Do you know how to make almond butter at home? If not, this basic primer will teach you how so you can save money and control the ingredients. It’s not that hard, but may be a bit messy at first…
Does this ever happen to you? You’re shopping at a natural food store or health food market and your eyes nearly jump out of their sockets.
You’re experiencing sticker shock. “Are you kidding me, $20 for a jar of almond butter,” you ask yourself in disbelief.
This is no exaggeration. The average grocery bill for a family of four is around $150. What this means is that tiny jar of raw, organic almond butter accounts for well over 10% of your overall bill.
That’s a hefty sum for a bunch of nuts. Or, to put it another way, it’s nuts to spend so much on nut butters.
In light of this, if you love almond butter, there are ways to control the cost. First and foremost, you can learn how to make almond butter yourself.
Does homemade nut butter save money? Yes it is! In fact the potential saving of making your own is quite astounding. Just take a look at the various nut butter cost savings.
The process might be messy and may require trial and error. However, thousands of people are way ahead of you and have blogged about it, so there’s no shortage of expertise.
This article will serve you as a basic primer. You’ll learn how to make almond butter the easy way. No fancy ingredients. And no culinary master skills necessary.
Additionally, you’ll learn about almond butter health benefits. And based on promising research studies on unprocessed nut butters in general, it’s a good idea to eat almond butter often. Perhaps not gobs full of it throughout the day, but in moderation.
So let’s get gooey and talk about almond butter….
Reasons to make your own almond butter
There’s no denying it….
It’s way easier to buy almond butter in a store. But where’s the satisfaction in that?
You’ll find it way more gratifying if you make almond butter at home. And, you’ll save a lot of money. This is especially true if you want to use raw almonds in your recipe.
As a side note pertaining to raw almonds, here’s a fact you might not know: at least in California, where over 80% of the world’s supply of almonds is grown, raw almonds are not really raw.
The true definition of raw is a cooking limit of approximately 107 degrees (fahrenheit). However, the true legal limit of raw is 115 degrees.
Trader Joe’s sells raw almonds, but even their almonds are steam pasteurized. Many raw foodists do not consider this to be truly raw.
Anyhow, as you’ll read below, it’s way easier to make your own almond butter at home by baking the almonds way above the raw threshold.
You can control the ingredients and eventually get creative with the recipe. For example, you can make a dark chocolate almond butter for relatively cheap.
What would normally cost a hefty portion of your grocery bill would only cost pennies to the dollar if you make it at home.
Make your own almond butter: basic suggestions
If you want to make your own almond butter at home, first decide if you want the almonds baked at close to raw temperature.
The lower the temperature, in theory, the more you preserve the nutrients. However, the lower the temperature that you bake the almonds, the longer the cooking time.
Regardless of what temperature you cook your almonds, you should soak your almonds overnight in water before baking them. By soaking the almonds, you will better digest them.
The outer shell of almonds contain lectins. Lectins are anti-nutrients. Lectins interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Soaking the almonds overnight gets rid of the lectins.
This is because the hard shell breaks down during the soaking process. You can soak a couple cups of almonds.
Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water to further break down the almond shells. Let the almonds soak overnight, for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the almonds in the morning.
Next, it’s time to decide cooking temperature…
If you’re going to set the oven at the lowest temp (most ovens start at 175 degrees), you’ll need to cook the almonds for a minimum of 8 hours.
If you cook them at 350 degrees, you’ll cut the time roughly in half. Keep in mind, however, the higher the temperature, the more the potential for nutrient loss.
Bake the almonds (coat the tray with some avocado oil or other high-smoke tolerant oil) until you can lightly smell them. Take a few out with a spoon to test. Let sit for a few minutes and then taste to see if they are sufficiently toasted.
How to make almond butter: time for the food processor!
After cooling the almonds in the baking tray, it’s time to place them in your food processor. In order to not break your food processor, pulse the whole almonds a few times.
Once the processor knows what it’s in store for, let it whirl at full power. It can take a full 20 minutes until all the almonds transform from whole nuts, to powder, to paste, to butter.
You will likely have to periodically scrape the sides of your food processor to shove the almonds back down towards the blade.
And depending on the quality of your food processor, you may have to take a few breaks and let the processor cool momentarily.
Add a couple tablespoons of sea salt and coconut oil if desired. And don’t forget to add some low-glycemic sweetener. (See “almond butter ingredients” at the conclusion of this article).
When your almonds finally turn into butter after 15-20 minutes, depending on the texture you desire and quality of your food processor, it’s time to store it. Use a Mason jar or a seal-tight lid and bowl.
