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. Ryan June 1st, 2011

    I’ve never made my own peanut butter. After seeing these photos I may try. Thanks Kerry.

  2. rob June 1st, 2011

    I’m planning on checking out raw and roasted peanuts tomorrow, when I head into town. Making one’s own has to be better than store bought.

  3. Jason June 1st, 2011

    Looks yummy. Love your website, but Canucks prevail! Looking forward to your next post!

  4. Lance June 1st, 2011

    Yum!! And…you have no idea how much I love natural PB…and how much I go through! So…I’m loving this…and WILL be trying it!!!

    Yum!!!

  5. Kerry June 1st, 2011

    @Ryan You’re welcome!

    @Rob Homemade peanut butter tastes a little different than store bought, but I like it. Happy grocery shopping. :)

  6. Kerry June 1st, 2011

    @Lance! It’s fun to make. Enjoy!

  7. Mario June 1st, 2011

    Interesting post. Homemade peanut butter sounds like a fun thing to make. Definitely a cool project.

  8. MD June 1st, 2011

    This looks really interesting. For some reason I’ve been eating lots of peanut butter out of the container lately. I might have to try this.

  9. Mike June 1st, 2011

    Don’t you have to factor in the cost of the food processor? By the way, have you done a cost comparison on coffee? Starbucks instant versus ground versus the capsules, that is?

    Love your site.

  10. Kerry June 1st, 2011

    @Mike If you’ve got a ‘food processor usage calculator’ count me in! ;)

  11. Jules June 1st, 2011

    Hmmm…if I can find peanuts in bulk I’ll give this a shot. I simply didn’t know that peanuts could be that cheap.

  12. Caitlin June 2nd, 2011

    I’d be more interested in things like almond butter, but it sounds like it’s at least worth a shot.

    Sigh. More reasons to try and afford a food processor. Do you have any suggestions for quality food processors that can be budget-friendly?

  13. Reinita June 2nd, 2011

    As a kid, 40 years ago, our family lived for a time in an area where peanut butter were was too costly for us to purchase so my mom would follow these same directions and the result was great and the smell wonderful!!! We did not have a food processor. She used a blender which, at that time, was able to do more than most blenders are now capable of doing.

  14. Chuck June 2nd, 2011

    Hiya,
    Pnut butter holds my life together, lol

    1 Did you add in the cost of the roasting the nuts?

    2 I made nutbutter once, using the grinder attachment on a tabletop mixer. Worked great. (I didn’t roast them)

    3 Pnut oil is worth more than canola, so commercial companies remove it and add a substitute oil. (read the label)

    4 Canola … Canadian Oil Association ?

    Have an interesting day…..

  15. Rick June 2nd, 2011

    As Chuck mentioned is cost of electric/gas (for stove) and electricity consumed by the processor included in costs. Wasn’t a big deal in the past but with electric/gas rates eating a larger portion of the monthly expenses, might be wise to include and will give a better apples to apples comparison. Here is a calculator to come up with a rough way to figure out the cost: http://www.electricity-usage.com/Electricity-Usage-Calculator.aspx

  16. Joni June 2nd, 2011

    If you process your peanuts with a champion juicer (for those of you into juicing)it will come out smooth and creamy as long as you get it started and then just let it come out at its own pace after that. We love it!

  17. Monica June 2nd, 2011

    I had no idea it was so easy! I agree with Caitlin though… another reason to get a food processor – I haven’t yet.

    Quick question though, does it really need to be refrigerated? I’ve been buying “natural” peanut butter with just peanuts, oil, and salt, and it keeps fine in my cabinet. If so, why is the homemade stuff more perishable?

  18. Ashley June 3rd, 2011

    My son is a vegetarian who goes to a peanut-free public school. Very frustrating. Anyway, we found Sunflower Butter, which is safe and tastes like Peanut Butter. But it’s terribly expensive. So I got raw sunflower seeds and roasted them in my popcorn popper then blended with my $10 mini-food processor. The entire process takes 10 minutes or so for a week’s worth of sammiches. I don’t recall the price of the seeds, but this year, we are trying to plant sunflowers so he can enjoy (almost) FREE “PBJ” sandwiches!

