Homemade Peanut Butter: A Visual Guide and Cost Analysis

You’re all nutty over peanut butter. Over the years the very vocal peanut gallery has gooped up my inbox with frugal recipe requests for a healthy version of the homemade sticky stuff. I’d say I’m a little gobsmacked by all the gooey email, but my mouth is already stuck shut thanks to the delicious savings.

Now, I’m the first to admit that making your own peanut butter is not going to save you mega millions. I don’t care if you bathe in the buttery stuff daily, ’cause putting more effort into paying down your mortgage, paying off your credit cards, and avoiding hefty investing fees is where you’ll bite back on the biggest bucks.

There are advantages to making your own peanut butter when compared to buying the branded stuff though, especially if you don’t mind the extra steps needed to turn a few peanuts in a blender.

Advantages

Homemade nut butters won’t contain the hydrogenated oils, stabilizers, emulsifiers, excess sugars, and salts found in many branded varieties. Plus, with the numerous concerns about salmonella contamination at large processing plants and peanut butter recalls, you can chew a little easier knowing that your homemade stuff is likely safer for your family.

Blending your own at home also gives you full control over the peanuts — country of origin, organic or not — while allowing you to mix in other nuts or seeds for a unique blend not available in stores. Boost the healthfulness of your nutty butter by adding a little flax seed oil, and enjoy the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for far less cost than other nut butters containing flax seeds. Homemade peanut butter just tastes fresher.

Price Check: You’re saving more than peanuts!

I can’t believe I did the mathy math and crunched the numbers on peanuts. Anyorganicpeanuts, I compared the pricing of my recipe to peanut butter made only with 100% organic peanuts — figuring out the math on added salt, sugar, and oil is not my idea of a party. Besides, I only buy peanut butter with one ingredient, and that’s peanuts.

In a nutshell, the store brand organic peanut butter cost $3.69 for 500g ($0.738/100g), while my organic raw unsalted peanuts cost $10.50 for 5lbs ($0.463/100g).

Bottom Line: You’ll save 37% by making your own organic peanut butter at home — that’s a savings of $1.37 per 500g jar.

What about Costco? My article, The Complete Guide to Costco, shows you how to find the biggest savings at everyone’s favorite warehouse store. But when you compare Costco’s organic peanut butter selling at $10 for a 2kg jar ($0.50/100g) my homemade recipe is still cheaper, and perhaps tastier.

Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

Here’s how to make your own cost-cutting peanut butter in three easy steps:

STEP ONE: Roast your nuts (I’ve always wanted to write that) at 350°F (180°C) for 10-20 minutes in a shallow baking pan. Only roast one layer deep at a time to ensure even cooking. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Let cool for 15 minutes after roasting.



Skip this step if you’re into a raw diet and prefer green peanut butter. Some argue that roasting helps kill any bacterial contaminants that might be on the peanuts.

What about the skins? Peanut skins are high in antioxidants and give the final product a unique taste — and a slightly pinkish color.

STEP TWO: Place roasted peanuts in a food processor and grind until smooth. Processing may take several minutes.

At first the nuts break into a fine crumbly mix. A few minutes longer and the nuts begin to bind as the oil is released.

If your butter appears dry or your food processor cannot turn the mixture, go ahead and add one teaspoon of peanut oil or flax seed oil — don’t overdo it! A little oil goes a very long way.


Optional: Add a little salt or your favorite nuts and seeds to blend the perfect nut butter.

The food processor may form a big peanut butter ball if you didn’t add a lot of oil.

Crunchy peanut butter: Reserve a half cup (or more) of ‘chopped’ nuts right at the start and set them aside. When the peanut butter is almost done, stir them in.

STEP THREE: Remove peanut butter from the food processor (it will be warm) and refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Serve as a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or use as a dip for fresh fruit slices — either way you’ll go nutty.

Your Thoughts: What do you put in your homemade nut butters? Are the savings worth the work?

Your two cents:

  1. Cathi January 22nd, 2012

    I just wanted to say how much i love your website, i am always trying to eat healthier and it’s hard when it does cost more when you buy healthier foods at the store. i love to make my own anything, and saving money is always good.

    Thank you,
    CM

  2. Bonnie May 13th, 2012

    Absolutely love peanut butter and am definitely going to try this. Perhaps with almonds as well. Thank you very much!

  3. Mary July 4th, 2012

    This is great! I was wondering, what are the ratios for how much peanuts and how much oil you used? Thank You!

  4. Ann December 29th, 2012

    It looks like a 13×9 baking dish and “go ahead and add one teaspoon of peanut oil or flax seed oil — don’t overdo it! A little oil goes a very long way.”

  5. Richard February 9th, 2013

    I read here a lot about how much a food processor costs. 10 years ago I bought a Vita-mix for $250, a lot of money then. Today they are around $500, but you can do so much with it. Mine still runs like the first day. Recently I got the smaller jar from Amazon and transferred the blade from the big one to the smaller one. At a Costco road show I got the dry blade with small jar to make my own flower and other dry ingredients. To me is not about savings as much as eating healthier without all those chemicals. If $500 is a lot of money for you, wait till you spend at least $100 a month in medications in your later years because of all the chemicals accumulated in your body.
    I do not work for Vita-mix, I just love the machine because of all the things I can do with it.

  6. Dave November 24th, 2013

    Hey Kerry – great blog; you are providing a really really valuable public service.

    Two years ago Costco was selling organic pb, but it appears this is no longer the case. Their jars are now labeled ‘natural’ – which can mean anything.

    Nonetheless theirs is a great flavour, mainly because Valencia peanuts are used. I cannot find them raw in stores, otherwise I would make my own too. (Their price is very close to your home-made costs.)

    And speaking of raw pb, people should be VERY careful: the potentially lethal fungus aflatoxin can grow on raw peanuts, showing as a grey mold. It is very stable and highly toxic.

    For more information go to http://www.foodsafetywatch.org/factsheets/aflatoxins/

  7. jo May 20th, 2014

    I would like to make my own organic peanut butter, but I can’t find any sources of organic nuts that are cheaper than buying it pre-made. If you see this and can let me know where you buy cheap organic nuts, please do!

  8. jo May 21st, 2014

    I went to the website you recommended and it seems they don’t sell organic peanuts anymore. Only conventional, and by the case – 26lbs! So where do you get them now? My preliminary research is showing 5lbs for $26.39. A lot higher than $10. Have prices gone up that much in 3 years?

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