So you’ve heard you can make nut butters in a Vitamix. But:
- Is it really possible?
- Is it easy?
- Is it worth it?
The answers, as you may expect are:
- Yes if you do it right.
- Yes, and you may never buy store-bought nut butter again.
The peanut butters! The almond butter! The sunflower seed butter!
No matter which nut butter you want to make in your Vitamix, it’s not something you should not be afraid of doing.
With the right technique and right ingredients, you can do it.
In this post, we’ll discuss common mistakes people make when trying to make nut butters in their Vitamix. And then, we’ll go through 18 tips for doing it successfully.
Use the table of contents to jump down to sections you need.
And return to the top to pick one of our nut butter recipes to try.
Making your first nut butter (successfully)
If you take nothing away from this article, remember this: There’s no shame in making your first nut butter with a few cans of roasted, mixed nuts.
Those pre-mixed nuts are so easy to turn into nut butter. And they taste great, too.
So do that! Make a batch of mixed nut butter first!
But if you want to get fancy we recommend starting with one of these two:
Nut Butters with a Vitamix: Avoid these 8 common mistakes
- Dry container?
- Raw almonds?
- Add honey?
- Too hard on motor?
- Motor turn off?
- Smells like burning?
- Air pockets?
- Not creamy?
18 tips for making nut butters (successfully)
- Making enough (minimum batch size by container)
- Using roasted nuts
- Roasting your own nuts
- Buying roasted nuts (roasted vs dry-roasted)
- Using dry and chilled nuts
- Using oils
- Avoiding oils (the almond butter challenge)
- Using the tamper (initial and endgame)
- Listening for distinct sounds
- Mastering the timing
- Video: Almond butter in a wide container
- Cleaning the container afterwardbe
- Getting it creamier
- Compared to nut butters with a food processor
- Storing your nut butters
- Picking nuts to use (easiest nuts to make into butter)
- Making nut-free nut butters
- Avoiding scratches
- Finding confidence…
Do not use a “dry blade” Vitamix container to make nut butters
You may have been told the Dry Grains container is for nut butters.
This is false.
The best nut butters are thick and creamy. And those, just like smoothies, are all wet! As such, nut butters are best made in the normal, “wet” containers.
The “wet” container pulls ingredients together.
The Dry Grains container, however, is designed to push ingredients upwards and apart. This helps keep grains light and airy instead of heavy and clumpy.
Think about it like this: almonds in a dry grains container will get your almond flour. But almonds in a wet container (with the help of a tamper) will get your almond butter.
To reiterate: Use a wet Vitamix container to make nut butters.
Of course, this is an oversimplification. But assuming you don’t want to read another thousand words about Vitamix containers, we should move on.
Because as much as the container type is important, the state of the nuts you’re using matters even more.
The Raw Almond Butter Fail: Avoid using raw nuts to make nut butters
Generally, you should avoid using raw nuts to make nut butters with your Vitamix.
Why? It is quite challenging to use raw nuts to make nut butters. Raw almond butter is a great example.
You see, raw almonds have natural oils trapped inside of them. Natural oils that would be helpful for more efficiently processing the almond butter and making it more creamy.
But those natural oils are only helpful if they are released. By keeping the almonds raw, those natural oils inside the nut stay trapped and aren’t available to help turn the almonds into almond butter.
How do you release the natural oils? You roast the nuts.
When almonds (and all other nuts) are roasted, natural oils are released, which makes for better-tasting, creamier nut butters. Jump down to tips for roasting nuts for nut butters.
Is it possible to make raw nut butters with the Vitamix? Like raw almond butter? Yes, but it’s quite challenging, and not worth it for most people for a couple of reasons.
- Not creamy. Without releasing the natural oils from roasting the nuts (or using any added oil), the consistency may not be what you’re looking for. Try to make raw almond butter in your Vitamix and you’re likely to get almond meal. Not ideal.
- Not raw. Because of the friction created by the blade, temperatures exceed the generally accepted as raw threshold. So even though the nuts were raw, the end product is not really raw anyway.
To summarize: You can use raw nuts to make your nut butters. But you should roast them first or at least add a bit of oil.
The Water Mistake: Avoid adding water-based liquids to nut butters (honey, syrups, etc). until after processed
Adding honey or maple or agave make nut butter recipes sound more appealing.
But if you want to add those, wait until you’re done blending.
Water-based ingredients don’t mix well with the nuts’ natural oils.
Think about adding oil to a glass of water. You get a giant clump of oil at the top.
Same thing with water introduced to roasted nuts while blending.
So if you want to add honey to your nut butter, wait!
