Updated May 16, 2017
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Want to make your own nut butters? Then keep reading!
Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that nut butters are suddenly all the rage. My favorite model for nut butters is the powerful 720 Watt Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY Food Processor (check pricing at Amazon).
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.
The main thing you need is a powerful motor because it takes a long time to process nuts into butter. The 720 WATT Cuisinart 14 cupper will take you the distance. Check it out at Amazon.
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. The main thing you need is POWER to grind those nuts down to a smooth, creamy butter.
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.
The power lies essentially in the motor. But the blades are equally important. A powerful motor with poor quality blades will be just as disastrous as using a processor with a weak motor.
You might think that a more powerful motor means a noisy processor. But that’s not the case. It’s usually the smaller food processors with smaller motors that make the most noise.
So take the noise factor into consideration when making your choice. Your loved ones and neighbors will thank you for it!
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.)
There’s nothing worse than a food processor bouncing around on your counter top. So it really is important to go for a food processor that’s got the body to contain a working motor.
A flimsy exterior is going to make your nut butter experience a chore instead of fun.
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!
Food processors also have a reputation for small heard to clean places. So for your own sanity, choose one that’s relatively easy to clean in those tricky parts.
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?
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor
See the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor at Amazon
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. It’s got a 14 cup work bowl and a workhorse motor.
If you’re worried about it’s big motor waking the neighbors, don’t be! From my research I’ve found that other users have been surprised by how quiet it runs.
This Cuisinart processor comes with a stainless-steel slicing disc, shredding disc, and chopping blade. So you can tackle everything from nut butters to slaw and even herbs.
The Lexan bowl and blades are dishwasher-safe. The controls include intuitive “on” and “off/pulse” buttons. And it comes with a very handy spatula.
I like that this processor has a feed tube that’s extra-large. So you can literally slice, shred or chop whole produce.
It’s powerful enough to whip up doughs, pie crusts and those yummy nut butters! But it’s still gentle enough to leave you with the finest chopped Basil.
It’s worth mentioning here that this is a large food processor. So it might be a tight fit if you have a small kitchen or limited counter space.
You’ll be happy to know that the replacement bowls, blades and other accessories are easy to find and replace.
But what I really like about this food processor by Cusiniart is it’s hefty weight. So you can bet your bottom dollar that this baby will stay put no matter how fast those blades are spinning. A great safety feature in my opinion.
Some folks have reported that the safety feature gets gunky with food. But a good cycle through the dishwasher should fix that issue.
The size of this model is about right for processing about 2-4 cups of nuts into nut butter.
It’s by far my favorite choice. And I recommend this option if you’re looking for a heavy-duty, versatile food processor that can handle more than just nut butter.
Conair Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor
See the Conair Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor at Amazon
Cuisinart is well known in the world of kitchens. So it makes sense they’d make a lightweight 250-watt food processor too. Which is great if you’re only looking to make small amounts of nut butter.
This food processor comes in 3- and 4-cup sizes. In all honesty, I think the 4 cup can only handle about 2 cups of volume to perform at its optimum.
Any more than that and you’ll have pulverized nuts at the bottom and whole pieces at the top.
It has only two settings: grind and chop. And I love that the blades can spin in both directions. This means no changing blades, just choose chop or grind and voila!!
And you can use those same blades to blend and puré too.
It also has a neat opening to slowly drip liquids. So it’s really easy to make a mayonnaise with this processor.
The work bowl is a 24 ounces and includes a handle for maximum control. And it’s dishwasher safe too. So that makes cleaning a breeze.
It’s worth mentioning here that this food processor might be small, but it’s quite loud. So if you’re sensitive to loud noise or have other folks in your home to consider, this might not be the processor for you.
Also, the casing is actually plastic and not stainless steel. It has a brushed chrome finish. And from my research folks have noted that it’s pretty flimsy plastic. but you get what you pay for.
All that being said, it’s a nice simple little food processor. But I don’t think it’s ideal if you’re looking to make large amounts of nut butter. Or if you’re more than a household of 2.