  19. Rick June 3rd, 2011

    Monica, no peanut butters do not require refrigeration. The reason we are told to refrigerate 100% peanut butter (and most say this on the side of the jar) is because the oil will seperate faster when at room temperature. The marketers assumption is we don’t like the look of oil seperation and we are too lazy to want to mix the oil back into the solids. Sounds ridiculous, but that is why hydrogenated oils were invented to keep the oil solid, so the oil seperation would not occur.

  20. Marjo June 3rd, 2011

    Almond butter works well and is cheaper as well. An added bonun for peanut allergy sufferers is that you can guarantee that your almond butter will be 100% peanut free. This is not the case with commercial almond butter which ‘may contain’ peanuts and can be deadly.
    Years ago before buying a food processor I did a cost analysis on its ability to make bread (some processors are set up for this). I figured out that if I made bread for a while year with the processor, it would pay for itself. It was an excellent investment. Twenty years later it died and I invested in a new one that was even better at making bread dough – and almond butter.

  21. Deb June 4th, 2011

    I grew up in Ecuador where there are no jobs for american teens. I made money by making homemade peanut butter and selling it to other foreigners. I did the extra work of removing the skins. Once the peanuts were roasted, I would rub them between my hands and the skins would flake off. I would then sit outside and drop the peanuts into a bowl by handfulls, letting the wind blow away the skins. If there was no wind, I carefully used a low speed hair drier. For taste and creamyness, I added a little oil and sweetener (didn’t know better as a teen and I used powdered sugar).

  22. Monica June 4th, 2011

    Thanks Rick, good to know!

  23. Kara June 4th, 2011

    Love your word play in this article! And love the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

  24. Jane June 4th, 2011

    I’ve made pb and enjoyed it. Not sure the savings justify the effort (or time) but the fun and flavour might be worth it.

    Interested in comparing notes on home made yogurt!

  25. Jane June 4th, 2011

    We store our natural pb upside down in the jar in a small bowl. Makes it easier to stir and reconstitute and more importantly, get every last ‘drop’.

  26. Mark June 5th, 2011

    Where did you pick up the large bag of organic peanuts?

  27. Stef June 5th, 2011

    Why was I thinking about how to make my own peanut butter last week? Hum … Regardless of the cost savings, making your own food is healthier than buying from the store. Question: why not add some peanut oil? I would not have go for flax oil although I already grind my flax seeds. Nice post!

    Request: a post on growing herbs like basil.

  28. Kerry June 5th, 2011

    Stef: You can use any oil. I used flax ’cause that’s what I have in my fridge. :)

    I’ve written a few posts about growing herbs and other delicious things:
    How to grow and dry herbs from your tasty herb garden
    11 Fruits and Vegetables You Can Grow in a Pot
    DIY: Getting Dirty with Square Foot Gardening

  29. Susanna K. June 6th, 2011

    Hm. I wonder what would happen if I tried this with boiled peanuts?

  30. Stef June 6th, 2011

    @Fox
    Sorry, should have searched the previous posts. Thanks for the quick reply.

  31. ELLIOT June 8th, 2011

    wao! My kids and me finish a bottle in 2 weeks. Now I can save on that. Thanks.

  32. Sarah June 9th, 2011

    Is that a Ninja food processor in the photos??

  33. Kerry June 9th, 2011

    @Sarah Nope, my food processor is just a Cuisinart.

  34. Mark June 11th, 2011

    Hey – where did you find the large organic raw unsalted peanuts – Superstore?

  35. Kerry June 11th, 2011

    @Mark I buy all my organic nuts, seeds, and dried fruit from a Canadian company called Rancho Vignola — they ship too.