Wait until the nut butter is a homogenous mix of nuts and natural oils. Then, mix your water-based add-in with a spoon. ?
Now, let’s discuss a common fear about making nut butters in a Vitamix: Hurting your machine.
The Protecting Your Baby Mistake: Do not worry about over-working your Vitamix on high speed
You Vitamix is built to handle thick blends like nut butters. It’s important, though, that you set your Vitamix up for success.
It’s a bit counter-intuitive.
But think about it like a motorboat boat. New motorboats are built to pull water skiers out of the water.
How do you do it? You need to go full-throttle.
Trying to pull a water skier at 70% throttle is going to do a couple of harmful things.
- It’s going to take longer than necessary. (This puts undue stress on the motor.)
- The cooling mechanisms may not activate (despite being needed by the hard-working engine).
The same idea is true with your Vitamix.
When making thick blends like nut butters, you need to use the highest possible speed. Full throttle!
At high speed, you Vitamix can handle nut butters without any issue.
It may make some unpleasant noises. (We’ll talk about that in a second.)
But it can handle the task. And if you do happen to overwork your machine, you’re protected.
The Thermal Protection Mistake: Don’t worry if your motor turns off
Your Vitamix is equipped with a thermal protection system. Think of it like a circuit breaker.
Go too far, and the circuit breaks.
Now, when a circuit breaks in your home, it does not mean something is broken. It means you’re about to break something, so instead of letting you continue, we’re going to stop you right there. 🙂
It’s saying, hey, can we take it easy on the hair dryers, space heaters, and other questionable items?
Same thing with your Vitamix.
Without its thermal protection system, you could actually run the machine to its death.
Fortunately, with the right technique, your machine should never turn off temporarily from overheating. (Jump down below to read about the right technique.)
One more note here: Is your Vitamix continuously turning off while making nut butters? You may be using too many nuts. (Jump down to batch-size recommendations for nut butters by Vitamix container)
The Smells Like Burning Mistake: Don’t worry if you smell burning
If you smell burning while making nut butters, don’t worry. You’re probably not “frying” your Vitamix.
One of two things may be happening.
- Your machine is new and getting broken in. You see, there’s a coating on the gears inside the motor that forms around other parts. This “forming” is can smell like burning. It is normal and temporary.
- Your nuts may be over-roasted (burnt). Commercially roasted nuts shouldn’t do this. But if you roast your own nuts (method discussed down here), it’s possible to over roast (burn) them.
So your machine is not burning out. As discussed above, that’s what the thermal protection system is for.
Another issue you may be experiencing while making nut butter in your Vitamix: Air pockets.
Don’t assume air pockets indicate an issue with your Vitamix
This is true with all thick blends. Air pockets may occur but are normal when making nut butters.
There trick to avoiding air pockets when making nut butter is twofold:
- Use the tamper early and often. (Push down from the corners.)
- Use a sufficient amount of nuts. (Jump down to nut butter batch minimums by Vitamix container)
Overall, the advice on dealing with air pockets while making Vitamix nut butters is simple: Fill the air pockets with nuts by guiding them into the blade with the tamper.
Now that you’ve dealt with air pockets, let’s talk about getting that ideal texture.
Thick or pasty? Don’t give up if your nut butter isn’t creamy
You should be able to get your nut butters to have a creamy consistency. Some things causing your nut butter to not be creamy:
- Raw nuts.
- Insufficiently roasted nuts.
- Insufficient amount of blending.
- Nuts that lack a lot of natural oils.
If you want to use raw nuts, try adding a bit of oil. Flaxseed oil or hemp oil are good choices. Really, flavorless oil works fine.
Use roasted nuts. These are the easiest to get creamy nut butter.
You can also add some nuts that have more natural oils: Peanuts, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts are all rich in natural oils. Nobody says your nut butters need to be a single type of nut. Use a mix of nuts. The image below from Vitamix.com shows a container of mixed nuts ready for blending.
Also, keep in mind, store-bought nut butters often have added, highly-processed, partially hydrogenated oils. Despite making the nut butters creamy, those oils are dangerous, at worst, and not ideal, at best.
You may be able to find store-bought, creamy nut butters that do not have any added oils. Just one ingredient, they say.
Well, here’s why that might be a bit misleading.
Take your store-bought, one-ingredient, creamy almond butter for example. Costco sells this.
Yes, the consistency of this miracle almond butters is creamy. But the commercial manufacturing processes turn ten almonds into a combination of six almonds plus ten almonds-worth of almond oil.
(This is yet another reason why making your own is so much better. You’re in control.)
