Our Southern boiled peanut recipe is so simple!  Learn how to make this easy snack food on the stove top from green peanuts in their shells.  Kids and adults love to snack on these soft, salty treats during car trips, tailgating, and game days.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
two dishes of boiled peanuts
Snacks, Veggie Side Dishes

Southern Boiled Peanuts Recipe

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This post was originally published on September 23, 2017.

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, boiled peanuts are easy to make; they just require time.  If you have never tried one before, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.

dish of boiled peanuts

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What are boiled peanuts?

Boiled peanuts are a popular snack in the Southern US.  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 peanuts, 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.  Green peanuts 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 peanuts in Georgia during General Sherman’s march to the sea.  In the 1920’s, peanut farmers became more common and boiling peanuts with salt caught on as an economical and nutritious snack in the Southern states.

What is so good about boiled peanuts?

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

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 boiled peanuts can squirt brine when the shells are cracked. 

What is the best way to serve boiled peanuts?

Many people consider boiled peanuts 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 boiled peanuts?

Boiled peanuts 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 boiled peanuts?

Yes, vegans can eat boiled peanuts since peanuts are legumes produced by plants.  Vegans eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains.  Peanuts are a legume that grow underground.

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 boiled peanuts are done?

You’ll know when your peanuts 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 peanuts from different areas of the pot. The ones on top are usually less salty then the ones in the middle. The peanuts should have a pleasant balance of saltiness to umami.  If your peanuts 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 boiled peanuts to stick to the shell?

After boiling the peanuts 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 boiled peanuts?

The best way to reheat boiled peanuts 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 green peanuts?

Yes, you can, but they will take longer to cook.  If you’re using raw dried peanuts, 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 boiled peanuts?

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

How to Make Boiled Peanuts

Gather the three ingredients: 3 pounds of freshly picked green peanuts, a cup of salt, and water.  Please don’t use dry raw peanuts.  You won’t achieve the same result.

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

 pouring water into a pot of raw peanuts

Add 3/4 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 peanuts 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 the peanuts in a colander in the kitchen sink and rinse with cold water.

person holding a handful of boiled peanuts above a colander

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

pouring water into a pot of boiled peanuts

Add 1/4 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 the peanuts 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 the peanuts for doneness.  Fish out two or three peanuts 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 peanuts 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 the boiled peanuts 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.

person holding a cracked open peanut

You can serve boiled peanuts 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.

Pro Tips:

  • Want the quickest cooking times?  Use fresh green peanuts instead of raw dry peanuts.
  • Peanuts not getting soft?  Keep cooking them, stir well, simmer until soft.  Check every 30 minutes near the end.
  • 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.
  • Peanuts too salty when soft?  Drain.  Rinse.  Let soak in cold water and place in fridge.
  • 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
  • Use salt it helps keep yeast and mold from developing in the boiled peanut pot.
  • Want to keep the peanuts submerged?  Use an aluminum pie plate with a sterilized rock on top.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Boiled Peanuts

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

person holding a cracker spread with pimento cheese white plate of fried green tomatoes holding a bowl of cheese grits casserole

The pleasure of a 5-star review for our Southern boiled peanut recipe would be greatly appreciated.

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two dishes of boiled peanuts

Southern Boiled Peanuts Recipe


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 14 hours
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x

Description

Our Southern boiled peanut recipe is so simple!  Learn how to make this easy snack food on the stove top from green peanuts in their shells.  Kids and adults love to snack on these soft, salty treats during car trips, tailgating, and game days.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of fresh raw peanuts
  • 1 cup salt
  • Water for boiling

Instructions

Day 1

  1. Thoroughly rinse the fresh raw peanuts in a colander, about two or three times.
  2. Place them in a large pot and cover them with tap water.  Add 3/4 cup of salt and stir.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the peanuts to a boil, then simmer for one hour.
  4. Shut off the stove element.  Keep the lid on tight and don’t move the pot.  Let it sit there overnight or for 10 hours.

Day 2

  1. Drain the peanuts in a colander, then return them to the same pot and cover them with tap water.  Add 1/4 cup of salt and stir.
  2. Bring the covered peanuts to a boil, then simmer for two hours.
  3. Take out two to four peanuts from different areas in the pot and place on a small plate.  Once cool, crack the peanuts open and taste.  If they are not soft enough, cook for one hour longer.  If they are not salty enough, add 2 tablespoons of salt, stir well, and cook for one hour longer.
  4. When the boiled peanuts are done, drain and place them in a very large bowl covered in cool water.
  5. Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for our Southern boiled peanut recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: boiled peanuts, Southern

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4 thoughts on “Southern Boiled Peanuts Recipe

  1. Boiled peanuts are a great snack for any time. They have a unique taste, and this recipe is delectable! 🥜👍🏻 I am pleased with how easy they are to shell!

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