Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that nut butters are suddenly all the rage. Jars of cashew nut butter, almond butter, and coconut butter (just to name a few) are gracing our grocery store shelves left and right. A delicious process that was once commercially exclusive to peanuts is now available to all sorts of exotic nuts and seeds.
Believe it or not, making your own nut butters can be incredibly easy – if you have the right food processor to get the job done.
Are there any benefits of making my own nut butter?
If you’re trying to nix all of the unhealthy junk they throw into commercially jarred stuff, making your own healthy nut butter is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Have you ever looked at the price tag on a jar of nut butter at the grocery store? Talk about ridiculous! I can appreciate a good almond or cashew butter as much as the next person, but what I’m buying better justify the high price tag. Instead of limiting yourself to only one expensive jar per month, make your own healthy nut butter to save a ton of cash.
How to make nut butter
To make nut butter, first pick a nut! Any nut! Peanut and almond are clear favorites, but hazelnut, pistachio, and sesame make lovely nut butters, too. You can soak and dehydrate the nuts beforehand, or roast them.
Add 1 about tablespoon of oil per 2 cups of nuts. Neutral, light tasting or flavor-complimenting oil, such as coconut oil, are best. If you like, you can also add sea salt or your preferred sweeteners.
Add your nuts to the food processor. The amount depends on the capacity of your machine. Pulse to grind to a fine powder, add the oil, and continue until they reach a creamy consistency. You’ll occasionally need to stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add any additional sweeteners or flavorings at the end. That’s it!
Can’t I just use my blender to make nut butter?
Technically, yes (if you have a high quality blender). But if you loathe big messes, and the thought of losing several tablespoons of that precious nut butter gold makes you want to cry, then you’re going to want to go with a food processor with a short base. Blenders tend to be taller and require a larger volume of nuts. They’re usually limited in their abilities to grind the amount it takes to make a good butter.
Although it’s recommended that you only put small amounts of nuts in the food processor at a time, I definitely suggest using a high-capacity model. If a recipe calls for 3 cups of cashews, you should have a food processor that can easily hold that quantity. There should also be plenty of room leftover so you can add in oil to thin out your freshly ground nut butter.
What should I be looking for when choosing a food processor?
Finding the right food processor can be tricky, and not all machines are going to be able to churn out a silky smooth butter.
Make your nut butter grinding a quick and painless task, while skipping out on those high grocery store prices. Here’s how you can be on the lookout for a high quality food processor that can tackle the job:
Not all food processors are created equal. A $10 model from the grocery store simply isn’t going to cut it if you’re looking for quality nut butter. A high powered, heavy duty, lightning fast food processor is essential for the creamiest recipes.
For nut butters, it’s essential that the food processor is able to thoroughly grind the nuts into a thick paste-like consistency. If your food processor only tears the nuts into little individual particles, it’s time to reconsider.
Make sure that the machine can handle the amount of work you’re about to put it through. If your processor is better suited for shredding vegetables using the pulse feature and can’t run consistently for a few minutes without overheating, it is not the right choice for your nut-butter-loving self. Yes, you could pulse for 45-60 seconds at a time and then wait for the machine to cool down before resuming, but who actually has the patience for that?
If you’ve ever used a food processor (or any mixing kitchen appliance, for that matter) you know things can get weird quick when you combine a lot of small things into one mixture. When you mix up a thick dough, it is essential to have a heavy, sturdy stand mixer so that you don’t find yourself in tears after it launches itself off of the counter. The same is true for a food processor.
Find a food processor that is weighted and sturdy, so you’re sure it won’t blast off of the counter and all over your floor. (And walls. And ceiling.) When individual nuts blend down into one cohesive butter, it can be very easy for the machine to become stuck in the gooey, sticky goodness. A good machine will run continuously, regardless of sticky butters.
If at all possible, get a machine that is dishwasher safe. Food processors are notorious for their many pieces, and the sticky nature of nut butters makes it a pain to clean! You want to be able to enjoy your delicious creation without the hassle of cleaning up.
That in mind, which food processors are ideal for grinding nuts into delicious, healthful nut butter?
Conair Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor
Cuisinart makes a lightweight 250-watt food processor that comes in 3- and 4-cup sizes. The dishwasher-safe bowl includes a handle for maximum control. It has only two settings: grind and chop. It’s a nice, simple little food processor.
To chop nuts with the Mini Prep Plus, Cusinart recommends using the grind function. Pulse to chop until the nuts reach the desired consistency. Toast the nuts first for maximum flavor, but make sure to allow them to cool completely before chopping.
Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor
Hamilton Beach’s 8-cup food processor features a 450-watt motor with 2 speeds, plus pulse control. Its large feed tube can handle any size nut you plan to grind, and a lot more! The work bowl, which has a convenient handle, is dishwasher-safe. You can also throw the two blades (a slice/shred disc and an S-blade) in the dishwasher, so cleanup is easy. Definitely a good all-rounder as far as food processors go.
This model by Hamilton Beach offers more power and capacity than the Mini Prep, suitable for those who intend on making larger batches of nut butter. Speaking of which, fresh nut butter in a mason jar would make a nice gift!
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor
More power! If the smaller sizes don’t do it for you, this 720-watt large-capacity food processor will certainly get the job done. This Cuisinart processor comes with a stainless-steel slicing disc, shredding disc, and chopping blade. The 14-cup Lexan bowl and blades are dishwasher-safe. The controls include intuitive “on” and “off/pulse” buttons.
The size of this model is about right for processing about 2-4 cups of nuts into nut butter. I’d choose this option if you’re looking for a heavy-duty, versatile food processor that can handle more than just nut butter.
Grocery store nut butters are full of preservatives or extremely expensive! Thankfully, making your own fresh nut butters is simple with the right equipment. A food processor will pay huge dividends in the long run.
For more information about food processors for the kitchen, check out my ULTIMATE guide to food processors. And, head on over here to find out which nut choppers are best for almonds.
Do you love nut milk, but cringe at the price? See how to make your own almond milk at home with the best nut bags. You might also like this article on how to make non-dairy almond milk that can substitute for the real thing!
Spread your nut butters on homemade bread! Read my recommendations on the best bread machine for sourdough here.