Butter Nut Waste $3 on Natural Peanut Butter. Try These Recipes Instead

homemade peanut butter
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Think making your own peanut butter at home is the domain of the super-crunchy, old-school San Francisco Bay type?

(Related: Do people use the term “crunchy” to describe those folks anymore?)

Well, maybe it is. But there’s a good argument — or three — that you should take a page from their vegan-leather-bound notebooks and give homemade peanut butter a try, even if you’re skeptical.

If you eat this delicious, already-cheap, plant-based protein source on the regular, making your own peanut butter at home could save you a surprising amount of money.

Plus, you can customize your ingredients to create fun, inventive flavors. You can decide the exact level of chunkiness or lack thereof. And it’s easy, to boot: All you need is a food processor and about 10 minutes.

Sounding less hippy-dippy yet? Thought so. Read on to learn how — and why — to give homemade peanut butter a spin.

Here’s Why You Should Make Your Own Peanut Butter at Home

Before we dig into the financials, one more thing: If you’re particular about the ingredients you put into your body (or your children’s), you have yet another reason to go the homemade route.

Even if you religiously buy the most natural-looking, minimalistically marketed peanut butter, there’s a decent chance you’re ingesting some processed ingredients.

While brands must adhere to certain standards and restrictions to call their products “organic,” a “natural” label means next to nothing in the eyes of the law.

If you want to prove it to yourself, take a leisurely stroll down your local grocer’s PB aisle, and pick up a few “natural” jars. You’ll find everything from plain-old peanuts, salt and oil goodness to sticky paste with hydrogenated oils listed right there in the ingredients list.

Ugh. Whatever happened to clarity in advertising?

Not to mention the fact that grocery stores offer these “natural” products at crazy-inflated prices that start at well over $3 per pound — even when the butter itself is indistinguishable from what you find in the $1.19-per-pound bargain jar at Walmart. That goes double for organic peanut butters, which I’ve seen sell for up to $8 per jar.

Seriously. Seriously?

I don’t think so.

You can make your own delicious, actually natural peanut butter at home for as little as $1.21 per pound.

How to Make Your Own Homemade Peanut Butter

Shelled, blanched, and sometimes even pre-roasted peanuts are available in bulk for as little as $1.20 per pound, or $2.40 per pound if you don’t want to deal with truly gigantic packages.

That means a basic homemade peanut butter recipe, which calls for nothing more than peanuts, salt, and an optional drizzle of peanut oil and honey, works out to under $2.50 per pound no matter how you slice it. This saves you at least a buck — and up to $3 or more, off the fancy “natural” peanut butter at the store.

Here’s the price breakdown for The Kitchn’s recipe (before the add-in flavor options — we’ll get to that in a second):

  • 2 cups peanuts: $1.20
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt: 1 cent
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut oil (optional): 4 to 9 cents
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey (optional): 8 to 15 cents

Total cost: $1.21 to $1.45, using the cheapest bulk-bought peanuts

If you’re devoted to organic peanuts, you’re looking at a price more along the lines of $5 per pound. Still, your peanut butter would be about $2 less than the fancy-shmancy $8 organic jar!

But considering peanuts aren’t even in the top 50 “dirtiest” types of produce, you might consider moving to conventional in this case.

And all you need to do to transform those nuts into nut butter is let them sit in your food processor or blender for a while. Really, every other ingredient and addition is 100% optional.

But let’s consider those options.

Create Flavored Peanut Butter With Chocolate, Cinnamon and More

You might be familiar with Monkey Butter, a well-known peanut butter brand that comes in inventive and scrumptious flavors like “White Chocolate Wonderful,” “Dark Chocolate Dreams,” and even a savory “Everything” flavor. Yum, right?

These delicious nut butters come at a price, though, costing as much as $6 per 16-ounce jar.

But armed with your trusty bulk peanuts and blender, that’s no problem. Based on our peanut butter recipe above, a dark chocolate peanut butter cost only an extra 40 cents, which accounts for the 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Total cost: $1.85.

Cinnamon raisin swirl? Two teaspoons of cinnamon: 10 cents. Two ounces of raisins: 35 cents.

One pound of cinnamon-sweet peanut butter bliss: Priceless… but $1.90, actually.

You can even make your very own homemade white chocolate peanut butter. Check out this recipe by Lynn at Fresh April Flours, which makes half a pound of decadent dessert dip:

  • 8 ounces peanuts: 60 cents
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt: 1 cent
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips: 90 cents

Total cost: $1.51 ($3.02 if you scale up to make a whole pound)

Looks like those everything-homemade hippie types have some good ideas, after all.

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a freelance writer whose work has been featured at Ms. Magazine, BUST, Roads & Kingdoms, The Write Life, Nashville Review, Word Riot and elsewhere. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel and frugality.