Not Recipes

How to Make Any Nut Butter Without a Recipe

By • June 2, 2014 • 18 Comments

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Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Nut butter is too easy not to make at home. Customize it to your heart's content, with a little guidance from Food52's Assistant Editor Marian Bull

Peanut Butter Toast on Food52

Not keeping some sort of nut butter in your fridge is like not keeping olive oil in your pantry, by which I mean that without it you might not feel like a fully functional human. Because with a jar of nut butter at your side, you’re halfway to a PB&J, your toast becomes a meal, and you just got an idea for an interesting salad dressing. Also until now you had probably forgotten about peanut sauce, but you shouldn’t have.

More: Here's a recipe for that peanut sauce you are now jonesing for.

And yes, we all have our plastic jar allegiances: Skippy, Peter Pan, Teddie (what’s up New England!) -- but making your own nut butter feels like you’re playing God, if you’ll pardon the hubris. You can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like; you can kick up the salt to eleven or make it candy-sweet. You can add cinnamon, or use exotic nuts (Brazil! Why not?). You are all-powerful.

Peanut Butter Ingredients on Food52

At its core, making peanut or almond or whatever butter just requires blitzing some nuts and little else -- but once you realize how easy it is, you will excite yourself into a frenzy of adaptation, and I won’t stop you.

Here’s how to make any nut butter -- as crazy or as plain as you like -- without a recipe:

Jar of Peanuts on Food52

1. Pick your nuts. Peanuts are, of course, the most traditional choice, and will make you feel like a giggly, well-cared-for child when paired with strawberry jam and soft bread, but almond butter deserves your attention too. I suggest you try cashew butter with a few spoonfuls of melted coconut oil added in at the end. 

You can also mix and match -- if you have a few handfuls of different types of nuts, go ahead and see what they taste like combined. Call it your house blend.

Spinning Peanut Butter on Food52

2. Blitz your chosen nuts -- use however many you like -- until they become a smooth, creamy butter. If you like things thicker and sandier, stop at your happy place. Harder nuts (here's looking at you, almonds) will take longer, but peanuts only require two minutes or so. Stop and scrape down the sides of your food processor periodically.

Note: You can also use a high-speed blender (like a VitaMix or BlendTec) for softer nuts like peanuts and cashews; if you want to make almond butter, you’ll need to add oil and tamp everything down frequently to speed the process along.

Maple Syrup into Peanut Butter on Food52

3. Add a good pinch of salt, plus any flavors or sweeteners you like: I’m keen on a cinnamon-maple combination, but I also know people who like to add pepper flakes to peanut butter and I respect them for it. Other options include shredded coconut, ginger (fresh or ground), toasted seeds, honey, cocoa powder (!!), paprika, vanilla, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Pulse to combine, taste, and adjust the seasonings until everything feels just right. 

Peanuts into Peanut Butter on Food52

4. If you want chunky nut butter, add some chopped nuts now, and pulse a few times. Transfer your finished butter to a clean, dry jar. It will keep in your pantry for a week or so, but I suggest you keep it in the fridge, where it will last for months. If you want it extra drippy (the holy grail of nut butters, I say), let it come to room temperature before scooping or spreading it.

Now go forth and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day this week -- you'll ask yourself why you haven't been doing that since always.

Peanut Butter Toast on Food52

Tell us: What's your favorite type of homemade nut butter?

Photos by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (18)

Tags: not recipes, peanut, peanut butter

Comments (18)

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2 months ago Luc Paul

Every Christmas my wife makes up a huge batch of roasted pecan butter to give to friends. I'm just saying, the kids and I are glad we make the list. It doesn't keep but then it doesn't last either.

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3 months ago fashiondoctor

Hi, so excited about the nut butter thing but just a question, better use toasted nuts or leave them as they come? Thank you for thr great tip.

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3 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

You can use either raw or toasted/roasted nuts! Peanuts should always be roasted, though -- I find that the raw ones have an unpleasant taste. (I think it might be because they are technically legumes.)

Stringio

3 months ago LysiaLoves

Yes! I like to soak and dehydrate (in my oven @ lowest temp) my nuts and seeds to bump up the nutrients and reduce the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and whatnot. I like keeping different ones on hand for snacking and sometimes I'll do a bunch of different kinds and make a nutty seed butter. It comes out different each time because I just add a handful of this and that until I like the flavor. Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein & nutrition so I always add some of those, and I've used sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and peanuts. I also like to add some flax and sometimes sesame seeds but those incorporate better if you grind them in a coffee grinder first. They're too tiny for the cuisinart's blades to catch! I always add EVCO for texture, flavor & health benefits. I also now always add some of my homemade coconut butter (just unsweetened dried coconut blended w/EVCO). Whoa. Seriously, try it. My favorite flavor extras are honey or coconut sugar, vanilla (try the alcohol-free one!), orange zest (so good! Really brightens it up), cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. I eat it straight and spread it on all sorts of tidbits but I have not yet attempted a SAUCE (omg yum yes please now please!).

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3 months ago Lucy

I don't think my food processor is strong enough to make nut butter - what make do you use? Which are the best in term of power and lifespan? Great 'not recipe', i'm addicted to almond butter and hate having to pay out nearly £20 for a 1kg tub when raw almonds are so much cheaper!

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3 months ago DebS

Pecan butter is my favorite. I always roast the nuts first and add a generous pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil to loosen it up and help it blend. Delicious!

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3 months ago Rosario

I checked the nuts with the highest protein level that I had available( Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds that I I used to top salads). I made the nut meal first using mi food processor and then slowly added coconut oil and honey. You can tell your kids is Pistachio if they do not like the color. It tastes great and is very high in protein. Next time I plan to toast the nuts first. I already make almond, butter with cinnamon.

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3 months ago RoseTex10

Can you use Almonds instead of peanuts?

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3 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Yes -- you can use whatever nuts you like!

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3 months ago RoseTex10

Thank you, will try it.

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4 months ago ATG117

I use my cuisinart mini food processor when attempting to make nut butter, but it never gets the nuts far enough to the peanut butter consistency. Is it not powerful enough? am I not using enough nuts?

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

I wonder if it's not powerful enough? What quantity of nuts are you using? I'd also try adding a touch of oil.

Stringio

4 months ago Rene Bickley

Silly question, can you use raw nuts or should they be roasted?

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4 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You can use either. They'll taste somewhat different, as one might expect. ;o)

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4 months ago Valentina Solfrini

I actually tried making almond butter both ways. The unroasted version takes forever to process, but it produces the classic, clean tasting almond butterwe're probably most familiar with. The roasted version blended much quicker, and it remained looser in consistency even in the fridge. The flavor was positively different though. Personally, I prefer the unroasted version, but try both! It's awesome! :D

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Yes, you can use both! For peanuts, though, always use roasted. I like raw and roasted almonds, but I like raw cashews; they're softer and sweeter and more pure tasting. I think it's a preference thing!

Jillian

4 months ago jbban

My go-to is walnut butter. Just roast walnuts and blend them. They turn into nut butter in no time. I'll often add a handful of walnuts to any other nut butter that takes more time (almond, hazelnut, sunflower seed) to help along the process. Then I come up with fun names for them, like "walmond," "wazelnut," and (my favourite) "walflower."

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

wazelnut! wow. thank you for this.