Homemade Peanut Butter: Recipe and Cost Comparison

By Elizabeth Lang on 30 November 2009 (Updated 16 December 2010) 21 comments
Photo: Listener42

Ever since 4th grade when a fellow classmate dressed up as George Washington Carver and made (and shared) peanut butter for a class project, I've always wanted to make my own homemade peanut butter. Many years later, as I've come to value homemade, natural items, I finally attempted making peanut butter.

In making it, I was particularly curious: is it cheaper to make my own natural peanut butter or to buy it?

The short answer is: it depends.

For this cost comparison I purchased a jar of Trader Joe's Natural Peanut Butter (16 ounces). The cost: $1.79

I also purchased a bag of Trader Joe's Dry Roasted and Salted Peanuts (1 pound). The cost: $2.19

So, at least if purchasing pre-salted peanuts at Trader Joe's, buying pre-made peanut butter is better.

However, for my second batch of peanut butter I purchased Planters peanuts at Costco for $7.29 for 4 pounds ($1.82/lb). And if you're buying natural peanut butter at a regular grocery store it's likely going to cost you upwards of $3.50/jar. (On Amazon they sell Skippy natural peanut butter for $18.60/ 6 jars or $3.10/jar.)

Even if homemade peanut butter is slightly more expensive to make it, it's well worth it. First, it's incredibly easy. Second, you can modify the flavor. And finally, it tastes absolutely delicious. Here's the recipe I used:

Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

Ingredients:
Peanuts (Shelled)
Salt (optional and to taste)
Peanut or Canola Oil (optional and probably not needed)

Step 1: Place peanuts in a food processor and chop until desired consistency. Usually this will take up to 5-7 minutes for creamy peanut butter. (Note that at first the peanuts will chop finely, but it takes several minutes for them to chop into a creamy, oily consistency. Some recipes call for adding oil, I didn't find it necessary.)

Step 2: Mix in salt if you use unsalted peanuts. Or add additional flavors like chocolate or honey.

That's it. The peanut butter fresh out of the food processor tastes delicious because it's warm from all of the blending.

I divided my peanut butter into half and added 2 tablespoons of honey — delicious. Another idea is to blend in chocolate chips at the very end (once the peanut butter is smooth). A gourmet peanut butter company, PB Loco, is a good source of ideas for recipe modification — such as raspberry white chocolate. (Or, if you don't want to try to make your own Asian Curry Spice peanut butter you can just buy some. I've had a number of their flavors and love them.)

Gift Idea

Homemade peanut butter is a great gift idea for the Holiday season. Buy a case of canning jars, some bulk peanuts, and you've got a great (tasty) gift idea.

What products do you make homemade instead of buying at the store? Do you make because it's cheaper, tastes better, or both?

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Guest's picture
Eystein

I think you can make peabutter cheaper than if you get a good deal on the peanuts and take into consideration that most peanutputter does not contain a 100 % peanuts.

Guest's picture
Olivia

I love homemade jelly. You know the fruit is good to start with, and when you use sugar insted of corn syrup it is much sweeter and fresher tasting.

Another is tomato sauce. With two boys of a certain age at home we go through a lot. I grow the tomatoes, so it's considerably less expensive and doesn't have all that sugar and stuff in it.

The third is apple sauce. We like it chunky and cinnamony with a bit of tartness to the sweet. This way it's customised to our preferences and if we buy apples by the bushel, much less costly.

Guest's picture
Guest

Can homemade peanut butter be stored at room temperature, like regular peanut butter?

Elizabeth Lang's picture

I store my homemade peanut butter in the fridge -- it seems to prevent the oils from separating.

Guest's picture
JimmyDaGeek

Homemade peanut butter will separate if not stored in the fridge. That's why you see shortening in the ingredient list of the commercial stuff.

Guest's picture
Anthony

I'd assume you take the peanuts out of the shells first! LOL. :)

One alternative to peanut butter is cashew butter. Same procedure as above, except with cashews. Personally, I find that it takes better. And not as many people are allergic to cashews as they are to peanuts.

