[vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, palm oil-free; sugar-free option available]
It’s pourable but gets stuck on your lips. The kids love it on their lunch sandwiches. It’s delicious in your overnight oats or gooey blondies. It keeps your proteins and healthy fats in check (when used in moderation!). It’s a jarful of liquid gold. It’s the perfect 5-minute peanut butter!
Figuring out how to make the most perfect peanut butter at home has been a process. It didn’t just suddenly dawn on me. Instead, I needed months and trial and error to arrive here. That’s also why this texts looks a lot different from my original post in Finnish.
My Peanut Butter History
As far as I can recall, I hadn’t tasted peanut butter prior to setting my feet on U.S. soil. That’s how unusual peanut butter was in Finnish cooking and baking in the late 1990s. But as soon as I sunk my teeth in my first peanut butter sandwich, I was head over heels. It was love at first bite! Trying several of Reese’s peanut butter candies didn’t exactly curb my burgeoning addiction. Those Peanut Butter Cups Minis were completely amazing.
I’ve been mad about peanut butter ever since. There have been no bumps in the road. Becoming a vegan has been yet another amazing reason to consume even more peanut butter. In fact, peanut butter is quite the vegan staple – a truly versatile food that can be used in both cooking and baking. It’s wonderful in tofu marinade, vegetable soups, and overnight oats. Not to mention all the super yummy cookies, cakes, and blondies that you can make from it. That’s what’s so exceptional with peanut butter: it’s sweet and savory at the same time.
In addition to cooking and baking, I have a tendency to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar. When the kids have gone to bed, I might find myself sitting alone in the kitchen with a spoon in one hand and a peanut butter jar in the other. And what better way to do this than by enjoying home-made peanut butter?
Judging by the amount of peanut butter consumed in our household on a weekly basis, making peanut butter myself is a smart move. Before investing in a Vitamix that I now use to make all of my nut butters, I used to get peanut butter at the store. But it was getting unnecessarily laborious and expensive.
You won’t find store-bought peanut butter at our house any longer. I make all of it myself. With the perfect 5-minute peanut butter recipe, it’s also way too easy not to. So, let’s get those food processors and blenders fired up and some nuts crushed!
A Few Things to Think About Before Getting Started
First of all, you need a powerful food processor or blender to process nuts. A less powerful one might actually burn out before getting the job done, so use at your own risk. I have a Vitamix Ascent 2300i blender that I use for all my food processing work. It wasn’t cheap, but the quality is completely different from your basic supermarket blender.
Secondly, quality is important also when it comes to your raw material. It’s definitely worthwhile to get good quality peanuts when making peanut butter. Of course, you always want to buy good quality nuts, but it’s especially important when it comes to making nut butter. This is because the freshness of the nuts will directly affect the outcome: the smoothness, richness, and liquidity of your butter.
The frustrating thing about this is that you won’t know until you try. If you end up with chalky, overly thick peanut butter, you know that you didn’t have the best ingredients to begin with. If the peanuts are past their best before date, they’ll be drier and emit less oil after roasting. They’ll take more time to process into a nice, liquid peanut butter. I usually buy organic peanuts, such as Aduki’s organic peanuts. They’re a great source of fibre, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus. Aduki is a Helsinki-based importer of organic and fair-trade food, beauty, and household products.
Thirdly, think about getting enough of those peanuts. Since Peanut Butter keeps really well, why not make a bigger batch at once? Besides, if you’re using a blender, you need to have enough peanuts to keep your machine processing them. With too few peanuts, the motion of the blender will push the crumbs in the corners and sides of the bowl. The blades won’t be able to reach them, and you’ll end up scraping down the sides more often than you’d like. Get at least 500 grams of peanuts. That’s heaping three cups, since one cup weighs approximately 155 grams. This will make about 300 grams or two cups of peanut butter. Based on my experience, that’s the perfect amount of the perfect 5-minute peanut butter!
Finding the Perfect Nuts for the Perfect 5-Minute Peanut Butter
Now, I did mention trial and error, didn’t I? So the perfect 5-minute peanut butter recipe wasn’t always so perfect. What proved most challenging was finding the perfect nuts for the recipe and how to pretreat them.
