The Best Way To Use Peanut Butter From The Bottom Of The Jar

If you live in America, you likely keep a jar of peanut butter (or two) on hand. According to the National Peanut Board, more than 90% of American households keep the classic nut butter in their homes. Although China and India exceed the U.S. in terms of peanut production, Americans are the world's primary consumers of peanut butter (per Smithsonian Magazine). And it's little mystery why, as it's been a pack-lunch staple for a few generations now; therefore, peanut butter is indicative of our culinary legacy, and for those old enough, represents childhood nostalgia. 

Peanut butter has certainly earned its reputation; it's not only delicious but also versatile. Peanut butter and jelly and fluffernutters sandwiches are treats kids enjoy eating and making, and many homemade cookies taste more complex with a spoonful of peanut flavor. The product has even been around long enough for peanut butter brands to offer different versions, like extra smooth, varying degrees of chunky, and natural and organic versions.

No matter what brand you buy — or your reason for buying it — you'll want to make the most of the jar. But it always seems like a chore to do so, because it's hard to reach and the bottom (particularly with natural varieties) tends to leave dried clumps, thanks to the separation of oils (via Spoon University). Even if it hasn't separated, the dregs of a jar may not have enough left for a sandwich, but it isn't destined for the trash just yet.

Dipping sauces optimize those final spoonfuls of peanut butter

While a nearly empty jar of PB may be the end for its use in sandwiches, it can be the beginning of your next recipe. One thrifty tip for cooking with peanut butter is maximizing the jar's residual contents. ​​

Life Hacker suggests throwing together a delicious dipping sauce whenever your peanut butter is on its way out. Simply add some neutral oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, lime, and a sweetener to the jar and shake it with your remaining peanut butter. Dipping sauces are not one-size-fits-all, so feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors and ideal ratios. Spoon University suggests adding savory ingredients like sesame oil and lemon juice right into the jar. Life Hacker even suggests adding fish sauce for an East Asian twist.

Once you add some hot water, you're left with a dipping sauce perfect for summer salads, chicken satay, homemade noodle dishes, and vegetables. With so many sauce concoctions, think twice before you throw out that almost-empty jar of peanut butter.