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How To Make Sunflower Seed Butter (Oil-Free)

Since peanut and tree nut allergies are so prevalent these days, sunflower butter is a great allergy-friendly alternative.

sunflower seed butter

This homemade version is more affordable than the store-bought jars and is naturally sweetened with just a touch of pure coconut sugar, for a low-glycemic alternative. If you’re not familiar with sunflower butter, it’s typically made with roasted sunflower seeds, plus added sugar and oil. I was curious if I could make a similar result at home, using as few additives as possible, and the process was surprisingly easy!

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I’ve been making my own almond butter for years, and I’ve found the easiest way to turn the nuts into butter is by gently toasting them in the oven first. The warmer the nuts, the faster they will release their natural oils– so you won’t need to add any additional oil to the mix. The same applies for making sunflower seed butter. I toasted the seeds in the oven, and it took just about 10 minutes for them to turn into a creamy butter. I imagine it would take a lot longer if you didn’t toast them first!

Though this process can be a bit time-consuming, very little of it requires hands-on attention. I made this sunflower butter while preparing my family’s lunch, and by the time our food was ready, so was the butter! So, this is a great recipe to work on when you’re going to be doing something in your kitchen already.

I would love to tell you that this homemade version tastes delicious without any added sugar… but it’s a little bitter on its own. Adding a few tablespoons of coconut sugar helped balance out the flavor for me, so feel free to add as much or as little sweetener as you need to taste. I used a dry natural sweetener to help extend the shelf life, but if you want to use something like maple syrup, I’d definitely keep this homemade butter stored in the fridge and use it within a couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy it!

Homemade Sunflower Butter
makes 16 ounces

Ingredients:

3 cups hulled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F and spread the sunflower seeds into a thin layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. (I only have small rimmed baking sheets, so I had to use two pans.) Toast them until the seeds start to turn lightly golden and have a nutty aroma, about 20 to 25 minutes. You’ll want to watch and stir the seeds every 10 minutes or so while they’re toasting to make sure they don’t burn.
toasted sunflower seeds in a pan

Once the seeds are toasted, pour them into a food processor fitted with an “S” blade and start processing them. Just like making almond butter, you’ll need a bit of patience during this part. First, the sunflower seeds will be ground into a fine meal, and in about 5 to 6 more minutes, it should start to form a sticky ball, as pictured below.

making sunflower seed butter in a food processor

After the ball stage, it took another 5 minutes or so for the butter to reach a creamy consistency. Once the butter is smooth, you can add the coconut sugar and salt, to taste, and keep processing for a couple more minutes to incorporate it evenly.

Transfer the butter to a glass jar with an airtight lid and store it in the fridge for up to a month. (It might last longer than that, but we usually use it all by then!)

sunflower seed butter in a glass jar

4.75 from 16 votes
Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
How to make homemade sunflower butter, with no added oil and just a hint of low-glycemic coconut sugar.
Course: Snack
Servings: 16 ounces
Calories: 154 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and spread the sunflower seeds into a thin layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. (I only have small rimmed baking sheets, so I had to use two pans.) Toast them until the seeds start to turn lightly golden and have a nutty aroma, about 20 to 25 minutes. You'll want to watch and stir the seeds every 10 minutes or so while they're toasting to make sure they don't burn.
  2. Once the seeds are toasted, pour them into a food processor fitted with an "S" blade and start processing them. Just like making almond butter, you'll need a bit of patience during this part. First, the sunflower seeds will be ground into a fine meal, and in about 5 to 6 more minutes, it should start to form a sticky ball.
  3. After the ball stage, it took another 5 minutes or so for the butter to reach a creamy consistency. Once the butter is smooth, you can add the coconut sugar and salt, to taste, and keep processing for a couple more minutes to incorporate it evenly.
  4. Transfer the butter to a glass jar with an airtight lid and store it in the fridge for up to a month. (It might last longer than that, but we usually use it all by then!)
Per Serving: Calories: 154, Fat: 12g, Carbohydrates: 7g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 5g

Note: Sunflower butter makes a great substitute for nut butter in most recipes, but keep in mind that if it’s combined with baking soda in a baked good the result may turn slightly green, thanks to a chemical reaction. It’s safe to eat, but it can come as a surprise if you’re not ready for it! 

