Is almond butter keto-friendly?
If you read this guide on the pros and cons of nuts on a ketogenic diet, you probably know almonds are on the okay-to-eat low-carb nut list.
But what happens when almonds are ground up into nut butter?
Does this concentrated amount tip the carbs overboard and put you past healthy ketosis limits?
You’ll find the answer to this burning question in this guide.
And you’ll also learn:
Before we get to whether almond butter should be added to or nixed from your keto menu planning, let’s talk about why nut butters in general are a really good idea for ketosis.
As a quick refresher, nut butters are made from grinding up nuts or seeds to create a thick, creamy paste.
They’re just like peanut butter except they come from real nuts and seeds, instead of inflammatory legumes like peanuts.
Many nut butters are dairy-free and gluten-free too so they work for a variety of modified keto diets.
Nutrition wise, it’s smart to include nut butters in your keto diet because they also pack these 4 health benefits:
#1: Nut Butters Have Ideal Macros for Those On a Ketogenic Diet
If you were weary of nut butters in your low-calorie diet past, have no fear about this issue on keto.
While nuts and nut butters may have a higher amount of calories per their small serving size, those fats are of the healthy variety and are much appreciated on a ketogenic diet.
Certain nuts, like almonds in particular, even contain a bit of protein to fuel your body when you’re feeling like you need a snack to perk you up.
Plus, many keto-friendly nut butters contain a decent amount of fiber, which keeps the net carb count low for a typical serving.
And it’s not just their macros that make nut butters a keto diet staple; it’s also the little things you’ll find inside every spoonful.
#2: Nut Butters Also Have Essential Micronutrients
While macros hog all the spotlight on a keto diet, important micronutrients shouldn’t be ignored.
So when it comes to almond butter in particular, you’ll find these key vitamins and minerals in their nutrition facts[*]:
- Vitamin E
- Selenium (in trace amounts)
As Dr. Anthony Gustin discussed with Chris Masterjohn in this podcast episode, micronutrients play an integral role in keeping you healthy. Keto shouldn’t be just about weight loss — it’s a valuable tool for helping you become your healthiest self.
And since almond butter is nutrient dense and loaded with plenty of macro- and micronutrients, you can have it as a nutritious snack no matter where you are, which is also its next benefit.
#3: You Can Enjoy Nuts and Nut Butters Almost Anywhere
Almond butter and other nut butters are easily transportable.
You can stash them in your work or gym bag or pack them in your carry on while traveling.
And you don’t need anything but a spoon or celery stick to scoop out your nut butter and snack your way through your day.
But don’t just take my word for it; there’s plenty of research to support the fact that including more nuts in your diet also means scoring more positive health benefits.
#4: Eating Nuts Is Incredibly Healthy
Researchers say eating more nuts can help:
- Reduce type 2 diabetes, heart disease, early death, cancer, and inflammation
- Lower insulin resistance and bad cholesterol levels
- Decrease your risk of stroke
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve your nervous system
- Strengthen your bones and teeth
So now it should be easier to see why so many people choose to include nut butters in their weekly keto meal plans.
But, as you may have read in this guide, some nuts are better for you on a ketogenic diet since they’re lower in carbs and higher in fiber than others.
The healthiest nuts you can eat on keto include:
- Brazil nuts
Wondering why almonds don’t make the cut?
Even though they’re technically on the keto-approved nuts list, they’re just not in the top 5 because they have a bit more carbs (and fiber) than practically zero carb nuts like pecans or macadamias.
In a 1 oz. serving of almonds, you’ll find 2.5g of net carbs. That same serving of pecans, for example, clocks in at just 1.2g of net carbs — so you can see the difference.
But that does lead to the big question:
The short answer: almond butter definitely can be keto.
As you now know, almonds are okay on their own, but as with many nut butters on the market, it’s really easy to take a good thing and turn it into something unhealthy for you.
That’s why you must always check the ingredients list and nutrition facts first.
A high-quality nut butter will have:
- Very few ingredients besides nuts and a bit of salt
- Zero added sugars
- No fillers or processed junk
- Less than 2-3g of net carbs per serving
- Ideally, it uses organic almonds
The best almond butters typically have just organic ground raw or roasted nuts as the only ingredient on the list.
However, to add more flavor and improve the consistency and texture of the almond butter, you’ll often see other ingredients mixed in.
And this is where things start to get a little murky between what is keto-friendly and what isn’t.
When the almonds in your almond butter are roasted in inflammatory vegetable oils, it may harm your health even when they fit your macros.
So if you spot any of these oils, put the almond butter back on the shelf and run:
- Partially or hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Palm oil
- Sunflower oil
Related Article: Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter: Choosing the Healthier Nut Butter.
Keep in mind, high-quality brands may have healthier oils such as coconut oil or MCT oil in their almond butter to ensure it remains smooth and spreadable.
Coconut oil and MCT oil are two great additions to nut butters since they can help you feel fuller for longer and give you sustained mental and physical energy.
Another red flag to check when you’re evaluating whether almond butter is keto-friendly is the added ingredients.
If there are any sort of artificial flavors and preservatives added, you could be receiving hidden sugars and carbs in your nut butter, two things that will definitely sabotage your ketosis and weight loss efforts.
