Boiled Peanuts




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Boiled Peanuts are one of the most delicious simplest snacks I've ever had. Who knew that just by boiling a peanut, one could delight so many tummies.

When I was traveling in the South this summer for my residency at the Elsewhere Museum, another artist at the museum, Devin, turned me on to this roadside snack called Boiled Peanuts. Upon staring at them, they looked gross - they were a weird color peanut, floating in some murky dark liquid. She said "whatever, just try it."

This was the most delicious thing, and I never would have expected it.

I was so intrigued, that I started checking out some the history around this snack, and it has been a staple in Southern communities for a long time! I've been on the West Coast my whole life, plagued by tacos and In-N-Out Burgers, never knowing about this delight. Note to self: travel and eat more....

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Step 1: Ingredients

For this recipe, you only need the following:

Yup. That's it.

Leave it to southerners to figure out this amazing snack, with such simple stuff. They know.

Step 2: Salt to Water Ratio

From what I had experienced, I was certain that the magic was in how salty the water is. I did a little digging around with otherfoodexperts, to figure out how much salt and water they were using.

What the experts said varied, but I ended up going with a ratio of 3 Tbs of salt for every 5 quarts of water - and maybe adding a little bit more as it cooks.

This snack is designed to sit in this water after cooking is complete, so it will get some of it's salt from remaining in the brine.

Step 3: Soak!

The raw peanuts are really dirty. After rinsing them a few times, it's a good idea to let them soak in a warm bath for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I was impressed how much silt came off of them. (Warning: When I made these for a second time, I was a little lax on soak time - and they came out kind of gritty. YUCK.)

Step 4: Bring Water to a Boil.

In a big 15 quart stock pot, I brought about 10 quarts of water and the salt to a boil - it took a while to really get ripping, so maybe boil the water as the peanuts soak.

Step 5: Add Peanuts and Cover.

Add the peanuts to the salt water, and try and maintain a rolling boil. Keep a wooden spoon near by, and stir every 20 minutes. Keep covered when not stirring.

Do NOT Simmer - you want this guy to be bubbling throughout the entire cook time. Depending on your range, you'll have to figure out what setting to cook these at, but the flames were about medium-high here in our test kitchen.

Step 6: Are They Done Yet?

When they are done, the husks are soft and the peanuts inside are not crunchy at all. It should have the texture similar to a refried bean :)

It should take anywhere between 3 and 4 hours to get them this mushy and perfectly brined.

Step 7: Serve Warm

When they are cool enough to scoop with a slatted spoon, serve in small bowls, and maybe offer a second bowl for shells.

I knew these would go fast, but I wasn't expecting people around the office to be as voracious as they were - mikeasaurus proclaimed "this is my new favorite thing", JON-A-TRON and jessyratfink - the actual southerners I work with were stoked, and others never knew that a peanut could be cooked and served in this fashion. My roommate asked "are you sure this isn't crack?"


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    64 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Good to see this up and going. Don't you wish we had this back when we lived in Reno?

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Lucas! This is now a staple in our home, and my roommates buy raw peanuts on the regular for me to make them


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi All,

    I reside in southern part of India, Bangalore. Since all these years, I have these every now and then.

    Really delicious.....

    Heaps of raw groundnuts are sold at an event every year.

    4 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    True that being an Indian from Mumbai i too used to have those from long and nothing new. But i must say i have stopped eating ground nuts when i happen to sit in one of hear surgeon lectures. Where he requested to avoid ground nuts since these clog your heart vessels, the day i stopped eating them.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    One of the cholesterols substances is considered bad is LDL
    cholesterol. Inhigh concentration it
    can form plaques on blood vessels, which consequentlywill reduce their diameters to cause heart
    attack.Vegetable oils have only a trace
    amounts of cholesterol, so they are considered as “have no cholesterol”,
    although they do facilitatecholesterols
    to be absorbed by our gastrointestinal tract at different levels. Among the
    vegetable oilsthe least facilitator is
    the sun flower seed’s; the next are sesame, corn, peanut, palm, and coconut.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yes reason for which coconut and ground nuts should be avoided. I dont know what palm seeds or palm nuts are.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    the last step, offering a bowl for shells, implies that you do not eat the shells.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh my yes! Now you just need to make them with a little Cajun spice! :)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I can't find raw nuts in their shells here in New Zealand, so can these be boiled without the shell?

    My neighbour of 45 years loves these things. Me? Not a fan. I go to a farmers market in mid-July and they have the green boiling peanuts. I will buy a couple of pounds for her as a surprise, and when I give them to her, she nearly loses her mind:) Doesn't cost much and it makes her really happy. Little things mean a lot, and random acts of kindness are just plain fun:)


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Boiled peanuts are a common street snack in the Philippines. Never associated them with the American South, or anywhere else, really. Don't recall them being mentioned in Faulkner, McCullers, or Lee. Hmmm. Might be interesting to trace their history.

    Though a Northerner, I travel quite a bit in the South and I've seen these at roadside diners and truck stops. The appearance put me off and I never tried them. Okay, I mocked them openly, to be honest. But I like peanuts, and cooked edamame are good, so why not try it? This might be a good application for inexpensive vegetable stock cubes. The salt would have to be adjusted of course because stocks all have a ton of salt already.