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried Sunflower Seed Butter? What’s your favorite way to use it?

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Comments

Laura @ Raise Your Garden

My sister made something very similar to this and had we try it when we were all vacationing together this past week. She made her for her 2 year old who has every allergy under the sun. I was shocked at how delicious it was!!! She spooned me up some and I was such a baby and didn’t want to try it. And it turned out to be really really good. Almost a peanut butter aftertaste. Okay, not Peter Pan Peanut Butter, but still. Or even the Wegmans organic PB, both dessert really. But this recipe is such a great alternative for things I take for granted. Thanks for sharing =)

Ashley

I’m so glad you posted this and made it a point to mention toasting the seeds first! I made a batch of raw sunflower seed butter with raw cacao a couple weeks ago, and while it tastes good…I just could NOT get the consistency I was looking for. It’s quite crumbly, and that’s after about 30 minutes of processing!
I will try toasting them next time, and just adding a little sweetener (no cacao).

    Susan

    How much cacao do you add? What is the consistency and taste?

Keri R.

I can never get that consistency when I have tried to make sunflower seed butter! It usually ends up looking and tasting like paste! I would love to find an alternative to Trader Joe’s though since I am not super crazy about that sugar content! I’ll have to try again!

Kezia @ Super Naturally Healthy

Ohhh i have never tried sunflower seed butter so am going to give this a try and I agree sunflower seeds do need some sweetness to offset bitterness – especially when baking with them!

Jenni Dragon

Hi! When trying to print this recipe using the “print” link it directly opens a page to a different recipe. Does anyone else run into this? Thx and love the recipe idea!! Jenni

    Megan Gilmore

    It should open on a different page for printing, but it definitely shouldn’t be a different recipe! What recipe are you seeing when you press the print button?

      Jenni Dragon

      It looks like the link is working correctly now. Yesterday when I tried using the “Print” link it opened a page for one of your hummus recipes (a great recipe, but not the one I was looking to print). 🙂
      Thanks for the reply!

Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

Do you prefer to use your food processor over your blender for nut butters? I have only ever made them in my food processor, but even though I have a high speed food processor, find they always take longer than recipes say they should. I just bought a Vitamix a few months ago and have been meaning to try nut butter in it.

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I prefer the food processor. The Vitamix has such a narrow base, it seems to be too powerful for certain nut butters. I have used it for making cashew, macadamia, and pecan butter before with success, but with tougher nuts, like almonds, the food processor works better.

Abbi*tarian

Thanks for this recipe & how to! I like the coconut sugar for sunflower seeds & the lack of added oil! I like it with seed crackers & would be glad to hear what other ingredients it complements :0).

Myl

How can I subsitute coconut sugar. Cant find it in my country!!
Thanks a lot for you delicious recipes and lessons <3

    Deborah

    I used honey and it was delicious. I just have to process it longer. Mine tasted fabulous, but the consistency was not as creamy as the picture above.

TB

Where’s a good place to buy hulled sunflower seeds inexpensively in bulk?

    Deborah

    Sprouts, Whole Foods or Erewhon

    Miriam

    I found some sunflower seeds at the dollar store. I bought two bags. Made it! Tasty 😋

Theresa

This was my first attempt at making nut butter! I don’t know if it is because I have an older food processor, but getting to the ball stage took quite awhile. At least 30 minutes. And it never left the ball stage – it stayed crumbly. I added water and then magic…I got to the creamy stage quite quickly. I then added the coconut sugar and salt. Tastes great. I hope that adding water was fine to do. 🙂

Deborah

I’ve been making my own sunflower butter for a while now, but I haven’t roasted the seeds first – must try that! I find that some seeds whip up quickly (Costco had some that were 5-minute’rs, but of course they stopped carrying them at my store), while other brands can take 15 or 20 minutes to be completely smooth. I substitute sunflower butter in your grain free pumpkin bars so they can be sent to school. The kids love them and think it’s hilarious when they turn green!

