homemade peanut butter 7

homemade peanut butter

Peanut butter is something that’s been in the back of my head for awhile, on the “hey, I should try to make that” list. In many ways, it’s well-qualified as a make-at-home food, especially for those of us trying to simplify our lives a little with our finely-tuned cooking skills. Why make your own peanut butter? Well, many of us eat a lot of it,  it’s obnoxiously expensive, and unless you want to spend even more  money on nicer varieties, it’s also obviously the result of some pretty ambitious factory processing. Therefore, a great candidate to replace with homemade.

At the same time, it’s also one of those foods that’s familiar. It’s like ketchup or your grandma’s cookies: unless it’s exactly like the way you grew up with, you’re going to have a hard time adjusting to something different – even if it’s a better version by any reasonable standard. I grew up on Jif, and there’s something amazing about that smooth, salty, slightly sweet spread that leaves a hole where your knife scooped it out that is hard to compare with the sticky, runny, actually-tastes-like-peanuts version that comes from making peanut butter more naturally.

In the end though, the foodie in me won out and I decided it was time to take on the PB challenge. It took a little searching, but I was able to find peanuts significantly cheaper per pound than the average natural peanut butter. This was important to me, because it’s hard to justify making my own if it doesn’t end up any cheaper than buying the stuff someone else already made. The peanuts I found were unroasted and still had the red skins on, but I wasn’t concerned. 

homemade peanut butter

check the price! yeah cheap peanuts!

I roasted them up, spun them for awhile in my food processer with a little oil, added some salt, and tasted the result: delicious, roasty, peanutty goodness. BUT: still sticky and runny. So much so that you couldn’t talk for awhile after putting a spoonful in your mouth, and bread got shredded in the effort to spread the homemade PB across it. This consistency was my conundrum, because great flavor has to be accompanied by ease of use if our homemade peanut butter was going to make the cut and replace store-bought.

homemade peanut butter

My solution: coconut oil. I knew that the “natural” varieties put out by the major brands used palm oil instead of the usual hydrogenated oil, which works because it’s a saturated fat and solidifies. I don’t know much about palm oil (except that it’s not much better of an alternative), but I recently had been hearing a lot of good things about coconut oil as a (relatively) healthy saturated fat. I decided to give it a try.

The result was pleasing. I only added 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil to the next batch, but I really noticed a difference. The most pronounced way to see it was when I put the peanut butter in the fridge: at a colder temperature where most homemade peanut butters become unmoving sludge, mine was easily spreadable and still left a pretty good indentation in the surface from the knife instead of filling back in. Definitely not identical to store-bought, but I was okay with that.

The other effect was a subtle flavor of coconut in the peanut butter. I’m still deciding how I feel about this– it takes a little getting used to, but not in a bad way. I may try adding a little less coconut oil next time to find a different balance, but I honestly can’t complain much about the flavor as it stands right now. So, I’d say the experiment was successful!

Here’s what I came up with.

Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

1 pound (or so) shelled peanuts in any form

2-3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tsp salt (if peanuts are unsalted)

Okay! To start, if your peanuts are un-roasted, roast them. I tossed them in a bowl with a small amount of oil, then spread on a pan and baked at around 350°F, stirring occasionally. When they’re gently browned and taste less “raw”, you can take them out.

homemade peanut butter

homemade peanut butter

The next (and only) step is to throw them in your food processor, forever. Start it running, and be patient; if you really want a smooth butter you’ll need to leave it running for at least 3-5 minutes. If you want it more gritty or chunky, run it less or add some more peanuts toward the end. I took some pictures of the progression so you can know what to expect.

homemade peanut butter

homemade peanut butter

here we go!

homemade peanut butter

homemade peanut butter

homemade peanut butter

At some point toward the end, add in your oil to adjust the consistency a little (different peanuts have different amounts of fat). Add the salt to taste, and pour into some kind of awesome jar or container to eat later. This can store at room temperature for weeks, or in your fridge for even longer.

There you go! This is an ongoing experiment, so if you come up with more adjustments or ideas, please share them. Let me know what you think. 

Also, if you’re interested in making the delicious-looking english muffins in the pictures, check out our english muffins recipe!

Till next time, foodies!

homemade peanut butter

7 thoughts on “homemade peanut butter

  1. Reply Tracey Mar 20, 2013 7:42 pm

    Made homemade peanut butter for the first time using this recipe…….AWESOME!!! I am going to make homemade for now on.

  2. Reply Michael McGillicuddy Jul 30, 2013 1:20 pm

    Hi there!

    I liked this post. So I have a question about the separation of peanut butter. Justin’s and Maranatha both use palm fruit oil as an agent to prevent separation. However, it doesn’t do the greatest job. There is still some oil at the top. I know palm fruit oil is half saturated and half unsaturated :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_oil#Composition_and_comparison

    while coconut oil is 91% saturated. Peanut oil on the other hand is 16% saturated.

    Is there a correlation between the level of saturated fats a particular oil has and its ability to hold the peanut butter together when added to it?

    I reckon there is. Sat. fats are solid at room temp. while unsaturated are liquids. So therefore, if there is coconut oil staying solid at room temp. it keeps the pb from being runny. But what about the unsaturated peanut oil in that case? It’s not hydrogenated so it’ll stay a liquid. Does the coconut oil bind to it?

    Sorry if these are a lot of questions; I make my own peanut butter and sell it, and am trying to learn everything I can about it. If you’d like to talk on the phone, email me for my number.

    Any help is appreciated!

  3. Reply HaleyHolden Aug 5, 2013 3:22 pm

    Looks great! Where did you get those peanuts? And what are they labeled as?

  4. Reply HaleyHolden Aug 6, 2013 12:51 pm

    How long does it typically take to roast the peanuts?

  5. Reply shawn May 19, 2014 5:10 pm

    I used coconut oil and a bit of honey. Flavor is delicious, but when I put it in the frig, it gets too hard to spread. I’ve read on some other sites that it’s fine to leave it outside of frig. Any thoughts?

    • Reply Todd Jun 25, 2014 12:04 pm

      Definitely ok to leave out. It won’t keep quite as long (eventually the nut oil goes rancid), but it will spread much easier and keep for a pretty long time anyway.

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