbutter|
|Total fat (saturated)||16 g (4 g)||17 g (2 g)|
|Total carbs||8 g||6 g|
|Net carbs (fiber)||4 g (4 g)||4 g (2 g)|
|Total sugars (incl. added)||1 g (0 g)||3 g (3 g)|
|Protein||7 g||7 g|
How to store mixed nut butter and sunbutter
Mixed nut butter usually doesn’t contain added oils or preservatives, meaning that it should be stored in the fridge to prevent it from going rancid early and having oil separation happen. The fridge will also thicken it up a bit, making it a bit easier to handle.
Sunbutter is fine at room temperature, but it never hurts throwing it into the fridge either – you might lengthen its shelf-life and thicken it up as well.
Check the label for the best-before date and any specific storage instructions – they can change from brand-to-brand.
Mixed nut butter vs sunbutter: Which is better?
And we’ve made it to the final decision!
Let’s take a recap of the contestants: mixed nut butter is a nutty and rich creamy spread with a great and diverse nutritional profile, while sunbutter is a smooth and creamy butter that has a distinct earthy and roasted taste.
When you consider all things, I would recommend sunbutter if you have a nut allergy, but otherwise mixed nut butter takes the crown here as the better spread!
Almond butter is considered one of the healthiest nut butters out there. Mixed nut butter makes a case for itself, but the differences between brands and recipes makes it hard to to get consistent healthy products. Almond butter and walnut butter would both be great choices in this regard.
Mixed nut butter isn’t too much more expensive than other nut butters, being on the average or slightly above average price-point.
If you have a nut allergy, then yes. But otherwise, it comes down to your preferences and tastes – nut butters have a creamy and nutty taste that are hard to beat or mimic in seed butters, but seed butters can bring their own unique flavors and textures that you just might prefer!