Thank you for all your hard work and fabulous recipes 🙂

Daria

Can you make it without any added sugar ?

    Megan Gilmore

    Definitely! It will taste bitter, but you might get used to that flavor.

Kimberly

What can I substitute coconut sugar with?

Thank you

    Amber

    Any sweetener you like, really. Honey, maple syrup, etc. I wouldn’t recommend agave because they’ve had studies lately saying it’s bad for you.

Kalyani

Bummer, I just tried to get to the ball stage and my good old cuisinart powered out 🙁 I did see the post about using the Vitamix, after all these years I’m surprised they haven’t tried to remedy the narrow base problem (Ive seen the bigger booty jars but I have a friend who has one and it isn’t any better)

    Megan Gilmore

    My food processor has done that once before when making almond butter. It most likely over-heated and just needs to cool down before you turn it on again.

Deborah

Hi. I used my Cuisinart and processed it for more than 10 minutes, and although it had oils naturally, it never reached your smooth consistency. Mine is thick and now that’s in the refrigerator, it’s hard when I try to spoon some out.

Any recommendations?

Andressa Maiochi

Hi! I think my food processor will heat up and stop, can I stop the processes, wait a minute then turn on again? Or it need to be on for all the processes to became a butter?

Scott

Can I use liquid stevia instead of the coconut sugar? (I can’t get coconut sugar where I live)

Amanda

I have an allergy to peanuts. Eating peanuts or peanut butter triggers a migraine headache. I started buying Sunbutter a couple of years ago and love it, but it is kind of pricey at $6 – $7 per jar. Of course, I eat it often and can easily go through 2 jars a week. I decided to try to make some and for the first try, it came out pretty well. I will definitely be trying again soon!

    Alessandra

    I’m not allergic to peanuts, but I prefer Sunbutter. It tastes richer to me and it has a higher iron content (prone to anemia). I go through a tonne too. My favourite quick snack/meal is Sunbutter on Ezekiel Bread (low sodium version) with a banana. That combo must cross my lips at least seven times a week. Now if only I had the patience to bake that expensive bread too. I’d be set. Oh well. At least this recipe will cut costs considerably.

    It worked perfectly for me, it just took five minutes longer. I figured it would. My food processor is an ancient, yet reliable beast.

Ang

Bummer! I put my seeds toasting and 20 minutes was way too long! Seeds were burned:( watch those sun seeds!!

Anna

I love this recipe – but I do only use the seeds and the salt because I actually prefer it without sugar and any other added ingredients. The method here is just “spot on,” too! Each time I make it according to Megan’s directions, it comes out perfectly! I have been avoiding nuts for health issues, and I am very happy to be able to eat this sun butter when I get a craving for peanut butter or almond butter. I especially like it with carrot sticks, bananas and strawberries, and also use it in my smoothie recipes! Thanks, Megan!

missy

I made sunbutter for the first time. Wow, absolutely delish. I found using local honey made it taste perfect however I did add it as it was making its way to the smooth stage. This time I’m going to add flax seeds for added fiber, wish me luck….

Paula

Hi!! I liove your blog and your recipies. Today I´ll try this one.
I just would like to know if you activate the seeds first. If you do, do you dry the m before baking them?
Thanks!

Janet Paula

I am in the process of making your sunflower seed butter. I made a mistake and added the sugar and salt at the very beginning. It is taking quite a long time – is that because of the sugar and salt – or that my food processor isn’t that powerful and I have to pause quite frequently since I don’t want my motor to burn out. Another thing, when you say to process do you mean on a low, high or pulse setting. Thank you.

Anna

Today when I made this I used 2 cups sunflower seeds and 1 cup raw organic pumpkin seeds. I also reduced the coconut sugar and salt amounts to half what is called for. Total time for processing from start to finish was around 17 minutes. So happy with the results. I have made this recipe as listed many times, and often without the sugar and salt, too. Have enjoyed them all.

