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?
Homemade Raw Almond Butter Recipe
Make sure to read the tips below the recipe to get the most out of this homemade raw almond nut butter.
Homemade Raw Almond Butter
- 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 salt, add salt now and process again briefly to combine.
- Store in jars in the fridge. Keeps for weeks.
- Before: -
- During: 30 mins
- After: -
- Need: Food processor
Tips for making your own almond butter
- 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.
- Try to keep the temperature of your almonds under 45°C so that your almond butter stays raw. The friction of the processor does tend to heat up your almonds, so you’ll have to monitor it closely to ensure the butter doesn’t get too hot. Try stopping the processor and resting the nut butter to prevent either of them getting too hot.
- 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 use raw organic almonds to make my almond nut butter, because I want to be sure that they’re healthy and good for us. If you can’t get raw almonds (because they’ve been pasteurised), don’t stress, because it’s still better than eating nutella!
- Roasted almonds won’t work exactly the same way in this recipe because the roasting process changes the flavour and oil content of the almonds, which means they may process down differently. That said, if you want to roast your almonds, you can put them in the oven at 180°C/350°F for 10 minutes, stirring them halfway and then letting them cool down to warm before processing them. Roasting your almonds will definitely change the flavour of the resulting almond butter, and some people do prefer them this way. Of course, your almond butter won’t be raw if you do it this way but it will still be delicious.
- You can also activate your almonds before making nut butter, which involves soaking them for 8-12 hours in water with a pinch of salt, and then drying them in a dehydrator for 1-2 days before processing into a butter. This increases the availability of the nutrients in the almonds, making your nut butter even more nutritious and better for you. Doing this will reduce the oil content of the almonds, so you may have to add back some cold-pressed almond oil to ensure that your almond butter is not too dry. I don’t activate my almonds, even if it would be better nutritionally, because I just can’t be bothered, and I figure non-activated almond butter is still better than eating junk food #priorities.
- I tend to buy my almonds in bulk, because we use so many of them every week in our homemade raw almond milk. If do buy your almonds in bulk, make sure you have a cool, dry place to store them – a refrigerator or a cold storeroom works well.
- 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 taste buds.
- 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.
Almond butter recipe variations
- 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.
- To make your own crunchy almond butter, process your almonds until they’re in small pieces, and take out around 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside until the butter has finished processing. Add back your reserved almond pieces and pulse briefly to mix them into the smooth almond butter, giving it a crunchy nut butter texture. If you want even more crunch, then reserve even more of the almond pieces (a 1/2 cup or more) instead.
- You can add spices to your almond butter to make it taste even more exciting, if that’s what you’re looking for. Both cinnamon and vanilla are great additions to almond butter and give it a more “desserty” sweet flavour. Of course, this does mean that you might not want to pair your almond butter with more savoury items, like tomatoes or cheese, as the flavours may clash weirdly. Sprinkle in a small amount of your preferred spices just before the almond butter has finished processing.
- You can sweeten your almond butter even further by adding a small amount of maple syrup, or your favourite liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, yacon syrup, agave nectar) to the blender as the butter finishes up. This will definitely make for a sweet almond butter that would be ideal for desserts, cake and sweet snacks.
- If you want to get even more adventurous with your homemade almond butter, you could experiment with flavours including coffee, cacao, orange, lemon, ginger, chai spice or even sriracha! But before you go crazy throwing all kinds of things into your precious nut butter, I recommend mixing a tiny batch in a small bowl, with just a small portion of almond butter, to see how you like the resulting flavour. If you find something you love, then you can just chuck it into your nut butter and process it for a bit longer before storing it in jars.
- For almond butter spreads with texture and interest, try adding your favourite inclusions, such as sultanas, chopped dried apricots, dried blueberries, goji berries, dried banana or dried shredded coconut. You can also add other nuts and seeds, including walnut pieces, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chopped hazelnuts, pistachio pieces or even hemp seeds! The only limit is your imagination. Again, try making a small amount of it before you add it to your full batch, to avoid making a nut butter recipe you don’t really like.
My homemade raw almond butter recipe budget
Here’s roughly how much this almond nut butter cost me to make:
|TOTAL||501g||$39.94 / kg||$20.01|
|Organic raw almonds||3 cups (500g)||$40 / kg||$20.00|
|Salt||1/2 tsp (1g)||$10 / kg||$0.01|
- All prices are in Australian dollars
- Your costs may vary quite a bit depending on whether you buy in small or large quantities, as conventional or organic, and the time of year.
- The almonds are the most expensive ingredient in this nut butter recipe, and if you leave out the salt, the only ingredient in the recipe! So if you’re going to make this on a regular basis, I highly recommend that you find a good supplier of bulk raw organic almonds. Where I live (Melbourne, Australia), organic almonds can cost as much as $50 (AUD) per kilogram, but I’ve managed to find a bulk supplier that will sell me 10 kg of almonds for less than $30 (AUD) per kilogram, so do your homework to keep the costs down.
- Making your own almond butter is still significantly cheaper than buying it pre-made, which can easily cost you twice as much for the same amount (as much as $100/kg). So if you want to make almond butter a part of your every day diet, then it’s definitely worth making your own at home.
FAQs about making raw almond butter
What is almond butter?
Almond butter is a spread made by grinding whole almonds into a paste. It can be used an alternative to other nut butters, such as peanut butter, and is a vegan and wholefood product. You can buy almond butter at health food stores, or make your own at home.
What does almond butter look like?
Almond butter is medium brown in colour, and has dark flecks throughout it, from the skin of the almonds. If you peel your almonds beforehand, it will be lighter in appearance. It has the appearance of a thick paste, similar in texture to peanut butter or a runny cake mix.
What does almond butter taste like?
Almond butter has a nutty, slightly sweet taste, with faint hints of marzipan. Not surprisingly, it tastes a lot like almonds, just richer and creamier. Although it can be used as a substitute for peanut butter, its flavour is more subtle than peanut butter.
My inspiration for making almond butter at home
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.
Almond butter resources
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