Boiled Peanuts

You can easily double or triple or quadruple the recipe ingredients. The longer the peanuts cook, or sit in the salty water, the saltier they will become. Also the longer the peanuts cook, the softer the shells will become. Some people prefer their peanut shells soft and almost chewy, some prefer a little firm so you can pry open the shells.

If you are making boiled peanuts for the first time, work with a small batch (like the one pound recipe that follows). If they end up too salty, use less salt the next time. If you like them softer, cook them longer. The inside nuts themselves should be completely soft. If crunchy or crisp, they need to cook longer.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes


  • 1 pound of raw "green" peanuts (not the color green, but fresh raw peanuts which are called green peanuts)
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 Tbsp table salt)
  • 4 cups water

Optional seasoning

  • 2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning, smoked paprika, shrimp boil mix, or even star anise


1 Thoroughly rinse raw unshelled peanuts in water.

boiled-peanuts-1.jpg boiled-peanuts-2.jpg

2 Put water, salt, seasoning, peanuts in a large stockpot. Bring to a low boil. Cover and reduce the heat just enough to maintain a low boil. Boil for 2 to 3 hours or longer (some boil their peanuts all day), until peanuts reach desired level of softness.

3 Drain. Eat up within a couple of days. Boiled peanuts don't save as well as dry.

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  • Lee

    Being a North Carolina I have eaten boiled peanuts all of my 47 years. I couldn’t tell you how many I have cooked over the years. Each year I buy about 100 pounds of green peanuts and freeze them for the rest of the year. I bag them raw without washing (straight from the field) and seal them with a Food Saver vacuum sealer. They will keep all year long and when you take them out and cook them they’re still taste fresh as new.

    Now the cooking is as simple as can be. Wash your peanuts well and pot them. The critical part is the water to salt ratio. Be sure to measure the water. Cover them in water and add 1/2 cup of salt per gallon of water. Down south we sometimes cook very large batches for parties so knowing how much water you use is necessary. Cover your pot and boil on low heat for a couple of hours. Let them soak until you achieve the desired saltiness. They absorb the salt as they cool.

  • Jack-O

    As a Southern boy stranded in Buffalo, NY, I miss many of the treats I then took for granted before I relocated. On my way back from a recent visit with family in Louisiana I brought 5 pounds of green peanuts which I immediately boiled upon arriving home. The last time I cooked a batch, my wife and mother-in-law weren’t exactly crazy about them, which just left more for me! ;-)

    This time, however, I tried a new trick my niece told me about. Much like dried peas and beans, after the first boil, I changed the water and rinsed the peanuts. Then I added salt (I’m a purist) and finished cooking them in fresh water. The result? Complete home run! Everyone who has tried them so far has absolutely loved them.

    They were such a hit, my wife was inspired to find C&B Farms in Crystal Springs, MS,( She ordered a 30# bag of peanuts which arrived via FedEx 3-day. In a word, AWESOME!! Best price per pound and, hands down, the best service of any online merchant I have ever dealt with!If you purchase from them, you’ll understand what “down home” is all about!

    Another tip I’m trying as I write this: After cooking, let the peanuts cool, then freeze them. She said she has tried freezing them with and without brine and they do equally well either way. The longest she kept them frozen was 3 months. (Her daughter always picked them up before any more time passed) She also says you can microwave them to thaw/heat or make another brine to heat them on the stovetop.

    • Elise Bauer

      Great ideas, thank you!

    • Mary

      I tried your preboil method and the results were perfect! Thanks for the tip.

      • Jack-O

        No problem! Glad it worked for you!

    • JIm

      I live in Crystal Springs Ms. and we love C&B. You can get the medium peanuts around Aug. and the Jumbos will be pulled in Sept.

    • Beverly

      What do you mean by “after the first boil”?

  • Martha Marie Lofton

    I boil the peanuts first and then let them cool all the way down to cold. then I freeze them . when I want some ,just take out of the freezer and lay out till they unfreeze. can be put in hot water while in the bag,they are just as good.

  • Roger Nolte

    Bought my valencia raw (dried) peanuts from the Hampton Farms growers in Portales, New Mexico, and boiled my first batch a couple weeks ago. They turned out pretty good (better then the canned ones at WalMart), but as I cook my second batch today, I am wondering if I really need to add any salt? I soaked them 24 hours this time (12 hours first time), and using crock-pot this time (stove top first time), and noticing the flavor seems sweeter and tastier so far. I am afraid the salt will destroy that sweet taste. Is it really necessary to add salt?

  • Corey Johnson

    Hi, I am wanting to serve Boiled peanuts at my wedding in april. i just need a small snack sized portion for about 100 people. How many pounds should I get?

  • Robert

    You can buy raw peanuts at Walmart or Fresh produce stands.