Nut butters, oils and fats are less prone to go rancid. But you don’t want to let your homemade almond butter sit for too long in the refrigerator.
Left in the fridge, the almond butter should stay fresh for a couple weeks. In summary, as you can see, learning how to make almond butter isn’t that complicated.
Almond butter benefits
Judging from research studies, consuming almond butter is smart. For example, this study, published in Journal of the American Heart Association says almond butter is good for preventing heart disease. “Daily consumption of almonds (1.5 oz.), substituted for a high‐carbohydrate snack, may be a simple dietary strategy….,” says the study.
Almond butter is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. There are other helpful bioactive compounds in it as well. These include high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, vitamin E, plant sterols, and antioxidants.
In addition to these health benefits of almond butter, it’s also relatively high in magnesium. Magnesium may prevent cramps, along with other benefits.
Almond butter contains about 15% of your daily value of magnesium per tablespoon.
These are all great reasons for learning how to make almond butter!
Almond butter vs peanut butter
In case you’re wondering how almond butter compares with peanut butter, let’s take a look. Firstly, there’s the obvious allergy issue. Some people are so allergic to peanuts that just taking a whiff of it can send them into an anaphylactic shock!
Another obvious difference is the two nut butters are technically different types of foods. Almonds are nuts while peanuts are legumes.
Nutritionally, both butters are high in fats. And this is a good thing because fat helps you stay full and discourages you from binging on processed carbs.
Per cup, almond butter contains 148 grams of fat; peanut butter: 130 grams. If that sounds incredibly high, yes it is, if you’re eating a whole cup. But you won’t eat a cup, will you? Try to stick to eating just a tablespoon or two per serving.
Both almond and peanut butters are high in fiber, but only per cup. There are 9 grams of fiber per cup of almond butter and 15 grams per cup of peanut butter. Per tablespoon, both have only 1 gram of fiber.
So once again, don’t go eating a whole cup of almond butter just to get the fiber benefits. Unless you are intentionally eating a very high calorie diet.
Speaking of which, one cup of both almond and nut butters contain over 1500 calories. Or, to put it another way, roughly half the amount of calories an average grown man eats in a day.
Both these nut butters also contain a little protein per serving. Peanut butter contains more protein at 4 grams per tablespoon, compared to 2 grams for almond butter.
Is almond butter and peanut butter ok if you’re low carb?
If you’re on a strict low carb diet, both these butters only contain 3 grams of carbs per tablespoon. However, peanut butter contains more sugar. And several conventional brands of peanut butter contain added sugars.
Finally, to compare the two butters, almond is probably considered at least slightly better for overall health than peanut butter.
To reiterate, one reason is the added sugars and high fructose corn syrup in many peanut butter brands.
That’s not to say almond butter is never immune to the nefarious practices of the food science industrial complex.
However, it’s arguably less common for almond butter to be modified to the degree of peanut butter.
But to have full control over the quality of your almonds, learning how to make almond butter at home is the best way to go.
Almond butter ingredients
As you can see above, to learn making almond butter requires just a few things: a few cups of almonds, a food processor (sorry, one of those little Magic Bullets won’t do), some oil, and maybe a little sea salt to taste.
For the oil, you can use olive or coconut oil. Finally, to sweeten the almond butter, you can experiment with low-glycemic sweeteners.
Stevia, monk fruit extract and erythritol are a few examples of natural sweeteners that have no or minimal impact on blood sugar.
If you’re not too concerned about using natural sweeteners that do potentially raise blood sugar levels, try adding agave or maple syrup or honey. Some recipes even call for using dates.
You can experiment with many types of ingredients after you figure out how to make almond butter at home. But at first, it’s probably best to start with a basic recipe.
You can add a dash of one or two ingredients once you’ve perfected the art of making a creamy (or crunchy if you prefer) batch of your own plain almond butter.
Just be prepared to clean up the mess in your food processor. That’s probably the only downside to making your own almond butter at home.
How to Make Almond Butter
- 2 cups almonds
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- coconut oil up to 2 tablespoons (optional)
- additional sea salt to taste (optional)
- monk fruit or stevia optional
Soak almonds in water with 1 teaspoon salt added. Allow almonds to soak overnight, for at least 8 hours.
Drain salted water from almonds.
Place almonds on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Set oven to the lowest temperature (most ovens start at 175 degrees) and bake almonds for a minimum of 8 hours or until sufficiently toasted. (Baking time can be reduced by increasing temperature, but lower temperatures are better).
Allow almonds to cool on baking tray.
Place cooled almonds into food processor. Process until almond butter forms. (Be patient, it can take 15-20 minutes). Blend in coconut oil, salt, and or sweeteners if desired.