Preparing cashew butter from scratch is the healthiest way to enjoy it. This creamy homemade version with its wonderfully nutty, roasted flavor is perfect for spreading on toast, or adding to a smoothie for a kick of extra protein!
Cashew Butter, a Healthy Homemade Treat
Many times when I'm craving something crunchy, I'll pour myself a little ramekin of mixed nuts—almonds, pistachios and roasted cashews—to munch on.
Or, maybe I'll scoop up a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter and enjoy that with the accompaniment of a bit of good dark chocolate for dipping.
I love the flavor of nuts and nut butters, so I thought it would be fun to get into my kitchen to whip up my own cashew butter recipe, one flavored to my liking and loaded with lots of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
Cashew butter is one of those healthy homemade treats that is great by the spoonful, spread on toast (with some cherry preserves, please!), or mixed into a smoothie for extra protein and texture.
And since cashews are an amazing source of healthy fat (they're actually slightly lower in fat than other nuts)—vitamin E, K and B6, plus copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and selenium—they're the perfect nut to make homemade nut butter out of.
Cashew butter is also a fantastic (and delicious!) substitute for peanut butter when it comes to sandwiches. You can make cashew butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch for yourself or your kids as a twist on the traditional “PB & J". 😉
How to Make Cashew Butter
Having my own homemade cashew butter recipe gives me the ability to control the flavor and salt level. So I like to use raw, unsalted cashews and roast them myself, then add in a touch of salt and a sweetener during the blending process.
Here's an overview of how I make it:
- I begin by roasting my raw cashews at 350° for about 12 minutes, and allowing them to cool when done.
- Then, I add my roasted and cooled cashews to my food processor, along with some salt and coconut oil, and process for a few minutes, or until the cashews crumble and begin to break down.
- I continue to process, periodically turning my food processor off to allow it rest and to scrape down the sides, until the cashews finally begin releasing their oils. At this point the mixture begins to get its creamy texture. (It takes about 10-20 minutes, with breaks.)
- Finally, I add in a touch of brown sugar for sweetness and process that in to blend.
- I spoon the cashew butter into a covered container, and keep it in the fridge.
(The full recipe is below...)
Tips & Tidbits for Cashew Butter:
- Raw, unsalted cashews: I like to control how much salt goes into the cashew butter, and I also like to roast the cashews myself for more a freshly roasted flavor; so I recommend raw, unsalted cashews for this recipe.
- Worth its salt: If you are restricting your salt intake, you may certainly leave it out of the recipe; but adding a small amount of salt will bring a lot more flavor to this cashew butter, as it will be quite bland if left out.
- Spice is nice: Feel free to add in a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, perhaps even turmeric or a more savory spice to the recipe when the salt would be added.
- The sweetening: I've noticed that granulated sweeteners work best for homemade nut butters. I like to use brown sugar in mine for a warmer, more caramel-like note; but you can use regular granulated, or even maple sugar. Honey and maple syrup can also be used; but believe it or not, because they have more liquid, they actually tend to “seize up” the nut butters. I have found that the brown sugar beautifully and effortlessly blends into the cashew butter without ruining its creamy consistency. (If you want to use honey or maple syrup, you can, just be prepared to continue to process it longer after it is added (because the cashew butter will seize up and you will have to re-blend until creamy).
- Creamy and a bit “loose” at first: When freshly blended, you may notice that the cashew butter is a touch on the loose side; but this is because it gets quite warm while processing and it brings the oils to the surface. Once it cools a bit, it will slightly thicken.
- Store in the fridge: Because this cashew butter has no stabilizers or preservatives, it's recommended that it be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container. It will keep well for about two to three weeks (or more, I've found). It can again be made nice and creamy by allowing it come to room temp for a few minutes before spreading. (You can also microwave for 20-30 seconds.)
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Info: 192 calories (per 2 tablespoons)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes (for roasting cashews)
Total time: 32 minutes
• 16 ounces (3 cups) raw, unsalted cashews
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil , melted (or safflower oil for more neutral flavor)
• ½ teaspoon (heaping) salt
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
-Place the cashews in a single layer onto the baking sheet, and roast for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally for even roasting; remove from oven and allow to cool almost completely, for about 10-15 minutes.
-Add the cooled nuts to the bowl of a food processor, along with the salt and the coconut oil, and process until the nuts become a fine crumble. (You may need to scrape down the sides periodically.)
-Then, continue to process the mixture for a few minutes at a time, as it goes from crumble, to mass, to a ball-like state, to finally creamy (it will eventually happen). Take a few minutes here and there to turn off your food processor and give it a break so it doesn't overheat. While your processor cools down a bit, you can use the time to scrape your cashew butter off the sides of the bowl. (Keep in mind that the cashews will go through various stages of breaking down, and will seem like they're not becoming creamy, but just hang in there. Keep processing, turning off the processor every few minutes as needed, until the last stage when you begin to see the natural oils release from the cashews and it finally becomes a creamy nut butter.)
-Once the mixture becomes a creamy nut butter (I've found it to take 10-20 minutes with the breaks in between—you get quicker over time as you become more familiar with the process), then turn off the processor, and add the brown sugar, and process that it in until combined.
-Spoon the cashew butter into a pint-size container with a lid, and store in the fridge for up to two -three weeks. When ready to use, remove from the fridge and allow it to come to room temp for a few minutes to bring it back to a creamier consistency for easier spreading, or microwave it for about 20-30 seconds for easy spreadability.