  • Russell

    I’ve seen a lot of people commenting about the difficulties of finding raw peanuts. I thought I’d have to wait for a farmer’s market or something to that effect. As it turns out, right next to the dried fruit and 5lb bags of roasted peanuts, my grocer (Giant) had 1lb bags of raw peanuts.

    Currently have 2lbs floating to get the dirt off and then tonight, the payoff! :D

  • Francis Mok

    I see hardly anyone mention about use micro-wave to cook peanut. I am thinking of boiling them for half an hour. Left to dry and then put in micro-wave oven. After 15 minutes then I will again soak them in boiled salt water for an hour or so. Then I think they should be soft.

  • Allie

    I thought it was a little strange that this recipe only called for 4 cups of water. I ended up using 5 because it barely covered the peanuts. Turned out to be a complete disaster. I left for an hour and the peanuts almost burned my house down. Make sure and FULLY COVER the peanuts before you boil.

    Good point. 4 cups was sufficient for my small pot, but obviously not for yours. I also strongly recommend that you NOT leave the house when you have something boiling on the stove. ~Elise

  • jt

    No way do you boil green peanuts for 2 or 3 hours, raw peanuts yes, but not green peanuts.

    green peanuts fresh out of the ground need only about 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes depending on how soft you want them.. add the salt when there is only about 20 minutes of boiling time left, the reason is that the shell does not absorb water until they are soft and almost done…

    the difference between a green peanut and a raw peanut is that the raw peanut has been dried until the moisture is out of it. the green peanut is fresh out of the ground and has to be refrigerated…

  • Brenda from Florida

    I cannot obtain raw fresh peanuts in California, only the raw dried ones. I bought a bag-full this afternoon, and put them in my 6-quart pressure cooker, adding water to bring the level to the 2/3 full line, then added 1/4 cup salt. Turned on the heat under the pressure cooker, and when the pressure valve was all the way up and the regulator was rocking gently, I started the set the timer for 1 hour. I know that at the end of the hour, the peanuts will not be done, so I will run cold tap water over the cooker in the sink until the pressure valve falls. Then I’ll open the cooker, add more (hot) water to the 2/3 full line again and cook for another 1 1/2 hours. From past experience, I know they will not be tender yet, so I will cool and open the cooker, make sure there is enough water and cook them another 1 to 1 1/2 hours. They are beginning to smell like I’m gonna be eating them tonight. I can hardly wait.

  • Dustin

    I love boiled peanuts! For something a little different try using indain chili powder( it is hotter) and red curry seasoning. Just put the seasoning in an old coffe grinder to get them nice and fine, the peanuts absorb them better that way. Then you have nive spicy international peanuts haha.

  • David Cribb

    To reiterate what several people have said, raw peanuts have been dried, green peanuts have not. I prefer green peanuts, of course. When raw, dried peanuts are my only option, I will submerge them in clean water(not always easy to do) until they no longer float (about two days) and then they cook more or less like green peanuts.I have also found that if I soak green peanuts overnight before boiling that they cook much more evenly, for example you won’t get a mushy peanut and a crunchy peanut for the same amount of cooking time. I boil them until the consistency is to my liking and then let them soak until the flavor of whatever I am trying to achieve is correct,i.e. salt, spices. I like the soy sauce and star anise suggestion. Think I will go try that. Thanks

  • Pam Kelly

    You can get boiled peanuts at Food Lion in the nuts section for $1.79.

  • spaggie

    Lorraine, this time of year, you may be able to find them at a 99 Ranch Market. I saw some there last week when shopping for some daikon.

  • Lorraine

    I live near San Francisco. Where do they sell green raw peanuts? I have never seen them here. Anyone? Thanks.

  • Mikey's Hot Boiled Peanuts

    I’ve been boiling and selling peanuts at a roadside stand, at local fairs, and local festivals in mid Georgia for nearly 15 years now. Just browsing the web for Cajun recipies and am amazed how many don’t understand the differences between “green” or “dry” boiled peanuts.
    – Green peanuts are fresh out of the ground, washed, and sold immediatlly before drying out or going bad because most retailers keep them in coolers and refridgerators to keep them moist which in turn causes them to grow mold. The majority of them are shipped to companies for different types of processing like peanut butter, peanut oil, ect. The best time to get green peanuts is when the farmers start pulling them out of the ground which (in south Ga) is between the end of July to the beginning of September. Florida’s harvesting time is longer b-cuz their climate is warmer. Getting them any other time would certainly mean they have been frozen raw then thawed for selling which leads to loss of original flavor and texture when boiled. Green peanuts are best for those that want to boil their own due to the short boiling times (usually 3 to 4 hrs on full boil longer on simmer or crock potting) Note: Boiling green peanuts too long causes the meat to adhere to the shell. After cracking the peanut in half, you’ll have to dig with your teeth like a mad chipmunk to get the meat out of the shells which is virtually impossible.
    – Dried peanuts are pulled out of the ground, washed, tumbled in dryers to clean all shell surfaces and extract all moisture, then stored for shipping. They are more suited for us peanut vendors. The drying allows the peanuts to last all year long. They can also be roasted or fried. Yes “fried”! The down side is that it takes anywhere from 9 to 15 hrs to boil them (according to what time of the year they’re bought). I prefer Valencia peanuts from New Mexico. They’re not too meaty, just the right snacking size (I call them the “ball-park peanut”), they have a red skin that illiminates the meat from sticking to the shells which allows for longer simmering/selling times, they taste better the longer they simmer (3 days max for me), ect. the list of benefits for me are long.
    I should mention that there is a wide difference in taste between a green and dry boiled peanut so give each a try. Not all vendors sell the Valencia peanut so try different stands. Ask what type they offer and for God’s sake TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!!!

