One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to make items from scratch rather than buying them pre-made and pre-packaged at the store. Making your own peanut butter is a super easy AND delicious way to do this! I promise you won’t even miss that jar of Jif.
I like my peanut butter smoooooth. Homemade peanut butter will always be coarser than the store-bought version because it’s made in a home food processor rather than an industrial-strength grinder. But after testing several methods, I’ve found a recipe that rivals store-bought brands. The secret? Lots of time in the food processor.
Why make peanut butter from scratch?
- It’s delicious! This peanut butter is just mildly sweet and a little salty, allowing the roasted nutty flavor to steal the show. Now that I’ve been making peanut butter at home for a while, I far prefer the taste of it to the super-sweet store-bought version.
- It saves you money. Right now, you can buy three sixteen-ounce jars of Jif on Amazon for $6.66, which amounts $0.14 per ounce. I buy my peanuts in a three-pound bag for $4.99 at my local Asian grocery store, which ends up costing me $0.11 per ounce of peanut butter. That’s 22% cheaper! (And that Amazon price is a great deal. Peanut butter is much more expensive at my local grocery store in Philadelphia.)
- It’s healthier. When you make peanut butter yourself, you can control the amount of sugar and salt you include.
- It’s fun! I mean, we’re talking about making peanut butter by yourself with real peanuts. How cool is that?
Selecting the peanuts
I buy unsalted, blanched peanuts because they tend to be the cheapest option. Actually, it’s probably even cheaper to buy peanuts still in their shells. This would require you to remove the shells, blanch the peanuts (boil them briefly to loosen the peels), and then rub off the skins. If you do that, then you are officially the best DIYer I know and I’m so proud of you.
You could buy roasted peanuts, which would allow you to skip the roasting step and put them straight into the food processor. If you’re using salted peanuts, don’t add in any salt. And if you’re making this peanut butter with honey roasted peanuts, you don’t need to add any honey or salt, and oh my gosh please share some with me because it is going to be TASTY!
How to make homemade peanut butter
Step 1. Roast your peanuts in the oven. This step is essential to give your peanut butter its color and that nutty flavor. Allow the peanuts plenty of room on the baking sheets to help them brown more evenly. You’ll know they’re done when they’re perfectly golden brown and your kitchen smells like peanut butter cookies.
Step 2. Let the peanuts cool. The friction in the food processor will cause them to heat up a lot, so it’s best to work with peanuts at room temperature.
Step 3. Grind those peanuts in a food processor for five minutes, stopping every minute to scrape the sides of the bowl. You’ll notice some distinct stages.
In four or five minutes, you’ll have grainy-but-not-too-bad-looking peanut butter, and you might be tempted to stop here. Don’t! Magic happens when you keep on grinding that peanut butter beyond the five-minute mark.
Step 4. Add honey and salt. Then continue to grind the peanut butter for an additional five minutes. Yep, that’s a total of ten whole minutes. But trust me, the extra time is totally worth it for that silky smooth texture. Continue to stop and scrape the bowl after each minute, taste the peanut butter, and add more honey or salt if needed. When you mix in the honey and salt, the peanut butter will thicken up at first. Don’t panic! It will get creamy again with a few more minutes of grinding.
To add oil or not to add oil…
Many homemade peanut butter recipes will tell you to add oil. Peanuts naturally have oil in them, so it’s not necessary to add more. The choice depends on the consistency you want for your peanut butter. If you like a stiffer peanut butter (think: perfect for scooping with apple slices), don’t add any. If you like runnier peanut butter (think: perfect for drizzling over ice cream), add one teaspoon of vegetable or peanut oil when you add the sweetener and salt. My husband and I both prefer our peanut butter with no oil added.
If you add one teaspoon of oil and you don’t think it’s enough, first try grinding the food processor for a couple minutes more. If you still don’t love the consistency, add one more teaspoon and grind again. I would not add more than one tablespoon of oil. Too much oil will result in major separation as the peanut butter sits, plus it can give the peanut butter an oily taste.
Can you skip/substitute the flavorings?
Sure! Personally, I find peanut butter hard to eat without any sweetener or salt. But if you’re a stronger person than me and you want your peanut butter to be ultra healthy, go for it! I’ve made peanut butter before with white sugar instead of honey, and it works just fine (although I prefer the taste of honey).
Creamy Homemade Peanut Butter
- Food processor
- 2 baking sheets
- 3 cups unsalted, blanched peanuts
- 3 tbsp honey
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil OPTIONAL (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peanuts on two baking sheets.
- Roast peanuts in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Halfway through baking time, rotate the baking sheets and gently shake them to turn the peanuts.
- Remove peanuts from the oven and let cool.
- Grind peanuts in the food processor for 5 minutes, stopping after each minute to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add honey and salt. Grind in the food processor an additional 5 minutes, continuing to stop and scrape the bowl after each minute or so.
- Store in an airtight jar.