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Learn how to make boiled peanuts 3 ways: on the stovetop, in a pressure cooker, and in a slow cooker! Just remember: no southern party is complete without the beloved boiled peanut!
Behold, the boiled peanut. Sweet and salty morsels of heaven and a southerner’s standby summertime snack.
There is nothing in this world quite like sucking on the briny deliciousness of a freshly boiled peanut when your hair is dripping wet from the ocean or you’re slugging back a Pepsi Cola while cheering on the local minor league baseball team.
No secret exists on how to make boiled peanuts…you just need to choose the correct kind of peanuts, prepare them via your favorite cooking method, store them correctly, and make sure you add enough salt!
A perfectly boiled peanut has a soft outer shell (that you usually crack open with your teeth) and tender red peanuts inside that don’t stick to the shells when they’re opened.
I prefer to cook my peanuts al dente, meaning they are just firm enough to maintain a bit of texture, but they are still soft and creamy. So, if you never acquired the taste of boiled peanuts because you couldn’t handle the texture, please make a batch my way before completely writing them off.
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Believe it or not, green peanuts aren’t actually green. In fact, green red-skinned peanuts are the best type of peanuts to boil.
Green peanuts are peanuts that have been picked straight from the soil and are washed and sold as-is with no drying or roasting processes involved. Green peanuts are fresh and raw and must be cooked within a couple of days of purchase.
Here in SC, green red-skinned peanuts are seasonally prevalent and are available for purchase at local farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and even in grocery stores through the months of May-August.
Sometimes all you may be able to find are dried peanuts.
Be aware, dried peanuts are different from green peanuts. Much of their moisture content has been removed giving them a much longer shelf life.
Dried peanuts don’t taste as good as fresh green peanuts when boiled. Raw dried peanuts can be boiled (note NOT DRY ROASTED PEANUTS), but they take much, much longer to cook than raw green peanuts.
How to Salt Boiled Peanuts
Cooking boiled peanuts is an easy fete, and the hardest part about the whole process is making sure the salt measurements are correct.
Boiled peanuts are bland and tasteless without salt so adding enough is imperative. Starting off with 2 lbs of peanuts, add a 1/2 cup of standard grain sea salt and, once they’ve cooked for a couple of hours, taste test them and add more salt in 1/4 cup increments, if needed.
Allowing the boiled peanuts to soak in the salty brine after cooking will also allow the salt to penetrate deep inside the peanuts. Just make sure not to soak them for too long which can cause them to become slimy and soggy.
How to Freeze Boiled Peanuts
We southerners like to make giant batches of boiled peanuts and freeze them so we can serve them to family and friends year-round!
1. To freeze simply cook the peanuts as desired then cool completely. Once cooled, add to a colander and shake off as much excess water as possible.
2. Pack the peanuts into sealed, airtight, freezer-safe containers and freeze indefinitely or until ready to eat. When ready to eat, just take them out of the freezer to thaw!
How to Make Boiled Peanuts on the Stovetop
Cooking boiled peanuts on the stovetop is super simple:
1. Boil water, add salt and green peanuts to a large pot, lower heat to simmer, cover, and boil for 2 hours. Check for saltiness and softness, add more salt, if needed, in 1/4 cup increments, and continue to cook for another 2-3 hours or until desired tenderness is reached.
2. Once done, turn off the heat and allow to soak for 30 minutes to an hour in the cooking liquid.
3. When cooled, drain the liquid and serve!
How to Make Boiled Peanuts in the Instant Pot
Cooking boiled peanuts on the stovetop used to be my preferred method of cooking, but cooking them in the pressure cooker absolutely changed my life!
1. Add 2lbs of green peanuts to the pressure cooker, cover with water, stir in salt, place trivet on top of the peanuts to weigh them down, and cook on high pressure for 75 minutes.
2. Allow to naturally release and depressurize for 15 minutes, then manually release, drain, and serve!
How to Maked Boiled Peanuts in the Slow Cooker
There is no downside to cooking boiled peanuts in a slow cooker! Just throw everything in the pot and set it and forget it for 5-7 hours while you do other things around the house!
1. Add green peanuts to the slow cooker, cover with water, stir in salt, cover, and cook on high for 5-7 hours.
2. Once cooked, allow the peanuts to soak for another 30 minutes before draining and serving!
How to Boil Peanuts on the Stovetop, Instant Pot, or Slow Cooker!
- 2 lbs green peanuts red-skinned are the best!
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- Cold Water
How to Cook Boiled Peanuts on the Stovetop:
- Thoroughly wash peanuts, pick out any leaves or stems, drain, and add peanuts to a large stockpot.
- Fill the pot with enough water to cover the peanuts, and bring to a boil. Stir in salt to dissolve, lower the heat to a simmer/slight boil, and cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove a peanut and give it a taste test. Add more salt, in 1/4 cup increments if desired, and continue to cook for another hour or two or until desired tenderness is reached.
- Allow peanuts to soak in the brine for another 30 minutes to 1 hour then drain and serve.
How to Cook Boiled Peanuts in the Instant Pot:
- Thoroughly wash peanuts, pick out any leaves or stems, drain, and add peanuts to the Instant Pot insert.
- Fill the pot with enough water to cover the peanuts, top the peanuts with the trivet to keep them covered, lock the lid into place, and set the valve to sealing.
- Set Instant Pot to Manual/High Pressure for 75 minutes and press Start. Once cooked, allow to natural release for 15 minutes then quick-release pressure. Drain and serve.
- How to Cook Boiled Peanuts in the Slow Cooker:
- Thoroughly wash peanuts, pick out any leaves or stems, drain, and add peanuts to the slow cooker.
- Fill the pot with enough water to cover the peanuts, stir in salt, cover with the lid, and cook on HIGH for 5-7 hours or until desired tenderness is reached. Drain and serve.