How to boil peanuts

Traditional Southern hot boiled peanuts. Raw peanuts boiled in salt water for a salty, shell-shucking-worthy snack.

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

How to boil peanuts

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

How to boil peanuts

Before there was edamame in this country, there were hot boiled peanuts, which according to my Southern friends, are a staple in much of the South.

Boiled peanuts are just raw peanuts that have been boiled in salted water for hours. Great with beer or a cold soda, these salty soft peanuts are totally addictive!

A little messy too, given that the shells absorb some of the water which can squirt out at you when you bite into them to get the nut out. People usually eat them outside where you can toss the shells and not worry about the salt water dribbles.

How to boil peanuts

The season for raw peanuts is May through November; my pal Garrett picked these up for me this week at the local farmer’s market.

Now every time I post a traditional Southern recipe I get a little pit in my stomach because I’m not Southern and I’m sure I’m going to mess up how I write about the recipe. So here to help me with this one is my very Alabama BFF Steve-Anna Stephens:

I can’t even hear the words “hot boiled peanuts” without hearing ’em doled out in a thick Southern drawl. When Elise told me she was experimenting with a boiled peanut recipe, I immediately conjured up an image of a 50 gallon drum, situated over a fire pit in the dirt on the side of the road in Alabama – filled with steaming saltwater, and peanuts in the shell.

You used to could get (yes, I meant to write that) a bag of peanuts for about fifty cents. I like to crack the boiled shell between my teeth and slurp the peanuts into my mouth. There’s usually a little saltwater left in the shell, so, believe it or not slurping is the more polite option over squirting saltwater on an innocent bystander.

Now I can’t decide which is better, Elise posting a grits recipe or a recipe for hot boiled peanuts!

So there you have it, from a true lady of the South.

How to boil peanuts

Most people I talked to just boil their peanuts in plain salt water. Some add seasonings, I think a traditional seasoning (if you are going to use anything in addition to salt) is shrimp boil seasoning.

I used a combination of smoked paprika and Old Bay which was quite tasty.

2 – Didn’t like it

4 star values:

3 star values:

2 star values:

1 star values:

  • Read Reviews
  • Add Reviews
  • 2 Ratings
  • 2 Reviews

You can find dried peanuts in the produce section of your local supermarket or at a farmers market. Store cooked peanuts in the refrigerator up to three days. If you prefer your peanuts warm, heat them in the microwave, covered, at 80% power for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once.


Recipe Summary


Soak peanuts in water to cover in a large stock pot at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. (You may need to weigh down peanuts with a large plate or lid to ensure that they are fully submerged.) Drain and rinse.

Place peanuts and desired amount of salt in stock pot with 4 1/2 qt. water; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 6 hours or until peanuts are tender, adding water as needed to keep peanuts covered; stir occasionally.

Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour.

Cajun Boiled Peanuts: Proceed with Step 1, adding 1/2 cup Cajun seasoning to water. Proceed with Step 2, using 1/2 cup salt and 5 to 7 Tbsp. liquid Cajun crab boil before bringing to a boil. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Ham-Flavored Boiled Peanuts: Proceed with Step Omit Step 2, and bring 6 qt. water and 2 smoked ham hocks to a boil in a large stock pot. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours. Remove and discard ham hocks. Cool broth; chill 8 hours. Skim fat from broth. Add peanuts and 1/2 cup salt to broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 6 hours or until tender, adding water as needed to keep peanuts covered; stir occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour.

Tips on making your own boiled peanuts and even making boiled peanut hummus.

If you happen to live outside the South, you likely haven’t even heard of boiled peanuts, much less tasted them. But Southerners―from diamond-wearing dowagers to face-painted football fans―love this damp, salty snack with a passion.

Most of us purchase them to enjoy on the way to the beach or at sporting events, but boiled peanuts are very easy to make at home. The basics are water, peanuts, and lots of salt, but you can add other flavors such as ham and Cajun seasoning. Purists might disapprove, but these variations can be wonderfully tasty.

Even though peanuts are members of the bean family, we’d never seen a recipe that calls for boiled peanuts as an ingredient. So we were thrilled when we came across Boiled Peanut Hummus at a Georgia restaurant. Once you taste it, you’ll thank the chef who created it for realizing that peanuts would be a delicious substitute for the traditional chickpeas. We think you’ll agree that it really does take one of the South’s favorite snacks to a whole new level.

Hats Off to Hummus
We were delighted to discover this recipe for Boiled Peanut Hummus created by chef Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten in Athens, Georgia.