High quality almond butters may use healthy ingredients to add flavor without added sugars or stabilizers, such as:
- Vanilla bean
- Sea salt
- Stevia or monk fruit
So the message is clear: not all commercial almond butters are safe on a ketogenic diet, but that doesn’t mean you should exclude it completely. You just have to find the right one.
When you find an almond butter that is keto-friendly and healthy, you can safely use it it in your recipes.
If you see almond butter in the ingredient list of other food products, make sure sure it’s organic. Organic almond butter on snacks like Perfect Keto Bars is completely keto-safe and better for you than peanut butter or any nut butter roasted in vegetable oil.
And if you don’t have the patience required to sift through all the labels at the grocery store or on Amazon when looking for a safe almond butter, you can make your own homemade almond butter, or any other nut butter for that matter.
They’re a lot easier to tackle than you may think.
Plus, making homemade almond butter means you can control all the ingredients you’ll be eating, customize a recipe according to your sweet tooth or preferences, and may even save a few bucks too.
It only takes a few steps to make homemade keto almond butter.
If you want to make almond butter with roasted almonds, you’ll need to roast your nuts first.
To roast almonds:
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and grab three cups of your favorite raw almonds.
- Lay your nuts out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Roast your almonds for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown, as opposed to the light brown color they are when raw.
If you’re already starting out with roasted almonds, it’s a good idea to heat these up for about 5-10 minutes instead of using them at room temperature.
The little extra bit of heat makes them easier to process and break down for butter.
Speaking of that, now it’s time to take your nuts and grind them up.
To make almond butter:
- Take your warm, roasted almonds and add them to a food processor or high-powered blender.
- Start by pulsing the almonds in small spurts to crush them.
- When you notice your almonds become the consistency of almond crumbs or almond flour, crank up your machine to full power.
- Continue to process the almonds for about 15-20 minutes as the natural oils start to turn the dry almond flour to a creamy butter.
- Take breaks to scrape down the sides before mixing further, as often as needed
Depending on how you like your almond butter, you can keep going for a creamy consistency or stop earlier if you’re a chunky fan.
But just before finishing, take the opportunity to add some flavor and nutrition boosters to your almond butter.
You can do this by adding any combination of the following sugar-free keto-friendly ingredients to your food processor:
- MCT oil powder
- Sea salt
- Vanilla extract
- Stevia-sweetened dark chocolate or cacao nibs
- Cacao powder
- Chia seeds
- Coconut shreds
- Liquid stevia or monk fruit to satisfy a sweet craving
Mix your ingredients in and flip the switch on your food processor until a creamy keto-friendly almond butter starts to form.
And then you’ll have your very own sugar-free version that takes less than 30 minutes of total prep and cook time.
Once it’s all set, package your almond butter in an airtight container or jar and store it in the refrigerator.
Not only will this keep your creation fresher longer, it also keeps the natural oils from going rancid since your almond butter will not have any preservatives to keep it shelf stable.
And if you need ideas on how else you can enjoy your homemade almond butter, aside from just inhaling it with a spoon, check out the recipe roundup in the next section.
With a fresh batch of almond butter on hand, your options are as wide-reaching as your imagination.
First, you’ll want to replace all your old peanut butter recipes with your homemade almond butter.
So if you’re used to peanut butter in your chia pudding, stir-fry sauces, or keto chocolate peanut butter cup recipes, these can all be replaced with almond butter for the better.
From there, you can also add your homemade almond butter to the following keto recipes:
- Low Carb Acai Almond Butter Smoothie
- Keto Collagen Chocolate Smoothie
- Triple Chocolate Keto Shake
- Coconut Chocolate Collagen Bars (these taste like a keto-safe Almond Joy!)
- Almond Butter Fat Bombs
Now you can run off and make your own homemade almond butter and fat bomb recipes.
When shopping for keto snacks, avoid those that have peanut butter and go for ones that use almond butter instead, such as Perfect Keto Bars.
Almond Butter Keto Verdict: It’s Great If You’re Smart About It
Nut butters and almond butter can be a saving grace in the snack aisle when you’re on a ketogenic diet, but you have to do your homework before splurging.
Just like any packaged foods you purchase, you must read both the nutrition facts and the ingredient list to make sure it’s not just keto-friendly but good for your health as well.
Beware of hidden sugars, unnecessary added carbs, and other questionable ingredients that don’t need to be there.
A healthy, keto-friendly almond butter will have less than five or six whole food ingredients on the label, zero added sugars, and no more than 3g of net carbs per serving.
If you don’t feel like spending time sifting through the hundreds of brands on the market, you can always reach for this Perfect Keto Nut Butter instead, which combines macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut butter, and MCT oil to make the ultimate keto snack.
One more final note: as tempting as it can be, all nut and seed butters require you to practice portion control. Since the serving size is so small (usually just two tablespoons), it’s ultra easy to go over your carbs accidentally.
Do this and you’ll wonder why keto isn’t working for you when the answer is right under your nose.
So measure out your serving before enjoying your almond and nut butters to the extreme and you’ll turn this keto staple into a last-minute low-carb lifesaver.