Make it homemade: Sunbutter

by Kris on May 20, 2011 · 14 comments

It wasn’t long ago that Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter took the world by storm. And for good reason: it’s delicious! I myself have partaken in more than one jar. The only thing about it that’s hard to swallow? The ingredient list: Sunflower seeds, evaporated cane juice, salt. Yes, I know it’s only three ingredients and it could be much, much worse. But I also know, I can make it better.

 It’s those three words in the middle of the list that really get me: evaporated cane juice. Otherwise known as sugar. Sunflower seeds themselves make an incredibly deep flavored, rich “butter” when ground together, and a little sweetness goes a long way to enhance the flavor. But does the second ingredient really have to be “evaporated cane juice”? I don’t think so. And if I can avoid packaging at all, I will- so when I had this recipe bookmarked for nearly two months now, I knew it was time to try my own hand at the beloved sunbutter.

Nut-free, peanut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, this is the ultimate allergen-free recipe. Not to mention the fact that it’s rich, bold flavor is unlike any other I’ve ever tried before. It really is an extremely tasty, versatile seed butter. I did add a hint of sweetness using a little bit of stevia (perfect for those of you on a Candida, Paleo or other low-sugar diet) but you could feel free to use a bit of honey if you partake and don’t mind the honey taste, or agave if you roll with it, but it is entirely optional. The oil is also optional- my ancient food processor needed a little help but if you have a super high tech Cuisinart don’t even bother. I do think the sea salt is mandatory- it brings out the flavor and it is way healthier than your average processed iodized salt.

Homemade Sunflower Seed butter

1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp oil of choice (optional; I used grapeseed for the neutral taste)
pinch of stevia or sweetener of choice (optional)
pinch of sea salt


1. Roast sunflower seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden.

After: toasted and tasty!

2. Add seeds to food processor and grind until powdered; add oil if necessary.

Continue blending until seeds form a smooth paste, scraping down sides as needed.

3. Add sweetener as desired and sea salt to taste.

Enjoy by itself as a dip, condiment or spread, or in this fabulous recipe.

Did you know? Sunflower seeds are super high in healthy polysunsaturated fats. They are also one of the highest plant sources of antioxidant Vitamin E (a fat soluble vitamin- see how those two health points go hand in hand? Nature is beautiful), along with our friend the avocado. It’s also high in magnesium and selenium (selenium being one mineral that doesn’t tend to be prominent in plant-based foods!). [source]


Do you have a “make it homemade” reader request? I’m taking submissions now! And don’t forget to send me your Weekly Nibbles “Show me your nibbles” favorite meal pictures, my first three will be featured this weekend! Send both to cookbakenibble [at]!


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Gillian May 20, 2011 at 10:43 am

Marry me?

Reader request…hmm…more bars/treats without any form of sugar would be awesome :)

Kristin May 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

Yes! It will be the ultimate foodie wedding ;)

Tasha @ Voracious May 20, 2011 at 10:58 am

SO TASTY! I’ve been hearing so much about sun butter lately but we can’t find any here….thankfully I now know how to make my own! I can’t wait, thanks so much.

Kristin May 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

It’s sooo good, and super easy too! I hope you do make it :)

Nicole May 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

I’m addicted to sunbutter! And I make my own, too. Here’s what I do with it:

Kristin May 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

Yum! I love the addition of flax. And I am going to make those sunflower bites! Thanks for the recipe :)

Krissy May 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Mmm looks tasty!!! Did you add any sweetness to yours – or does it take good without it?!

Kristin May 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I did add a tiny pinch of stevia, but not much! It has a rich, bold “nutty” so to speak (seedy, I guess? haha) taste, so a little touch of sweetness is nice if you prefer the sweeter nut butters (almond, cashew) but I don’t think it’s necessarily needed! I think it tastes good without it, but I have a strange healthy palette, haha.

Witty in the City May 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

That’s awesome! I love making nut butters and have also blogged about it. My boyfriend recently bought a bag of shelled sunflower seeds (I HAVE NO IDEA WHY), and I thought about making them into a butter to use them up. I was hesitant because I didn’t know if it would be good, so thanks for making my decision easy!

Kristin May 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I’m glad I gave you inspiration! I love plain roasted sunflower seeds on salads, too! xo

Erika May 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm


megan @ the oatmeal diaries May 21, 2011 at 6:02 am

Ok, for some reason I do not like sunflower butter! I have no idea why! Maybe if I made my own I’d like it :)

janetha @ meals & moves May 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I need to do this! Sunflower seeds are way cheaper than premade sunbutter!

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