Steaming - Boil

how to prevent boiled peanuts from sticking in the shell

Boiled peanuts are a traditional Southern snack that is often served at parties. The difficulty of eating boiled peanuts can be attributed to their hard shells, which can make it difficult for the individual to extract the nut without damaging the shell. It is
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Southern boiled peanuts are a protein-packed snack. They’re wonderful in the late summer and early fall when fresh green peanuts are in abundance in the South.

With only three ingredients, this recipe is easy to make; it just requires time. If you have never tried one before, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.

dish of boiled peanuts

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  • Questions
  • How to Make
  • Variations
  • Pro Tips
  • Recommended Tools
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Questions

What are boiled peanuts?

It is a popular snack in the Southern U. S. They are soft, salty, and packed full of protein. To make them, green peanuts are boiled in salty water for hours until the shells and peanuts get soft. They have a different taste than dry roasted, but are just as addictive. In peanut-growing states, you can buy them from roadside stands, gas stations, and grocery stores during the peanut growing season (August to October).

What is a green peanut?

A green peanut really isn’t green. It is a freshly harvested peanut that hasn’t been dehydrated. They have a higher water content and hold more moisture, so they can spoil quickly.

person holding a green peanut

Who invented boiled peanuts?

No one knows for sure who invented boiled peanuts, but history tells us that Civil War soldiers boiled them in Georgia during General Sherman’s march to the sea. In the 1920’s, peanut farmers became more common and boiling them with salt caught on as an economical and nutritious snack in the Southern states.

What is so good about this snack?

Boiled peanuts have the same health benefits as roasted, except that boiled have 4 times more antioxidants. Boiling draws the antioxidants from the peanut shells.

They are also good sources of omega-3, and are high in vitamin E, fiber, and good fats. They are also high in protein, and are low in carbs.

Above all, they taste amazing and make you feel full, so they are an excellent choice for snack food.

two dishes of boiled peanuts with bottles of sweet tea

How do I eat this?

Crack open the shell with your fingers and pick the peanut out. There’s no need to be fancy when serving this snack to guests; this is casual country food.

If you have a small boiled peanut that is too hard to crack open with your fingers, place it in your mouth and crack it open with your teeth; just don’t eat the shell. Have napkins ready because they can squirt brine when the shells are cracked.

What is the best way to serve this recipe?

Many people consider this snack tastes best when served hot, straight from the pot. To do this, dip a large slotted spoon into the pot so the brine gets strained and only the peanuts remain.

Serve in small bowls with napkins. Provide another bowl for the empty peanut shells. If you’re eating them outside, you can throw the shells into a paper bag for easy disposal.

Should I refrigerate them?

They can last 24 hours at room temperature. If you have any leftovers, it is best to cover them and put in the fridge. They will last 7 to 10 days if stored properly.

person holding a bowl and spoon of shelled boiled peanuts

Can vegans eat this recipe?

Yes, vegans can eat this since peanuts are legumes produced by plants and grow underground Vegans eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains.

Do boiled peanuts have sugar in them?

Peanuts have a low GI value of 13, so they don’t cause blood sugar to rise sharply. They actually help to control blood sugar.

How can you tell when they are done?

You’ll know when they are done because the shells will be darker and softer, and the meat of the peanut will be soft.

When you do your taste test, take out a few from different areas of the pot. The ones on top are usually less salty then the ones in the middle.

They should have a pleasant balance of saltiness to umami. If they are not salty enough, just add a bit more salt, turn off the heat, and let it sit longer. If they are too salty for your liking, drain them and soak them in cold water for an hour.

What causes the peanut to stick to the shell?

After boiling them in a mixture of water and salt, the shell softens and the brine gets inside. This can cause the peanuts to swell and sometimes stick to the shell. If this happens, use your fingernail or a small spoon to get the peanut out.

person holding a handful of shelled boiled peanuts

How do you reheat this recipe?

The best way to reheat this snack is to put them in a saucepan with water and bring them to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Crack one open, and if necessary, add one tablespoon of salt and stir. When ready to eat, drain and enjoy.

Can I use raw dried peanuts instead of fresh?

Yes, you can, but they will take longer to cook. If you’re using the raw dried variety, soak them first for 8 hours in water, then increase the cook time by two hours. Keep checking them each hour.

How do you freeze this recipe?

