Homemade Nut & Seed Butter

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For the past couple of years, nut butter has been the answer to most quick snacking situations in our home. Need a pick-me up? Dip some apple slices in peanut butter. Feel like having something a bit more substantial? Slab some hazelnut butter on a piece of rye and top with strawberry slices. Got a sweet tooth? Make vegan cookies using almond butter. Want dessert in 3 seconds? Fill a fresh pitted date with hazelnut butter. The combinations are endless and the result is always utterly satisfying. I guess the rich flavour and smooth and fatty creaminess balances many of the light and vegetable packed dishes in our kitchen pretty good. Our bodies need that fat and protein so we have made sure to always keep our pantry stocked up on at least one jar of nut butter.

Unfortunately, buying good quality organic brands is out of this world expensive. Also, after having tried some pretty cool mixed nut butters in Australia (Hello Macadamia, Cashew & Maple Butter!), the selection here in Sweden started to feel a bit limiting. Which brings me to today’s post. We have tried making our own nut butter a few times in the past years, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that we really got the hang of it. And since then, we haven’t been giving our food processor any rest. So after quite a few batches of homemade nut butter, we have learned some simple tricks that we wanted to share. Along with our favourite flavouring combination. Here we go! 

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Ingredients
First of all, you only need ONE ingredient to make nut butter. Nuts. All kinds work, either on their own or mixed. You probably want to add some salt as well, but resist the urge to add water, other oils or any other liquid. By sticking to one ingredient you will get the creamiest result. You can add oil but it really isn’t needed as the point is to get the nuts to release their own oil. Water or other liquids will react with the natural oil and turn the butter more into a sticky paste. If you are allergic to nuts, you can use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds/pepitas instead. Both have beautiful flavours. We usually mix nuts with seeds as a way to keep the bulk cost down, seeds are much cheaper than nuts in our part of the world.

Preparation
The easiest and most delicious nut butter is achieved by roasting the nuts slightly. You will get a creamier result and a nice, toasted flavour. We find 10-15 minutes on 150°C/300°F to be perfect. You can roast them longer but the longer you roast them, the more the nuts will oxidise (meaning, less healthy). You can activate the nuts instead by soaking and dehydrating them (this is the healthiest option), but it will be more difficult to get them to release their oils and achieve that creamy result (adding a bit of oil usually helps in this case).

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Kitchen tool
To succeed in making nut butter you need to have a decent food processor. You are going to mix the nuts for at least 10 minutes and the nuts will get pretty sticky after a while, so your food processor will get hot. If it starts to smell a bit burnt, switch it off and let it cool down for a while before continuing. If you know that your machine isn’t all that powerful, it helps roasting the nuts a bit extra and adding them warm to the machine. We use a Magimix 3200 and it works really well. Regardless of the brand, it is worth investing in quality kitchen tools if you plan to use them a lot. A few readers have told us that they use their Vitamix blender. We haven’t tried it but trust that it works. The reason we prefer a food processor is that it has a wider base which allows the whole batch to be mixed at once, not just the nuts at the bottom. The mixing time will vary depending on the machine, the type, amount and temperature of the nuts. It takes around 10-12 minutes before it’s completely smooth and creamy in our machine but it can take up to 20 minutes in others.

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Our Standard Nut & Seed Butter
Makes 2 cups

4 cups of any nuts and/or seeds, either one sort or mixed (for example 1 cup / 135 g cashew nuts, 1 cup / 135 g almonds, 1 cup / 135 g brazil nuts, 1 cup / 135 g sunflower seeds)
2-3 large pinches sea salt

Roast the nuts together with the salt at 150°C/300°F for about 10-12 minutes. Transfer the roasted nuts/seeds to a food processor. Run it on high speed for 10-20 minutes (depending on the strength of the food processor). Stop and scrape down the sides a few times. It will have a fine powder texture at first but just be patient and let the food processor do its magic. The nut butter is ready when it is all smooth, creamy and runny. Taste and add more salt if needed. If you prefer it a bit crunchy, you can add some chopped nuts at this point. Transfer to clean glass jars. Lasts for a few weeks in the fridge.

Cashew, Maple & Turmeric Butter
Makes 1 cup
This is amazingly tasting flavored nut butter is  probably our favorite thing ever to put on top of a sandwich or as a sweet dip for crunchy vegetables.

1 cup standard nut butter (preferably using half cashew nuts, half sunflower seeds)
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Follow the instructions above for making the nut butter, or use store bought.
Add the rest of the ingredients towards the end of the mixing process, when the nut butter is completely smooth. Stir everything together by hand or give it a quick mix in the food processor. The spices and maple syrup will react with the nut butter making it slightly less creamy which is why you don’t want to stir it around too much. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Other uses for nut butter
Here are a few other ways you can use nut butter:

• Add a spoonful on top of your breakfast porridge or yogurt.
• Add a dollop in smoothies for extra richness.
• Use it in salad dressings (like in the No-Noodle Pad Thai in Green Kitchen Travels)
• As a filling in croissants or cinnamon buns.
• Use them in bars (we’ve got a beautiful new recipe that we plan to post in just a few days!)

