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How to Make Raw Sunflower Seed Butter

How to Make Raw Sunflower Seed Butter

High in vitamins, minerals, and protein, sunflower seeds are little powerhouses of nutrition. They are also a great stand-in for nuts for those who are allergic to them.

However, like all nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds also contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which protect them from sprouting until they have the rain and sun they need to grow. And unfortunately, these natural chemicals are quite hard on the digestive system. Here’s how to get around that problem…

Traditional Preparation for Sunflower Seeds

In nature, a seed or nut normally gets enough moisture from rain to wash off the acids and enzyme inhibitors so it can germinate and produce a plant. By soaking nuts and seeds before you eat them, you imitate nature by neutralizing these toxic growth inhibitors, releasing the natural enzymes and vitality within them.

These enzymes, in turn, increase the vitamin content of your nuts and seeds, especially the B vitamins. Soaking also removes phytates from the seeds, making them much easier to digest and enabling their many nutrients to be more easily absorbed by your body.

Because of these benefits, salt-water soaking and then drying or slow-roasting nuts and seeds until they are crispy and delicious has been a traditional method of preparing them for thousands of years. (See Soaking Nuts and Seeds Makes Them Better for more information.)

This recipe will show you how to make raw sunflower seed butter using traditional preparation methods that ensure maximum nutrition and digestibility. Homemade sunflower seed butter takes a little time to make, but it is very, very easy to do, and significantly cheaper than buying it in the store.

Raw Sunflower Seed Butter
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  1. 4 cups raw sunflower seed kernels (no shell)
  2. Pure water
  3. 1-2 Tbsp. sunflower seed oil, almond oil or refined coconut oil (NOT virgin, you don't want your sunbutter to taste like coconut!)
  4. Sea salt
  5. Honey, Rapadura sugar, maple syrup or stevia (Optional)
  6. Dash of cinnamon or vanilla (Optional)
Part 1
  1. Put sunflower seeds into a half gallon mason jar or other container. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Fill with water to the top of the jar. Swirl the water around to dissolve the salt.
  2. Let the seeds sit in the jar in a warm place in your home overnight, or for about 8 hours.
  3. Drain and rinse the seeds and spread them in a single layer on a dehydrator tray.
  4. Dehydrate at 100 to 115 degrees F until crispy. Check by taste to make sure they are crunchy and free of moisture. This usually takes about 24 hours, depending on dehydrator and other conditions, etc. (Drying your seeds below 115 degrees keeps all the enzymes and fragile vitamins intact.)
Part 2
  1. Put crispy, dehydrated seeds into your food processor and process into a finely ground meal.
  2. Keep processing until the meal starts to release its oil and come together into a ball. This can take at least 10 minutes. You will probably need to scrape down the sides of the processor a few times to help it along. You might even need to stop the processor and let it cool down a few times.
  3. Continue processing so the ball comes together and falls apart several times as the oils are released by the heat and friction of the processor. Add a little oil to help this process go faster, if needed.
  4. Once the butter is smooth and creamy, mix in salt, sweetener and cinnamon or vanilla, to taste.
  5. Store in a Mason jar in the fridge.
  6. Enjoy anywhere you would use nut butter!
  1. Food processor
  2. Dehydrator (This is the one I use.) If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use the sun during sunny months. Set out a tray full of soaked seeds in full sunlight and cover with a light cloth to keep out dust and bugs. (It might take a few days to get them fully dry; bring them in at night.) You can also use an oven set on the lowest setting, but this is not ideal because it will kill some of the enzymes present in the seeds.
Small Footprint Family

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  1. I know this is an old post, but I have a question regarding dehydrators, in general, and you seem to be a knowledgeable, friendly sort.

    Does a dehydrator pull in air through a filter of some sort, or is its air in the same condition as the ambient air around the unit?

    I’m concerned because I live in a fairly humid environment and because of noisiness and timing, I might have to place my dehydrator in my garage or basement (concrete floor and walls, no AC/Heat). If most dehydrators do not include a substantial filter, such as a HEPA filter, then are they not drying raw, unprotected food with polluted–possibly even dusty–air?

    52 and OTP in the ATL

    • I know of no dehydrators that have filters. That would probably make them cost prohibitive. However, you would face the same issues if you were sun-drying your food too. There is only so much we can do to protect ourselves from pollutants, unfortunately. However dehydrating food in a dusty place is probably not a good idea ever.

