REVIEW: Marmite Peanut Butter (U.K.)

Marmite Peanut Butter Jar

In the last years of the 19th century, Justus von Liebig, inventor of Marmite, looked into an empty beer barrel, saw the yeast gunk there, and thought, “Yeah, Imma gonna eat that.” More than a century later, Unilever has released a new spread that combines Justus’ salty yeast extract with another culinary innovation of the late 19th century: peanut butter.

I have to ask, who is this product for? Peanut butter isn’t very popular in the Marmite-loving United Kingdom, and the peanut butter-loving people of the United States hate Marmite, if they’ve had it all.

Me. It’s for me. As someone who loves both ingredients in this spread, it’s possible I’m a target demographic of one, so I knew I had to try it.

Marmite Peanut Butter Spoon

Upon opening the jar, I give the contents a stir. This is an all-natural peanut butter with no sugar or added oils, so it’s separated. Then, I take my mixing spoon and give it a lick (because I’m efficient). The first flavor is of the familiar roasted peanut butter, quickly followed by salty yeast extract. It can be difficult to describe the taste of yeast extract spreads like Marmite if someone hasn’t had them before. It’s salty, and meaty, and a bit beery, and very, very intense.

The peanut butter and Marmite complement each other very well, but there’s no sweetness whatsoever. The Marmite even covers the peanuts’ natural sweetness, so the savory character can be a bit overwhelming. I usually prefer peanut butter without added sugar, but I have to wonder if this spread would have benefited if it had a salty-sweet thing going for it.

Part of the reason Marmite and peanut butter go so well together is that they’re versatile ingredients with savory and sweet applications, and have a fandom willing to explore the culinary limits. I’ve spent countless hours exploring Instagram looking for weird peanut butter sandwich combinations. Think peanut butter and pickle is weird? Try the next-level peanut butter with sauerkraut and onion, or peanut butter on eggs. On the other hand, a thin swipe of Marmite is a great addition to marmalade or cheese on toast.

Marmite Peanut Butter Spread

To test the versatility of this combined spread, I knew I had to do more than lick a spoon. I prepared a piece of toast with the classic peanut butter and strawberry jelly combination, as well as peanut butter and sharp Wisconsin cheddar. The Marmite PB&J proves I was right that this spread benefits from some sweetness. It tastes like standard PB&J with an umami flavor boost. The peanut butter and cheddar is a bit more challenging. It’s already a combo that leans in hard to unctuousness, and the Marmite does nothing to cut the fatty flavor. I liked it, but I also like peanut butter on sloppy joes, so your mileage may vary.

Look, I know I’m weird. I’m willing to pay $19.99 to have a small jar imported. Is it worth that price? No. Is it worth the much more reasonable £2.40 at Tesco? Yeah. Or, you could just buy some peanut butter and Marmite and mix them yourself.

Purchased Price: $19.99
Size: 225g
Purchased at:
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15g) 88 calories, 6.8 grams of fat, 0.9 grams of saturated fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, 1.8 grams of carbohydrates, 1.2 grams of fiber, 0.9 grams of sugar, and 4.2 gram of protein.

13 thoughts to “REVIEW: Marmite Peanut Butter (U.K.)”

  1. This has me perplexed; as you said, those in the UK aren’t too fond of peanut butter, and Marmite is already savoury…and yeah, I wonder who they are targeting? Glad you enjoyed it!

    And peanut butter on sloppy joes? I’m tempted to go out and get some ground beef just so I can see how in the world that combo tastes.

    Speaking of odd combos, ever do malt vinegar or ketchup on mac and cheese?

    1. I was only recently introduced to the sloppy joe + peanut butter combo by my uncle. I’ve never really cared for sloppy joes that much, but the peanut butter elevates them.

      I’ve never tried malt vinegar with mac and cheese, but am definitely going to try it. On the other hand, my mom is total ketchup fiend, so I definitely had it with mac and cheese growing up. Have you tried cottage cheese and ketchup?

      1. Ketchup is another condiment I use on my mac! Never tried it on cottage cheese, usually just do salt and pepper on it. I’ll give the ketchup a go though.

    2. @Holly May: Years ago, I somehow stumbled onto adding a can of diced tomatoes to mac ‘n cheese (I think that it was part of my kick in seeing how to get more vegetables into my diet, rather than just eating a huge dish of mac ‘n cheese alone–an alternate variation is adding a few cups of steamed broccoli, both the crown and the stem, to mac n’ cheese). Although it may seem odd at first, the diced tomatoes break up the fattiness of the mac ‘n cheese, adding a nice acidity and brightness as well. My faves are using diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and diced tomatoes with jalapenos. 🙂

  2. Speaking as someone from the UK, I disagree with “Peanut butter isn’t very popular in the Marmite-loving United Kingdom” – there is a pretty big market for peanut butter and there is a huge variety of brands and types (from very fake sugar filled stuff like Skippy that gets imported here to really high quality clean ingredients at high prices) at the supermarket, especially in the past few years where protein has become such a huge part of health and fitness (whatever you make of it)

    Eating with the jam/jelly may not be the staple that it is in the US, but to say that it’s not popular is quite wrong. There’s quite a few new releases of ‘combo’ peanut butters recently like Crunchy Nut (a type of cereal) as well as many artisan ones. I think its a pretty good marketing ploy to combine it with marmite (not that I like it) so don’t think it’s a questionable idea for the UK at all.

    A quick google showed that sales of peanut butter recently over took sales of jam! Not the case for me, but I do only buy one kind of peanut butter and that’s a Kiwi brand called ‘Pics’ that only contains peanuts and salt and nothing else, its a bit pricey but i don’t buy it that often so wait til it’s on offer.

    1. It’s always good to hear about foods from the U.K. from someone who’s fortunate enough to live there. Thank you for posting. 😀

      1. We don’t consider ourselves fortunate when all the new oreo flavours come out and the most exciting thing we’ve got is mint lol (and then pay through the nose if we want to try the flavours on an import site).

        I’m not sure what the venn diagram on peanut butter and marmite is, but I’m not in it haha.

    2. Very interesting! Maybe that is a more recent development? Maybe in the next few years you will start seeing more natural peanut butter brands and peanut butter as an ingredient in items if the trend keeps up.

      1. I’d say the market is pretty flooded with natural peanut butter brands here already!

        I don’t think we’ll ever get to US levels of peanut butter in everything but there is for sure still a huge market for it here, I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be outselling jam! I am not a fan of peanut butter with chocolate but i think that’s a minority amongst people I know.

        just needed to give some context on the existence of the product in the review 🙂

  3. Marmite peanut butter probably would be a good addition to a Thai-like recipe, where I already add peanut butter for flavoring, along with chopped peanuts/walnuts. 🙂

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