How To Make Peanut Butter

Jeanne Fratello writes The Jolly Tomato, a blog with news, information, and recipes geared toward healthy kids’ eating. She also has a “Real Food” series, where she toured farms and factories to learn more about how commonly used foods are made and processed. You can find her on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

How To Make Peanut Butter in Five Minutes

Peanut butter is a tasty, cheap, and easy source of protein for both kids and adults alike. But for a food that’s essentially just pureed peanuts, there can be any number of food products at the supermarket that all call themselves “peanut butter.” The spectrum ranges from the most raw peanut butter (made from peanuts alone) that can be extremely coarse and chunky, to highly processed peanut butter (made with hydrogenated oils and sugar) that spreads like margarine.

Of course, given that this is October Unprocessed, you probably know where this is going. Pure ingredients = Good. Hydrogenated oils = Bad. But even if your palate has been trained to love margarine-smooth processed peanut butter, there’s still hope. It is unbelievably easy to make your own peanut butter at home – even the smooth stuff.

Sure, you might say, but if you’re set on making your own, you can just pour the peanuts into that big machine at the supermarket and grind it there. However, when you use those machines you don’t have any say in the texture or the flavor. If you make it yourself, you can adjust it precisely to your own specifications – smooth, chunky, salty, sweet, or even spicy.

Added bonus: If you make your own, you reduce the risk of salmonella that can come with commercially processed peanut butter. (Here’s how it can get contaminated.)

The ingredient list for a batch of peanut butter is pretty straightforward:

  • 2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts

That’s it! Really! You’ll also want to have on hand:

  • 2 to 4 tsp. peanut oil (if needed)
  • ¼ tsp. salt (if desired)
  • 1 tsp. honey or molasses (if desired)

You’ll also need a reasonably powerful food processor. (Don’t burn out your blender on peanuts unless you’re sure the motor can take it.)

Put the peanuts in the food processor. Process for several minutes. At first it will look like very crumbly.

How To Make Peanut Butter in a Food Processor

Within about two minutes the magic will start to happen: As the oil is released, the crumbly pieces will start to stick together, and then the peanut butter will clump together in a large ball as it takes on a paste-like consistency. Depending on how fresh the peanuts are, you may need to add oil to keep it smooth. Remember that a little oil goes a long way, so add just 1 teaspoon at a time.Continue scraping down the sides to make sure that all of the paste gets processed.

Add sweetener and/or salt to taste and continue processing until the peanut butter reaches the desired consistency. All told, the processing should take about 5 minutes.

Yields about 1 ½ cups peanut butter.

Making Homemade Peanut Butter
Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month. Keep in mind that the oil tends to separate, so you may need to stir it up before you serve and eat it.

Want to customize it? Easy! Here are some add-ins to consider: Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or even red pepper. Stir in extras like raisins or dried cherries, or try it with other nuts like cashews or almonds. The only limit is your imagination – after all; it’s your peanut butter.

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30 Comments on "How To Make Peanut Butter"

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Heather
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October 3, 2012 3:14 am

I might be able to convince the husband to buy me a food processor if homemade peanut butter was included in my items to make list 🙂

Danielle
Guest
October 3, 2012 4:13 am

After homemade peanut butter, the store-bought stuff never tastes as good again!

Andrea
Guest
October 3, 2012 7:04 am

I completely agree! All you can taste is the sugar. It tastes so fake!

Andrea
Guest
October 3, 2012 7:07 am

Homemade peanut butter is a great idea! How about in the spirit of Fall some Homemade Applesauce? I just made some this morning. Check out my blog for the recipe! http://ohheyyitsdre.blogspot.com Its super simple, delicious, and follows all the rules of October #Unprocessed!

Tanya
Guest
Tanya
October 3, 2012 8:31 am

I converted my fiancé to natural and homemade peanut butter a year ago. He can’t stomach the taste of the processed brands anymore. Yay for unprocessed!

Janis
Guest
Janis
October 3, 2012 8:33 am

Where do you buy the peanuts so that it’s also cost effective? if it would save me money I would totally do it…

Jeanne @JollyTomato
Guest
October 3, 2012 1:54 pm

Hi Janis: If you have a grocery store near you that allows you to buy in bulk, that might be the easiest/cheapest. Otherwise Trader Joe’s has bags of nuts that are relatively inexpensive. Good luck!

