Homemade Nut Butter – Should You Use Raw Or Roasted Nuts?

When you roast nuts, you lose some of the nutritional benefits of the nut, but it's also more than twice as difficult to make nut butter from raw nuts, as opposed to roasted nuts.

Roasted nuts really aren't that bad, especially if you dry-roast them and you do it yourself at a relatively low temperature.

One study actually found that roasted almonds, raw almonds, and roasted almond butter all improve your blood lipid profile. So they may not be as good for you as in their raw form, but roasted nuts are still good for you. The studies generally show that roasted nuts, either in their whole, ground or buttered form, are either good for you or neither good nor bad.

Since you're not going to be living off the stuff, if you're going to use nut butter and nut flour in low carb baked goods for the occasional treat, then I personally prefer convenient plus moderately healthy (i.e. roasted nut butter), VS laborious and slightly more healthy (i.e. raw nut butter).

My First Experience With Making Nut Butter From Raw Nuts

The first time I made a nut butter, I used raw cashews. It took me over half an hour. My food processor kept heating up, and I'd have to keep stopping and taking a break. I lost count of the number of times I had to scrape down the sides.

When I next tried it out with lightly dry-roasted cashews, it was all too easy, I could see the transformation from nut to butter by the minute. Within five minutes, my delicious–still-healthy–butter was ready.

So I personally recommend only ever making nut butter using roasted nuts.

The other thing about using raw nuts is you have to soak them first to get rid of toxic anti-nutrients like lectins, phytates and enzyme inhibitors. If you soak them, then you also have to dehydrate them using a dehydrator for some 24 hours before you can use them for making nut butter.

When roasting nuts, soaking becomes less necessary, since roasting also deactivates phytates. However, soaking works better than roasting, so you may still want to soak 'em if you plan on roasting them.

Should You Buy Roasted Nuts Or Roast Them Yourself?

I would suggest buying raw nuts and roasting them yourself.

Commercially “roasted” nuts are commonly deep fried using high temperatures in vegetable oil rather than dry roasted. Frying, especially using high temperatures, results in more oxidisation and nutrient depletion than dry roasting. We also know that vegetable oils are not good for you.

How To Roast Nuts In The Oven

Studies show that roasting nuts at temperatures below 300 °F results in minimal nutritional changes. At these temperatures, only some 10-20% of the nutrients are affected, and even these are depleted minimally.

Most of the studies use roasting times of 10 to 60 minutes. In my experience with cashews, I found roasting them for just 30 minutes at around 290 °F was just right.

Here are the steps.

  1. Turn your oven on at 290 °F. Gas mark around 1.5, be sure to use a thermometer to check that the temperature is right.
  2. Place a piece of baking paper on a baking tray, do not use any grease.
  3. Spread the cashews evenly over the baking paper, making sure to use a single layer of nuts to allow for even heat distribution.
  4. Place the baking tray and cashews into the oven and leave for 20 minutes.
  5. Use a spatula to roughly turn the cashews over and place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Times may vary depending on what type of nut you use, just remember that you want them to get a slightly roasted appearance on the outside.

Since roasted nuts have a far shorter shelf life than raw nuts, be sure to use your roasted nuts within a couple of days.