Learn to cook boiled peanuts at home and you can enjoy this southern delicacy any time of the year.
Boiled Peanuts are a delicacy here in the south. They are sold everywhere including roadside stands, parking lots, baseball and football games, farmers’ markets, and even gas stations. Of course, you need to know how to make them at home as well. Boiled peanuts are a fun snack on the weekends and especially around a bonfire in the fall.
Peanuts are in season between early August and late November. While Boiled peanuts can and are enjoyed year-round, they tend to become even more popular during the fall and winter.
My home state of Georgia is ranked number one in the nation in Peanut production. Former President Jimmy Carter was in fact a peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia.
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Ingredients for Making Boiled Peanuts
The best boiled peanuts recipe begins with only these three ingredients. Hot boiled peanuts are a pretty cheap snack! I usually spend less than $5 on about a 2-3 lb. bag of raw peanuts at the grocery store.
- Raw green peanuts in the shell, like these
How to cook boiled peanuts
The trick is knowing how long to cook them and how much salt to add. There is no secret involved. It depends solely and completely on your tastes. Some folks want their boiled peanuts really salty, others not so much. We like salty but not too much!
First, rinse your raw peanuts well in a colander. Peanuts are pulled from plants close to the ground and can be dirty so let’s just go ahead and rinse them first.
Place all of the raw peanuts into a very large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add cold water about 2/3 of the way full or until you can’t add any more or the peanuts will spill out of the pot.
They will be piled above the rim of the pot because they float before the peanut shells begin to soak up the water. The peanuts will submerge into the water as their dry shells drink in the salty boiling water.
Bring the water to a good rolling boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to medium for a good simmer.
Cooking time depends on how soft you want your boiled peanuts. We like ours very tender which requires between 6 to 8 hours of cook time for about 3 pounds of dry peanuts.
We usually boil peanuts on a Saturday when we are not leaving the house. Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended! When we are boiling peanuts, we are doing household chores and take turns checking on the peanuts and adding more water when necessary. I keep my tea kettle full of hot water on peanut boiling day.
College game day is the perfect time for cooking boiled peanuts.
We never add salt until the peanuts have soaked up enough water to settle down below the pot rim. They should be better able to soak up the salt at that point. My hubby is in charge of adding salt. He generally adds about 1/8 cup at a time. Sprinkle the salt over the top of the peanuts then stir into the pot.
Our peanuts usually take about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of salt, depending on how many pounds of dry peanuts we are cooking.
How do you know when boiled peanuts are salty enough?
Taste testing. Scoop a couple of peanuts out, and let them cool. Break the shell open and taste test.
Checking the peanuts
After the pot of peanuts has been cooking for about 1 to 2 hours, dip out two or three. Allow them to cool and taste them. Tasting is essential in peanut boiling. Tasting the peanuts as they are cooking will allow you to know when they are both salty enough and tender enough.
Peanut shells are compostable so rather than throw them away, you can either add them to your compost pile or even toss the shells into your flowerbed or vegetable garden.
- 2-3 lbs. Raw peanuts
- 1 1/2 Cups Salt
- 2-3 Gallons Water
Pick out any sticks which may have been packed with the peanuts
Pour the peanuts into a colander and rinse under running water
Place the peanuts into a large Dutch oven and cover with water just until the peanuts begin to rise above the rim of the pot
Set the pot onto the stove and turn the burner onto the high setting
Once the water begins to boil, reduce heat so that there is a slow rolling boil.
After all of the peanuts have absorbed enough water to no longer float, begin adding salt about 1/4 cup at a time.
Using a large slotted spoon, mix the salt into the boiling peanuts.
About once per hour, dip up 2 or 3 peanuts to cool. Break them open and taste to see if you need to add more salt and for tenderness.
Add about 1/4 cup of salt at a time when adding additional salt.
Peanuts cook 6 to 8 hours at a low rolling boil until they become tender.
You will need to continue to add water throughout the day while the peanuts are cooking. See Notes.
Peanuts are ready to eat when they have reached your desired tenderness which is usually about 6-8 hours of cook time.
Keep a pot or kettle of water heated throughout the day so that when you add more water to the pot, it is already hot water. Adding tap water may slow the cooking process because the water has to heat to a boiling point.
More Game Day Food Ideas
- Chili Cheese Tater Tots Recipe
- Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Fresh Homemade Salsa Recipe
- Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Cheesy Bacon Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers
- Glazed Bacon Crackers
Dessert Recipes for Parties
- Apple Dump Cake Recipe
- Peanut Butter Bars recipe
- 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats
- Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
- Cherry Cheesecake No Bake Dessert in a jar
- Lemon Bars From Scratch
- The Best Rainbow Chip Cookies Recipe
Updated 2/7/23 Originally published 9-20-2017