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Almond Butter vs. Shea Butter (Complete Comparison)

Almond butter and shea butter are two versatile products that offer great benefits for both your health and your taste buds. In this comparison, we will discuss almond butter versus shea butter, focusing on the nutritional values, health benefits, and food applications of each one.

Almond butter is made from ground-down almonds, making a paste-like consistency. Almonds are naturally high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, iron, and calcium. Almonds are also high in fiber and protein, helping keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Bowl of Almond Butter and Bowl of Shea Butter

Shea butter is made from oil derived from the seed of the shea nut. Refined, processed shea butter is inedible and is used commonly in cosmetics and hair products. Unrefined, raw shea butter is edible and offers many health benefits.

As you read along, you will be informed about the unique characteristics of each butter, enabling you to make an informed decision on which to incorporate into your culinary repertoire.

Ingredient Comparison

When comparing almond butter and shea butter as food ingredients, it is essential to look into their nutritional values, texture, and flavors.

Nutritional Values:

Almond butter is a rich source of essential nutrients as compared to shea butter. Here are some key differences in their nutritional profiles:


Almond Butter

Shea Butter

Vitamin E



















Saturated Fat




Almond butter provides a healthier option due to its high content of Vitamin E, phosphorus, and magnesium. On the other hand, shea butter is considerably higher in saturated fat.


The texture of almond butter and shea butter also differ significantly. Almond butter has a smooth, creamy consistency, making it versatile for various dishes like smoothies, sandwiches, and baked goods. Shea butter has a thicker, waxier texture.


Almond butter has a nutty, slightly sweet taste that complements several dishes. It is commonly used as a spread or even added as a flavor enhancer to various recipes. Shea butter, however, has a mild, neutral flavor with a hint of nuttiness and creaminess. It is used predominately as a cooking oil but can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes.

Nutritional Comparison

Best for Calorie Content

There is not a considerable difference in calorie content between almond butter and shea butter. Almond butter contains around 200 calories per two tablespoons, while shea butter has around 240 calories.

Determining the winner will depend on which one is right for you and how you are using the butter. For example, shea butter is used predominately for frying foods while almond butter is often used as a spread or in smoothies.

Best for Carbs & Sugar Content

In terms of carbohydrates and sugar content, two tablespoons of almond butter contain 6 carbs and less than 2 grams of sugar. Shea butter contains no carbs or sugar.

Best for Protein Content

Almond butter is a good source of protein, containing almost 6 grams per two tablespoons. Shea butter does not contain any protein. If you are looking to increase your protein content, almond butter is the right choice for you.

Best for Fat Content

Both almond butter and shea butter contain fats, but their composition differs. Almond butter contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, boasting around 19 grams of fat per two tablespoons.

Shea butter contains 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of which are both saturated and monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are essential to a heart-healthy diet but the high amount of saturated fat makes it an ingredient you should use sparingly.

If you are concerned about fat content and are looking for healthy fats, almond butter is the better choice for you.

Best for Fiber Content

Considering fiber content, almond butter holds the advantage once again. Two tablespoons of almond butter provide around 3 grams of dietary fiber, contributing to digestive health. Shea butter does not contain any fiber.

Best for Sodium/Salt Content

Almond butter may contain varying amounts of sodium, depending on the brand and added ingredients. On average, unsalted almond butter contains around 3 mg of sodium per two tablespoons. Shea butter is not typically consumed as a food ingredient, and its sodium content is not considered. For your sodium intake, almond butter is the better choice.

Best for Vitamins/Minerals

Almond butter is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium. Since shea butter is not typically consumed as a food ingredient, the vitamin and mineral content of shea butter is not calculated. In terms of vitamins and minerals, almond butter is the superior choice.

Best for Flavor/Texture

Bowl of Almond butter with wooden spoon

When it comes to flavor, almond butter is known for its rich, nutty taste that pairs well with a variety of foods, such as fruits, toast, and smoothies. The taste will also vary depending on whether the almonds are raw or roasted.

She butter, more commonly used in African cuisine, has a neutral flavor, making it a versatile option for cooking and baking.

