Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter (Oil-Free)

4.92 from 25 votes
Jump to RecipeJump to Video

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This delicious homemade sunflower seed butter recipe is made using only ONE ingredient (no added oil or sugar necessary but optional) and is gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low FODMAP, Paleo, Keto, and more! This post also contains the health benefits of sunflower seeds, sunbutter flavor options, and tons of recommended uses!

Homemade sunflower butter in a jar and sunflower seeds in a bag next to it

This homemade sunflower seed butter recipe (otherwise known as sunbutter or sunflower butter) is a very frugal seed butter (up there with pumpkin seed butter and homemade tahini – aka sesame seed “butter”). It also works amazingly as an alternative to many types of nut butter in recipes, without giving up on nutrition. Plus you can prepare homemade sunflower butter from raw, soaked (sprouted), or roasted seeds with very little hands-on time!

Sunflower seeds will always have a fond spot in my memory because I remember eating them, roasted and salted, from the shell as a child – a small pile of discarded sunflower seed shells forming beside me. I honestly feel like the sunflower seed in the shell “snack” isn’t something we appreciate enough in the UK!

Want to save this recipe?

Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!

Creamy Allergy-Friendly Smooth Seed Butter

Now, though, we’re focusing on turning this little seed into a smooth and creamy “sun butter” recipe. This sunflower seed butter recipe uses just ONE ingredient – sunflower seeds! Because that is honestly all you need, though with a couple of caveats.

When toasting the seeds, the oils will naturally release in the process, which helps to yield a super-smooth butter. In comparison, when using raw seeds, your machine will have to work a lot harder to extract oils. So, sometimes a tablespoon of extra oil is necessary (for your sanity!) – but not always (keep reading for my top tips!

a jar of homemade sunflower butter held in a hand

It’s also optional to add in some salt and/or sweetener. Just make sure to remember that any flavored nut or seed butter will impact the shelf life. So always do so in small batches from the main sunflower butter jar.

Once ready, enjoy the seed butter as a spread, dip, alternative to nut butter, and more! Keep reading for all my top recommendations. Honestly, it’s an ingredient that I return to time and time again. So much so that I now buy sunflower seeds in bulk (and store them in the freezer)!

And if you’re interested in making more simple “butters”, you might also like this recipe for Omega seed butter (5-Seed butter), hemp seed butter, or even granola butter (oatmeal butter)

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

This small but mighty seed is full to the brim with nutrients. A healthy dose of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, folate as well as essential fats and Vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin E. They also contain 2g protein per tablespoon and ZERO cholesterolSunflower butter contains more minerals than most nut butters!

Because of all the excellent nutrients inside these little seeds, they come with all sorts of health benefits. These include lowering blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol as well as being heart-healthy, and a natural anti-inflammatory.

shelled sunflower seeds on a flat surface

How to make homemade Sunflower seed butter

As with all nut and seed butter recipes, the process for making this delicious homemade sunflower is ridiculously simple. Keeping reading for the roasted seed method followed by the sprouted method.

Step 1: Roast the sunflower seeds

This step helps the seeds to start releasing some of their natural oils, as well as enhances the flavor. However, if you’d prefer to make raw sunbutter then you can skip this step.

To begin, spread the raw sunflower seeds across a baking sheet. Then, roast the raw sunflower seeds in the oven at 330ºF/165ºC (fan assisted) for 8 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown.

Then, remove the sunflower seeds from the oven and leave them to one side until cool to touch.

Step 2: Blend the seeds into a smooth butter

Pour the sunflower seeds into your food processor or blender and blend till smooth. During this process, the seeds will go through several stages. First, they’ll be ground into a fine meal. Then they will start to thicken up and form a ball, then a thick paste, and finally a smooth creamy sunflower butter.

pouring sunflower seeds in a blender

Do this in intervals of around 2-3 minutes, so the seeds ( and machine) don’t overheat. The longer you blend, the runnier consistency the homemade sunflower seed butter will be.

