Easy to make, Southern Boiled Peanuts, or as they are sometimes called, goober peas, are a true Southern delicacy and a flavorful snack or appetizer. After just one taste of these delicious, juicy, briny, soft legumes you will be hooked, and like the old potato chip saying, “I’ll bet you can’t eat just one!”
I’m almost embarrassed to call this a recipe because boiled peanuts are just what the name implies, green peanuts that have been boiled in water and salt. That’s it! If you are not from the South you might be a little suspicious of these delicious, protein-packed morsels. But please do try them!
The best way to enjoy them is to purchase several pounds of green nuts when they are at their freshest. Then, make a big batch, and be sure to freeze several bags for later.
These tasty legumes freeze beautifully and I almost always have a bag of frozen nuts in our freezer ready to thaw for tailgating, happy hour on the porch, the beach, or just plain snacking.
Here’s what you will need:
Only three ingredients and one of them is water! All you need are:
- Fresh green peanuts – are raw peanuts that have just been harvested.
- Kosher salt – is added to boiling water to flavor the peanuts while they are cooking.
How to make this recipe:
- Add the unshelled nuts to a large dutch oven or stockpot over high heat and cover with water by at least 2 inches.
- Add the salt and stir to combine.
- When the nuts come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for anywhere from 2-3 hours. (Small, immature just harvested nuts can only take a few hours to cook, but older, larger nuts can take longer. Around 2 1/2 hours seems to be the average cooking time. Low and slow is the name of this game, so don’t hurry the process.)
- Stir the nuts occasionally while they are cooking and be sure to add additional water as needed to keep them covered in the salty water.
- Start tasting after two hours. To taste, simply remove them from the pot, crack open the shell and taste the cooked legume. Some folks like them on the crisper side, others like me, like them a little softer, it’s all up to you. The consistency should be similar to a cooked dry pea or field peas.
- When they are done, turn off the heat and allow the nuts to sit in the brine for another hour or so while they cool.
- To serve, use a slotted spoon and remove them from the cooking brine. Serve them in their shell at room temperature and be sure to provide plates or small bowls for the discarded shells.
A popular variation to this simple recipe is spicy Cajun Boiled Peanuts. To make Cajun Boiled Peanuts follow the directions in this recipe and add three to four tablespoons of a Creole or Cajun seasoning blend and about one to two teaspoons of red pepper flakes to the pot.
Frequently asked questions:
Boiled peanuts are made with fresh green peanuts, that is legumes, which have just been harvested. They are highly perishable because of their moisture content and need to be kept refrigerated. The best time to find them at farmers’ markets or your grocery store is in the late summer or fall.
Usually, freshly harvested nuts are only available from August through October and then only close to where harvested. If you find raw peanuts, unless they are specifically labeled as green, then most likely they have been dried so they won’t spoil.
Fresh green peanuts are freshly harvested and have a 35% to 50% moisture content. Raw nuts are dried to a 10% moisture level.
Dried raw peanuts, which are different than green freshly harvested nuts, have been dried to reduce their moisture content and are best roasted. I don’t recommend trying to boil dried raw peanuts although I know of some cooks that do (they can take up to 8 hours to cook). Forget about boiling roasted nuts altogether.
One cup of boiled green nuts in the shell has 200 calories, 6 grams of dietary fiber, and 9 grams of protein.
Follow the directions as stated, but a crock-pot or slow cooker instead. Cook on high for 5-7 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
If you have leftovers, store them in their brine, covered in the refrigerator, for up to ten days.
To freeze them, place them in quart-size freezer storage bags along with a little of their brine. Squeeze as much air out as possible and seal. They will keep in the freezer for at least 8-9 months. Thaw before serving.
If you like this recipe, I think you might also like these quick and easy appetizers: Roasted Pecans, Quick and Easy Hanky Pankies, Crispy Cheesy Southern Cheese Crackers, Kay’s Southern Pimento Cheese Spread, and Easy Game Day Snack Mix.
And, speaking of game-day snacks, be sure not to miss my roundup post, 41 Quick and Easy Game-Day Snacks and Appetizers.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones. I hope you come back soon!
Southern Boiled Peanuts Recipe
- 1½ lbs fresh green peanuts in the shell
- 1 cup kosher salt
- Add the nuts to a large dutch oven or stock-pot over high heat and cover with water by at least 2 inches.
- Add the salt and stir to combine.
- When the nuts come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for anywhere from 2-3 hours. (Small, immature just harvested nuts will cook faster than older, larger nuts. Around 2 1/2 hours seems to be the average cooking time. Low and slow is the name of this game, so don't hurry the process.)
- Stir the nuts occasionally while they are cooking and add additional water as needed to keep them covered in the salty water.
- Start tasting the nuts after about two hours. To taste, simply remove them from the pot, crack open the shell, and taste. Some folks like their nuts on the crisper side, others like me, like them a little softer, it's all up to you. The consistency should be similar to a cooked dry pea or field peas.
- When the nuts are done, turn off the heat and allow them to sit in the brine for another few hours while they cool.
- To serve, use a slotted spoon and remove the nuts from the brine. Serve them unshelled at room temperature and be sure to provide plates or small bowls for the shells.