Stacy Spensley
Contributor
October 4, 2012 10:20 pm

Hey Janis, if you’re west of the Mississippi, check out http://azurestandard.com/

I’ve been ordering nuts, seeds, and grains from them in bulk for the last 3 years and find it quite cost-effective. You do have to register for a free account to see prices. You can order if you’re east of there, but shipping prices tend to cancel out the savings.

Janine
Guest
October 3, 2012 9:22 am

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this recipe. I especially love the photos and how clear you are with the directions. I tried to make almond butter, but the recipe said to make it in the blender, so I ended up adding lots of coconut oil when it sounds like I probably didn’t need to. I’m inspired to try making my own nut butter again, so thanks!! Oh, and the sweet potato chips look delicious too!

Katja
Guest
Katja
October 3, 2012 9:24 am

Any advice on what kind of “powerful food processor” that I could get? I can’t afford to break the bank so I’m hoping it won’t be terribly expensive. I have been wondering for a long time how people did stuff before food processors existed…

Jeanne @JollyTomato
Guest
October 3, 2012 1:50 pm

Katja, I was using the 12-cup Cuisinart food processor, which ran me about $250. I just bought it recently after realizing that my mini-prep food processor just wasn’t cutting it. This one is great and it totally eliminates my need for a blender – I highly recommend it!

Valentina K. Wein
Contributor
October 3, 2012 10:18 am

Excellent recipe! I love this and the images are gorgeous!

Julia
Guest
Julia
October 3, 2012 10:59 am

I do this all the time! We’re living in France, where there is no peanut butter in the stores. I add honey as the sweetener, and the whole family loves it!

Jeanne @JollyTomato
Guest
October 3, 2012 1:53 pm

Thank you all for the comments. Honestly, this was just so easy…and the best part about it is that you can make it to your exact preferences. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to go back to store-bought after this!

cynthia peters
Guest
cynthia peters
October 3, 2012 3:17 pm

We have been buying organic peanut butter and I can’t go back to the “other” kind. I bet when I make this I will never buy peanut butter again!!! I am so EXCITED!!

Greg Henry
Contributor
October 3, 2012 4:42 pm

So easy. Why wouldn’t you just make it? GREG

Grace
Guest
Grace
October 3, 2012 8:03 pm
Hi Andrew, and Friends, Firstly, thanks! With the recent recall, we’re all concerned … I mean, c’mon Trader Joe’s? How do we know what salmonella-free peanut butter looks like? It doesn’t go around with a t-shirt and neon lights, right? We depend on the store, the brand, um … darts? The TakeAPart link you gave us says “Read the Label” but of course, no one lists salmonella-extract. This isn’t the first recall on peanut butter … a 2009 Scientific American article lists several other outbreaks (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=salmonella-poisoning-peanut-butter), and it goes on to say that the contamination is occurring after roasting the peanuts. The contamination seems to be coming in to the water system, either during processing or during cleaning the equipment. OK, so how do I make sure MY peanut-butter, that I’m going to blend myself, is salmonella-free? I’m guessing that if I blend it at the store, I have no… Read more »
Stacy Spensley
Contributor
October 4, 2012 10:21 pm

Hey Grace,

I buy raw peanuts and roast them myself. I like a little “lighter” roast, so it works out well.

Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy
Guest
Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy
October 6, 2012 9:17 am

Thanks for this timely recipe. Sadly, my favorite store bought peanut butter is recalled. Now that you’ve shared how easy it is to make homemade peanut butter, I’m going to give it a try.

bethany
Guest
bethany
October 12, 2012 8:56 am

Has anyone tried this with sunflower seeds or almonds? If any one has has success I would love to know

Shawn
Guest
Shawn
September 15, 2013 12:57 pm

Made sunflower butter with Honey Roasted seeds in cuisnart with metal blades as pictured add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, and 1-2 teaspoons of honey. Blended about 10 minutes over all, If you have a Win Co near you this is a great place to purchase seeds.

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