Guest's picture
Stacy

I just can't stomach when the all natural pb separates into the oil and nut layers. Ewww...

Guest's picture
Guest

And yet, Jif contains the same amount of oil (and hydrogenated ones!) as well as a ton of other unappetizing things. Just stir it and stop being a baby.

Guest's picture
Cat

Almond butter is so much more expensive than PB in stores. I buy the bulk bag at Costco or BJ's, and make it in small batches.

Roast 2-3 cups of unsalted almonds in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, stirring them up midway through.

Add almonds to your food processor and process away -- You have to process for about 10 minutes as they're fairly hard. First you get almond chunks, then almond powder, then they start to clump up in a ball and bang around the food processor. After that point they give up enough oil and toughness to start to spread out into a paste. At this point, add some salt to taste, and a little olive oil to help smooth a bit.

Pour into leftover yogurt or sour cream containers and refrigerate.

Warning, cleanup's a bit of a pain.

Guest's picture
kate

I'd stick with homemade jelly etc for gifts. I have a child who is severely allergic to nuts and peanuts. Since she was diagnosed we've discovered that large numbers of our friends and family avoid nuts/peanuts due to allergy, intolerance or dislike. you'd better know your recipient.

Guest's picture
Guest

I know, it sounds a bit strange, but if you love walnuts it's amazing stuff. I've also made a mixed nut butter with walnuts, cashews, and brazil nuts. Very tasty and you can control the other ingredients going into it.

Guest's picture
Cat

@Guest - MMMMMmmmmm walnut butter... That sounds fantastic.

Guest's picture

The rare times we make pb, we like to add some honey into it. Yum! I've tried cashew butter but it stayed chunky and then got really dry - I loved the taste though.

Guest's picture

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JimmyDaGeek

I've been doing this with dry-roasted peanuts for a few years now. I didn't think to add honey - what a great idea.

I find that it takes slightly less than 2 containers of peanuts to fill up the container with peanut butter. I store my peanut butter in the fridge to keep it from separating.

Walgreens has this great sale going on now. Even with shipping, you pay about $1.50 a pound. http://www.walgreens.com/search/results.jsp?Ntt=walgreens+dry+roasted+pe...

Guest's picture
LightFoods

I used to make peanut butter for years as where I lived, the commercial ones were pathetic.
To overcome the separation of oil/pb, we used to store the jar upside down, or keep rotating now and again. Not really as painful as it sounds and it keeps much better and our homemade PB never really stood around that long anyhow.
And we roasted with the skin, blew it off and then ground it. Slightly more tedius but cheaper and fresher.

Guest's picture
jimmy37

I make my homemade peanut butter with a food processor using no-salt dry roasted peanuts @ $2/pound wherever I can get them. I add nothing else.

I freeze the peanuts first to keep them from getting overheated during the chopping process. I do not time the process. Instead, I wait until the ground peanuts are fine enough to get splattered on the sides of the bowl and disappear from the center. At that point, the peanut oil is released and makes the peanut butter smoother. I keep the peanut butter in the fridge to keep it from separating. Even then, at 35 degrees, some peanut oil separates.

Guest's picture
Guest

Is there an ingredient I can add to my homemade nut butter to prevent it from separating?

This post was very enlightening. I love PB and never considered how easy it could be to make (and customize! :) my own until this post. thanks!!

Guest's picture

It may not be fair to compare homemade to jarred, but it is fair to compare it to the kind you have ground for you in the store. You could also buy organic peanuts, and it is a whole lot cheaper than purchasing organic peanut butter.

Guest's picture
corinne

I think I'll probably try this soon - maybe jelly as well, for a very homemade sandwich!
Bread and yogurt are things I make at home both because they're cheaper and because I prefer the results.

Guest's picture
Guest

i started making homemade wheat free peanut butter dog cookies for my 6 month old lab mix and figured if i make my own peanut butter its even cheaper