"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Cashew butter: Make it or buy it?

by Julie on January 11, 2012

in Minor Miracles, Breakfast

A year or so ago I might have mentioned my little thing with cashew nut butter. I was never a big peanut butter fan. But cashew nut butter changed my world. I can’t get enough of it, for whatever reason.

It doesn’t take long to make, but making it involves some measure of intent and focus and concentration, and that always makes me twitch. Surely there was a jar of pre-made cashew butter that I could buy for less than the $15 Whole Foods wanted for theirs?

Then my happy neighborhood Fresh & Easy opened. And lo! It did offer a jar of cashew nut butter. And it was only nearly $7.

One day, feeling flush, I splurged on a jar. I’ve been wanting to conduct a little experiment for a while now…What was more economical — and tasty? This?

The store-bought contender

Or this?

DIY fodder

I’ve often wondered. I mean, if it was just as good I could save myself some hassle and just buy the stuff. Which, yeah, is cheating, but you know how I am.

Anyway, here’s how you make your own cashew nut butter.

Set your oven to 350.  Simply open your bag and dump those nuts out on a cookie sheet. Roast the cashews until you can just smell them, about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure you don’t burn them — it’s a very fine line between heavenly perfection and sorta bitter meh. Once you catch the whiff, turn the oven off and remove them.

Beat back the children. They will eat all of your roasted nuts if you’re not watching them. You haven’t experienced a full life until you’ve had a few freshly roasted cashews … and the nits know that all too well. Beat them back, I say! This cashew nut butter is for you!

roasted just so....


Put them in a food processor (the nuts, not the nits). I learned the hard way that a blender won’t work in this case. So I use my ridiculous little prep processor and it works fine in batches. Add some oil. Not too much, but enough to bring it all together into a butter. I dunno. Eyeball it.  I had to make this three or four times before I got it exactly right.


The right oil

You like crunchy or creamy? Process until satisfied. My rule of thumb: One 3-minute song on the kitchen iPod gets it where I want it.

pulse first before adding oil


Make in batches and store in Tupperware

Now you’ve got warm, fresh, roasted cashewnut butter. The store bought cost about $7 and tastes OK. Makes a decent CB and J. The raw cashews cost about $6.50 plus some oil plus some time and effort. So let’s call it even.

Which is better? The store bought stuff or the homemade?

You have to ask?

No comparison. It annoys me when the foodies are right.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Haylo January 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Wow, who knew making your own was so easy? I tend to assume premade foods I’ve bought at the store my entire life would be too difficult to make. I am *definitely* trying this. Thanks for the post.


Julie January 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Yeah I was shocked too…and it’s SOOOO good it’s insane.
My new mantra: If I can make it…


Haylo January 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm

By the way, I love your writing. You make food fun and you always make me laugh. So, thanks again. 🙂


Julie January 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Thank YOU! It makes me happy to know I have at least one or two readers out there…:-)


Laura Zinn Fromm January 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Julie, Have you ever attempted to make Nutella? That is my new obsession. Maybe a cashew version of Nutella? Let’s discuss.


Julie January 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Laura – MAKE Nutella?
Oh that’s SUCH blog fodder….


Bonnie McCarthy January 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

I want some!! I have never had cashew nut butter and have clearly not lived. I intend to rectify this STAT! Thanks for sharing!


Witty in the City January 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

If you don’t toast your cashews for as long, then they won’t release as much of their natural oil, and you won’t have to add any extra oil at all. I make nut butter at least once a week, usually from almonds. The hot, toasty smell of it in the food processor is drool-worthy!


Julie January 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I’m drooling now! Thanks for the tip, Witty!


Ashley Bambrick February 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Just saw your article. I’m getting into cashew butter myself and I’m trying to find cheaper options. How much did your home made batch make? Was it the same amount as the store bought? Thanks!


Julie February 24, 2015 at 8:39 pm

Hi Ashley! Store-bought cashew nut butter is expensive, and, I’ve found, about on par with what it will cost you to make yourself…probably a bit more expensive. Cashews are expensive. That said, the stuff you make yourself is 100% more delicious, and freshly made and warm…nothing like it! Buy a half pound of cashews and try it. So easy. And so worth it!


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