If you don’t have a processor/blender that auto scrapes down the sides, you should do that every time you pause the machine, to make sure all the seeds are blended till super smooth.

This process can take as little as 2 minutes, 15 minutes, or even 30+ depending on your machine (for me, it takes 12-15 minutes for the super smooth sunflower butter I end up with).

I suggest using a high-speed blender/processor if possible. Otherwise, the process can take quite a bit longer than it took me. However, if you do have a relatively mid-level powered food processor/blender, don’t fret! Give the seeds some extra time to blend, giving the machine a break every couple of minutes.

If you’re using raw sunflower seeds, you might find that they won’t move past the powdery/ball stage. At that point, you may need to add a tablespoon of neutral oil to get the machine working. However, I recommend allowing it to run for 10 minutes (with breaks every 2-3 minutes) first, to give it a chance, first!

smooth blended sunflower butter in a food processor.

Once the homemade sunflower seed butter is ready, transfer it to an airtight glass container.

If you want to add any extra ingredients – like salt, sweetener, flavorings, etc (keep reading below for ideas). Add them in right at the end (after achieving your desired consistency) – then pulse a few times to distribute it within the sunflower butter.

Can I use soaked seeds (sprouted) for sunflower butter?

Yes, but the process will take quite a bit longer. You’ll first need to soak the seeds in filter water for 3 hours (or overnight). Then, drain the seeds and pat them dry (well!).

You can then use a dehydrator at 104ºF/40ºC for 10-12 hours, or until the seeds are completely dry (if you want to make raw sunflower butter). Alternatively, roast them in the oven at a low temperature (until dry) – then increase the heat to roast them if preferred.

Why go to this effort? Soaking the seeds can help to “activate” them. This means the nutrients within will become more bioavailable for the body (meaning more easily absorbed). Also, the phytic acid (which is an enzyme inhibitor) will be reduced.

How to Store

Store: You can store the sunflower butter in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Make sure to use clean utensils every time you use some.

Freeze: Alternatively, transfer the sunbutter to a freezer-safe container and freeze for between 3-4 months.

Note: When you put any nut or seed butter in the fridge then it will solidify and the oils can separate. Don’t panic – simply mix it well before using. You can also move your portion to a small bowl and allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before stirring and using.

A delicious one ingredient sunflower seed butter recipe (sunbutter). Plus the health benefits of sunflower seeds, flavoured sunflower seed butter options and sunflower seed butter uses & recipes!

Flavoured Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe Variations

  • Homemade Vanilla extract or Vanilla Powder can be added to the butter.
  • Add a pinch of sea salt – to enhance the flavors of the sunflower seeds and no impact on shelf life.
  • I also think Cinnamon works well in pretty much every nut and seed butter. Yum!
  • Sweetener: You can use dates, granulated sugar (like unrefined coconut sugar), sweetener (like monk fruit or erythritol), or even maple syrup/honey (read notes for method with liquid sweetner).
  • Shredded coconut – will add texture and a delicate layer of flavor.
  • Chocolate sunflower butter: I recommend adding between 2-4 tbsp of cocoa powder with the sweetener of your choice (adjusted, to taste) and a pinch of salt. To enhance the flavor of the chocolate, you could also add a tsp of instant coffee powder. Vanilla is optional, too. If it becomes too thick, you may need a tablespoon of melted coconut oil.
  • Maple cinnamon sunflower seed butter: I recommend starting with 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, and ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional) to begin with- then increase to taste. A pinch of salt will further enhance all the above flavors. To do so, roast the seeds covered with the maple then grind. Once you’ve reached the correct consistency, then you can add the cinnamon/vanilla (if using). If you add the maple into the machine, the seed butter may seize and thicken.

Note that any time you add extra ingredients to your sunflower butter, then you’ll impact the shelf life. In general, I aim to use flavored versions within 2 weeks. It’s also best (apart from liquid sweeteners) to add in any extra ingredients at the END of the process – when your sunflower butter has already achieved the correct consistency!