Fresh Vs. Dried
The best boiled peanuts are those made from raw or “green” peanuts, harvested June through September. Other times of year, you’ll have to use dried (not roasted) peanuts. You can find dried peanuts in the produce section of the supermarket, or at farmers’ markets. Dried peanuts take up to 10 hours to cook, while green may take only an hour and a half. Store uncooked green peanuts in the refrigerator up to 4 days.


  • Boiled Peanuts
  • Cajun Boiled Peanuts
  • Ham-Flavored Boiled Peanuts
  • Boiled Peanut Hummus

“Taste of the South: Best Boiled Peanuts” is from the October 2007 issue of “Southern Living.”

    How to boil peanuts

How to boil peanuts

How to boil peanuts

It’s pretty much impossible to spend any real time in Hawaii without coming across boiled peanuts. Along with poke, they’re are a classic happy hour pupu (appetizer) and I can never seem to get enough of them. When I’m on Oahu, I stop by Tamura’s where there’s an awesome selection of booze, poke, and of course, spiced boiled peanuts. But I started getting annoyed that I was spending so much money on them since they require nothing more than a few ingredients and a few hours.

What Are Boiled Peanuts

A word about boiled peanuts: they have a long history as a snack in the Southern US, in China, and, in Hawaii (likely brought over by Chinese immigrants), yet each region is slightly different. Southerners boil their peanuts in salt and sometimes add in a ham hock, some chiles, or some Cajun spices. Chinese-style peanuts have star anise which lends an exotic taste that I way prefer. Hawaiian boiled peanuts are similar to Chinese style but made with Hawaiian sea salt, which gives them a unique taste. Go ahead and make a big batch because they’re totally addictive!

What To Serve With These Boiled Peanuts

This traditional Hawaiian-Style Spiced Boiled Peanuts recipe goes down great with a Spicy Ahi Poke Tostadas and a chilled Mai Tai Cocktail. With the simplicity of this snack dish, any type of beverage and the main dish will go perfectly with it.

Okay, that’s all there is to it! Now go stock up on all your cooking essentials then share your creation with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!


  • 1 1/2 pounds raw peanuts
  • 1/3 cup Hawaiian red alaea sea salt
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 6 to 8 whole star anise

2 inch piece ginger

  • Pinch black peppercorns
  • How to boil peanuts

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    828 Calories
    72g Fat
    24g Carbs
    38g Protein


    Nutrition Facts
    Servings: 6
    Amount per serving
    Calories 828
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 72g 92%
    Saturated Fat 9g 46%
    Cholesterol 0mg 0%
    Sodium 9473mg 412%
    Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
    Dietary Fiber 12g 44%
    Total Sugars 7g
    Protein 38g
    Vitamin C 0mg 0%
    Calcium 152mg 12%
    Iron 7mg 38%
    Potassium 1031mg 22%
    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    Boiled peanuts are a Southern favorite, a snack that can be found throughout the South during the peanut harvest. While it may be a tradition to stop by your favorite peanut stand on the way to a game, they’re also very easy to make at home. The classic recipe for boiled peanuts calls for an open fire, but it’s very easy to make them on a stovetop and even easier to boil them using the crockpot method.

    Peanuts are a healthy treat and great source of healthy fats, phosphorus, potassium, fiber, and B vitamins. A 100-gram serving of boiled peanuts offers around 13.5 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber and 280 calories.   Considering an average adult should eat 30 grams of fiber a day, having this treat on occasion is a great addition to a balanced diet, even if it’s high in calories.

    The key to great boiled peanuts is to use freshly harvested raw or so-called “green” peanuts. Even if not green in color, these fresh peanuts will yield the best flavor and texture. The second most important thing is to use plenty of salt and, as you see in this recipe, we mean a lot of it. The hardest part is to wait until they’re done, as the smells will spread through your house and make you crave a handful of these salty soft peanuts. Eat them in the Southern fashion with a beer, a chilled sweet tea, or a cold can of cola.

    Last Updated on August 25, 2020 by Simply Healthy Family – Team

    Simply Healthy Family may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

    Are you one of those people who love boiled peanuts? Then good for you as boiled peanuts are one of the healthiest snacks that you can have. But have you ever boiled peanuts only to realize that you can’t consume them in one sitting? What did you do?

    What’s the best way to store boiled peanuts? Should you put the boiled peanuts in the freezer? Or simply refrigerate them? I’ll answer those questions in this post.

    Why eat boiled peanuts?

