Homemade Sunbutter

Many schools and family events are peanut-free or completely nut-free due to allergy concerns. There are several alternative nut butters, like almond and cashew, but if you want or need to avoid all nuts, the only options I know of are soynut and sunbutter. Soy is another relatively common allergy in young children, so it seems like sunbutter is the best alternative.

What is sunbutter? I was fairly surprised the first time I found out about it – it’s a spread made out of sunflower seeds! It has the same color and texture of peanut butter, with similar nutritional values. The protein and fat contents are almost identical, with sunbutter having slightly less saturated fat plus double the fiber of peanut butter. Sunflower seed buter is also high in magnesium and vitamin E.  Unfortunately, it’s fairly expensive compared to peanut butter ($5-8 a jar). Luckily, sunflower seeds themselves aren’t that expensive, and I bought a 1 pound bag of shelled and roasted seeds for $1.69 at Trader Joe’s.

You will need a fairly high-powered food processor or blender to get the seeds to a smooth consistency. Mine wasn’t quite as smooth as store bought sunflower seed butter, but it was very close and I didn’t really notice while I was eating it. My homemade version tasted slightly more strongly of sunflower seeds than how I remember the store bought version tasting, which is strange since they don’t add any other flavors to it. It still had a fairly mild taste, and I think it would be great on bread, crackers, apples, celery, etc.

What are other alternatives to traditional foods do you enjoy?


Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter

Yields around 8 oz.

  • 2 C sunflower seeds, roasted
  • 2-3 T neutral tasting oil (canola, grapeseed, etc.)
  • Your preferred sweetener to taste (I used 1 t agave)
  • Salt to taste (if you buy salted seeds, omit salt)

(Edited to add: I just read that if you toast the seeds before blending, it helps them become creamier. Toast in a 225°F oven for around 20 mins, checking often and stirring them around so they don’t burn. Once they brown, remove from oven. Let cool slightly, then proceed with this recipe.)

1. Place sunflower seeds in food processor or blender.

2. Process until seeds turn into a fine meal.

To reach this consistency, I transferred the mixture from a mini food processor to a high-powered blender. A more powerful food processor should be able to grind it more efficiently.

3. Add oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, processing in between until you reach the consistency of a spreadable nut butter. Add sweetener and salt to taste. (Note: Check machine often to ensure it’s not overheating – if it feels hot, turn it off for a few minutes to avoid damaging the motor.)

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for

16 Comments on Homemade Sunbutter

  1. Chris
    May 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm (10 years ago)

    What’s the shelf life of something like this?

    • Stephanie
      May 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm (10 years ago)

      @Chris – I have to admit I’m not quite sure. Every recipe I’ve seen doesn’t mention shelf life, but my guess is it would be ok for a few months in the fridge. If I find out something more solid (and once my batch gets older) I’ll update the recipe.

  2. Eat and Write
    May 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm (10 years ago)

    Isn’t sunbutter just amazing? I love it. One question before I make this recipe: do you know how long it will last in the refrigerator? I’d hate to have to throw it away if I don’t eat it quickly enough. Thanks 🙂
    Eat and Write recently posted our vintage weekend- in kentucky- part 1

    • Stephanie
      May 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm (10 years ago)

      @Eat and Write – I’m not positive, as none of the recipes I found mentioned shelf life, but I think it would be ok for a few months in the fridge. If I find out a more solid answer (and once my own batch is older and I see how it lasts), I’ll update the recipe.

  3. andrea
    May 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh, how I wish I had a food processor! I could make all kinds of things… AGH!

    • Stephanie
      May 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm (10 years ago)

      @Andrea – do you have a decent blender? My blender actually came in more handy than my food processor, but it has a powerful motor.

  4. Magic of Spice
    May 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm (10 years ago)

    This is so fantastic! I have never prepared a nut butter myself, but love them and this would be my favorite…excellent 🙂

  5. Sarah@TheJoyOfCleanEating.com
    May 6, 2011 at 7:27 am (10 years ago)

    I LOVE sunflower seed butter and it’s so easy to make at home! That and cashew butter and my favs!


  6. Angela
    July 21, 2011 at 8:49 am (10 years ago)

    You said you bought a 1# bag of seeds and used 2 cups for the recipe. How much would the whole bag make? I’m trying to figure out an approximate ratio of a pound of seed to ounces of sunbutter.

    • Stephanie
      July 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm (10 years ago)

      @Angela – I don’t know how many cups are in a pound of seeds. I used the remaining for other recipes. I’m sorry I can’t be more help, but I think you’ll have to get a pound and measure it out.

  7. Chrys
    October 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm (10 years ago)

    It’s been a few months, so was wondering if the sunbutter is still doing well, or whether you have any answer concerning shelf life

  8. Singstar
    October 7, 2012 at 1:48 am (9 years ago)

    Anyone tried the same technique/recipe idea for pumpkin seeds?


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