You could get dry-roasted peanuts at the store and skip the peeling and roasting altogether. For me, there were two issues with this. First, dry-roasted peanuts are super expensive, at least in Finland. And second, they’re hard to find. There aren’t that many grocery stores that carry them in my area.
A good solution is to use blanched peanuts. At least the largest grocery chains carry them, so they aren’t as difficult to find as dry-roasted peanuts. They make peanut butter-making easy-breezy; just pop them in the oven for roasting and then process them into butter. Peanut butter made from blanched peanuts tastes really yummy. The only con with using them is that they have been mechanically peeled. This typically also removes nutrients and might render the peanuts drier over time.
I’ve also tried using regular salted peanuts. They’re easy to find, affordable, and quick to use, because they won’t need to be roasted. That is because they have been cooked in oil. Usually, salted peanuts are cooked in peanut oil, but this is not always the case. Sometimes they are manufactured with canola and/or palm oil, so be sure to read the food label carefully. Another problem with salted peanuts is their sodium content, of course. They’re not the healthiest choice, and the ready-made peanut butter is likely to taste too salty, too. Also, peanut butter made from salted peanuts can be too runny because of the added oil.
Whole Organic Peanuts Make the 5-Minute Peanut Butter Perfect
Raw, whole peanuts are my number one choice. I already mentioned Aduki’s organic peanuts, which I get on a regular basis. Unblanched peanuts make the process more laborious, because you’ll need to peel all of the peanuts. I usually do this by hand, one peanut at a time. It does take a couple of hours to get through 500 grams of peanuts! I do this late at night, while I’m also getting my fix of The Real Housewives of Orange County or Beverly Hills. The things I do for my perfect 5-minute peanut butter!
If you think this is too much work (and you likely will, trust me!), you can peel off the skins after roasting the peanuts in 175°C/350°F for 3–5 minutes. Make sure you don’t roast them longer than that at this stage, because that would negatively affect the taste. Let them cool for 15 minutes, then use a paper towel to rub off the skins. Remove the rest of the skins by hand. Finally, roast the peanuts in the oven for 10 more minutes or until they turn golden brown.
On a few occasions, I’ve roasted the whole peanuts with they skins on. I haven’t been happy with the end results, however. Yes, it’s much easier to remove the skins from the roasted peanuts, but even after they’re removed, the roasted skins leave the peanut butter with an unwanted tang – mixture of bitter and burned. So no, I wouldn’t recommend doing this.
To sum things up: Get raw, whole peanuts and remove the skins at home. Process the slightly cooled peanuts into the perfect 5-minute peanut butter. Toward the end of processing (and only then), add salt, and maple syrup and spices, if you’d like. Process for one more minute, let cool, and get your spoon ready. Your home-made peanut butter is now ready to be consumed! Be sure to keep it refrigerated for the optimal storage time.
Perfect Peanut Butter
- Food processor or blender
- 3 cups roasted peanuts roasted at home in the oven, or store-bought dry-roasted peanuts
- ½ tsp salt
- (2 tbsp) maple or agave syrup optional
- If you'll be roasting the peanuts yourself, preheat the oven to 175°C/350°C. Use either blanched peanuts or raw, whole peanuts. In the latter case, remove the skins by hand prior to roasting. Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast them in the oven for 10–15 minutes or until golden brown. Skip this part, if you're using dry-roasted peanuts.
- Transfer the roasted peanuts to your food processor or blender. Turn the processor on and blend the peanuts at one-minute intervals. In between processing, use a spatula to scrape down the sides. You'll see the peanuts go from crushed to powder, from large clusters to a dry ball, and finally to a warm, smooth, and pourable liquid butter. Keep processing until you reach desired consistency. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt and syrup (if using). Process the butter for one more minute. Pour the peanut butter in an airtight container such as a glass jar. Leave the lid open until the peanut butter has cooled completely. Transfer to the refrigerator. It's a good idea to store your peanut butter in the fridge, as this will keep it fresh for several weeks, even months.
- All done! Enjoy on your favorite bread, in baking, and straight out of the jar!