Tips

How to Reduce the Fat in Nut Butter

healthiest nut butter

Most nut butters have roughly 190 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving.  They sell “reduced fat” peanut butter, but if you read the Nutrition Facts label, you’ll see that it’s higher in sugar, still contains 190 calories, and has unnatural additives.  You can make your own slightly reduced-calorie and lower-fat peanut butter in just a few seconds.  Simply buy the organic or natural kind (the kind you have to stir, which is the least processed and healthiest type), then pour off the oil sitting on top before stirring.  Like this:

healthiest nut butters

Simply removing this oil will save about 240 calories and 28 grams of fat — which means each serving of nut butter will have 20 fewer calories and 2-3 fewer grams of fat.  [I should note that this fat is unsaturated and heart-healthy, so it’s not bad, it’s just caloric.  So this tip is most relevant to those watching their calorie intake.]  This doesn’t seem like much of a change in calories, but small changes can really add up over time.

And…save the oil you remove to use for a stir-fry, salad dressing, or any Asian-style dish.  It’ll have a nutty taste and can withstand a high cooking temperature, so it’s perfect for your next meal!

reduced fat peanut butter

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    shelley
    September 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Love this idea. I can’t say I will remember to save the strained oil, though…What do you think of the machine at whole foods that grinds the peanuts fresh?

    • Reply
      Amelia
      September 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      The PB from that machine is delish! It will eventually separate too, as the nutty part sinks and the oil rises. So you could use the same trick, or just buy a little at a time. Honey roasted rules!

    • Reply
      Kevin Tabler
      September 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      What about replacing w coconut oil? Think its healthier?

      • Reply
        Amelia Winslow
        September 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

        Hi Kevin,
        I wrote this post with the intention of giving people a healthier alternative to “Reduced Fat” peanut butters, which are higher in sugar and may have some additives that make them less healthy. However, in general, I’m a big fan of full-fat nut butter and believe it’s healthy on its own. No need to add another kind of oil to regular nut butter, though I’m sure it would taste good with coconut oil!

  • Reply
    Colleen
    November 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    In Health Magazine, you recommended to lose weight buy natural peanut butter and drain off the oil to eliminate 20 – 30 calories per serving. Literally, this is NUTS. The oil in nuts is very good for our health. It is heart healthy oil. I think you still belong to the “Bad Fat” theory. We need a LOT of fat in our diet every day. I eat raw hemp seeds, raw tahini, raw walnuts, raw almonds and try hard to find raw unroasted peanut butter because this is a good source of essential fatty acids. Peanuts don’t have Omega 3 – but the oil in peanut butter is GOOD for us. Instead of advising folks to drain off the oil – you should instead tell people not to eat processed Laura Scudder and Skippy brand supermarket type peanut butter. It is cut with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cottonseed oil and poor quality hydrogenated soybean oil. In addition to eating about 3-4 tablespoons of nuts a day, I like avocadoes and take borage oil – evening primose oil supplements. I’ve been doing this for years. I’m 57 years old and I don’t have ANY wrinkles and no face pumped full of Botox! I don’t have “crinkly” neck or arms – my skin is very supple and youthful – I credit this to eating a lot of FAT from nuts, olives, hemp seed and raw peanut butter WITH the oil intact.

    • Reply
      Amelia
      November 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Colleen, thanks for your thoughts. I am a big fan of unsaturated fats from plant foods, and agree that fat this is a great source of nutrients to include in our diets, as well as something that offers MUCH more value than the artificial types of additives you mentioned here. However, most Americans are overweight and need to pay attention to calorie intake. So my suggestion is to slightly reduce the calorie content of the peanut butter and use the remaining oil for a healthy fat addition in a separate meal.

    • Reply
      Doc
      January 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Sorry, peanuts are not nuts they are legumes i.e. from the pea family, they also grow underground beneath the soil, unlike nuts which grow above ground.

      • Reply
        Amelia
        January 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

        You are right that peanuts are technically legumes and not tree nuts. But nutritionally, peanuts are more similar to tree nuts than beans. Some other examples of how foods cross over into other food groups that better suit their nutritional profile: tomatoes (a fruit that’s more similar to a vegetable), avocado (a fruit that is more like a dietary fat), and a white potato (a vegetable that’s more like a grain/serving of starch). For this reason I talk about peanuts as “nuts.”

