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Beyond the obvious differences in flavor, do these two tend to be interchangable? The consistencies and composition seem close enough to me to make an acceptable substitute, but is it likely to give a significantly different end product with certain types of preparations?

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No, they are not exact substitutes. Nothing in the kitchen is. But some pairs of foods have lots of overlapping uses (e.g. corn starch and tapioca) while others have very few (e.g. red wine and honey). Listing all situations where peanut butter can be used, and telling you if nutella is a substitute in this case is infeasible, it would fill a book. If you don't tell us what your use case is, your question is unanswerable. – rumtscho Aug 8 '12 at 10:04
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Nutella is over half sugar by weight; peanut butter might be more like 5-10% depending on brand/style. That already sounds like enough that it won't make a good one-for-one substitution in most things, especially anything that's not already pretty sweet.

It probably also means that it'll have a slightly different resulting texture; nutella is already a bit less thick (probably again affected by the sugar), and I believe this is pretty obvious when heated, though it's been a while since I tried.

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Yeah, heat was a big concern - so maybe it'll turn runny or something like that? – Shinrai Aug 8 '12 at 3:56
@Shinrai: Completely depends on what you're talking about making. Cookies might come out a little too soft and spread too much, if you used a peanut butter cookie recipe, for example, but they wouldn't turn runny. Toasting bread with nutella already spread on it in a toaster oven, sure, it'll melt more than peanut butter, but it won't matter. A stew with peanut butter in it? Ick, can't imagine sweet chocolate hazelnut is a good flavor replacement. – Jefromi Aug 8 '12 at 5:31
I've never heard of peanut butter in a stew, huh. But the question does specify other than flavor - obviously the tastes aren't always interchangeable. – Shinrai Aug 8 '12 at 14:13
Well, okay, then the fact that it's not as thick wouldn't be an issue in something that's already liquid. – Jefromi Aug 8 '12 at 23:07
I substitute Nutella for PB in my no-bake cookie recipe all the time. That only has enough heat to melt it, and it is sweet anyway, but I've never noticed a texture difference. – thursdaysgeek Aug 9 '12 at 17:17

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