Southern-Style Boiled Peanuts
Boiled peanuts are the perfect snack for road trips and hunting trips—Southern food at its simplest and finest! You can flavor these however you like. Some like them spicy, some like them sweet, but however you like them, Southern-style boiled peanuts are the easiest to make! Depending on whether you’re making them from raw or green peanuts, this recipe is super easy!
Boiled peanuts are my dad’s specialty. I can remember him boiling peanuts from the time I was only three years old. I called him last week before our annual dove hunt and asked him to tell me everything he knows about peanuts. I think we stayed on the phone for at least an hour, and he was the one talking. I think I found his passion! Not only did he explain the difference between boiling raw peanuts and green peanuts, he also told me how to parch them, roast them, and more.
You can find green peanuts and raw peanuts at the farmers markets in the South during August and September. Some grocery stores have them in the freezer section.
Most Southerners like their boiled peanuts with just salt for the seasoning, but some like them spicy. If you like your boiled peanuts spicy, add either four freshly chopped jalapeños, 1/4 cup red pepper flakes, or another 1/4 cup hot sauce to the pot of peanuts (about two pounds of peanuts), depending on how much heat you can handle. If you want them to have more flavor, you can add garlic powder and onion powder to the peanuts as they boil, as well.
Note: There are a few differences between cooking raw peanuts and green peanuts. Raw peanuts have not been refrigerated and have a dryer shell. Green peanuts are harvested very fresh and have been stored in the refrigerator. They are not dry at all and are much like freshly picked peas.
Boiled Peanuts Recipe
- 2 pounds in-shell green or raw peanuts
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 2 gallons water
For Extra Flavor and Spiciness
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder optional
- 2 tablespoons onion powder optional
- 4 jalapeños chopped, optional
- 1/4 cup red pepper flakes optional
- 1/4 cup hot sauce optional
In a colander, wash the peanuts in cool water until the water runs clear. Allow the peanuts to sit in room temperature water for 20 minutes to further clean the peanuts. Drain the peanuts in the colander and give them one final rinse under running water.
In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add the peanuts, salt, and water. Bring water to a boil and reduce to medium-low heat. If peanuts are green, it takes several hours less cooking time (1 to 3 hours of simmering). Raw peanuts should boil to perfection in 6 to 7 hours, depending on how dry the peanuts are. Check water levels every half-hour and make sure it stays the same throughout the entire cooking process. Check on the green peanuts for doneness and seasoning after one hour. To check for doneness, crack the shell and eat the peanut. If it is crunchy, let it cook for another hour and repeat until you are satisfied. They are done if the texture of the peanuts is like that of cooked peas. If it needs more salt, add 1/4 cup and continue cooking. If you are cooking raw peanuts, check for water levels after one hour and for doneness and seasoning after 2 hours.
When the peanuts are done, allow them to cool in the pot with the water for at least one half hour. Store peanuts in a container or a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days, or freeze in freezer bags for 3 to 6 months.