Did you realise that you can make your own raw almond butter?
It honestly had never occurred to me until I stumbled across a recipe for it.
And then I just had to try it for myself.
These days, I don’t know how we’d get by without being able to make our own almond butter.
I love that it’s so simple to make. Honestly, all you really need is almonds. That’s it.
Sure, you can throw in a pinch of salt at the end if you like, but it’s really not necessary.
Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Or any more wholesome either!
But the hardest part of this recipe is the courage you need to stick with the processing.
The almonds go through some amazing stages as you process them, and if you’ve never seen it before it’s very easy to freak out and think you’ve ruined your precious raw almond butter.
When you begin, the almonds start by turning into almond meal, which we’ve all seen before.
Nothing surprising there.
But that’s when it starts to get interesting.
The next stage is the almond meal turning into almond “rubble” as I call it.
The meal starts to get a little oily, and begins to clump together, creating little almond balls.
And then as it progresses, the clumps get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger.
Until you end up with this…
The first time I saw this I almost freaked out, even though I already knew it was going to happen.
It’s pretty hard to stay your course when you have this massive lump of almond thumping around in your processor.
But this is the key point in the almond-butter-making process, because shortly after, the lump collapses into perfect raw almond butter.
Yay! What a relief.
If you want to add some salt, this is the point to chuck it in and give a quick process to mix it in.
Then it’s ready to be put into jars, and eaten at will.
I love knowing exactly what goes into my raw almond butter. (And exactly what doesn’t.)
I also love that I can make it 100% raw this way. I’ve noticed that most of the store-bought almond butters lightly roast their almonds first, which tastes nice, but isn’t what I’m after.
Think you’re up for the challenge?
- 3 cups (500g) raw almonds
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- Put almonds into food processor and process until it turns into almond butter, stopping occasionally along the way to scrape down the sides and to let it cool down.
- If using, add salt and process again briefly to combine.
- Store in jars in the fridge. Keeps for weeks.
During: 30 mins
Need: Food processor
- Warning: One of the most important things to be aware of with this recipe is that not all food processors are up to the task. I’ve read some horror stories of the motor burning out while attempting to make raw almond butter, so just be careful. If you’re at all concerned, just give your processor LOTS of rests during the process. This will give the motor (and the almond butter) time to cool down, which will reduce the chances of burning it out. And if you don’t think your processor is up to it, then don’t make the attempt. You have been warned!
- I have a really nice Magimix 4200XL processor, which handles the task effortlessly. I’ve also heard that the Cuisinart processors are good at making raw almond butter as well. I still stop during processing, but that’s to scrape down the sides and also because the almond butter gets too hot otherwise. But even with these stops, it still only takes me around 6 to 8 minutes to make it (unless I wander off and accidentally forget about it), so it still can happen pretty fast. I’ve allowed 30 minutes in the recipe because I don’t want you to rush it, especially the first few times you make it.
- You can also try freezing your almonds overnight, so that when you make your almond butter, it doesn’t get too hot by the time it breaks down into a nice smooth butter.
- An infrared thermometer is a really handy tool for making raw almond butter, because you can quickly and easily check the temperature of your butter as you go, to keep it from overheating. I absolutely love mine and use it constantly when I’m cooking, so if you can splurge and get yourself one, you won’t regret it.
- I specified 500g of almonds in the recipe because that’s a good amount for my processor. I have also made it with 300g (just over 2 cups), and it worked fine, but I just prefer the larger amount in my processor (and to save making more batches). You might need to adjust the amount to suit your processor, but you really can’t get the amount wrong. Just make sure there’s enough for the processor to pull around readily, and not so much that there’s not enough room for the almonds to move around easily or no room for the air to circulate around the raw almond butter to cool it down. If in doubt, start with a little less rather than a little more.
- Adding salt to your raw almond butter is totally optional, but if you’re used to store-bought almond butter, you might need some to begin with to help your taste buds adjust. When I started making this, I added 1/2 tsp salt, which tasted about right to me. And then over time, I dropped it down to 1/4 tsp, because it started to taste too salty. And eventually I started leaving it out all together, and now I love the subtle flavours of the raw almond butter that come through in the absence of salt (including a faint marzipan-like taste). Just add the right amount to suit your tastes.
- If you do add salt, make sure to add it right at the end, and not at the start. Apparently adding the salt at the start can affect the way it processes, although I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. Besides, you’re really only adding it for the taste, and you can’t tell how much you need until you can taste it as part of the whole “raw almond butter” experience. So leave it until right at the end, and just give the raw almond butter one final process to distribute the salt evenly throughout the butter.
- I always use pink Himalayan salt in my cooking, because it’s less processed than table salt and contains trace amounts of a bunch of minerals. Apparently it also tastes better too, but I’m not sure my taste buds are refined enough to tell the difference.
- We store our raw almond butter in old almond butter jars, from when we used to buy our almond butter from the shops. I like them because they’re quite small, which means that only a small amount of butter is in use at any point. But that’s totally arbitrary – you can store your raw almond butter in whatever you darn well like, so long as it’s suitable for food and it can fit in your fridge.
- I always keep my raw almond butter in the fridge. Thankfully it still comes out pretty spreadable, even when it’s cold. Keeping it cold helps the oils in the almond (which you’ve just released by turning it into butter) from going rancid and making your beautiful raw almond butter taste manky. Which would be very sad.
- I’ve noticed that the oils in our raw almond butter don’t separate out very quickly. In fact our butter stays pretty much well mixed for months. I’m sure storing it in the fridge helps to slow the separation down, as does eating it all within a couple of weeks! But there’s no need to worry about that icky layer of oil appearing on your precious raw almond butter if you eat it within a couple of months. I think the only time we saw it happen was on a jar that sat in our fridge for months at one point when we went off eating it for a period.
- I don’t activate my almonds (soak them and then dehydrate them) before making this raw almond butter, even if it would be better nutritionally. Apparently the activation process removes an amount of the natural oils, so you just can’t get a proper “butter” without adding in some extra oil, which kind of defeats the “whole food” approach as far as I’m concerned. If you do want to use activated nuts to make your butter, try and get your hands on some cold-pressed almond oil (or the oil of whatever nut you’re using) for adding into the processor.
- You can use this technique to make butters out of almost any nut or seed. We’ve also done it with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cashews and hazelnuts. You could also do it with brazil nuts, macadamias, peanuts and sunflower seeds. Frankly I’d be willing to give any nut or seed a go, just as long as I can find the courage to stick through all of the stages. If you do try a different seed or nut, just be aware that each nut and seed goes through different stages from raw almond butter, and some may need a little added oil to make it work well. Happy experimenting.
I really didn’t realise I could even do this until I stumbled across Susan’s recipe for raw almond butter at Rawmazing.
I’d been eating nut butters for a while, especially almond butter and cashew butter, and I’d noticed how expensive they were in comparison to the whole nuts.
I also realised that the nuts were lightly roasted before the store-bought butters were made, and at the time I was experimenting with being 100% raw, so I wondered if there was a way to make them completely raw.
Once I found Susan’s step-by-step process, I realised that I could actually make my own nut and seed butters at home, and so I did.
The first few attempts were a little nerve-racking, but once I got the hang of it, I tried making a bunch of different raw butters, including pepita butter, cashew butter and even coconut butter (great for raw macaroons).
I love the freedom this gives me to make whatever I need, whenever I need it, with nothing but pure, raw nuts and seeds.
And I hope it gives you the same.
If you’re interested in getting yourself an infrared thermometer, here’s a selection of products:
If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of nut and seed butters you can make, here’s a great introduction:
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And have an adventurous day!
~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly