Why You Should Be Careful Using Liquid Sweetener In Nut Butter Recipes

It's no denying that nut butters, particularly those meant to replace peanut butter, are on the rise, from almond and hazelnut butter to butters made from a blend of healthy nuts and seeds. Nut butters are beloved for their versatility; they can be used in everything from spreads to smoothies and boast various health benefits, including, as Healthline notes, a boost in protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals, depending on which nut is being used. Plus, all nut butters are also a good source of healthy fat!

It's easy to make your own nut butters from scratch. According to Minimalist Baker, all you need is essentially only one ingredient and a little patience. Simply pick your nuts (or seeds), give them a quick roast, and start the 10-12 minute blending process. Cookie + Kate has a slightly different method, suggesting your ingredient list also involve salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and some kind of sweetener. But when it comes to sweetener, the right kind can make or break your butter.

A reason not to swap

In a recipe for homemade "Nutella" from Oh She Glows, a reader wondered whether she could substitute the recommended coconut sugar with honey instead. The cook's response erred on the side of caution. They noted that "swapping liquid sweetener in nut butters can be tricky. Often the liquid sweetener causes the nut butter to seize (making it thick and clumpy), so I prefer to use coconut sugar in the 'Nutella' to keep the spread creamy."

According to What Sugar, Stevia's liquid sweetener is made from a blend of their powder and water. Most other liquid sweeteners have that moist quality in common with Stevia — hence the name "liquid sweetener." As you may know, water and oil don't blend well together, so it stands to reason that the moist quality of a liquid sweetener and the oily quality of a nut butter may have a hard time becoming one unified spread. So follow the advice of Oh She Glows and err on the side of creamy with a powdered sweetener option instead. When your knife glides smoothly over that piece of toast you're spreading with homemade almond butter, you'll be glad you did.