A dollop of nut butter can turn the most basic snacks and dishes into a satisfying meal. Whether you like to add a hefty slab of almond butter to your post-workout sweet potato toast or eat a spoonful of peanut butter with a sprinkling chocolate chips, we know how addictive nut butters can be. But what could you do to elevate your nut butter game? How about a homemade pumpkin or apple butter instead? The sweet spread is a great substitute for store-bought jelly, which is packed with added sugar.
Add a schmear to toast, smoothies, parfaits, muffins, pancakes — the possibilities are endless. The best news is you can make it in your own kitchen. Once you’re dialed in with the blending methods, check out the amazing butter combinations to spice up your dishes.
How to Make Nut and Fruit Butter at Home
Many homemade nut and fruit butter recipes recommend using a food processor with an “S” blade and call for two or three cups of your main ingredient. Depending on your ingredients, the amount of time to blend will vary. (Tougher nuts like almonds may take as much as 20 to 30 minutes, while shredded coconut only takes one minute or so.) Blend the ingredients until they’re finely ground, but before the consistency is fully smooth, add in any oils, spices, herbs or flavor extracts. Pause the food processor for a second or two while blending to scrape the sides and mix; continue to blend until desired level of creamy texture is reached.
Looking for extra smooth results? Soaking nuts overnight is a great way to soften them up, making it easier to blend. To do this, simply add your nuts to a bowl or jar with filtered water and let sit in a cool spot or in the refrigerator. Drain, rinse and dry before adding the nuts into your food processor or blender. Soaking times vary based on the density of the nut, but check this cheat sheet for an idea of the time frame.
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9 Homemade Fruit and Nut Butter Recipes
1. Pecan Almond Butter
Chopped pecans add a hearty crunch and texture to traditional almond butter. Blend two cups of almonds in a food processor and fold in about two cups of chopped pecans. Since nuts don’t require as much oil as other butter blends, you can easily fold in other ingredients. But if you want to blend in some moisture, use two teaspoons of coconut oil. For a salty and sweet combo, try blending in a tablespoon or two of honey or pure maple syrup with a dash of sea salt. You can also add spices, like ground cinnamon, allspice, pumpkin spice or cardamom, for more flavor. Try a scoop of this Vanilla Bean Almond Pecan Butter in your morning smoothie or slater it on toast. Photo and recipe: Ashley / Fit Mitten Kitchen
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2. Coconut Butter
Shredded unsweetened coconut combined with coconut oil can blend to an ethereally smooth butter. Or, take it from Katie of Chocolate Covered Katie, who adds a bag of shredded, unsweetened coconut (about two cups) into a high-speed blender for three to five minutes. Depending on how your mixture turns out, you can add some coconut oil to make it more paste-like. Try it as a topper for a slice of fresh banana bread or substitute it for a pat of butter on a stack of protein flapjacks. To sweeten it up, add a teaspoon of coconut sugar. Photo and recipe: Katie / Chocolate Covered Katie
3. Hazelnut Butter
Fans of Nutella know that hazelnut is a VIP spread when prepared correctly. This Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Butter recipe is the real deal, featuring melted semi sweet chocolate chips and espresso powder. Brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness and a caramelized flavor. Spread some of the chocolaty goodness over peanut butter toast or add it into a batch of energy balls. Photo and recipe: Tanya / Lemons for Lulu
4. Curry Cashew Butter
Curry powder perfectly complements the subtle sweetness of cashew butter. This unique flavor combination pairs well with savory loaves like corn bread. You can also drizzle it over breakfast cookies or oatmeal and use it as the base for sauce in a noodle dish. Photo and recipe: Eating Well
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5. Pumpkin Butter
If you’ve got pumpkin fever, adding this seasonal creamy blend to your dishes is like having pie with every meal. This recipe calls for a quarter-cup of pumpkin puree and classic pie spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Photo and recipe: Tessa Arias / Handle the Heat
6. Apple Butter
Another seasonal ingredient go-to, apples blend into a jam-like consistency. To avoid adding sugar, infuse it with flavorful spices, such as nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. In this Brown Eyed Baker recipe, you combine six and a half pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced, in a slow cooker with granulated sugar, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves salt and vanilla extract in a slow cooker. Cook the mixture on low for 10 hours before pureeing it in a blender until smooth. Photo and recipe: Michelle / Brown Eyed Baker
7. Cookie Butter
You’ve probably noticed jars of cookie butter at the grocery store or included in desserts like ice cream and pie. Instead of buying the store-bought version, which gets loaded with preservatives, this homemade recipe calls for milk, light brown sugar, shortbread cookies, vanilla bean paste and bourbon. Photo and recipe: Serene / House of Yumm
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8. Pistachio Butter
As popular as pistachios are, you probably haven’t come across them before in this form. Made with roasted pistachios, maple syrup, sea salt and coconut oil, this salty-sweet combo is addictive. Just don’t go overboard — pistachios are more calorie dense than other nuts! Photo and recipe: Serene / House of Yumm
9. Chocolate Peanut Butter
There’s nothing that can’t be improved by a bit of chocolate, right? Fold in two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to a cup of peanuts during the blending process for an extra decadent spread. Photo and recipe: Amy / Amy’s Healthy Baking