How to Make Any Nut Butter Without a Recipe

June  2, 2014

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

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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

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cycle2eat
  • Jacob K Thomas
    Jacob K Thomas
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    David John Cottrell
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    Paul West
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Cycle2eat May 23, 2020
At the point of adding your chopped nuts , try dry-roasting them for a couple of minutes . Gives a much more “ nutty” flavour I think .
Jacob K. September 10, 2017
You can use it in cookies, instead of peanut butter cookies, you can have almond butter cookies, for a sandwich as well. Anything you would use peanut butter or your own nut butter can be used here.
Picholine September 10, 2017
After processing what types of things would one use this for?
David J. February 16, 2017
Surprising how many people are not aware that Peanuts are not nuts but belong to the legume family. Also, almonds and many other "nuts" are not true nuts but belong to the seed family. Just curious.

'nuf sed
plamuk aka travellingchef
Jacob K. April 28, 2016
Just did a mix of cashew, walnut, and peanut butter. Turned out great, also it's so much easier to make your own almond or cashew butter than trying to go and buy some. Especially since depending on how many nuts you have, you can have a decent amount for a certain amount of time.
Paul W. July 9, 2014
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.
fashiondoctor June 10, 2014
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.
Marian B. June 10, 2014
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.)
LysiaLoves June 9, 2014
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!).
Lucy June 9, 2014
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!
DebS June 8, 2014
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!
Rosario June 8, 2014
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.
RoseTex10 June 8, 2014
Can you use Almonds instead of peanuts?
Marian B. June 8, 2014
Yes -- you can use whatever nuts you like!
RoseTex10 June 9, 2014
Thank you, will try it.
ATG117 June 2, 2014
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?
Marian B. June 3, 2014
I wonder if it's not powerful enough? What quantity of nuts are you using? I'd also try adding a touch of oil.
Rene B. June 2, 2014
Silly question, can you use raw nuts or should they be roasted?
AntoniaJames June 2, 2014
You can use either. They'll taste somewhat different, as one might expect. ;o)
Valentina S. June 3, 2014
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
Marian B. June 3, 2014
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!
jbban June 2, 2014
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."
Marian B. June 2, 2014
wazelnut! wow. thank you for this.