Brow Beat

You’re Doing It Wrong: Peanut Butter

Homemade peanut butter

Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo for Slate

Most everyone has at least one unwavering peanut butter preference, whether it’s a matter of crunchy vs. smooth or Jif vs. natural.  Allow me to introduce a third peanut butter dichotomy to fight over: store-bought vs. homemade.

I had never heard of making peanut butter at home until my husband and I got on a kick of cutting down on all the packaged food we buy, and he suggested we try our hand at it. Since a recent salmonella outbreak in store-bought peanut butter led to recalls of 100 or so grocery items, now seemed like the perfect time to DIY.


I was already aware that you could get peanuts ground fresh in certain health food stores, but I was skeptical that we could replicate this in our modest New York apartment. To my surprise, making peanut butter at home was insanely simple and took 5 minutes total—and the only special equipment required was a Cuisinart.


Packed into an airtight container, homemade peanut butter keeps as well as the stuff from the store. Since it hasn’t sat on a shelf for weeks or months, I’ve never seen any oil separation occur—one of the primary complaints lodged by natural peanut butter’s detractors. If you buy the peanuts from a bulk bin, it’s much cheaper than most of the store-bought stuff. Also, did I mention that it’s totally delicious? It tastes fresh and light and has an airy consistency unlike any other peanut butter I’ve ever tried. You can adjust the saltiness and crunchiness exactly to your taste, and even add a touch of honey for a sweet flavor balance. Eat it with whatever.


Homemade Peanut Butter
Yield: 8 servings (about 1½ cups)
Time: 5 minutes

12 ounces roasted, unsalted peanuts, plus ½ cup if you want a crunchy consistency
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut oil, or more if needed
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Put the 12 ounces peanuts in a food processor and turn it on. Gradually over the course of about 1 minute, add the peanut oil through the feed tube. The peanuts will go through a few stages: first chopped, then lumpy, and finally smooth. Blend until the mixture is consistently creamy, adding a little more oil if the mixture is too dry. Add the salt and honey, if desired, and process for a few seconds more. If you like crunchy peanut butter, add the ½ cup peanuts and pulse a few times to incorporate them. (Store peanut butter in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.)

Previously in You’re Doing It Wrong:
Pumpkin Bread
Banana Pudding
Cinnamon Rolls
Apple Chutney