Cashew butter is a delicious creamy peanut butter alternative, but it can be expensive to buy. Use my step-by-step instructions to make your own!
There are no unnecessary ingredients in this recipe, only raw nuts and a bit of salt. It’s vegan, healthy, and it comes together in minutes.
Like so many others from my generation (technically Generation X), I grew up on peanut butter. Nut allergies weren’t as common in the 80s, so I was all about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Alternatives like cashew and almond butter weren’t around yet, at least not on a mass market scale.
At some point, “peanut” became sort of a dirty word due to the deadly allergies (which I totally understand), and almond butter became a thing. I’ve always been just ok on almond butter. It’s good, and I do like it. I just don’t like it as much as peanut butter. The day I discovered cashew butter, I never looked back.
Trader Joe’s was the first place I discovered the wonders of cashew butter. While the texture is similar to creamy peanut butter, I think the flavor is so much better. I still grab the Trader Joe’s version sometimes, but this recipe is fast and inexpensive to make compared to store brands. Especially if you purchase cashews in bulk like I do.
Cashews have a natural butteriness and subtle sweetness, yet the flavor is milder than most other nuts. This is why you’ll often find them used to make vegan cream sauces.
Even better, there are no papery or tough skins like you’ll find with almonds and pistachios. In summary, cashews are the perfect choice to use as a spreadable condiment.
Note: you can swap out the cashews for other nuts. Pistachio butter it pretty darn tasty.
How to Make Cashew Butter
Step 1: PLACE RAW OR ROASTED NUTS INTO A FOOD PROCESSOR
The nuts (I prefer roasted) are quickly chopped in the food processor. For raw cashew butter, you obviously won’t want to toast them first. You can also use a blender, but I think it’s much easier to scrape the finished product our of a food processor.
Step 2: PULSE TO CHOP
This will begin to warm the nuts and break them into smaller pieces so that the natural oils can release and act as a binder.
Step 3: PUREE UNTIL SMOOTH
Turn the machine on and let it run for 8-10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides periodically with a spatula, until the mixture is smooth.
Once the machine is left running, the oils from the cashew will slowly release, causing the nuts to clump. You can tell it’s almost ready at this stage!
When the nut butter is smooth and creamy, turn off the machine. You can add a bit of salt, or have fun with additions like honey and cocoa powder. If you want to thin out the texture, you can also add a bit of oil (grapeseed and avocado are good choices).
- Use roasted nuts for the best flavor. Roasted cashews will have a rich, caramelized and more intense flavor, and the resulting texture will be slightly smoother. However, raw nuts will still yield tasty results! Whichever way you go, start with raw, unsalted nuts. Pre-salted nuts will likely result in an overly salty spread.
- If you don’t have a food processor, this recipe works in a blender. However, if you have the option, a food processor is best since it will be easiest to scrape out all of the contents. If your blender has an attached blade, you’ll be leaving behind a lot of that precious cashew butter.
- Making it crunchy style. Regardless of the nut, I like a creamy spread. However, it’s very easy to make crunchy cashew butter if that’s your preference!
You’ll need an additional 1/3 cup nuts. After pulsing to chop them in Step 2, remove the extra 1/3 cup from the food processor. Continue with the instructions, then stir the chopped nuts in at the end.
Cashew Butter Cookies
If you love peanut butter cookies, I highly recommend making my peanut butter cookies recipe exactly as written. Just swap out the peanut butter for cashew butter. I’ve made them this way many times, and they’re amazing.
More Homemade Condiments
Looking for more DIY condiments?
For St. Patrick’s Day, make a batch of Irish cream liqueur, and your cocktails will be fabulous!
Finally, your Asian stir fry deserves a few splashes of homemade teriyaki sauce!
- 2 cups raw cashews (use an additional 1/3 cup for crunchy cashew butter, see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- You can skip to Step 2 for raw cashew butter. If you have the time, roasting adds a rich, nutty flavor. To roast: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until golden and fragrant, stirring the nuts and shaking the pan every 3-4 minutes, approximately 8-9 minutes total. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Place the cashews in a food processor and pulse several times to chop. Turn the machine on and allow it to run for 8-10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides periodically, until the cashew butter is smooth.
- Add the salt and puree for an additional 30 seconds (see notes for optional add-ins). Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 4 months.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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