Making homemade nut butter seems like something that would be difficult, but it's actually super easy. So easy, it has to be one of the easiest cooking projects I've tried this year (and some of those were really easy!). To put it into perspective, I thought it would be at least as difficult as making homemade nut milk, which is a process that requires you to soak nuts overnight and strain through a cheese cloth. It was at least ten times simpler than that.
This is great news for me. You see, I've avoided buying nut butters made from alternative nuts (like cashews or walnuts) in the past because they can be really pricey at the store. That is, if you can even find them—unless you're shopping at a specialty store or online, nut butters like these can be hard to even track down.
But there's one thing that's not hard to find at the supermarket—nuts, of all different shapes and sizes. So if you've got a hankering for cashew butter or hazelnut butter, your best bet may be to pick up some nuts and make the butter yourself. Luckily, the process requires no more than a quick roast and blend. Here, Dawn Kelley, CEO of Barney Butter, breaks down some of things you need to know before you get started.
To get started, here's what you'll need.
For this project, an oven, a baking sheet, a blender, and the nut of your choice are all you'll need—really! Though it might seem like you'd need to use oil to make nut butter, this isn't actually the case. "[Nuts] have natural oils in them so from a spreadability standpoint oil does not need to be added," says Kelley.
Of course, you can add other ingredients if you feel like it.
"I definitely encourage getting creative with add-ins," says Kelley. She says that you can add things like chia seeds, chocolate, or coconut. Spices work great too (think cinnamon or nutmeg), and you can even make it savory if you like with things like curry or paprika—don't knock it till you try it.
You can also combine nuts to make a hybrid nut butter. If just almonds aren't enough for you, try adding one or two other nuts, like hazelnuts or pecans. The more the merrier!
And you can use any kind of nut, but some will need to have their skins removed.
Kelley explains that some nuts have a very bitter skin, like walnuts and hazelnuts, which can affect both the flavor and texture of your final product. Luckily, you can usually remove most of the skin using one of two methods. The first is super simple: After you've roasted the nuts, place them in the center of a clean, dry dishcloth, then fold the dishcloth and use it to quickly rub the nuts. This will shed a bit of the skin, but not all of it. I happen to like a little bitterness in my food, so I used this method to make my nut butter and the results were pretty great.
Kelley says your other option is to blanch the nuts to fully remove the skin. To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil, add your nuts to the pot and let them cook for one minute, then drain them. You don't have to do this, but if you're not a fan of the way the nuts taste with the skin on, then you probably won't like the nut butter unless you fully remove the skin.
Now you're ready to start making the nut butter.
For this project, I made butter out of cashews, walnuts, and almonds. I used about a cup of each nut, which produced a final product of about 1/3 cup of butter. If you want a full cup, you'll need to use three cups of nuts.
Start by setting your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and set all of your nuts on the sheet. Roast them for six to eight minutes, until they're lightly toasted. Remove them from the oven and let cool.
Then, pop them in the blender for 10 to 12 minutes.
After your nuts have cooled, add them to a high-power blender or food processor and let them run for 10 to 12 minutes. At first the nuts will take on a mealy texture, and you may need to scrape down the sides of your blender to help them along, but eventually they will develop into a oily paste. If you want to make chunky nut butter, add bits of chopped nuts to the blend afterwards.
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge and they'll be good to eat for months.
Mine turned out better than I expected them too. The walnut butter was naturally sweet and earthy, but I added a bit of honey when I served it just to bring out that sweetness even more. The almond butter was practically begging me to add a pinch of salt, and the cashew butter was totally delicious plain. It was super sweet without any added sugar.
Use your homemade nut butter in these recipes.
Blackberry Overnight Oats
This recipe calls for peanut butter but I can't wait to try it with my walnut butter. Get the recipe here.
PB and J Energy Bars
Try swapping almond butter into these chewy bars. Get the recipe here.
4-Ingredient Banana Smoothie
Sweet, homemade cashew butter would taste amazing in this smoothie. Get the recipe here.