So we’ve gone through some of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to make nut butters in their Vitamix. Let’s now talk about some tips for doing it right.
x# tips for making Vitamix nut butters (successfully)
Making the right amount of nut butter (by Vitamix container size)
It might seem like a lot of nuts. But you need to use quite a bit of nuts to successfully make nut butters in your Vitamix.
You need enough to cover the blade, but also to go well above the bottom of the tamper.
Now, the minimum amount of nuts varies (a bit) by nut type. But as a rule of thumb, here are the minimum quantities of nuts to use when making nut butters in your Vitamix.
32 oz container: 3 cups
48 oz container: 3.5 cups
64 oz narrow-bodied container (only available on C-Series Legacy machines) 3.5 cups
64 oz wide-bodied container (standard on all Ascent Series): 4 cups
Can you over-fill a container? Technically, yes. But temporarily overheating the machine is the worst that can happen.
Under-filling the container, by comparison, is only fixable by adding more nuts.
Besides using enough )but not too many nuts) the state of the nuts matters.
Using roasted nuts for your nut butters
You want to use roasted nuts to make nut butters in your Vitamix.
The flavors are better, yes. But more importantly, roasted nuts have oils which makes it easier to turn nuts into butter.
Two ways to get roasted nuts:
- Buy roasted nuts.
- Roast your own nuts.
Let’s talk about both.
Roasting your own nuts
It’s simple to turn roast your own nuts. Here’s how you do it.
Take raw nuts and put them flat on a cookie sheet. Bake them for 10-15 minutes at 350F.
Roasting your nuts causes their natural oils to release. But when they’vne become hot, they stay hot.
As such, keep in mind that your nuts will continue to roast for a bit after you take them out of the oven. And you certainly don’t want to make nut butter from burnt nuts.
So once you start to smell roasting nuts, take them out of the oven. Burnt nuts are not salvageable.
But what if you don’t want to roast your own?
Buying store-bought roasted nuts (roasted vs dry-roasted)
You’ll see nuts advertised as roasted or dry roasted. Here’s the difference.
Roasted nuts are roasted in oil. So not only do these include naturally released oils, but also the oils in which they were roasted.
Dry-roasted nuts are roasted dry. This is most similar to how you’d roast your nuts at home. No added oil. This is the more health-conscious method. But dry roasted nuts are also a bit more challenging to turn into nut butter.
Now, I realize adding oil to your homemade nut butters is not ideal. But if you’re unable to get enough oil from roasting them, a bit of flavorless oil may be required to get that desired consistency. Especially if you’re making almond butter. 🙂
So oil presence matters. And surprisingly, temperature does, too.
Using correctly situated nuts to make nut butters in your Vitamix
Couple things here:
Using dry (or dried) nuts
You want to avoid using nuts with any moisture.
The water, even if it’s a small amount, will cause the oil and water effect. Clumping, if you will.
There are a lot of health benefits to soaking your nuts.
So if you want to soak your nuts before turning them into nut butter, that’s totally fine. Just be sure they’ve dried out a bit before blending.
Using chilled nuts
You may want to consider using chilled nuts. Why?
Using a Vitamix to make nut butters uses quite a bit of friction. Friction causes heat, which in and of itself is not bad.
The problem with excessively hot nuts during the blending process is if they get too hot. Like hotter than the temperature of boiling water.
At these temperatures, around 250F, the Vitamix container can melt. Clearly not ideal.
(And no, this is not a concern when you’re making hot soup recipes. Why? The water in the soup will keep the temperature at or below boiling point.)
Using oils in your nut butters
Plain and simple: The more oil in your nut butter, the easier and creamier it will be.
Some nuts have more natural oils than others. Condensing this huge chart on the nutritional composition of nuts, here’s a list of nuts by most natural oils to least:
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
- British walnuts
So if you didn’t buy your nuts roasted and didn’t roast them yourself, you may need a bit of oil.
What kinds of oils are good to add to nut butters before processing them in your Vitamix? Flavorless oils are best, ideally ones high in micronutrients.
We’ve found flaxseed oil and hemp oil are best. And grape seed and sunflower seed, while not as beneficial from a health perspective, work well.
Now, we’re okay with adding a bit of oil. But in case you’re not…
The Raw Almond Butter Challenge: Making nut butters in your Vitamix without any added oil
Are you following a strict whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet? Great!
It is possible to make nut butters in your Vitamix without any added oil.
- Peanut butter: Shouldn’t need any extra oil.
- Cashew butter: Shouldn’t need any extra oil.
