This boiled peanuts recipe will teach you how to make boiled peanuts just like they do in the American South. They are definitely a delicacy!
When I moved to North Carolina almost 17 years ago, I knew there would be some strange foods. Maybe strange is the wrong word. More like unique. Grits, crawdads, sweet tea, you name it. Then came the boiled peanuts!
Boiled peanuts are undeniably a southern delicacy. You’ll find them at tailgate markets, flea markets, and roadside stands. And they’re just what their name suggests, peanuts that they boil in their shells in a seasoned brine. They cook until they are tender, yielding a soft, salted treat. Some say peanuts fresh out of the field are more perishable than roasted peanuts, so they are boiled to preserve them. You have to refrigerate raw peanuts or they will spoil. This solves at least part of the mystery.
Seasonings to Use
Predominantly, salt is the main seasoning used in this boiled peanuts recipe. But you’ll want to boil them a bit first, then add the salt later when they are at least partly cooked. Adding salt too soon can cause the peanuts to be tough. Other seasonings you could use are garlic or onion powder, cayenne, celery salt, (I use my own version of Old Bay™, which is celery salt, cayenne, and black pepper), or any number of other seasonings. I would try them with just salt first to see how you like them.
Boiled Peanuts Recipe
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Active Time
- 4 hours
- Brine Time
- 30 minutes
- Total Time
- 4 hours 45 minutes
- 2 pounds
- Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
- Estimated Cost
Wash the peanuts well. Peanuts grow best in the sand, so there may be some clinging to the shells.
Place them in a pot and cover until they are submerged in water. You may need to add more later, depending on how much the peanuts absorb.
Measure the salt in a small amount of hot water and stir well so that the salt all dissolves. Set aside for now. Some of your peanuts may float to the top. This is fine and totally normal with this boiled peanuts recipe.
Once they absorb enough water, they will sink. Set the pot to boil and keep an eye on it. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover.
In a couple of hours, check to see if the peanuts are soft. If they have started to soften, you can add the salt brine at this time. Continue to simmer until the peanuts are very soft. Depending on the size and freshness, they could take 4 hours or more.
When the peanuts are all soft, turn off the heat and let them sit in the brine for 30 minutes or so. They will soak up more of the salty goodness over time.
When they cool down a bit, they are ready to eat.
Tweak to your own tastes.
Alternately, you can cook the peanuts in a slow cooker. On high, they should take about 4-6 hours.
How to Eat Boiled Peanuts
The first time I tried these, long before making this boiled peanuts recipe, I must have looked pretty inexperienced in the matter. I took my cup and sat down on a bench. Then, I fished around in the cup for a single peanut and took it apart with my fingers. Casting the shell aside, I then ate the nuts. This earned me several stares. One guy said, “Girl, you ain’t from ’round here, are ya?” I hung my head in shame and admitted I was from Minnesota.
He took pity on me and said “Lemme show ya how it’s done.” and he did just that. He scooped up a peanut still in the shell and placed the whole thing in his mouth. Then he grabbed the part of the shell closest to his lips and pulled on the shell while squeezing his upper and lower teeth together. Out popped the peanuts on the inside as he threw the shell on the ground. “See?” he says. “Nuthin’ to it!” and I’ve been eating them that way ever since.
Tip: love peanuts? Try our homemade peanut butter recipe!
If you make this boiled peanuts recipe be sure to let us know how you like it!