Homemade sunflower seed butter: a cost comparison and recipe

 

It was a sad, sad day when I realized Luke had an intolerance to peanuts and tree nuts.  Peanut butter and almond butter were staples in my diet and giving them up meant a little less joy in my daily eating.

Sunflower seed butter (also known as simply “sun butter”) has replaced my beloved peanut and almond butters, even if it may have been begrudgingly.

The biggest problem with this substitution is the cost.  Where I live the cost of a small jar of sunflower seed butter varies from store to store, but the cheapest I’ve found it is just under $6.00 and the most expensive (which happens to also be the most convenient store for me) is $7.50.  Outrageous, right?

After months of eating 1-2 jars a week (Yes, I do.  My food choices are really limited, and my breastfeeding appetite is voracious and it satisfies me…what can I say?)  I decided to finally try making my own.

Let’s take a look at approximate price difference between the popular store-bought brand and a jar of the homemade variety:

Umm…hello?  Why didn’t I try this sooner?  This seems to be a theme with me. (Remember the homemade almond milk?)

Making homemade sunflower seed butter is super easy, inexpensive, and quick.  It takes about 10 minutes or less to turn the seeds into butter.  Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned in my experimentation:

  • For me, raw sunflower seeds did not work.  They would not turn into butter even after 10 consecutive minutes of processing.  I had the same result when I tried to toast them myself.
  • I have had the best results with roasted, salted sunflower seeds.
  • I haven’t needed to add any oil, but the seeds I have used have been roasted in oil.  If you get dry roasted seeds, you may need to add oil.
  • Longer processing time=creamier butter
  • If you are going to use the sunflower seed butter quickly, there is no need to store in the refrigerator.  If you want it to last longer, keep it in the fridge.
  • I have liked the results in the food processor better than the blender.

There’s no recipe needed for regular, plain sunflower seed butter.  You just put the seeds in a food processor and let it run for about 10 minutes.  This time will likely vary a lot depending on the size of your machine, how many seeds you use, and how thick vs. thin you like your butter.

In the photos above, I took the pictures at the beginning, 1 minute,  4 minutes, and 8 minutes.

I do like to doctor my homemade sunflower seed butter up a bit.  Here is a recipe for a vanilla-cinnamon variety that I just love.

 

This recipe is so easy you can even do it with an active baby around.  See?

Have a great week!

 

Comments

  1. amanda says

    In California, the pricing is no different for sunflower butter. I think Trader Joe’s has the lowest price I’ve seen (not their brand but what you’ve listed above), at around the same price. Bummer, except that now that you’ve cracked the sunflower butter-making code, and now we can all rejoice, hah.

    And THANK YOU for making note about the results of trying to toast your own vs using the pre-roasted/salted variety. My bf and I banter about this kind of thing, so I’m glad we didn’t attempt it with raw and have poor results! How funny that it didn’t work, huh? I wonder why that is… Goofy little nuts.

  2. says

    Just pinned this! If I didn’t already have a jar of chocolate almond butter, TJ’s sunflower seed butter and peanut butter in the fridge, I would definitely make this ASAP. So creamy and delicious!

    What do you use for the captions on your pictures? They’re beautiful!

    P.S–You have the cutest baby boy ever.

  3. says

    i NEED to do this! i love SSB but always hated the addition of sugar. thanks for the ehlpful hints with buying roasted. ive tried making almond butter myself and even after roasting, it was a fail.
    and honestly, he is such an handsome little guy. such a cutie!!!

    • Phyllis says

      Felicia, my husband and I make almond butter all the time. It is very easy. We just use 2 cups of salted, roasted almonds (they, too, work better than the raw ones for some reason) with about 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil. We pulse ours in our HealthMaster (LivingWell, with Montel) and it works great. Just a few pulses will pulverize it into creamy butter. Delicious spread on a rice cake with a little honey drizzled over it!! Don’t give up on homemade almond butter. It’s the bomb and I can’t wait to try Maryea’s Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe!

  4. says

    I am so excited to hear you had such success! Someone else I know tried it and it didn’t work, so I just kept buying my beloved Trader Joe’s version–my favorite nut butter of all time. I don’t love that it has added sugar though, so I definitely want to try this. Thanks for the tips!

  5. says

    Luke is so darn cute! I love sunflower butter and I like the cinnamon and honey additions to it, yummy!
    I have had to cut out many things in my diet too these days, Juliana had/has lots of tummy issues, reflux, and spitting up. First thing I cut was dairy and she seems to be doing better and becoming more regular now that I made that change. :-)

  6. says

    Looks great! Where did you find nut-free sunflower seeds? I think that’s my biggest barrier to making this right now as I don’t trust any brands I’ve found in the store – all have “may contain” or “processed in same facility” on the packages.

