The Best Cookie Butters: A Taste Test

From gingerbread to Maria cookie spread, we tried all the cookie butter we could get our hands on and picked the best.

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Cookies by the spoonful

What is cookie butter, you might be asking? The simple answer is that it’s a sweet spread made with crushed up, spiced Dutch cookies.

In the mid-aughts, some brilliant Belgian entrepreneurs took the cookies—known as speculoos, and spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves—and added oil, flour and sugar to create a soft cookie spread. It came to America in 2011 with a little help from Ben & Jerry’s, and the rest is history.

Commonly spread on waffles, slathered on crêpes and on toast, or eaten by the spoonful, cookie butter is an indulgent substitute for peanut butter—just without, you know, all the healthy protein.

Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter

The first cookie butter was the favorite of two editors. Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter is one of the closest to the original. It has a classic, lightly-spiced taste, and we would eat a whole jar of it. Consensus? We wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

Trader Joe’s Crunchy Speculoos Cookie Butter

Exactly the same as the regular cookie butter, only with little, crispy bites of brilliance folded in. Three editors claimed this to be their favorite of the entire taste test. We were, as they say, “living for” the texture.

Nuts ‘N More Cookie Butter Peanut Spread

“Good God,” somebody said upon first taste. The Nuts ‘n More Cookie Butter Peanut Spread was polarizing. The “health”-forward, high-protein concept is a variation on whey-enhanced nut spreads that were once featured on the TV series Shark Tank. The texture was gritty, though some appreciated the developing flavors. Others referred to it as the “chalky paste from hell.”

Walmart “Great Value” Speculoos Butter

The Walmart signature Great Value brand sells this classically flavored speculoos cookie butter. Darker in color than a lot of the others, it also has a rich, caramelized flavor. We were reminded of Graham crackers and s’mores while tasting it. Two editors labeled this as their favorite.

Goya Maria Cookie Spread

Image: metfood_nostrand_ave/Deskgram

While we couldn’t find this one anywhere online, it just happened to be on the shelf of the Western Beef supermarket next to the offices. Think of it as a mashup between dulce de leche and Maria cookies. Not everybody loved it, since it is not flavored with speculoos cookies, but it earned the approval of social media specialist William London, who commented, “j’adore.”

Nuccina Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter

This German-made cookie butter was overwhelming, and tasted like straight, heavily spiced pumpkin purée. It could have potential to be mixed into your pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving, but we didn’t go back for a second spoonful.

Biscoff (Lotus) Cookie Butter

After a few experimental flavors, we arrived at the original speculoos cookie, as served on Delta Air Lines flights. This was the cookie butter that started it all. And while it was delicious and solid, once the brands were unveiled, the edit team was surprised to find that it preferred the Trader Joe’s butter to the Biscoff butter. In an apt comparison, somebody said that the Trader Joe’s version “warms you up” while the Biscoff version “is like mmmmm.”

Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl

While the other Trader Joe’s cookie butters captured our imaginations, this final iteration left us cotton mouthed. Perhaps we opened a poorly-mixed jar, but it seemed like the ratio of chocolate to cookie butter was way off, and it tasted instead like we were eating bulk chocolate frosting that we picked up at the fair. When we added a bit of regular cookie butter to the mix, it felt more balanced.