How to Make Homemade Nut Butter

Peanut butter seems like something that would be much easier to buy than to make. But making homemade nut butter is surprisingly simple!

And when you taste that first spoonful, drippy and warm right out of the food processor, you will be so glad that you did.

One of the perks of homemade nut butter is that you can control exactly what goes in. If you like your nut butter a bit sweet, you can squeeze in some honey or maple syrup. If you want a thinner consistency, drizzle in a bit of peanut oil. Or if you’re feeling a little indulgent, you can toss in a few squares of dark chocolate and blend up a chocolate nut butter that is a whole lot more wholesome than Nutella.

Here’s how to make homemade nut butter:

Place two cups of nuts in the bowl of a food processor (three cups if your food processor has a large bowl). For cashews and almonds, I choose raw nuts, which aren’t processed with any oil or salt. For peanuts, look for either the roasted/salted kind or buy peanuts in their shell (and shell them).

Turn the food processor on and allow it to run for several minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the speed and power of your food processor. Keep in mind that hard nuts such as almonds will take longer to break down than peanuts, which are softer. You’ll see the following stages as your food processor runs:

First, the nuts become coarsely, then finely, chopped.

Next, the nuts begin to look like dry, then moist, sand.

Then the nuts turn into a thick paste, almost like a cookie dough. The paste may gather together in a ball that thumps around your food processor. This is the stage when you may start thinking “This is never going to work!” Be patient!

If you want to make any additions to your nut butter—like honey, oil, or a few squares of chocolate—add them during this last stage.

When the nuts finally release their oils, the paste will thin out.

Because homemade nut butter doesn’t contain any preservatives, you want to be smart about how you store it. Place it in an airtight container. If you’re going to use it quickly (such as within a week), simply stash it in the pantry. Otherwise, refrigerate it. As with all natural nut butter, oil may collect on the top as it settles. Just stir it back in and enjoy!