After Careful Sampling and Analysis, Trader Joe's Almond Butter Cups Are No Reese's

POPSUGAR Photography | Maggie Ryan

Whenever I see Reese's orange — that garish, beautiful color — my Pavlovian response is hunger, joy, and total satisfaction. As a kid, I loved those things. I stared longingly at the king-size packages in grocery store checkout aisles. I still think chocolate and peanut butter is one of the world's greatest culinary combinations.

Trader Joe's is known for its sinfully addictive dark chocolate peanut butter cups, of which I (and basically everyone else) am a huge fan. (Here are 19 of its other new products I'll be throwing in my cart soon.) When it rocked the nut-butter-chocolate world again with the release of dark chocolate almond butter cups ($4 for a tub of 18 mini cups), I thought, "That's it. I've gotta try this; it's like a richer, healthier version of the chocolate that got me through childhood."

I picked up a box, scoped out the nutrition information, and ate about 10. Here's what I thought.

Prices and products may vary by Trader Joe's location.

— Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes

Trader Joe's Almond Butter Cups Review

Trader Joe's Almond Butter Cups Review

What I loved:

  • The chocolate. It was rich and just the right amount of sweet without being overpowering. I'm something of a newcomer to liking dark chocolate and still don't love the really dark stuff, so this was perfect for me.
  • The texture. I love the moment when you bite into a Reese's and the chocolate shell breaks into the soft, creamy peanut butter center. I got the same sensation with these almond butter cups. Though the outer layer of chocolate was thicker and harder, the creamy almond butter in the middle was so satisfying.

What I didn't love:

  • The almond butter. Yeah, I know, the whole reason I tried these in the first place. I went in expecting it to have just as strong and nutty of a flavor as peanut butter cups, but almond butter is a much blander taste. There's no burst of salt to balance out the sweet chocolate, so it felt more like eating a chocolate truffle: tasty dark chocolate and a soft center, but no nutty taste.
  • The almond-butter-to-chocolate ratio. In some of the cups, there just wasn't a lot of almond butter — sometimes just a small strip at the bottom. It was still nice and creamy, but when the nut butter flavor is already so neutral, that imbalance let the chocolate take over even more. Then again, some cups had a ton of almond butter. It was really inconsistent.
Trader Joe's Almond Butter Cups Nutrition Info

Trader Joe's Almond Butter Cups Nutrition Info

Right off the bat, these cups are a winner when it comes to nutrition. When compared to Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups, they're slightly lower in calories, sugar, and carbs. Unsurprisingly, they're healthier than dark chocolate Reese's, too. Here's the full comparison:

TJ's Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups TJ's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Calories 190 200 210
Sugar 16 g. 18 g. 19 g.
Carbs 19 g. 22 g. 23 g.
Protein 3 g. 3 g. 4 g.

Would I Recommend Them?

Would I Recommend Them?

I love that nut butter cups are slowly inching into healthier and healthier territory, and it's not like I didn't like these. I ate half the container in a day (for research), so clearly I wasn't exactly turning up my nose. They didn't make me feel as jittery or gross afterward as Reese's do, which was another plus. If you know you're going to eat 10 cups at once (it's true; I just counted my empty wrappers, and I'm not sure whether to be embarrassed or impressed), choosing the one with the lowest sugar does make your body feel better afterward.

But all of that said, as someone who eats peanut butter out of the jar on a daily basis, giving up that signature strong, salty flavor just took too much away from these cups to make them my number ones. If you prefer almond butter or want a healthier version of peanut butter cups and don't mind sacrificing some of the salty flavor, I'll leave these to you. Right after I finish this pack.