I always have sunflower seeds as I use them in baking as a nut substitute – like in these oatmeal breakfast cookies as a substitute for almond flour, or as a topping for my sunflower seed banana bread. Sunflower seed butter is a great inexpensive alternative to nut butters.
A bag of sunflower seeds costs a fraction of the same amount of nuts and when I make nut butter at home, I usually use about half seeds anyway to offset the cost (update: now in Sweden I often make peanut butter, but still use sunflower seeds when making mixed nut butters like the one in my cookbook).
It’s a fantastic back pocket recipe to have and a whole-foods kitchen staple. If you prefer you can use raw sunflower seeds, but roasting them makes it easier to blend into a smooth butter due to natural oils releasing during cooking, and adds a nice flavour.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Sunflower seeds: this should be raw, unsalted seeds that you roast yourself. Roasted sunflower seeds are usually cooked in oil and will make for a very different butter if used.
- Salt: you can omit the salt if you want a pure-tasting butter with no added flavour. Try mixing in other spices like cinnamon to change things up.
The only thing to think about here is that sunflower butter can be a little bitter, especially if you’re not used to it, so tossing a date or two in sweetens things up a bit without having to add sugar. You can also use coconut sugar or another dry sweetener like maple sugar.
Like any nut or seed butter, this does do best with a higher-powered food processor or a high speed blender that works with dry ingredients. With a low power processor you’ll have to stop and let it cool down every few minutes.
How to Store
Storage: keep the sun butter in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use a sterilised jar for the longest shelf life. I do store this at room temperature, but only if we’re going to use it up within a few days.
Freezing: this can be frozen, in a freezer-safe container, for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using as normal.
- Stick to dry sugars: never add liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey – it will cause the sunflower seed butter to seize and prevent it from turning into the smooth, glossy mixture you’re going for.
- Don’t reduce the recipe: this is ideal for a normal food processor size. If you use less seeds, it won’t mix properly. A little more is fine but I wouldn’t double it.
- Blend a little longer: mix until you think it’s done, then mix for another minute. It should be very smooth when resting and quite oily looking.
More Homemade Staple Recipes
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Roasted Sunflower Seed Butter
- 400 grams sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1 or 2 soft dates or 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Place the sunflower seeds onto a large baking sheet and spread into an even layer, then roast for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool for another 15 minutes.400 grams sunflower seeds
- Place the roasted seeds into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend for about 10 minutes, stopping if the processor heats up, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed.
- Once it’s almost finished, add the salt and dates, then blend another minute or so. The butter might come up the sides as it blends but I find that using a larger amount helps to prevent this from becoming too much of a problem. Blend until very smooth and shiny looking, then go a little longer just in case.1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 or 2 soft dates
- Store the finished sunflower seed butter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for two weeks or longer.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.