- Brazil nut butter: Shouldn’t need any extra oil
But raw almond butter with no extra oil? Some say they’ve successfully made raw almond butter in a Vitamix. But even if you got the raw almonds creamy (not a paste), you’d have heated the almonds past the point of still being raw. So what’s the point? As such, if you’re making almond butter, why wouldn’t you use roasted almonds or raw almonds with a bit of added oil?That way, the result is creamier and the process a whole lot easier.
Best recommendation: Mix and match nuts with varying levels of natural oils. A few peanuts can go a long way. And if you’re almond butter, make sure at the very least, that you’ve roasted them.
Okay, so we have the right nuts in the right state. Let’s talk about technique.
Using high speed to make nut butters
As we alluded to above, your machine needs you to use high speed to make nut butters.
It can handle the task.
But it needs to be in high speed so the fans kick in and keep the machine from overheating.
You can start on low speed to avoid a startling, abrupt noise.
But quickly ramp up to high speed to make your nut butters. You’re harming your machine if you don’t.
Using the tamper correctly while making nut butters
Three important notes to begin the discussion about the tamper while making nut butters.
- Using the tamper is a sign of success; not failure. For thick blends like nut butters, you will need to use the tamper. And to get creamy nut butters, you need to use the tamper correctly.
- The tamper will never touch the blade (assuming the lid is on). So don’t worry about the tamper hitting the blade.
- The tamper is made to push ingredients down into the blade. Because the blade wants to “eat” the ingredients in thick blends like nut butters. And the tamper is your way to feed the blade.
Tamper technique in early on
Early on, push from the corners. When a corner can be pushed down, do it.
Tamper technique towards the end
Towards the end, you can leave the tamper in the middle.
Now, you may be thinking, when is “early on” and when is “towards the end?”
The best indicator is the sound coming from the Vitamix.
Listening for distinct sounds coming from your Vitamix while making nut butters
While making nut butters in your Vitamix, your machine is going to make some unsettling sounds.
Once again, don’t worry. Those sounds are not hurting your machine.
There are three sounds to expect from your Vitamix while making nut butters:
Sound 1) Grinding nuts. Like coffee beans falling into a burr grinder, this is the nuts hitting the side of your container. You’ll hear this sound for the first few seconds only.
Sound 2) High pitch squeal. For the first minute (approximately), while you’re pushing from the corners, you’ll high pitch squeal. It’s normal and not hurting your machine.
Sound 3) Low pitch chug. Once your nut butter has formed, you should hear a low pitch chug. This is the Vitamix telling you the nut butter is done. At this point, you may put the tamper in the middle of the blend and leave it there for a few seconds for some added creaminess. Don’t let the Vitamix run for more than five seconds or so during this last phase.
Want to hear these three sounds? Okay, here’s a video lesson that’s part of our Vitamix 101 class.
But before you watch, know this: We made this before learning about not mixing liquids in until after the blend.
Okay, moving on past the noises and onto timing…
Mastering the timing
Making nut butters in a Vitamix is a bit of an art. There are many variables:
- Moisture in the nuts
- Oil in the nuts
- Oil added
- Moisture in the air
- Frequency of tamping
- Efficiency of tamping
- Type of nuts
- Amount of nuts
And so on.
So you really have to listen to what the Vitamix is telling you.
Generally speaking, though, two minutes of blending is the most you should ever need to make nut butters in your Vitamix. If you want it creamy, blend longer. Chunky, blend less.
Here’s me making almond butter. And since it’s the low-profile, 64 oz container, this took as long as any nut butter should take.
Almond Butter in a Vitamix with a Wide Container
Cleaning the Vitamix container after making a nut butter
There a couple tricks to cleaning your Vitamix after making a nut butter.
The Double Cleaning Cycle Method
And generally, a quick cleaning cycle of a few drops of soap and warm water is all you need to get your Vitamix container squeaky clean.
But with thick blends like nut butters, sometimes you need to run a second cleaning cycle.
So do this:
- Run a cleaning cycle.
- Use a scrub brush or sponge to get any leftover nut butter near the top or in the curves.
- Run a second cleaning cycle.
Alltogether, it should only take a minute or two.
But if you’d like to make use of every ounce of nut butter, try this:
After-Nut-Butter Smoothie, Ice Cream, or Nut Milk Method
Put that tough-to-reach nut butter to good use! Leave whatever is left and whip up something delicious.
- Smoothie. A peanut butter and jelly smoothie would be delicious with fresh nut butter remnants.
- Ice cream. This Black Forest Ice Cream would be great with a hint of nuts.