How To Use Sunflower Seed Butter

I can not overstate how useful having a jar of sunflower seed butter in the kitchen at all times is. Not only can you use sunbutter as an alternative to peanut butter, almond butter, and other nut butters (in fact it’s my favorite all-purpose substitute in recipes for those with a nut allergy).

In terms of savory dishes, you can use sunbutter within savory sauces, as part of drizzles and salad dressings, and even as an ingredient within dipping sauces. Sunbutter can also be used in hummus recipes to replace homemade tahini.

For some sweet inspiration… well, this list will take a bit longer to write. Homemade sunflower seed butter works well in raw treats including cookies, protein balls/bars, cakes and quick breads, pancakes, and more. You can also use it within ice-cream recipes, waffles, muffins, biscuits (and stuffed cookies!), banana bread, etc. Sun butter can also be used in granola recipes too. I also like to add mine to smoothies for extra nutrients!

In terms of simple nut/see butter swap-out uses – this sunbutter can be used as a simple spread on toast, bagels, in a sandwich, or over fruit, stirred into or drizzled over oats, yogurt (dairy or dairy-free coconut, almond, or soy), and hot cocoa! It can also be used for a fun alternative butter in these homemade Vegan peanut butter cups.

top view of a jar with sunflower butter and a spoon

FAQs

Should sunflower seed butter be refrigerated?

When making homemade sunflower better, yes it needs to be refrigerated. This is because there are no preservatives or additives in the recipe that make it shelf-stable.

What is healthier – sunflower seed butter or almond butter?

This depends on what you consider “healthier”. For example, while sunflower butter contains more overall minerals, B-vitamins, Vitamin E, and heart-healthy fats, almond butter contains more protein (at around 1.1g more per 2 tbsp). It also contains more dietary fiber.
Sunflower seed butter is also obviously the better choice for those with nut allergies and intolerances AND is more acceptable on a low FODMAP diet (3-4 Tbsp serving allowed as opposed to 1 Tbsp almond butter). The calories are also very similar (within a 1-2 calorie difference per tablespoon).

Which is healthier – sunflower butter vs. peanut butter?

Similarly (in fact, more so) to almond butter, sunflower butter is more nutrient-dense in terms of minerals, vitamins, and heart-healthy fats. Whereas peanut butter contains higher levels of potassium (and sodium).
If you’re looking for the highest amounts of protein, though, then peanut butter is the way to go with an estimated 1.5g extra protein per 2 tablespoon serving. Peanut butter is also the lower calorie (around 10kcal lower per 2 Tbsp serving) and lower overall fat, too.

Is sunflower seed butter safe for dogs?

While they aren’t toxic for your dog, because of their high fat levels, it’s best to keep serving sizes low (around 1 Tbsp) to avoid gastro-upset!

Is sunflower seed butter low FODMAP?

Sunflower seeds are, so yes, this one-ingredient sunflower butter should be fine. However, I recommend sticking to a serving of between 30-50g of sunflower seeds (around 3-4 tablespoons of sunbutter).

Can I make sunflower seed butter without a blender?

Although I’ve never tried, I think it’s possible to prepare nut and seed butters in a spice grinder (in smaller batches). I recommend letting it run in 15-second intervals until it reaches your desired consistency (this may take several minutes or as little as a minute).
Another option is to use mortar and pestle (especially the Japanese Suribachi) but be warned that it requires some arm strength!
Let me know in the comments if you give one of these methods a try!

Can I use pre-roasted sunflower seeds?

Yes, but they will be harder to process (as if you’re using raw seeds). I find they’re easier to process when still warm and newly roasted.