As for texture, almond butter can range from smooth and creamy to thicker and crunchier, depending on whether it’s stirred or no-stir. Smooth almond butter works wonders in smoothies or atop a slice of bread, while crunchier options add texture to oatmeal or yogurt parfaits.

Shea nut butter, on the other hand, has a unique texture compared to traditional nut butter. It’s semi-solid at room temperature and tends to become more liquid when heated, similar to coconut oil. This consistency makes it perfect for frying and sautéing, especially when you’re looking for an alternative to other oils or butters.

Here’s a quick comparison between almond butter and shea nut butter:


Almond Butter

Shea Nut Butter


Rich, nutty taste

Mild, neutral taste


Smooth to crunchy

Semi-solid, liquefies with heat

Best Uses

Spreading, smoothies, baking

Cooking, frying, baking

Keep in mind that preferences for flavor and texture are subjective, so it’s always worth trying both almond and shea nut butter to determine which one suits your tastes and culinary needs the best.

Health Benefits

Almond Butter

Almond butter is a nutritious and delicious spread that can provide you with numerous health benefits. Some of the key benefits of consuming almond butter include:

  • Rich in vitamin E: A single serving of almond butter contains about 26% of your recommended daily allowance, which can help boost your immune system.
  • Heart-healthy: Almond butter is high in monounsaturated fats, which are known to promote heart health.
  • Good source of essential nutrients: Almond butter also contains valuable nutrients such as iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • High in protein and fiber: A serving of almond butter provides about 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer periods.

Shea Butter

Shea butter, often used as a skincare product, also has food applications. It offers various benefits when consumed as an edible oil or as an alternative to other fats:

  • Naturally cholesterol-free: Unlike some other sources of fat, shea butter is cholesterol-free, which can be beneficial for those monitoring their cholesterol intake.
  • Good source of antioxidants: Shea butter contains tocopherols, which are natural antioxidants that can help protect your body from oxidative stress.

Overall, both almond butter and shea butter offer some unique health benefits. Choosing between them ultimately depends on your specific dietary needs, preferences, and health goals.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Shea nut is considered by the FDA to be a nut however, there is no recorded documentation of anyone with a tree nut allergy having an allergic reaction to shea nut. While the chances of an allergic reaction are extremely low, anyone with a tree nut should exercise caution when consuming shea butter.

Allergy symptoms can range from mild such as congestion, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, to more life-threatening such as swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Almond butter may cause allergic reactions in individuals with tree nut allergies.
  • Shea butter allergies are rare and refined shea nut butter doesn’t contain residual food proteins that cause allergic reactions.
  • Shea nut is considered a true nut by the FDA.

However, it’s crucial to remember that individual sensitivities may vary, and you should always consult with an allergist or healthcare professional if you have concerns about introducing either almond butter or shea butter into your diet.

Which do you prefer?


  1. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Food allergy – Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from
  2. Food Allergy Research and Resource Programme (FARRP). (2018). Shea nut butter. Retrieved from↩

Overall Winner – Which One is Better?

When comparing almond butter to shea butter in a food context, it’s important to consider their nutritional values and potential health benefits. Though shea butter isn’t as common in food applications, let’s examine how they compare.

Almond butter is known for its high levels of protein, fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats, and essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin E. With just one gram of sugar per serving, almond butter makes a delicious and healthy snack option.

Here’s a quick overview of almond butter’s benefits:

  • Rich in protein and fiber
  • High in monounsaturated fats
  • Contains essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamin E
  • Low in sugar

Shea butter, primarily known for its skin care applications, is derived from the fats of the shea tree’s nuts. It boasts moisturizing and soothing properties but isn’t commonly found in the food market. However, shea butter contains fats that can have a protective effect on your skin’s lipid layer.

When looking at their food applications, almond butter clearly stands out, as it is more widely available and offers various health benefits. Shea butter’s primary use remains predominantly in skin care products rather than culinary ones. Thus, in the context of food consumption and nutritional benefits, almond butter takes the lead as the overall winner.

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