  • Reply
    Supermaster
    November 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Now you just have a jar of dried-mud consistency peanut grit. Break a knife getting it out of the jar only to find that you can’t spread it on your bread. Then once you chew through it your digestive tract can writhe in agony while it tries to sludge it out the other end.

    Most Americans need to worry about walking 1 hour per day rather than ruining their peanut butter.

    • Reply
      Amelia
      November 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

      This post is not claiming that removing a tiny bit of the oil from your peanut butter is the best way to lose weight, it’s just a post about how small changes can add up over time. In this case, most of the oil remains, and the nut butter is still plenty stir-able.

      I agree that getting active and making better food choices (whole, unprocessed foods) is the way Americans should approach weight loss. But given that most people aren’t doing this, I believe in providing small, practical tips that reduce calories without the use of processed “light” or reduced-fat foods.

  • Reply
    emily
    August 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Peanut oil might be heart healthy, but it is high in omega-6 and 9s which increase inflation in the body. Also of there are more omega-6 abs 9s than omega-3s present in the body, the omega-6 and 9s will convert the omega-3s to 6s abs 9s.

  • Reply
    Joanthan
    January 4, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Hi, I know this is a few years old but I wanted to say it’s a great tip, especially, ESPECIALLY! When baking almond butter cookies, I’ve drained off the top and I’ve noticed my cookies are far, far less oily and I don’t have to move them around a few paper towels to reduce the oil.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      January 5, 2015 at 10:29 am

      Thanks, Jonathan! And good to know about the cookie results.

  • Reply
    Ed Rounds
    January 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    After you pour the oil off of a jar of peanut butter ,make a hole down the middle and stick a paper towel down the hole to suck out the rest of the oil and you have very close to fat free peanut butter. it will be hard so heat it up to soften it up

    • Reply
      Leland
      August 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Paper towels can indeed help suck up some of the oil, but Ed Rounds is overly optimistic when he writes “suck out the rest of the oil.” My estimate is that just pouring off the oil reduces the oil content by 20%, and with repeated applications of paper towels (and pressing hard), you can get the oil content down by 30%. But it is still a very oil-rich food (though a tastier and healthier one for these efforts). So use sparingly. For caloric reduction, spread on DAIKON or cucumber instead of bread or cracker.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 18, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Oh wow. People are so critical. GOOD post. I had to laugh at all the know-it-alls posting on here. They had good points, but sheesh, a little over board. It’s good to know how to reduce the calorie intake and I used this method yesterday, as I am trying to reduce the fat, but not the protein in my diet. Thanks 🙂

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      March 18, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks, Jessica 🙂 Yes, people have lots of opinions they love to share – sometimes subtly, sometimes not!

  • Reply
    Karine
    January 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Agree with Jessica above. Some people are way too critical and negative and even seem like attacking the person who wrote the post… The post is simply educational, it’s for people who choose to use this method and who want to cut fat and calories. It is just explaining the benefit of using this method over buying low fat peanut butter which is not that natural. No one is being forced to use this method, no one is saying that the fat in peanut butter is bad for you or that you have to drain it, or that walking one hour is bad for you… If you can afford to eat more calories and fat than good for you but if you can’t then you can CHOOSE to use this method. As simple as that. I use this method and i like it, I personally see nothing wrong with the texture afterwards, but again, that’s just me.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      January 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Karine, Thanks for your thoughts and support. You really understand my point here – which is that if you’re in the market for lower-fat nut butter, it’s better to pour off the oil yourself than to buy a type that’s “reduced fat” – since these supposedly lighter products often contain sugar or additives in place of the fat. If you’re not on a limited-fat diet, any regular nut butter – with the oil – will do. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Aviv
    August 12, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Hello, Intresting post. I Got here because I was looking for a way to reduce the polyunsaturated fat content of almond butter, especially that unceacery omega 6. In your post you mention the oil floating on top is unsaturated fat. I was hoping it would be the polyunsaturated fat content (which in almonds is mostly omega 6). My question is: how did you get to the conclusion that it is unsaturated fat? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      August 22, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Aviv,
      Nearly all the fat in nut butter (or any plant based food besides coconut) is unsaturated. I’m not sure about the contents of the oil at the top other than it must be mostly unsaturated since it comes from nuts.

