Recipe: Awesome Raw Sunflower Seed Butter

Stephanie Jeffs How to Make Raw Nut & Seed Butters

Hold the phone! Hold the phone! This little baby is just one recipe you just HAVE to make and make over and over again. Why? Because you just might love it as much as I do.

I LOVE peanut butter, almond butter, sesame butter and all the gooey yummy nut and seed butters that you can buy in the shops. There are some super brands out there that I really love and to be honest with you – I do buy them sometimes – which leaves me with a guilt trip occasionally thinking to myself ‘you should be making this at home!’ notably for a fraction of the price too! Especially when you know that making a raw version is a little more time consuming and every bit more expensive.

But, making raw nut & seed butters is very easy. Making them roasted and delicious is pretty easy too and once you get the basic ‘formula’ for making nut and seed butters trust me: you are on a roll and your cupboards will get full of the stuff. You will probably be asking yourself why the heck you never made the stuff before because it’s TOO easy to be true!

The measures in this recipe are rough: because you can make as little or as much as you like. As a rule though I would say it all depends on the size of your food processor. Too little in a large drum will not work. You will be watching nut and seed chips fling around for an eon. Too much in a smaller drum will not work. Well, it will but you will be forever and ever trying to crack the oil out of the nuts and seeds. You want enough quantity to cover the blades by about an inch (couple of centimetres) which I find gives the best results. But, hey depends on your machine. I have used my Magimix with great results, my Tesco food processor (extra large drum) with fantastic results, and my smaller Kenwood with probably the best results. But just play with your own machine and get to know how it rolls, but to start a good rule of thumb is to that 2cm above the blade line is a great quantity to start with.


  • 2-3 cups activated (and dehydrated) sunflower seeds
  • small pinch quality sea salt (flor de sal)


Firstly if you are not experienced in ‘activating’ nuts and seeds then don’t panic. You can always roast the seeds (ok great seed butter but it’s not raw) and remember to soak them for at least 30 minutes before you roast them. When roasting scatter the sea salt over soaked and rinsed seeds and place on an oven tray. Roast on 200 or until lightly toasted. You will smell when they are ready! Be careful not to burn them. And try your best not to eat them all before they get buttered. Honestly!

Sunflower Seed Butter Stephanie Jeffs Explore Raw Soaking Seeds

Ok so now let’s get to the raw version of this dish (way better!) To activate sunflower seeds – soak seeds in a bowl covered in filtered water for at least 30 minutes – 4 hours. You may need to top up the water when the seeds start to bloat. Overnight is ok too just try not to forget about them or leave them too long! Rinse the seeds in a seed tray if you have one, or a sieve is fine, and dry roughly in a clean tea-towel or kitchen cloth. Place on a dehydrator tray evenly spread out with the teflex sheets on. Dry for 10 hours then remove the teflex sheets. Dry for another 10 hours or until your seeds are nicely dry and crisp. Not shrivelled! I set my dehydrator to 40 for sunflower seeds. If you don’t have a dehydrator yet then you can use an oven with the door slightly ajar set on 50 and dry for around 1-2 hours. They don’t take long in an oven so be careful.

Raw Sunflower Seed Butter Stephanie Jeffs Explore Raw

Once the seeds are dried add them to your food processor drum/bowl fitted with the S blade. Add a large pinch of salt (less or more to taste) and begin processing. Don’t put the machine on and leave it or go off and do something else: you will need to coach these seeds through the process and this could take up to half an hour. I find that the seeds butter more quickly when they are warmest. So straight from the oven or dehydrator is best. Keep blending and pulsing the seeds. Stop the machine regularly to scrape the seed chips from the sides of the bowl. This may seem like a thankless task (believe me when you are running a workshop on this the time it takes can get embarrassing! lol) so be patient. Relax in to it. And keep going.

Your seeds will go through several phases before they get to silky smooth butter: powdered phased (quite dusty looking) crumbly phase (dust forming together), cake mix phase (lumping together) big ball phase (one lump of mix may occur) and so on until you get to the final phase when the oil cracks and the mixture appears almost liquid. The butter stops rising up the sides of the bowl and appears much more liquidy. Don’t stop as soon as this phase occurs. Keep going just a little more until you get a shine on the top of the mix (this will be a layer of oil) Once you can dip a spoon in and it can easily drip off the spoon you have got it! Depending on how much mixture you have in the bowl this can take anything from 15-30 minutes. Just be patient.

Stephanie Jeffs How to Make Nut & Seed Butters

Once finished you can keep in lidded glass jars and use as a delicious butter for a range of meals. If you would like to make dishes like this and join me at any of my cookery school classes click here. To find out more about up and coming events click here.

Let me know if you make it! I love hearing about your creations!

Keeping it juicy & raw

Big loves

Signature Stephanie





4 thoughts on “Recipe: Awesome Raw Sunflower Seed Butter

  1. Joel says:

    Hey Stephanie,

    Does the water soaking change the taste of the raw seeds? Because I’ve so far used raw seeds directly, no processing at all. I used to think it tasted fine (i.e. not much at all, I mixed it with raspberries and gingerbread spices), but lately I’ve begun to feel like it tastes AWFUL. Weird. Maybe it was a bad batch or something, but… why would it, you know?

    I don’t want to roast sunflower seeds since their fats are so sensitive… and I’m not jumping on the “soak everything before you eat it” train. Unless it changes the taste of sunflower butter. Does it?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Stephanie Jeffs says:

    Hi Joel! Thanks so much for your post! I know what you mean about not jumping on the soaking bandwagon as it can seem so unnecessary and time consuming. But its DEFO worth it for health benefits and taste. Soaking will activate the seed so it’s nutrition becomes more bioavailable to the body – meaning you can more easily access all the goodies. I cannot bear to eat nuts and seeds that aren’t activated now as I can really taste the difference – and activated butter tastes sooooooo much cleaner. You can REALLY bring out the taste of what you are buttering. And if you think about it – it takes just a few seconds of your time to pour some water on them and leave nature to do the rest. Dry them and then make your butters. I say go for it! It’s VERY worth it! Let me know how you get on. Steph x

    PS you may have had stale seeds where the oil has gone rancid which really can affect the flavour of your seeds & nuts. Try not to buy in bulk too much and focus on air tight glass storage. This might help x

  3. Devi says:

    Do you have to dehydrate them? I find I digest things better when they are not dehydrated… however, in the past I could not get the oil to come out at all when I soaked my seeds and attempted a butter. I ended up with a big blob of sunflower seeds, like a ball. Smooth and blended, but not a butter. What can I do to avoid this step? Any advice at all would be really useful. I really like to try and avoid processed oils as well. Hope you can help.

  4. Stephanie Jeffs says:

    Hi! Yes dehydrating them is essential – as they need to be ground in to butter when they are dry and not wet – it does take a long time for the oil to come out! You can also roast them if you are not too concerned about them being raw – but I thoroughly recommend soaking all nuts and seeds before this step. The oils are unlikely to come out when they are wet and as you have experienced you will get a sticky ball, as the oil doesn’t work with the wetness of the seed. Keep trying it’s worth the wait! Let me know how you get on! Steph 🙂

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