    Great idea!

    • Maryea says

      I buy from the bulk section at my local health food store. I didn’t even think about them not being nut-free. I don’t think the processed in the same facility thing is an issue for Luke since I believe he is just intolerant and not truly allergic to nuts. That’s a bummer that you can’t find some sunflower seeds you trust to be nut-free. Have you looked online?

    • Julisa says

      My son has a nut allergy and we asked his doc (who also has a severe nut allergy) about whether we needed to worry about the ‘may contain’ on packaging. He said no-it’s companies protecting themselves. If there is anything nut in the ingredients list, that’s a no-go. But the may contain or processed in the same facility as he doesn’t worry about. And he has severe anaphylactic reactions so I trust him on this one!

    • Renea Kurek says

      David’s brand sunflower seeds are not processed in a factory with peanuts or tree nuts. I saw it on a website and then called the company to confirm. My son had a severe reaction that landed us in the ER the first time he had peanut butter. I am taking no chances.

  7. Nicky says

    I know this is a little late in the week, but just wanted to let you know that my son who is by far the fussiest kid on the block absolutely adores this sunflower seed butter. He is sitting here licking it off his toast as we speak. Thank you for posting the recipe and your footnotes.

  8. jen says

    I made this tonight and it turned out great. I did add just a bit of oil because mine was a tad on the dry side. It didn’t turn out quite as smooth as store-bought, and the smoothness seemed to stop increasing after 8 minutes or so, so I just stopped. But the slightly gritty texture (gritty sounds bad, but I can’t think of a better word) isn’t a problem for me – my 15 month old and I still love it. My seeds had been refridgerated, not sure if that made a difference?

    Thanks for the great idea!

    • Maryea says

      You’re right, there is a slight grittiness to it that isn’t there in the store-bought kind. Strangely, I kind of like it.

      You’re welcome. :-)

  9. says

    You’re wonderful, thank youuuu! I’m so excited to buy sunflower seeds this weekend! I’m almond-buttering out my family. We need to switch things up!

    • Maryea says

      Ooh that sounds amazing. Let me know how it turns out! The only thing that would stop me from making it would be having to deshell all the pistachios! Yikes.

  10. Briana Shires says

    Making this right now! I’ve missed PB and almond butter SO much! :) I really hope this works. Maybe I CAN tolerate pumping till 2 :)

  11. Gerry says

    Use alcohol free vanilla. Normal alcohol gives it a bit of a funny taste. Trader Joe’s sells sunflower seeds for just $1.99 per pound so that makes this even cheaper (and cheaper than store bought peanut butter also).

    • Maryea says

      Good ol’ Trader Joe’s! I haven’t been there in a while as it’s about a 20-25 minute drive from my house, but I know they have great prices on things like seeds and nuts. Before my second was born I’d go about once a month to stock up on those things. I need to get back into that habit. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Kerri Haffner says

    Listen ladies… Love your recipes. Here’s some tips.
    Some grocers have a health food aisle where you can buy seeds or nuts in bulk already to put in your blenders. I have the vitamix 750 and just have to throw in my ingredients and turn it on. It heats up and presto. Nut butter of any kind.
    Want to thrill your taste buds? Add some sweetened cocoa and you have yourself a cheaper form of Nutella. And if adding it to sun butter then it’s nut free. Enjoy!

  13. says

    I want to make sunflower seed butter and this is the first place I looked. Looks great. Only problem is the reason I want to make it is because I just bought a 5 lb. bag of RAW seeds. sigh
    I guess I still might try roasting some and see what happens.

    • Maryea says

      You could also add some oil to the mixture to help if you want to try it with the raw seeds. I think that is what makes the roasted seeds create a smoother butter–they are roasted in oil. Good luck!

  14. Diedre says

    I love to make my own almond milk, almond butter, sunflower seed butter and pumpkin seed butter. my 2 little boys love nut butter sandwiches with bananas and honey so I always have nut butters in the fridge. It is crazy to buy all this stuff when you can make it at home. I love your blog and everything you relate to real moms living a real life which I love. Congrats on your new move.

    • Maryea says

      Thank you so much! I’ve never tried to make pumpkin seed butter but I’ve seen it in the store and it’s crazy expensive. I’m going to have to try that one!

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