    How to boil peanuts

    If you’re from the Southeastern region of the US, then I won’t be surprised that you love boiled peanuts. This is, after all, one of the more popular snacks in the region. My college buddy back then used to eat boiled peanuts almost every single afternoon. And she didn’t grow tired of it.

    Anyway, I can understand why there’s so much love for boiled peanuts. For one, it’s delicious. And it’s healthy, too. Compared to raw peanuts, it has a lower calorie and fat content. It also has lots of nutrients that protect our cells from oxidation.

    Obviously, peanuts are excellent in fiber content, so peanut oil is really popular. Boiled peanuts have slightly higher fiber content than the dry or roasted types. And we need fiber to prevent constipation and make us regular. It can also reduce risks of heart disease and diabetes.

    Boiled peanuts are low in calories. I guess that’s why my college buddy used to eat a lot of it. Boiled peanuts can be very satisfying without causing you to gain weight.

    There are different ways to eat boiled peanuts. I usually crack the shells open with my hands. My friend tells me that in their area, some guys pop the whole peanut in their mouths and crack it open. They then remove the nut and spit out the shell.

    And she insists that she knows people who eat the whole thing.

    How long do boiled peanuts last?

    How to boil peanuts

    Boiled peanuts can only last for 24 hours or so when left at room temperature. The moisture content of boiled peanuts can cause them to spoil quickly.

    If you have leftover boiled peanuts, you should refrigerate or freeze them. Storing boiled peanuts to temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit can extend their storage life. Low-temperature levels can reduce microbial growth.

    Boiled peanuts should be safe to eat in 7 to 10 days when refrigerated. There’s really no impact on the taste of boiled peanuts when they are refrigerated. In fact, boiled peanuts taste so good when they are cold.

    But if you want to keep the peanuts fresh for an indefinite period, I suggest you freeze them. Simply put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer.

    When you feel like eating the boiled peanuts, simply thaw them in the ref overnight. You can also thaw the frozen boiled peanuts in the microwave. Or put them in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

    How to tell if boiled peanuts have gone bad?

    How to boil peanuts

    There are several ways to tell that boiled peanuts have gone rancid. I usually check the surface of the nut.

    If there are gray or green spots on the surface, these indicate that molds have developed. Obviously I would discard those peanuts. I also discourage you from eating peanuts which look shriveled or black.

    You can also smell the nuts. Fresh peanuts have a strong and nutty smell while those that have gone bad will smell sour. Or just taste the peanut, it should taste creamy and nutty, and not sour and bitter.

    Tips for boiling peanuts

    How to boil peanuts

    How would you come up with perfectly boiled peanuts? Well, one thing you should consider is the quality of the raw peanuts. Avoid buying peanuts that are discolored as this indicates growth of mold.

    Mold, after all, can cause the production of aflatoxin. This is a toxic substance that is also cancer-causing. Peanuts that are exposed to humidity are very prone to having aflatoxin. Aflatoxin in peanuts is very common in Africa and Southeast Asia.

    You also need lots of time in boiling peanuts. Time is a critical factor in boiling peanuts. The longer that you boil peanuts, the softer they become. Even the time that you spend soaking them can affect the juicy flavor inside the shells.

    You should give at least an hour to boil green peanuts. When I have the time, I even boil them for 4 hours. Meanwhile, dried raw peanuts can take up to 24 hours of boiling so they can become very soft.


    How to boil peanuts

    You don’t need to be from the southern part of the US to appreciate boiled peanuts. It is a very filling and nutritious snack. And unlike most snacks, it can stay fresh especially when refrigerated and frozen.

    What do you like most about boiled peanuts? Is its the taste? Or the ease of preparation? Let me know by writing on the comments section below.

    Slim Pickin’s Kitchen is reader supporter, and this post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclaimer here.

    Learn how to make boiled peanuts 3 ways: on the stovetop, in a pressure cooker, and in a slow cooker! Just remember: no southern party is complete without the beloved boiled peanut!

    How to boil peanuts

    Behold, the boiled peanut.

    Sweet and salty morsels of heaven, mushy nutty goodness, and a Southerner’s standby summertime snack.

    There is nothing in this world quite like sucking on the briney deliciousness of a freshly boiled peanut when your hair is dripping wet from the ocean or while your slugging back a cold draft beer cheering on your local minor league baseball team.

    How to Make Boiled Peanuts

    I’ve always wanted to write a post on how to make boiled peanuts, and the day has finally arrived.

