For optional add-ins, check the Recipe Notes below!
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.
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.
Chocolate sunflower butter: I recommend adding between 2-4 tablespoon 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 teaspoon 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 tablespoon maplesyrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon 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!