Top Tips and Recipe Notes

  • Don’t reduce the amount of seeds used: It might seem like a lot if you’re trying this sunbutter recipe for the first time. However, your machine with struggle to work and blend properly if you don’t add enough seeds. I like to use 2 cups of seeds for blenders and 3 cups for food processors (though I can never get results quite as smooth with a food processor).
  • Patience is key: Depending on your particular food processor/blender, this process can take as little as 1-2 minutes, up to 20 (or more!). Just remember to give your machine breaks so it doesn’t overheat, and scrape down the sides.
  • If your blender/food processor is struggling: If your machine is struggling to move past the “thick paste” stage for several minutes, then it my be time to add in one tablespoon of oil (I recommend extra virgin coconut oil). This usually isn’t necessary though, when using roasted seeds.
  • For raw sunflower seed butter: You’ll likely need to add a little additional oil, unfortunately. Roasting really helps the oils to release in the seeds. Without that step, these seeds will either take a LOT longer to process or simply won’t move past a certain stage unless a little oil is added to help move the process along. I’ve also found that raw sunflower butter is usually slightly more bitter in flavor, too.
  • If you need to use oil: Make sure to use a neutral oil like coconut oil, mild olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, etc.

Other Nut and Seed Butter Recipes

As always, if you give this sunflower seed butter recipe a go then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Also, feel free to tag me in your recreations @AlphaFoodie.

Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter (Oil-Free)

4.92 from 25 votes
By: Samira
A delicious one ingredient sunflower seed butter recipe (sunbutter). Plus the health benefits of sunflower seeds, flavored sunflower seed butter options, and sunflower seed butter uses & recipes!
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 16 Servings (1 Cup)

Ingredients  

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds

For optional add-ins, check the Recipe Notes below!

Instructions 

Step 1: Roast the sunflower seeds

  • This step helps the seeds start releasing some of their natural oils and enhances the flavor. However, if you'd prefer to make raw sunbutter, then you can skip this step.
    Spread the raw sunflower seeds across a baking sheet. Then, roast the seeds in the oven at 330ºF/165ºC (fan assisted) for 8 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown.
  • Remove the sunflower seeds from the oven and leave them to one side until cool to touch.

Step 2: Blend the seeds into a smooth butter

  • Pour the sunflower seeds into your food processor or blender and blend till smooth. During this process, the seeds will go through several stages. First, they'll be ground into a fine meal. Then they will start to thicken up and form a ball, then a thick paste, and finally a smooth, creamy sunflower butter.
    Do this in intervals of around 2-3 minutes, so the seeds (and your machine) don't overheat. The longer you blend, the runnier consistency the seed butter will be.
    If you don't have a processor/blender that auto scrapes down the sides, you should do that every time you pause the machine to make sure all the seeds are blended till super smooth.
    This process can take as little as 2 minutes, 15 minutes, or even 30+ depending on your machine (for me, it takes 12-15 minutes for the super smooth sunflower butter I end up with).
    If you're using raw sunflower seeds, you might find that they won't move past the powdery/ball stage. At that point, you may need to add a tablespoon of neutral oil to get the machine working. However, I recommend allowing it to run for 10 minutes (with breaks every 2-3 minutes), to give it a chance, first!
  • Once the homemade sunflower seed butter is ready, transfer it to an airtight glass container.
    If you want to add extra ingredients – like salt, sweetener, flavorings, etc. (keep reading below for ideas), add them in right at the end (after achieving your desired consistency) – then pulse a few times to distribute it within the sunflower butter.

Can I use soaked seeds (sprouted) for sunflower butter?

  • Yes, but the process will take quite a bit longer. You’ll first need to soak the seeds in filter water for 3 hours (or overnight). Then, drain the seeds and pat them dry (well!).
  • You can then use a dehydrator at 104ºF/40ºC for 10-12 hours or until the seeds are completely dry (if you want to make raw sunflower butter). Alternatively, roast them in the oven at a low temperature (until dry) – then increase the heat to roast them if preferred.
    Why go to this effort? Soaking the seeds can help to "activate" them – which means the nutrients within will become more bioavailable for the body (meaning more easily absorbed), and the phytic acid reduces (which is an enzyme inhibitor).

