Sunbutter is a relatively new discovery for me. I don’t think it’s a common thing in the UK – it’s basically creamed sunflower seeds that you would use in place of other nut butters – but seems to be hard to come by, and crazy expensive. I recently saw jarred sunbutter on sale for £17 for a jar. Yes, £17! The ingredients on the jar were really basic: just sunflower seeds, olive oil, sugar and salt, so I figured I could make my own for much much less than that, and so devised my own sunbutter recipe.
The great thing about sunbutter is it’s a great alternative to peanut butter if you have a nut allergy. Like many nursery schools, play schools and primary schools, my daughter’s nursery school is nut-free, meaning peanut butter sandwiches are a no-no. So always on the look out for healthy peanut-free lunch ideas, sunbutter makes a great protein-packed, healthy, and allergy free lunch-box substitution for peanut butter sandwiches (or peanut butter and jam on toast!). It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly (if you substitute or omit the honey) and gluten free too.
Sunbutter is also really easy to make. This sunbutter recipe does however take at least 10 minutes of continuous pulsing on a standard food processor, so have a think first if your processor is up to the job. My processor is quite new and has a 750W motor so I felt quite confident in it’s abilities, but I did keep checking to ensure the motor wasn’t over-heating!
I personally wouldn’t use a blender – I don’t think there would be enough power to cream the sunflower seeds. If you don’t have a strong enough food processor, I would imagine you could use an electric grinder mill and work in smaller batches – combining it all to add the honey and oil.
Homemade Sunbutter Recipe
Homemade Sunbutter Recipe
- Food processor
- 150 g of hulled sunflower seeds
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon honey or you could use sugar if you're vegan
- 2 teaspoons oil I used olive oil as I like the taste it imparts, but you could use sunflower or vegetable oil
In an un-oiled frying pan, gently toast your sunflower seeds until a golden brown colour. Take care not to burn them otherwise you’ll get a very dry sunbutter.
Add all of your toasted seeds to the food processor, and the salt, and pulse until you’ve got a mealy powder.
Don’t stop there: once powdered you need to run your processor at high-speed continuously for about 10 minutes (you may have to keep stopping and scraping the sides down) until it becomes peanut-butter like. It may feel like you’re never going to get there but trust me on this. If you have a less powerful food processor it may take a bit longer than 10 minutes – just keep an eye on your processor so it doesn’t overheat. Whatever you do, don’t add the honey or olive oil until the seeds have creamed otherwise you’ll end up with a very dry and gritty sunbutter. You have been warned!
Once it’s butter-like, add your honey, and pulse for a minute or two to combine. Next, while the machine is still running, drizzle in your oil until you’ve got a consistency you’re happy with. I like my sunbutter quite thick, so two teaspoons suited me fine.
Spoon into a sterilised jar, seal, and store in the fridge for up to a month. Use as you would any nut butter! I especially enjoy mine spread on some sliced apple as a healthy snack.
The bag of seeds cost me £1.50, and once you add in the tiny bit of salt, honey and oil, this sunbutter recipe cost me no more than £1.55 to make a small jar! Take that £17 jar!
ps: if you add honey make sure you don’t let children under the age of one eat the sunbutter!