  36. Rick F. June 15th, 2011

    I read the recipe a while back on the CheeseSlave Blog website and she indicated that Peanuts have Phytic acid which blocks mineral absorbtion, and can cause tooth decay and even osteoporosis — I haven’t read the material yet but am just passing this along.. Anyway, her suggestion is to soak the nuts for 12-14 hours BEFORE roasting.. Here’s a link on the subject that does a decent job of explaining why..

    http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/07/soaking-nuts.html

  37. John June 28th, 2011

    Hi Kerry
    In the UK I’ve been buying The Peanut Company PB from Tesco. It’s the only unadulterated PB (as far as I’m aware) available here. Now Tesco have stopped selling it, I’m going to make my own. I’ve browsed the web and added dozens of sites to my favourites. All recipes are basically the same, but your page is the most informative. Here I was paying £2.70 ($3.80) for 340g (12oz). I don’t know if it will be cheaper making my own, but that isn’t the point. The main thing is that home-made will be without any nasties, such as palm oil: one of the main reasons for the rape of the rain forests.
    I store oily peanut butter in the cupboard upside down. that way it makes it easier to stir, without the oil spilling out of the jar.

    Great site,Kerry. Best wishes, John

  38. Justin July 13th, 2011

    Anyone know of a good place to buy peanuts, either online or in-store? A quick google search doesn’t seem to show any 5 lbs of peanuts (let alone organic) for $10 like the article suggests.

  39. woody July 21st, 2011

    Peanuts make a difference, of course. Dry roasted nuts often have onion and garlic added – ugh. Not natural, but great tasting, are honey roasted peanuts. (Wallyworld-under $5 for a huge jar) When using the food processor, and I’ve been making my own peanut butter for years, just keep it going. There is a point at which it will all smooth out and flow in the machine;it takes several minutes or more. Add a handful of reserved peanut for crunchy style after a smooth consistency has been reached. I’ve never had to add oil of any sort. People are reluctant to overwork the motor but my Cusinart has been grinding peanuts for awesome peanut butter for years.

  40. Merlin September 21st, 2011

    I add a bit of honey or powdered sugar to my peanuts while processing to really sweeten the butter – almost like a frosting that I use on apples and other fruits. It’s a bit addicting though.

  41. Michael One October 8th, 2011

    For a knock-out surprise flavor, add a tablespoon of molasses. Yum!

  42. Erica November 1st, 2011

    It would be helpful to know about what we should be paying for organic nuts for this to work, as well as where to purchase them.

  43. Ann December 30th, 2011

    I love homemade peanut butter! I use my VitaMix blender and it takes less than a minute to blend the nuts. Fantastic and tastes a lot better than store-bought. Using honey-roasted peanuts adds a delicious dimension as well!!!

  44. Louise January 5th, 2012

    I tried this recipe last weekend. Wow… really love the taste of the homemade stuff. Going to try adding a variety of nuts and seeds next time ( a few sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, walntus ) to the peanuts

    I may never buy peanut butter already made ever again!

    Thanks!

    P.S. Really enjoy your blog keep up the great work :)

  45. wendy wright January 14th, 2012

    have you tried other nut blends? they are very expensive! I cant wait to try this.

  46. Christopher Stogdill January 15th, 2012

    I make my own Almond Milk and usually have a large batch of almonds lying around. Even though the Almond Butter I get at the store isn’t roasted, I roasted my almonds as directed above and ground them in my food processor. I had to open up the processor and scrape the sides, but I did not have to add any oil. The resulting Almond Butter was much finer and tasted a bit better than what I could get at the store. The price differential between whole/sliced/slivered almonds and Almond Butter is easily over $1, closer to $2 a pound with my almonds on sale. That is for the store ground stuff. The pre-packaged stuff is anywhere from $2 to $6 a pound more expensive than the DIY.

  47. JayPea January 17th, 2012

    Wow, I just ordered a VitaMix and the first thing I’m going to try is this peanut butter. I can even make peanut milk or almond milk with it. I always make my popcorn “your” way now – in the paper bag; I love it and save money. Thanks a bunch Kerry!

  48. canadian for me January 18th, 2012

    now that my kids have almost left home, and I am almost retired, I’ll resume doing what I did 30 years ago in my granola years. There is no comparison: make your won. It’s the best. Kerry, I love your blog.

  49. wolfeyes January 18th, 2012

    Hi Kerry,

    We saw this article a few months ago and want to give it a try. The only thing we are uncertain of is the amount of peanuts you use per recipe. Help!

    Thanks for these great ideas.

  50. 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

  51. Bonnie May 13th, 2012

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

  52. 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!

  53. 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.”

  54. 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.

  55. 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/

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