If only I had known how quick and easy it was to make my own nut butters, I would have started doing it a long time ago!
I think that for most people, the idea of making smooth and creamy nut butters feels daunting. They’re the kind of thing that, even if you love making food from scratch, you just buy anyways- like hard cheeses and macaroni noodles.
The truth is, they require little more than absent-mindedly watching a cookie sheet of nuts in the oven with a timer, turning on your food processor, and scraping the finished product into a jar at the end.
My Method for Making Quick and Easy Nut Butters
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 and fill up a cookie sheet with your nut of choice (already shelled, of course). It’s fine if the nuts are a couple of layers deep, it just means you’ll need to mix them around a bit during roasting.
Good choices are peanuts (we prefer organic, Valencia peanuts, but any are fine), almonds, cashews, or even more exotic nuts like hazelnuts or walnuts. Just note that the times I’m giving you are for peanuts (and almonds are quite similar) but if you want to try other nuts you’ll just have to watch the roasting process carefully since some nuts will take less or more time in the oven.
I should also note here that ideally, your nuts should be “crispy nuts”, or nuts that have been soaked for 12-24 hours and then dehydrated. This is to reduce phytate content. Phytates put a strain on the digestive system and also pull nutrients out of our bodies so that we absorb them less. It’s the same idea as preparing grains by soaking/sprouting/sourdough. You can definitely still do this if you haven’t soaked and dehydrated the nuts first, but this is a good bonus step for even better nutrition and digestion.
2. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and set a timer for 8 minutes. Go do something else in the kitchen (note: this is a perfect amount of time for unloading the dishwasher, a task I detest and always put off).
3. When the beeper goes, pull out your cookie sheet and give the nuts a good shake. Sometimes I move them around with my hands to mix them well, just beware that they will be a bit hot by this point and you don’t want to burn yourself.
4. Pop them back in the oven for another 8-12 minutes. At this point, I start to go by smell more than anything. I find that 18-20 minutes of total oven time is pretty good for roasting my Valencia peanuts. Once that rich, roasted nut smell starts to really fill my kitchen, I know that they’re done. They also get a slightly shiny look, because the oils are being released (it’s a subtle thing, but you can sort of see it in this picture).
5. Let them cool for a little while and then dump them all into your food processor (one cookie sheet comfortably fills my processor). Turn it on to a medium speed and let it process for several minutes. If necessary, stop and scrape down the sides, but I usually only do this once or twice during the entire process.
The video below shows this in detail, but basically just keep processing the nuts until the oils are further released by the grinding, and it turns into a smooth paste. It takes at least 5 minutes for it to really starting to turn into nut butter and not just ground up nuts. Be patient.
At this point, it becomes a matter of preference how smooth or chunky you like it and how long you process it for. The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes for me. It is also so simple that my 6 year old can do it with hardly any supervision or help from me!
Finishing Up Your Nut Butter
Although not necessary at all, I like to flavor my nut butter slightly. I usually add in about a tablespoon of coconut oil, a sprinkle of salt (to taste- start with a just a little, blend and taste, add more if desired), and a spoonful of raw honey. I add this once it’s already nice and smooth, then I turn it back on for another minute to fully incorporate my extra ingredients.
For those who are really visual, go ahead and watch the video to see how it looks as it’s grinding. I show you my whole process and do my best to give you a close-up look at my food processor.