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PS! We have just released a new update of our Green Kitchen App. Not only have we included smart timers with full support for the Apple Watch, but we have also translated all the 124 recipes in the app to three new languages – Spanish, French and Italian. You can find the language switcher inside the settings menu of the app. This update is available without any extra cost.

80 Comments

  • Suzanne
    Wow, sounds absolutely delicious. I normally just put 250g each of Almonds, Brazil nuts + Cashews in my Thermomix + blitz for a couple of minutes to make ABC spread. It does it very easily, though not quietly! We eat loads of it, especially delicious on buckweat toast + I also use it in this brownie recipe - http://www.quirkycooking.com.au/2010/09/nut-butter-chocolate-swirl-brownies/ I'll have to try adding the extra flavours / seeds. Thanks so much for sharing.
  • leila
    Thanks to your post, I just made my first outspread ever. Super excited! Thanks for the inspiration and tips!
  • I must start doing this! it looks so much better than store bought! Plus, I love the idea of adding spices :)
  • Renae
    I just made this and it is delicious. I am planning to make the bars tomorrow. Delicous.
  • Hanna
    Wow, Thank you for this! I did not roast the nuts maybe that is why it took slightly longer with the processor. However, it was so tasty!! I used it like nutella as a bread spread. Thought about adding some honey to make it more delicious for my little ones :) Thank you
  • Great idea! Similar to what we are doing with tahini and humus: just add whatever spices and/or herbs you feel like for unlimited flavors and colors!
  • such a great post!! thank you for all these interesting information!! I will definetely try the Cashew Maple Turmeric Butter!! well done :)
  • Cari
    My nut butter never seems to get creamy. It tastes great but it doesn't stick together. I have a Cuisinart Pro. Any tips would be so appreciated. Thank you!
    • Françoise Tremblay
      You have to keep going !! after a longer time of running the oil will start to come out and bind everything :)
  • Laura
    This is a great article, I will most definitely try to incorporate spices to my nutbutters additional to cinnamon ;) One problem I still got, is that when making hazelnut butter it always turns out crumbly instead of smooth... Any tipps to avoid that?
    • Sue
      Walk away from the processor!!
  • It is so healthy and wonderful taste to eat and thanks for sharing this.
  • shayna
    I love my Vitamix for nut and seed butters. It only takes a couple minutes, start on the highest setting, use the tamper the ENTIRE time its running and if the pitcher gets too warm to the touch at the base shut it down and start again. Its really important to push the nuts down into the blades. I never thought about combining nuts and seed. I usually only roast the almonds, but I've made all kinds: straight up sunflower kernels, pistachio (SOOOOO GOOD!) macadamia, cashew and of course almond.
  • It's a good thing I don't have access to Macadamia Nut Butter. But now that I have your handy instructions here, I could be in serious trouble.
  • AJ
    The cashew, maple and turmeric butter sounds amazing! Do you need to add the maple syrup? Am trying to go sugar-free so wonder what it would taste like...xx
  • Love this! The Cashew, Maple & Turmeric Butter sounds divine! Thanks for sharing!
  • NOTE TO EVERYONE: Check the manual of your blender first. I broke mine by not checking the maximum interval of crushing things. Might have been my general clumsiness playing in as well, but just as a reminder. :D Lily (Recipes and Random)
    • Françoise Tremblay
      I broke my Vitamix too because I didn't know there was a time limit of 10 min :(
      • Did you know there is a re set switch under the Vitamix so you can reset it after it cuts out?
  • I love making my own nut butters (so much cheaper and at least you can be sure of the ingredients in them!) but have yet to make any mixed seed butters. But having just read your post while munching a slice of bread with a cashew, hazelnut and almond butter (and thoroughly enjoying that combo!) I now know what I will be making next!
  • Love nut butter - once you make your own there's no going back! AND you can get super creative with combinations / add-ins. I have an ancient cuisinart processor that makes the best nut butter. I've found the vitamix makes a dryer butter that gets hot fast. There's something about the processor that draws the oils out in a way that I prefer (and it's much easier getting out every precious bit).
  • Sara
    Thank you for the lovely recipe! Just want to share some valuable info (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/california-targets-wrong-water-wasters/Content?oid=4222724) since I'm writing from Los Angeles - almond crops are currently responsible for making the current extreme draught conditions even worse because they are such a water-intensive crop in an area that does not naturally have sufficient water supply, so please consider using other nuts and seeds instead, as CA is currently the only major source of almonds in the world (if you're able to find a small, local/non-CA supplier, wonderful!). Thanks for reading :) (no affiliation with the author or the website)
  • Helene hvid
    It looks really delicious! Have you tried using "hørfrø"?(dont know this word in english!) i love them but have no idea it it works as i seed in this combination..

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