How to Store

  • Store: you can store the sunflower butter in the refrigerator for at least 6 weeks. Make sure to use clean utensils every time you use some.
    Freeze: alternatively, transfer the sunbutter to a freezer-safe container and freeze for between 3-4 months.
    Note* When you put any nut or seed butter in the fridge, it will solidify, and the oils can separate. Don't panic – simply mix it well before using. You can also move your portion to a small bowl and allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before stirring and using.

Video

Notes

  • Don’t reduce the amount of seeds used: it might seem like a lot if you’re trying this sunbutter recipe for the first time. However, your machine will struggle to work and blend properly if you don’t add enough seeds. I like to use 2 cups of seeds for blenders and 3 cups for food processors (though I can never get results quite as smooth with a food processor).
  • Patience is key: depending on your particular food processor/blender, this process can take as little as 1-2 minutes, up to 20 (or more!). Just remember to give your machine breaks so it doesn’t overheat, and scrape down the sides.
  • If your blender/food processor is struggling: if your machine is struggling to move past the “thick paste” stage for several minutes, then it may be time to add in one tablespoon of oil (I recommend extra virgin coconut oil). This usually isn’t necessary though, when using roasted seeds for sunbutter.
  • For raw sunflower seed butter: you’ll likely need to add a little additional oil, unfortunately. Roasting really helps the oils to release in the seeds and without that step, these seeds will either take a LOT longer to process or simply won’t move past a certain stage unless a little oil is added to help move the process along. I’ve also found that raw sunflower butter is usually slightly more bitter in flavor, too.
  • If you need to use oil: Make sure to use neutral oil like coconut oil, mild olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, etc.
Flavoured Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe Variations
  • Homemade Vanilla extract or Vanilla Powder can be added to the butter.
  • Add a pinch of sea salt – to enhance the flavors of the sunflower seeds and with no impact on shelf life.
  • I also think Cinnamon works well in pretty much every nut and seed butter. Yum!
  • Sweetener: you can use dates, granulated sugar (like unrefined coconut sugar), sweetener (like monk fruit or erythritol), or even maple syrup/honey (read the notes for a method with liquid sweetener).
  • Shredded coconut – will add texture and a delicate layer of flavor.
  • Chocolate sunflower butter: I recommend adding between 2-4 Tbsp of cocoa powder with the sweetener of your choice (adjusted, to taste) and a pinch of salt. To enhance the flavor of the chocolate, you could also add a tsp of instant coffee powder. Vanilla is optional, too. If it becomes too thick, you may need a tablespoon of melted coconut oil.
  • Maple cinnamon sunflower seed butter: I recommend starting with 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, and ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional) to begin with- then increase to taste. A pinch of salt will further enhance all the above flavors. To do so, roast the seeds covered with the maple then grind. Once you’ve reached the correct consistency, then you can add the cinnamon/vanilla (if using). If you add the maple into the machine, the seed butter may seize and thicken.
Note that any time you add extra ingredients to your sunflower butter, then you’ll impact the shelf life. In general, I aim to use flavored versions within 2 weeks. It’s also best (apart from liquid sweeteners) to add in any extra ingredients at the END of the process  – when your sunflower butter has already achieved the correct consistency!
 
 
Check the blog post for more top tips and answers to FAQs!
Course: DIYs
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 2 Months

Nutrition

Serving: 1Tbsp, Calories: 98kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 108mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 8IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.92 from 25 votes (20 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




26 Comments

  1. Helene says:

    5 stars
    Perfect
    My daughter has several food allergies so I need sunflower seeds butter for some recipes. I decided to learn how to do it because of an « emergency », I’m never buying already made sunflower seeds butter ever ! This one is amazing !

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Helene. Homemade is the best, right 🙂

  2. Christina says:

    3 stars
    Easy recipe. I made it by my sunbutter became mouldy after 3 weeks in the fridge so be careful.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Christina,
      Sorry to hear this. Where did you store the sunbutter? Did you add anything else besides the sunflower seeds?