    No secret exists on how to make boiled peanuts…you just need to choose the correct kind of peanuts, prepare them via your favorite cooking method, store them correctly, and make sure you add enough salt.

    It is absolutely imperative that you have freshly picked green, or raw, peanuts. The term “green” basically refers to the fact that they are green from the vine rather than green in color.

    Green peanuts can be found at farmer’s markets, roadside stands or, if you live in the South, you may actually be able to find them at your regular grocery store between May & November. Some readers have even commented that they have made boiled peanuts from roasted peanuts, but I’ve never tried is so I can’t vouch for how those would turn out.

    How to boil peanuts

    How to Salt Boiled Peanuts

    Boiling peanuts is an easy fete, and the hardest part about the whole process is making sure the salt measurements are correct.

    Boiled peanuts are bland and tasteless without salt so adding enough is imperative. Starting off with 2 lbs of peanuts, add a 1/2 cup of standard grain sea salt and, once they’ve cooked for a couple of hours, taste test them and add more salt in 1/4 cup increments, if needed.

    Allowing the boiled peanuts to soak in the salty brine after cooking will also allow the salt to penetrate deep inside the peanuts. Just make sure not to soak them for too long which can cause them to become slimy and soggy.

    How to boil peanuts

    How to Freeze Boiled Peanuts

    We southerners like to make giant batches of boiled peanuts and freeze them so we can serve them to family and friends year-round!

    How to Freeze Boiled Peanuts:

    1. Cook the peanuts as desired then cool completely. Once cooled, add to a colander and shake off as much excess water as possible.
    2. Pack the peanuts into sealed, airtight, freezer-safe containers and freeze indefinitely or until ready to eat. When ready to eat, just take them out of the freezer to thaw!

    I prefer to cook my peanuts al dente, meaning they are just firm enough to maintain a bit of texture, but they are still soft and creamy. So, if you never acquired the taste of boiled peanuts because you couldn’t handle the texture, please make a batch my way before completely writing them off.

    I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    If you are, oh well, whip up a batch of some boiled peanut hummus and serve it at your 4th of July bash!

    How to boil peanuts

    Boiled Peanuts on the Stovetop

    Cooking boiled peanuts on the stovetop is super simple:

    1. Boil water, add salt and green peanuts to a large pot, lower heat to simmer, cover, and boil for 2 hours. Check for saltiness and softness, add more salt, if needed, in 1/4 cup increments, and continue to cook for another 2-3 hours or until desired tenderness is reached.

    2. Once done, turn off the heat and allow to soak for 30 minutes to an hour in the cooking liquid.

    3. When cooled, drain the liquid and serve!

    Boiled Peanuts in the Instant Pot

    Boiling peanuts on the stovetop used to be my preferred method of cooking, but cooking them in the pressure cooker absolutely changed my life!

    1. Add 2lbs of green peanuts to the pressure cooker, cover with water, stir in salt, place trivet on top of the peanuts to weigh them down, and cook on high pressure for 75 minutes.

    2. Allow to naturally release and depressurize for 15 minutes, then manually release, drain, and serve!

    Boiled Peanuts in the Slow Cooker

    There is no downside to cooking boiled peanuts in a slow cooker! Just throw everything in the pot and set it and forget it for 5-7 hours while you do other things around the house!

    1. Add green peanuts to the slow cooker, cover with water, stir in salt, cover, and cook on high for 5-7 hours.

    2. Once cooked, allow the peanuts to soak for another 30 minutes before draining and serving!

    How to boil peanuts

    1 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
    2 gal. water
    3 lbs. green peanuts

    In a large (10- to 12-quart) stockpot, stir salt into water until the salt dissolves, then add the peanuts. Note the level of the water on the side of the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for two to three hours, keeping the water in the pot within an inch or so of its original level with regular additions of water, until the peanuts are about as soft as a roasted chestnut.

    Once the peanuts have boiled for one hour, sample them to check their texture and salinity. Remove a peanut, and when it is cool enough to handle, crack open its shell and taste the kernel, slurping some brine with it. If the peanut crunches, it should be cooked further. If the brine lacks enough salt, add more to taste; if it is too salty, remove a portion of the water and replace with the same volume of fresh water. Allow the pot to boil for another hour before testing again. Sample every hour until they are pleasantly yielding and as salty as a good pickle.

    When the peanuts are cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and allow them to cool in the pot for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, drain the water and eat immediately. If not eating, store the shell-on peanuts in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Boiled peanuts will keep for about seven to 10 days in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer.