Sunbutter looks and tastes much like peanut butter, but instead of peanuts, it’s made from sunflower seeds. Sunflower butter is 30% lower in fat than peanut butter, chock full of vitamin E, and bonus: when you make it yourself it is entirely free of preservatives & added sugars, AND it is totally safe to send off to nut-free environments. Sunbutter has become a school lunch staple in our household. This stuff costs a fortune to buy pre-made, which is silly because it is SO EASY for Prudent Mamas to make at home.
I’ve heard many home cooks express frustration with their attempts to make sunbutter, so I thought I’d do a sunbutter recipe and photo tutorial to explain the key to making rich, creamy, nutty-flavored sunbutter. It is all about time.
Get our super-simple sunflower butter recipe after the jump, and prepare to lick your fingers, the spoon, the bowl, and maybe even that spill down your toddler’s shirt (don’t judge me)…
The Best Sunbutter Recipe
First assemble your ingredients. You’ll need unsalted, shelled, plain-old sunflower seeds. You’ll also need some salt, sugar (or honey/agave/whatever sweetener you like), and some olive oil. That’s it.
Heat a pan on the stove, then toss about 3 cups of sunflower seeds in the hot pan for a minute or two. Keep them moving so they don’t burn. Do not buy roasted sunflower seeds thinking you can skip this step (pre-roasted seeds don’t have enough moisture to create a creamy sunbutter). Here are my seeds before toasting:
Now my seeds are lightly toasted. You don’t NEED to toast them, but it adds a delicious nutty flavor to the seeds. Don’t toast them much darker than this, or you’ll lose too much moisture and end up with a mealy consistency to your sunbutter.
Now toss them in a food processor with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Have helper place lid on processor if you wish.
Process into a fine powder consistency (the seeds, not the helper).
This is where many people trip up when making sunbutter. Do not add olive oil yet, or you will end up with a mealy, grainy, unappetizing mess. Sunflower seeds need to process for quite a while, about ten minutes. The reason being that they will eventually begin to release their oils. This will turn your sunflower powder into sunbutter. So after about five minutes, your mixture will start to get a teensy bit moist, but still crumbly, like this:
Keep processing it. Soon it will release more oil, and get a sheen to it, and look more moist:
At this point I add a teaspoon of honey because I like the flavor, but you don’t have too. Keep processing and watch as more oils are released, until it starts to resemble peanut butter:
Now have a taste. So good, right? Think about what consistency you prefer your sunbutter to be. While the processor is running, drizzle olive oil into the mixture until it reaches the consistency you desire. For my creamy sunbutter pictured here, I added a little more than a tablespoon of olive oil:
Scrape into a container of some sort. I love these paper containers from Smart and Final.
The lids have two holes in them for venting (these are normally used for take-out soup and hot food), so I cover them with stickers to keep air out so the sunbutter stays fresh. I also write the date, which is silly because the sunbutter doesn’t last more than two days, what with child, mother, husband, and even mother-in-law chowing down.
Serve it up with a variety of dippers. I love sunbutter with fresh carrots (cut on a diagonal to release some of those yummy carrot sugars), apples, and of course crackers.
Pack some up with a variety of fruit, veggie, and carb dippers in your tot’s lunchbox and you’ve got a quick, simple, healthy, inexpensive, no-preservative, allergy-free meal. Can’t beat it.