Camila

Thank you for this recipe! I needed something nut free for day care and this butter turned out to be sooo yumi. Hope my 2yo likes it! I used half the amount of sugar and it was delicious. Thank a lot!

EMily

Is it okay if I use roasted sunflower seeds? If I use them does that mean I don’t have to put them in the oven?

cATHERINE

Can you substitute date syrup/sugar for coconut sugar? If so how much?

David Downing

Wondering if the coconut suger might result in schools considering this to include tree nuts? Thereby disqualifying as an accepted school lunch item.

    Megan Gilmore

    My school doesn’t allow ANY homemade treats. They believe a home kitchen isn’t safe enough to ensure it’s nut-free, even if the recipe itself is nut-free, so they ban them all together. In general, coconut is a botanical fruit, and therefore shouldn’t be lumped in with nut allergies, but the FDA does lump it in with nuts to be on the extra safe-side, I suppose.

cindee johnson

The recipes makes 16 servings. Are those servings 2 Tablespoons each?

Abbey

Great butter! I just used roasted sunflower seeds and the results were the same. I didn’t add any sugar or salt. This butter is better than peanut butter to me becausit doesn’t have the overpowering flavor like peanut butter which takes over the flavor of dishes. I can use it in both savory and sweet dishes, or as a spread on sandwhiches, wraps, etc. And even a substitute for cheese(similar to how cashew butter would be used). It is better not to add sugar so that if you want, you have the choice of using the butter for savory, salty recipes as well as sweet ones. It is a much more practical or functional butter than peanut butter and costs the same(unlike other nuts). The sky is the limit for the ways you can use this butter.

christine

thankyou from the bottom of my heart…… i am a coeliac who had to go nut free dairy free nightshade free,egg free, corn free and no meat or chicken as they all make me very sick. I added nutritional yeast to it to so yummy, Very much appreciate you and your recipes.

Crystal

This has turned out so beautifully in my trusty Vitamix time and again! I even toss in a few other seeds I may have on hand (pepitas, chia, help) and it’s always yummy! A little agave or honey subs for the coconut sugar as well, although I prefer the coconut sugar. Thanks so much!

Angela

I’m super eager to try this recipe! I love sunflower seed and I’m trying to find a butter replacement that isn’t processed margarine as I believe it is bad for you. If you research how it’s made you might too.

My question is can you make this recipe without toasting the seeds first? Also, will it work without the sugar? If I want it on toast with some sort of savoury topping I don’t want it sweet.

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, you can skip both. Toasting the seeds just warms them up so that the food processor doesn’t have to work as hard– the seeds will take longer to process if you start them at room temperature. It’s pretty bitter without the sugar, but could work for savory things that way!

Rachel

I love sunbutter but as I don’t need to be nut free, I make mine by adding some raw cashews and macadamias to the mix. The cashews add natural sweetness and the macadamias are so oily that they help the butter come together quicker. I also add vanilla and cinnamon for extra sweetness so I don’t need any sweeteners. I love this the most with ripe banana coins but it’s also divine lathered thick on sprouted gluten free bread. I also love missing it through the leftover pulp from fresh organise juice with vanilla for an instant “pudding” (I’ll often soak some chopped dates in the orange pulp first too for added fibre and sweetness).

Olivia

Is there a reason it has to be refrigerated?

    Megan Gilmore

    Once you open a natural nut or seed butter, it always has to be refrigerated. I don’t have canning equipment, so I just store mine in the fridge for a longer shelf life.

Maria_Is_Grateful

Thank you for sharing your recipe and warming the sunflower seeds first. After attempting to do this two other times for my daughter I was about ready to throw in the towel. But your recipe saved me! Easy, quick and SIMPLE!

I appreciate the helpful hints about the baking soda!

Fee

This is such a great find – nut butters and most nuts are quite expensive where I live, whereas sunflower seeds are a lot cheaper. Plus a no oil one is perfect for my plant based eating. Many thanks.

Aldrin

Well my first try and boy did it turn so perfect thanks to this recipe! I am in completely hooked and I am not even thinking about buying it from store ever again, it’s really that great!

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