Tip: 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
See the Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor at Amazon
Hamilton Beach’s 8-cup food processor features a 450-watt motor with 2 speeds, plus a pulse control. Its large feed tube can handle any size nut you plan to grind, and a lot more!
Although it has a 450 watt motor, it might lack the power needed to make smoother nut butters. But if you’re into the chunky kind, this one should fit the bill for you.
It comes with a stainless steel blade which is perfect for chopping, pureeing and mixing. Which is ideal for making those divine nut butters.
And it’s got a reversible slicing and shredding disk.
This food processor is much lighter in weight than the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY. But it’s blades are still pretty darn powerful on its 450 watt motor.
It can handle large amounts of nuts so you can prep enough nut butter to last you several weeks.
The downside is if you’re doing just a small batch you might have to stop the machine to scrape the sides. this food processor performs much better with larger batches.
It’s got a food chute so large, Hamilton Beach claims it can take a whole block of cheese! Just imagine the amount of nuts you can send through that chute!!
Like other food processors in its class, the 8 cup work bowl is dishwasher-safe. And features a which has a convenient handle for easy use.
You can also send the two blades and the lid through the dishwasher, so cleanup is easy. Definitely a good all-rounder as far as food processors go.
Although I do have one gripe…
From my research I’ve found several complaints about this processor failing after only a short time. This is not a great image on the part of Hamilton Beach. Although, there is a solid return policy with Amazon.
This model by Hamilton Beach offers more power and capacity than the Mini Prep. But it’s smaller and more compact that the Cusiniart DFP-14BCNY.
It’s 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!
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.
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!
Frequently Asked Questions about Nut Butters & Food Processors:
Can you grind nuts in a food processor?
You can definitely use a food processor to grind nuts. Nuts release their own oil when being ground. You do have to be careful though, as too much grinding will easily turn into nut butter instead. That doesn’t seem like a loss, in my opinion. There is always space for nut butter!
It would be recommended to add a little bit of the dry ingredients from your recipe in with the nuts you are grinding. This will absorb some of the oil they release helping you to keep an eye on them to prevent over processing and ending up like butter.
Can I chop nuts in a food processor?
You can! Although if you are needing a small amount chopped or you want them more uniform you are going to want to use a chef’s knife. For larger amounts of nuts, a food processor is actually a recommended method.
You want to make sure you work in batches so you don’t overload the motor. Dump out once batch completely before starting another. Just as with grinding the nuts, when you chop them you want to keep an eye on them and make sure you don’t end up making nut butter.
Which nut butter is the healthiest?
The answer could really depend on what nutrients you consider healthy. According to some dietitians, almonds are the healthiest because they have some of everything. Almonds have protein, magnesium, good fats, and vitamins, like vitamin E.
If you are thinking more protein means more health then peanuts are best with the highest protein of all nut butter at 8 grams per serving.
Pecan butter is not considered the healthiest in terms of fat and calories, but they are rich in minerals, vitamins A and E, magnesium, and potassium.
With all this said, if you are allergic to nuts then none of these nut butter are healthy for you. However, don’t fret you can use your food processor to make seed butter too! Sunflower seed is a common one. Flax seed is another good healthy nut butter alternative.
Can I sliver almonds in my food processor?
The short answer is NO. Nothing makes slivering almonds easier.
For those that may not know what a slivered almond is, it is an almond that is sliced into little very thin sticks. They are thinner than sliced almonds and take an act of magic to make them at home.
If you have a recipe calling for slivered or even sliced almonds you may just want to buy them already cut that way. Otherwise, decide if you are willing to have a less fancy look and just chop or grind them in your processor.
Spread your nut butters on homemade bread! Read my recommendations on the best bread machine for sourdough here.
Do you bake with nuts? Here are my top picks for bowls to use with hand mixers. And if you make cookies with a stand mixer, here are the best attachments for making cookies.
Add a little extra protein to your next smoothie by adding nut butter. I’ll show you the best blenders for protein shakes with ice.