Sun buttered

Do you like sunflower seed butter but not the  price tag?  Or is it hard to find where you live?  If you have sunflower seeds, oil, and a food processor, you can make your own.

A [16 oz. net weight] jar of conventionally grown (i.e., not organic) sunflower seed butter runs about $5-$6.  If you want organic, add a couple of bucks to that figure.  Then compare that price to buying raw, unsalted organic sunflower seeds for $3.50/lb.

I like to roast my sunflower seeds first, which led to a failed attempt a couple of weeks ago when I, um, OVER-toasted (okay, burned) the sunflower seeds.  I deemed them still edible (by me, because I couldn’t bear to throw away what had been perfectly good food) but NOT suitable for sunflower butter.

The burnt seeds took the wind out of my sails, and it took me awhile to get back to this.

Start with one pound (a generous two cups) of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds.

Toasting is optional, but I like the flavor better.  You can use a dry pan on the stove top, the microwave method, or an oven/toaster oven.  Whatever the method, toast them LIGHTLY.  Let cool most of the way before proceeding.

Start blending seeds in food processor.

Keep blending.  It will start to get weird and chunky.  Keep blending.  At some point it will start to look like cookie dough, but not at all like a nice smooth nut butter.  This post has more good pictures.

Gabriel says, “Keep blending.”  Basically, you don’t want to add the extra oil too early, or the sunflower seeds will not release all of their oils, and it won’t come together as well.

Once you have a doughy, thick nut butter consistency, drizzle in some oil while the food processor is running.  I didn’t really measure, but I think I used about two tablespoons.

Nice and smooth.  Add sweetener and a bit of salt to taste.  I added about a tablespoon of honey (yay for someone being old enough to eat things with honey in them now!) and a pinch of salt.

Put the finished product in a jar or other container and enjoy cleaning out the food processor — a tasty job.  Refrigerate the sunbutter and use as you would any nut butter — sandwiches, stirred into oatmeal, on crackers, in cookies . . . .

With organic peanuts and peanut butter selling for $6/lb, homemade sunbutter may be making more frequent appearances in our kitchen.


  1. Kim says:

    I enjoyed your assistant’s input in this recipe!

  2. Stacey says:

    I make almond butter all the time. What are the benefits to sunbutter over almond butter?

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      I don’t know that one is better than the other, health-wise, although people with nut allergies could eat sunbutter. Budget-wise, sunflower seeds are much more affordable than almonds, so that’s another plus. We also eat almond butter (though I’ve never made it), so this is just another option for variety.

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