  • Reply
    JP
    October 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Great idea, I’ve been doing this for years. However, it can take quite a while for the oil to actually separate from the peanut butter. Do you have any suggestions for how to speed the separation process? For instance, storing at room temp, above room temp, or below room temp? I buy PB by the case and let it sit, and it can take months before enough separates to get the thicker consistency that I like.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      November 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Hi JP, I think room temperature would encourage separation – but I can’t say for sure as I haven’t paid close attention. I’ll investigate a little too. (Although, an update – I do stir in the oil to my own peanut butter. This post reflects my belief that if you are looking for a lower fat peanut butter, you should remove the fat yourself instead of buying the “reduced fat” varieties, which are higher in sugar).

      • Reply
        JP
        January 15, 2018 at 1:11 pm

        Update: I ran a little experiment, and verified that the oils separate much faster (2 weeks vs. 4) at 70 degrees than 55 degrees, so my new strategy is to store a new case in the warmer rooms of the house for a few weeks before moving them into the cool basement for longer term storage. Cheers!

  • Reply
    DJ
    April 19, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Does removing the oil at the top affect the taste/ spread ability?

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      May 4, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Yes, It’s a little bit stiffer/firmer, but if you stir well I don’t find it to be a meaningful difference.

  • Reply
    Angelica
    May 2, 2018 at 10:20 am

    So many bitter souls with nothing better to do than complain about an issue they THINK they read. Clearly you are looking for a reason to attack the writer or
    1) you would have noticed she said ” save”not “discard” it-for those bitter thinking she is suggesting tossing out good fats. When they are consumed is really up to the person who’s body it is going into, not you.
    2) She acknowledges it makes it dryer but if you are counting calories, it helps. Odds are if u are watching calories you are not slabing this stuff on bread anyway. There ARE other uses for peanut butter.
    3)Duh, people watching their weight should ALSO exercise but perhaps they had enough good fats, have medical or other reasons to reduce it naturally rather than buying sweetened processed alternatives.
    Just chill out. Think it makes it too dry? Don’t do it. It really is that simple folks.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      December 7, 2018 at 11:45 am

      Thanks for standing up for me, Angelica. Blogging invites many negative comments. I always appreciate the positive ones, and readers who stick up for me as a person!

  • Reply
    Lee
    August 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    If one gets in the habit of pouring off the oil from freshly ground peanut butter (after it rises to the top), the 20-25% savings in calories not only is a rich reward but an improvement in taste, a concentration of nut flavor, analogous to extra dark chocolate. And for additional reduction, I recommend putting the amount of peanut butter one intends to consume on some paper towels and squeezing. It’s good exercise for the hand, and a delight to save those calories and intensivfy the flavor at the same time. Last, substituting slices of cucumber or Chinese radish for bread or cracker helps both with taste and lowering the caloric content.

  • Reply
    Karen
    November 15, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I buy Smuckers Natural peanut butter and always drain off the oil. Then I remove it from the jar to a bowl and add back only enough of the oil to make it spreadable. The rest I would put into a container and use for cooking. With young peanut butter lovers, it added up quickly and I had a pint of oil without going to the store to buy it.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      December 7, 2018 at 10:12 am

      I love it for this reason too, Karen. I use the oil I drain off to make stir fry – the peanut taste makes it so good!

  • Reply
    Connie
    November 29, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Thought of doing this very same thing so I bought a small jar (16 oz) because I like chunky PB and can’t find anything calorie friendly with chunks. I actually poured off 63 gm.’s of fat last night and think that letting it sit, I may be able to pour more off tonight. Additionally, I tried one tbsp. with a bit of water to loosen it so I could dip my celery in it, worked pretty well. I think I reduced calories from 190 to about 140 – 150

  • Reply
    Steph
    December 21, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    I’m actually sitting here, tiny spoon in hand, eating peanut butter as I read this article and comments. I’ve done this for 25+ years. I get the Smuckers Natural PB, pour off as much as possible, create a hole in the center, & shove a bunch of paper towels in the hole & on top. I then turn it upside down & leave it for a couple days. I change out the towels & repeat the process a few times. Afterwards, I stick it in the fridge, & when I want some, I just break off a few pieces & enjoy.
    It’s like PB candy! I never thought to save the poured off oil before, but I sure will from now on.

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