Homemade Nut Butter : A Simple Recipe

Nut butter is a staple in my house. It makes a quick snack when spread on fruit, blended into smoothies, or spooned straight out of the jar. It lends richness to soups and stews and contributes to sweet and savory sandwiches. Although you can buy nut butter in almost any grocery store, the homemade version is more affordable, fresher, and tastier.

A paper bag of organic raw hazelnuts

When you make your own nut butter from scratch, you can reduce disposable food packaging, lessens food miles, and develop your cooking skills and resilience skills. You’ll also have full control of the ingredients you use in your recipe, so you’re free to make use of the ingredients you most enjoy and feel good about.

Raw, unprocessed nuts store well for several months, so you can use your own homegrown nuts, nuts you’ve seasonally foraged, or nuts you purchase in bulk quantities in paper bags at a discount price. You can make nut butter from locally grown edible nuts, even if they aren’t the same kind of nuts normally sold as nut butters. This easy recipe takes only a few minutes to make and works with pretty much any edible nut.

How To Roast Nuts

Roasting nuts is an optional step when making nut butter. Raw nuts make excellent nut butters and most nuts are healthier to consume when raw. Roasting the nuts changes the flavor, and many people prefer the richer flavor of roasted nut butter. I make both raw and roasted nut butters, depending on what sounds good to me when I’m making it. Follow the simple directions below to roast your nuts in the oven, or read this detailed article from Bon Appétit for even more information.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350° F
Step 2: Pour nuts into a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer
Step 3: Roast your nuts in the oven for 6-15 minutes. The longer cooking times will be better for larger, denser nuts and the shorter cooking times will work better for smaller, lighter nuts. Longer baking times will yield darker roasts, and keep in mind that nuts will continue cooking in residual heat for a few minutes after they are removed from the oven.
Step 4: Optionally, allow the nuts to cool, then use your hands to rub the papery skins from most of the nuts. This will yield a lighter in color, smoother nut butter. This isn’t necessary or possible with every kind of nut, but it does work well with hazelnuts and peanuts, and probably some others.

Making Nut Butter In A Food Processor

Roasted, cleaned hazelnuts in a food processor bowl

To make nut butter using a food processor, simply pour your raw or roasted nuts into the bowl of the food processor. I recommend filling the bowl no more than half full, for easiest processing. Seal the lid and process at full speed for about three full minutes (or longer if necessary). As it processes, you will first see the nuts get chopped into small pieces, and you might think there is no way it’s ever going to turn into nut butter. Be patient, and keep processing. If after three minutes of processing the mixture still seems too thick and dry, you can add a little bit of olive oil or any food grade oil of your choice. If you add oil too early you will never achieve a smooth consistency of nut butter, so I suggest being patient and letting the food processor do its work.

If you’re after a crunchy style nut butter, reserve some whole nuts before processing. Go ahead and process your nuts all the way to creamy smooth consistency, then add in your reserved nuts. Process until the additional nuts are chopped into small bits, but not pureed into butter.

Making Nut Butter Without A Food Processor

If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make your own nut butter. Other gadgets that may be capable of making nut butter include certain blenders and certain juicers. You may even be able to grind the nuts by hand using a mortar and pestle, a molcajete, or a rolling pin. When I was a child, my elementary school class once made nut butter by placing the nuts in a plastic bag and rolling over them repeatedly with a rolling pin. It was a lot of work, but it did eventually produce nut butter!

Finishing & Flavoring

A jar of finished hazelnut butter, labeled with masking tape.

I enjoy homemade nut butter completely unadorned. However, if you prefer, you can add sea salt, food quality oil, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla can be nice additions too!

Label your nut butter. You can use a fancy label if you like, or you can do it my way with masking tape and paint pens!

On a personal side note, I take a few different herbal health supplements in powder form every day. To streamline this process, I blend all the supplements into a special jar of nut butter such that my daily dosage of supplements can be consumed in about one spoonful of nut butter. I like to add honey, cinnamon, and ginger to taste, and the result is a delicious treat that uplifts my daily routine. If you decide to try this, only include herbs that are safe in larger than intended doses and mild in flavor. It is difficult to ensure an exact dose with this method, and it would be sad to ruin your nut butter by adding something yucky to it. Make sure you label the jar clearly to distinguish it from plain nut butter, and use extra caution if there are children in your home.

Note: This article discusses edible and medicinal wild plants. Always do your own thorough research before touching, foraging or ingesting any plant that’s new to you. Identification mistakes can happen and so can allergies, interactions, and idiosyncratic reactions. Information presented in this article and elsewhere on this web site is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any health conditions. View our full legal disclaimer here.

Nut Butter Recipes : Using Your Homemade Nut Butter

Nut butter sandwiches, crackers, apples, and celery are so familiar that they need no explanation. Nut butters can stand in for peanut butter in almost any recipe. I encourage you to experiment with whatever nuts are locally grown in your area. Here is one of my favorite recipes for a nut butter smoothie.

Mixed Berry Smoothie With Nut Butter

A mixed berry smoothie containing nut butter.  The purple smoothie is in a pint sized mason jar and resting on a wooden tabletop.


  • 1 cup frozen berries of your choice
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use any kind of nut milk that I may have in the fridge)
  • 1 ripe banana, peel removed
  • 1-2 spoonfulls nut butter
  • Optional: 1/2 cup ice


Place frozen berries and milk into blender. Blend until smooth. Add banana, nut butter, and ice. Blend again until smooth.

If you have a high powered blender, you may be able to add all the ingredients at one time. However, liquefying the frozen fruit and milk before adding the rest of the ingredients makes for easier blending.

I don’t add ice to my smoothies in the winter, because ice will make the drink extra cold. In summer when I’m eager to cool down, I add the ice. Ice will give a thicker consistency to the beverage.

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For Further Reading

Make Your Own Hazelnut Milk
The American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) : A Versatile Native Nut