Top 9 Reasons Why Peanut Butter Tastes Spicy | Solving the Mystery

Peanut butter has a rich flavor and is a simple tasty treat. It can taste spicy due to the natural richness of the peanuts, due to the added salt or due to flavor differences from the way the peanuts were grown. Peanut butter can also taste spicy if it has become rancid, if it has been contaminated or if the peanuts have been over-roasted.

This article will explore the top 9 reasons why peanut butter can taste spicy and when it is time to throw it out.

Why peanut butter tastes spicy: 9 Reasons

Check out the top reasons why peanut butter tastes spicy.

1. The natural richness of the peanuts

To some people peanut butter will have a natural spicy flavor. The richness of the peanuts, the peanut oil and added salt. A natural peanut butter will only contain crushed peanuts which release the peanut oil. A small amount of added salt will bring out the flavor even more.

When the peanuts are crushed the peanut oil is released which helps the flavor to coat your taste buds and helps to transfer the rich and spicy flavor.

2. Rancidity

Peanut butter that has gone rancid will start to taste spicy. When the fat and oil in the peanut butter break down due to oxidation it can lead it to taste bitter and spicy. When peanut butter has been hanging around in your cupboard too long or is exposed to heat, light, moisture and air it can go rancid.

Do not eat peanut butter that has gone rancid as it could make you sick.

To avoid your peanut butter becoming rancid and tasting spicy, store them in a cool, dark cupboard. Put the lid on tight to keep the air out of the container.

3. Fungal contamination

Peanut butter that has fungal growth will taste spicy, bitter and will smell bad. If you notice that there is white or green marks on the top of your peanut butter or if it smells or taste bad it could have fungal growth.

Throw out your peanut butter immediately and do not eat it. Fungal growth can happen if the peanut butter has been kept for too long, exposure to air or contamination from cutlery, spoons or fingers.

Always use clean cutlery when getting your peanut butter out of the jar and avoid eating straight from the container. Fungal contaminants can get into the jar from your mouth or dirty cutlery.

4. Peanut butter containing cumin or coriander

Peanut butter with extra flavor added can taste spicy. If there is added cumin or coriander in particular, your peanut butter will have more spice and flavor. If you are looking for a mild flavored peanut butter, choose a natural one without added spices.

5. Over-roasting of peanuts

Peanut butter that has over-roasted peanuts it can give it a spicy and bitter taste. If you are making peanut butter at home, take care with the roasting process. If there has been a manufacturing issue and the peanuts have been overcooked they can give the peanut butter a weird flavor.

If you are not sure what is wrong with your peanut butter, it is best to avoid eating it.

6. Hot pepper or spices

Some peanut butter has extra flavor and if there is any hint of pepper or other spices then it can make your peanut butter spicy. Always check the label before you buy your peanut butter. If you are not into spice, look out for the natural varieties.

It can be easy to pick up the wrong container when shopping. Make sure you read the label and avoid the ones with added pepper if you don’t want spice.

7. Cross-contamination

Peanut butter that has been cross contaminated can end up tasting spicy. Using cutlery that has had other food on it can introduce fungus, bacteria and other flavors that can make your peanut butter go off or taste spicy.

Always use clean cutlery when using your peanut butter. If your peanut butter has started to go off, turned rancid or is growing mold or fungus, then throw it out.

8. Exposure to high heat during storage

Peanut butter that has been exposed to heat when it is stored can cause the peanuts to go off. The peanuts can go rancid and it will taste spicy and bitter.

To avoid this, store your peanut butter in a cool, dry place. It is best if it can be stored in a cupboard below 75 degrees. Pop it in the back of the cupboard and keep it out of direct sunlight.

9. Varietal differences in peanuts

Peanuts can taste different depending on the growing condition and varieties. There are several hundred peanut varieties that are grown worldwide. Each variety has its own distinct characteristics in terms of size, shape, color, flavor, and nutritional profile.

This means that depending on the type of peanuts used, it can make the peanut butter spicy. Most mass produced peanut butter will have a more neutral flavor. Smaller companies producing smaller batches can have natural variance. Find a brand you like and stick to it.

Top 9 Reasons Why Peanut Butter Tastes Spicy | Summary

Peanut butter can taste naturally spicy due to the rich taste of the peanuts, the certain variety used in the product or the enhancement of this flavor with added salt. If your peanut butter has gone off or rancid then it can taste spicy too. Avoid eating the peanut butter if it looks or smells different or has a strange taste.

Happy cooking.