Start by draining the peanuts from the brine, and allow them to fully cool, then freeze in zip-top freezer bags or another airtight container. They should last up to 6 months.

person holding a handful of green peanuts

Where can I buy green peanuts for boiling?

If you live in a state that grows peanuts, you can buy them from the local farmers’ market and the grocery store. If you live in a state that doesn’t, you can buy green peanuts online during the peanut growing season (August to October).

How to Make

Gather the three ingredients: 3 pounds of freshly picked green peanuts, a cup of salt, and water.

ingredients for boiled peanuts

Put the fresh green peanuts in a colander and rinse them in the sink two or three times to get all the dirt off them.

Place them in a large Dutch oven and cover with cold tap water. Press them down with your hand to get them submerged.

pouring water into a pot of raw peanuts

Add ¾ cup of salt and stir with a big spoon. You can use any kind of salt: table, kosher or sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.

adding salt to a pot of boiled peanuts

During the first hour of cooking, stir every once and a while so the ones on top can be mixed around. Make sure to put the lid back on the Dutch oven. Once it has simmered for 1 hour, shut the heat off and let the pot sit on the element with the lid on for 8-10 hours, or overnight.

stirring a pot of boiled peanuts

After the pot has been sitting on the turned-off element for 8-10 hours, drain them in a colander in the kitchen sink and rinse with cold water.

person holding a handful of boiled peanuts above a colander

Put them back in the Dutch oven and cover with more tap water.

pouring water into a pot of boiled peanuts

Add ¼ cup of salt and stir until it’s well mixed. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat then simmer for two hours.

Remember to stir them occasionally, and add water when needed, as the water will evaporate when it’s simmering on top of the stove.

adding more salt to boiled peanuts

After two hours of simmering, check for doneness. Fish out two or three from different areas in the pot. Crack the hull with your fingers and taste the legume.

Is there brine inside the shell? Has the peanut swelled? Is the outer shell soft? Is the peanut soft? Does the peanut taste like it has enough salt?

person holding a spoonful of boiled peanuts

Take out two to four out from different areas of the pot and test them. Are they soft enough? Is there enough salt?

If they aren’t soft enough, cover and let simmer for another hour. If they aren’t salty enough add 2 tablespoons of salt and stir and simmer for another hour.

person cracking open a boiled peanut

Wondering when they are done? Here are some ways to tell. The outer shell should be soft when you squeeze it.

When you crack the hull open with your fingers, the peanuts inside should have swollen in size. There also should be brine inside the peanut shell, and the peanut should be soft when you chew it. When you taste it, it should be salty enough for your taste preferences.

You can serve this recipe hot or cold; the choice is yours. Our family likes them both ways. The fun part is cracking them open with your fingers. Make sure to have napkins nearby, as the brine can squirt you when the shell is cracked.

person holding a cracked open peanut

Variations

  • Want it spicy? Try adding sliced jalapeno or habaneros, tabasco, red pepper flakes, crab boil packets, or cayenne pepper.
  • Want it cajun? Try adding tabasco and cajun seasoning.
  • Want it picklely? Use pickle brine and water (2:1), coined pickles, jalapenos, green olives, creole seasoning or Old Bay

Pro Tips

  • Want the quickest cooking times? Use fresh green peanuts instead of raw dry peanuts.
  • Not salty enough? Don’t add more salt until the brine is inside the shell, then add 2 tablespoons of salt, stir and simmer another hour.
  • Too salty when soft? Drain. Rinse. Let soak in cold water and place in fridge.
  • Use salt it helps keep yeast and mold from developing in the boiled peanut pot.
  • Want to keep them submerged? Use an aluminum pie plate with a sterilized rock on top.
  • Stainless Steel Colander: it’s easy to drain and rinse boiled peanuts with this sturdy colander.
  • Emeril Lagasse Dutch Oven: we love this heavy-bottomed pot with its glass lid.
  • Set of 6 Serving Spoons: these spoons include both slotted and unslotted ones.
  • Measuring Cups: we really like this set of 3 stainless steel measuring cups.
  • Measuring Spoons: these nice measuring spoons are easy to clean.

Satisfy your craving for Southern snacks with these other delicious recipes.

  • Pimento Cheese Spread
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Cheese Grits Casserole

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This post was originally published on September 23, 2017.

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