      • Thank you very much for this information. This issue has been my family’s main stumbling block to a more RALPish (Raw And Living Foods) diet for years. Now I can make an INFORMED decision regarding the most suitable dehydrating unit for our needs. And, who knows? Perhaps I can design some sort of tenting for it that will keep its environment as clean and dust-free as possible.

        52 and OTP in the ATL

  2. Hi, just curious as I am fairly new to raw food…doesn’t the heat of the food processor(or hi-speed blender) negate the process of keeping the temps low in the dehydrator? I also seriously need a new food processor…any recommendations?

    • The threshold for raw food is about 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, blenders and processors don’t get that hot, at least not in the way they are used for making nut butters. This is the food processor I use every week: Best to you!

  3. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  4. I once made a raw sunflower seed butter and it tasted kind of bad to be honest, very bitter. I did not soak the seeds before, though. All other recipes I’ve found were calling for roasting the seeds, but I try to avoid roasting nuts and seeds.

    • Roasted sunflower seed butter does have a different taste than raw for sure. Some people prefer the taste of roasted nuts and seeds, and roasting them is a traditional way of consuming them. However, many people prefer to consume raw foods, so this is one way to enjoy sunflower seeds while still maintaining all the enzymes and nutrients.

      • Yes, that’s why always make raw almond/seed butter. What I’m asking here is how does it taste?

        • I have no idea how to answer that question. To me, it tastes like raw sunflower seeds, which we enjoy a lot around our house. :)

  5. Looks delicious! We do have nut allergies, so I will be pinning this recipe for future use!

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday :)

  6. YUM! I just made a recipe similar to this! YUM! :) Got it pinned and tweeted, thanks for linking up at Gluten Free Fridays!

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe at Raw Foods Thursdays. I’ve never made sunflower seed butter, but I’ve eaten it and it’s delicious! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be highlighting it tomorrow!!

  8. Yum! Will have to try this out when the weather is sunnier.

  9. This looks really good! I love that I can just do it in my food processor. Thanks again for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop.

  10. Looks good! Actually looks alot like peanut butter.

  11. Looks good!

  12. Wow, I would love to try making this. But with no dehydrator and no sun for months now, I think I will need to use my oven at least for the first batch:-) Thank you for sharing your recipe with us and I hope to welcome you over at Seasonal Celebration again this Wednesday! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

  13. I will try this but in the summer since I don’t have dehydrator.

  14. I can’t wait to taste this Sundlower Seed Butter, it looks awesome! Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Oops, Sunflower not Sundlower,lol, flying fingers.

  15. Thank you for the recipe! Could you please some time in the future elaborate on the comment you made about soaking not really being necessary for almonds? The last time we ordered almonds in bulk the packaging stated that the almonds had been steamed but would still sprout. Thanks again.

    • I have not found my pasteurized almonds to be able to sprout. If yours can sprout, then soaking is worth it. If they are dead from pasteurization, soaking will only make them soft.

  16. this looks fab!

  17. I love sunflower seeds–can’t wait to try this! Thanks for including it –and all of your great recipes and tips — at Foodie Friday.

  18. Thanks for this. I’m wondering if the drying serves a nutritional or simply a taste purpose. I’m not keen on the plastic in dehydrators and we’re not getting enough heat yet for the out door version (it’s coming, though :-) ). Could you skip the drying part?

    • Drying is definitely for taste. When the nuts are soggy, they taste awful and have way too much water to make a butter. Don’t skip the drying part unless you are making sunflower seed milk (which is made from sunnies and water).

      You can place parchment paper or cheesecloth over you dehydrator trays to block the plastic, though the seeds will take a little longer and will need turning during the process.

  19. Super! Can you use the same recipe with almonds?

    • Not exactly. Since all raw almonds in the U.S. are actually pasteurized with chemicals (conventional) or steam (organic) they are not truly raw, and soaking and drying them does nothing to improve their nutrition. Also almonds are much bigger and have a different texture than sunnies, so they may not process the same for you.

  20. I’ll have to pin this one to try later! I’m allergic to peanuts, so I’m always looking for a tasty alternative to peanut butter.

  21. So great, I’ve never thought of using sunflowers seeds. Have made almond butter but never sunflower. Love your great tips. Does it have a long fridge life?

    • Thanks! It’ll keep a week or two just fine. We’ve always eaten it all before then, so I’m not sure if it will last longer!

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