How to Make Sunbutter: The Best Sunflower Butter Recipe!

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.





Does toasting the sunflower seeds cause the oils in them to become oxidized? If so do you know if it would work to do this without toasting them?

Sunbutter Cups | sweet.salty.sweet

[…] Sunbutter has become quite widely available in the US because it’s such a great alternative for people with peanut or tree nut allergies. But you can even make your own sunbutter fairly easily – just roast some sunflower seeds and grind them up in a food processor for about 15-20 minutes. I like to add some oil, honey, and salt, but it’s all up to you. For a good tutorial, try this one at Pretty Prudent. […]


Thanks for the clear, concise directions. Firs time making sun butter and this worked perfectly. Now, I’m off to make some type of baked good out of it!


Not to worry if you over toast them as Idid. Just throw in a dollop of coconut oil while processing. Tastes like peanut butter!


Will it work the same in a Ninja blender? How about if I use coconut oil or grape seed oil instead of olive oil? I can’t wait to make this this weekend! Really appreciate your step by step instructions!


I’m making this stuff right dang now. Been in the Cuisinart for ten minutes. Already looks like the store bought stuff. Super easy.
How long does it keep for–either dry or in the fridge? I’m guessing the answer is “as long as sunflower kernels would” but I thought I’d ask to be sure.


I’m not really sure as we haven’t kept it around too long, but I think if you keep it clean (no double dipping) it should be a while before it goes rancid. I can’t imagine you have leftovers for more than a week or two anyway :)


I followed but when you said teaspoon of sugar I did honey. Then you say to whiz for 10 till oils and creamy. I followed everything exactly and mine still is quite Mealy and grayish color. Is it because I used honey? I have a Cuisinart as well and it kept getting stuck on the side so I kept knocking it back in but it’s just really not creamy. I even continue to follow exactly and added all of oil and additional honey etc. this is my fourth time trying so please help me what do you think I’m doing wrong!! And unfortunately I live in Australia and can’t get my hands on real sunbutter to compare and diagnose.


Jana, I would not add the honey until it’s already all creamy. Be patient. Mine took more like 20 minutes to get where it needed to go. Most likely because I too kept stopping to “knock” it down. Good luck. (I live in Portugal and haven’t seen any Sunbutter around here anywhere either).


Dear Ladies,

I found your recipe for sun butter and made it tonight for the first time. I did a few things different. I used pure stevia for the sweetener, only a very small amount. Used pure organic grade B maple syrup instead of honey, it has a lot of minerals and adds a slight maple flavor depending on how much you put in. I only used one table spoon for the first time. And coconut oil instead of olive oil, it’s considered a super food and has the good fats your body needs and at room temperature 75* and below it’s a solid. I’ll see how it dose not being refrigerated. I’m so happy with the results. It tastes grate. I don’t think any peanut butter can match the flavor or nutrients sun butter has in it. Thanks for posting the recipe. I jest can’t believe how little it cost to make, the great flavor and the nutrients that is has.


So appreciate your detailed instructions. I notice some receipes call
for pre soaking the seeds – what do you think?


I was about to ask this! A jar of Sunbutter is about $6, and so is the purchase of 3 cups of sunflowers, so I’m curious as to how much that makes :)


ok i havent worked this out at all, but from my brain, 3 cups of sunflowers will make at least 6-9 cups of sunflower butter.


Mmmmm, nawwwww.

Sunflower seed butter doesn’t boast 30% less fat than peanut butter. It’s roughly the same amount, at around 24% of your estimated daily value per 2 tablespoons. Minding the fact, of course, that these are generally considered “good,” “healthy” fats, in moderation.

Also, if you are incorporating honey or sugar in your preparation, then you are in fact adding sugars. Honey is sugar. Sugar is also sugar.

Last, the 16 oz. bag of seeds pictured above appears to cost $5.79. That’s not including the additional trivial costs of (olive?!) oil and sugar or honey, not to mention the inherent “cost” of prep time, labor, clean up, etc…

A 16 oz. jar of Trader Joe’s (shudder) sunbutter costs $4.99. And it takes a lot less work to enjoy it. It’s both more cost effective and time effective. If, on the other hand, you don’t have access to commercially available sunflower butter, go for it!

Oh and PS — why not use sunflower seed oil rather than olive oil? Olive oil, particularly extra virgin, is notoriously and distinctly flavorful in its own right. There’s a reason most nut butters aren’t made with it. (Coincidentally, sunflower oil is a common fixture at Trader Joe’s.)

esther m

For me it’s not really about cost. It’s super easy to make so time doesn’t really matter. I make my own sunbutter at this point because it simply tastes better. After trying both homemade and the store brands, nothing even compares to homemade. I also like making my own because I have complete control over what goes in and how much (same reason I don’t eat out often. lol). I have so many food sensitivities I feel better watching my food be made. My sunbutter is always MUCH cheaper though because I order my seeds through amazon at a steep discount which anyone can do. I always try and have seeds on hand since most other nuts and seeds are off limits for me. I eat sunbutter everyday so if it weren’t for amazon and my food processor, due to cost, I wouldn’t be eating it at all. So, this is just me, my taste buds, my thoughts and my addiction to sunbutter. I really do like this recipe. I switched around some of my steps when I found this and had GREAT results. I make almond butter for my spouse and I even applied some of those ingredient changes there. THANK YOU!!!!


Made this today I was really skeptical at points (where the consistency is crumbly and not at all looking like it’d ever stick together) but the end result was absolutely delish! The honey is a genius tip and it tastes SOOO MUCH like peanut butter – this is a winner!!

My daughter is allergic to all tree nuts so I’m always on the look out for substitutes! The comment above irritated me because most people have oil, sugar, salt (even honey) to hand in their pantrys so CREATING Sunbutter actually does work out cheaper altogether! PLUS the ingredients in some butters include Palm oils, preservatives and bad quality seeds. This recipe for me is super simple and cheap as I picked up Organic sunflower seeds for $3/£2! I know whats in it… And had the other ingredients lying about :)

Snežana Rakić

I add some sunflower butter (of very lightly roasted seeds) to my millet soup. Better butter than oil. The more butter, the less salt. When I’m cooking accordingly to Genesis 1:29 and 3:18, the Holy Spirit gives me always new recipes.


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