DIY sunflower seed butter is a delicious and nutritious alternative to peanut butter. Learn how to make it with no added oil, little money and minimal effort! A keto option is available.
Sunflower Seed Butter Instead of Peanut Butter
This post is for my sister, Rebecca. Love you, sis.
Rebecca is allergic to peanuts. When we were growing up, she had to fight to convince people that her allergy was “real.” On many occasions (school, friends’ houses, parties), otherwise well-meaning adults would serve her something with “just a little bit of peanuts or peanut butter.” It couldn’t hurt, right? Wrong. It hurt, a lot. I think the repeat experiences contributed to her strength and outspokenness in adulthood.
Flash forward a few decades and (hallelujah!) understanding and acceptance of food allergies has skyrocketed. Along with it, a multitude of allergy-friendly products are making allergy-friendly eating safe, easy, and delicious. But, oy vey, the prices! Until allergy-friendly staples drop closer to “regular” food options, it’s good to have plenty of simple, homemade alternatives.
One of my favorites (and my sister’s, too) is Sunflower Seed Butter, the perfect (and possibly, superior!) alternative to peanut butter. It is eat-off-of-the-spoon scrumptious. Best of all, it can be made with ease for a fraction of the cost of ready-made varieties.
The first step takes about 20 minutes of unattended time. The second step takes less time (10 to 15 minutes) but more patience (due to stopping and scraping the mixture as you go). Nevertheless, it is still a simple process (no nut or seed grinding experience required!).
Step One: Roast the Sunflower Seeds
Spread 3 cups of raw, hulled sunflower seeds on a large rimmed baking sheet. Push the seeds away from the edges of the sheet pan (1/2 inch or so will do). The seeds can over-brown if they are touching the hot edges.
Roast for 10 minutes at 350F. Open the oven and stir the seeds (for more even browning). Continue roasting for another 8 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
Watch closely during the final minutes; the seeds can go from brown to black quickly in the final minutes if you are not paying attention (it has happened to me more than once when I was distracted).
Immediately transfer the seeds to the container of a food processor or high-speed blender. You want to get them off of the hot pan so they do not continue browning. Cool completely.
Step Two: Grind the Seeds
Once the seeds have cooled completely, commence grinding!
First, process the seeds until they resemble a coarse flour. Stop and scrape the container, then process again until the flour begins to clump together. Stop and scrape (again :)) and process until the mixture turns into a thick, rough seed butter. It will ball up against the blade. Stop and scrape down the sides again.
Step 3: Keep Processing!
You are almost there! Remember, this is the patience portion I alluded to earlier. Continue to process, stopping and scraping the bowl every once in awhile, until the mixture transforms from a stiff, dry-looking blob to a smooth, drippy seed butter. The continued processing allows the oils to further break down, resulting in a creamy, dreamy spread.
This last phase will take about 4 or 5 minutes. It is soooo worth the wait!
Once the seed butter is smooth, add the coconut sugar and salt (as desired). I have options for using other sweeteners. You can leave out the sugar, too.
One batch will make 2 cups of sunflower seed butter. Transfer it to jars or other airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months (ha! It never lasts that long at my house :)).
The sunflower seed butter is 100% keto if you (1) leave out the sugar or (2) use a keto-friendly (liquid or granular) sweetener in its place.
Bake for 10 minutes; open the oven and stir the kernels. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown and fragrant (be careful during the final minutes; check often to avoid over-cooking).
Process until the kernels resemble a coarse flour. Stop and scrape the container and continue processing until the mixture begins to clump. Stop and scrape again. Process until mixture begins to pull together into a very rough looking “butter.” Stop and scrape again.
Continue processing for 4 to 5 minutes, stopping and scraping occasionally, until the oils begin to release from the seeds and the mixture turns very smooth and creamy (it takes time, but it will happen!).
Add the coconut sugar and salt; process until combined. Taste the butter and adjust the sweetener and salt, as desired.
Scrape the seed butter into jars or other tightly covered containers. Store in the refrigerator.
Sugar Options: You can use just about any sweetener you like in place of the coconut sugar. For example, brown sugar, organic cane sugar, maple syrup, honey (if you are not vegan) or agave nectar. Feel free to adjust the amount, more or less, to your liking. You can also omit the sweetener, if desired.
Keto Option: Omit the sugar altogether or replace it with any equal amount of liquid or granular keto-friendly sweetener. Keto Macros (per 2 tablespoons): Carbs (3.8 g), Net Carbs (1.5 g), Sugars (0.8 g), Calories (128)
Such a perfect recipe. Thank you for sharing, it is great to be able to make this. For those who are wondering, I use an ancient food processor (from garage sale, circa likely the 70s) and it works great.
Monday 12th of March 2018
This is a staple at our house! My husband and I eat Paleo and our little one has peanut sensitivities. It is so cheap to make when you buy the seeds in bulk! Thank you so much!
Monday 9th of October 2017
Hi Camilla, I found your blog today searching for a lara bar copycat recipe. But I've wanted to make sunflower seed butter, so I made this first. So easy and so good! My whole family thanks you!
Monday 10th of April 2017
This is brilliant, thanks so much for giving the step by step! I tried with other nut/seed butters but did not realize you had to keep going those final minutes. That does the trick! I'll be making your almond butter recipe next.
Friday 3rd of March 2017
I'm impressed with how much you are able to accomplish! Teaching spin classes, running, motherhood, and coming up with so many wonderful recipes. I love this sunbutter recipe, thank you! Cannot wait to try more of your recipes.