- Nut milk. Make a traditional homemade nut milk with nuts, water, and a filtration bag. Or, make no-filter nut milk by mixing the nut butter remains with some water, dates, and vanilla.
Getting your nut butter creamier
There are a few waysthe to make your nut butter creamier.
- Add some unflavored oil.
- Use nuts with more natural oil
- Use roasted nuts (instead of roasting your own).
- Make sure your nuts are dry.
- Blend (and tamp) for longer.
- Hopefully you refrigerated your nut butter. It’s okay to remove a small amount to sit at room temperature. When the oils aren’t cold, your nut butter will be easier to mix and spread.
- Did you add water-based liquid (honey, maple syrup, etc.) while blending? Next time, wait until after completely processed. And then, mix in the liquid by hand.
Remember, making nut butters is an advanced Vitamix technique. So be patient.
If you failed at your last attempt, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
If you want the greatest chance of success, start with “mixed nut” or simple peanut butter. Those are the easiest to blend into creamy nut butter.
Comparing nut butters made in a food processor (to those made in a Vitamix)
Store-bought nut butters are made in large, commercial machines. These machines are nothing like household appliances.
So if you want to make nut butters at home, you have two choices: Food processor or a Vitamix (or other high-performance blender).
A food processor can make nut butters. For a couple of reasons, it takes more time than it takes in a Vitamix.
Reason 1: Blades in a food processor spin at far fewer RPM than the Vitamix. Fewer revolutions per minute cause longer processing times.
Reason 2: Food processors rely on blade sharpness to process ingredients. So as food processor blades dull, nut butters begin to take more time than they originally did. Vitamix blades, since they begin dull, don’t face this inevitable setback.
Reason 3: Food processor nut butters require moments of stopping the machine to scrape and mix by hand. Nut butters made in a Vitamix get the benefit of manual intervention (tamping) while the machine is on, so are done in a minute or two.
So yes, you can make homemade nut butters in a food processor. And some people prefer it.
But since we use our Vitamix as a food processor replacement, we use our Vitamix to make our nut butters. And once we do, here’s how we store them.
Storing your nut butter
Nuts do not need to be refrigerated. But nut butters, in fact do.
You need to refrigerate your nut butters.
You can refrigerate your nut butters for up to three weeks. Just keep them in an air-tight container.
Want to keep some nut butter on the counter (because room-temperature nut butter is easier to spread)? That’s totally fine.
Room-temperature nut butters stay fresh for a couple of days. 🙂
Picking nuts to use
Everyone wants to make almond butter. But do keep this in mind:
Almond butter is one of the most difficult nuts to use for Vitamix nut butters. And raw almond butter is even more difficult!
And if you’re just getting started, consider one of the easier nut-butter nuts. One with a bit more natural oils like peanuts or Brazil nuts or pecans or macadamia nuts.
And if you really want to use almonds for your first Vitamix nut butter, consider mixing them with one from above.
But for best chances of success, your first nut butter should use peanuts. Here are two suggestions.
Peanut butter with dates. A sweet take on peanut butter.
And if you want to get a little fancy, try this Panang Peanut Butter. Complex and delicious flavors.
Of course, you can browse more of our nut butter recipes here.
The nice thing is that you don’t need to stop at nuts…
Making nut butters without nuts (peanut allergy)
Many school campuses, day-care facilities, and summer camps are nut-free now.
So give sunflower seed butter (sun butter) a try. You make it with the same technique you would any other nut butter.
Also, tahini, while not traditionally known as a nut butter, is also great to make you your Vitamix.
One challenge with seed butter and nut butter is that your container may show some scratches.
Avoiding scratches on your container
So you want to avoid getting scratches on your shiny Vitamix container.
Unfortunately, scratches are tough to avoid.
Container scratches when making nut butters are caused by hard ingredients slamming into the container walls. So to keep your main jug less scratched, there are a couple things to consider.
- Use softer nuts. Cashews, for example, are softer than almonds.
- You can get a secondary container. We have a secondary, 48 oz wet blade container that we use to handle thick, hard-ingredient blends like nut butters. (This is also helpful when we’re cooking a meal and need to do multiple blender runs.
One note: Some people say they’ve used brand-name cleaning products to remove scratches. Not sure how effective or safe that is, though.
Okay, I think we’ve covered everything about making nut butters in your Vitamix.
One last thing:
If you’re feeling nervous…
Still not sure about making nut butter in your Vitamix?
But you’ve been wanting to for so long!
Keep in mind that your machine is made to handle this task. And what’s the worst case scenario?
At least give it a try. You’re nuts not to. ?
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