    Here are two main things to look for:

    Sour – Just tasting isn’t the best method. Smell the steam from the pot. Check for a hint of a moldy smell. Still can’t tell? Ask the vendor to bring up a scoop full for you and take two of the lighter colored nuts, let them cool off for about 30 seconds, then rub em with your thumb and finger to see if they’re slick.
    Burnt – Sometimes the vendor will let the pot run out of water and burn the peanuts at the bottom of the pot. To correct their mistake they will pull all the unburnt peanuts out, clean the pot, and refresh the pot with the unburnt ones. This may or may not effect the taste of the peanut but if your like me aroma is the best part of eating boiled peanuts. There’s nothing worse than jumping back in your and opening a container of peanuts to get a wiff of burnt peanuts. So it’s best to have the vendor put a lid on the cup or close the bag tight, get in your car, then open the container and take a big wiff before you drive off.

    Mikey’s Hot Boiled Peanuts – Located in Middle Ga. Corner of Hwy129 and Hwy212. Stop by and I’ll share some peanut boiling secrets with you ;-)

    Thank you for the tips Mikey! ~Elise

  • dickie

    I’ve lived in S.C. all my life and to me everything is better in the south. But for boiled peanuts nothing is better. I make 6 or 8 big batches a year and after everyone leaves I freeze the rest. If you happen to get too much salt in them don’t worry, just pour the salt water out put fresh water in the pot (peanuts too) and reboil. This will take the salt out. The longer they sit in the water the salter they get or the less salty. So simple anybody can do it.

  • Travis

    I remember one girl trying to take dry roasted peanuts and try to boil them. Problem was, with the peanuts in that dry state, it wouldn’t soak up any water.

    I haven’t tried the raw peanuts from NAS Jax’s commissary, but that will be next. I was always fond of the green peanuts which they said were immature peanuts before the drying process. I just remember the tell tale sign that the peanut is a green peanut because of the reddish purple flesh inside the peanut, whereas the roadside stands in northeast Florida are tan colored fleshed peanuts, the colors showing after being boiled. To me, the green peanuts had more flavor than the tan colored peanuts inside the hull.

    Down here in Florida, my dad tried growing peanuts. We grew them without problem, but because of the sandy soil around here, ten washings couldn’t get all the sand off the peanuts. We made sure to keep finding ways via grocery stores and produce stands to get the green peanuts though. Now my wife is addicted to them, provided they are the low salt version I make, and not the heart attack inducing high salt content that my dad tries ruining my batches with.

    One thing I’ve noticed, is that nobody mentioned drinking sweet tea with the boiled peanuts. They say boiled peanuts is “Country Caviar”, and sweet tea is the “House Wine of the South”. I need to try that putting honey in with the brine, but I usually drink my 1 and a fourth cup of sugar infused gallon of tea with my boiled peanuts, and it creates a sweet and sour sensation. For a six quart pressure cooker full of floating peanuts, I usually put in just a fourth to one half of a cup of salt. I believe this enhances the flavor of the peanut meat, without making it so all you can taste is salt and feel your arteries flare up unlike how my dad makes it.

  • Wes

    If you want boiled peanuts year around, you can freeze them after boiling them. You can reheat them in the microwave or in boiling water. If reheated in water, add some salt as fresh water will take some from the peanut. I generally taste the water to make sure I have the right amount of salt. I like the saltiness to be about what ocean seawater.

    There is nothing better than eating a steaming pan of boiled peanuts and washing it down with a grape Nehi soda, on a tin roofed porch with a gentle rain coming down. That was my grandparents house and porch. Fond memories from long ago.

  • TexGEOas

    The best peanut for boiling (green or dry) is the Valencia. The worst peanut for boiling (very thick-shelled and almost impossible to boil) is the Virginia roasting peanut. The Valencia is a thinner shelled, longer, skinnier peanut with up to four nuts in a shell. It is grown mostly in New Mexico. The boiled peanut stands use the Valencia.

    I boiled some locally purchased Virginia peanuts for a total of 16 hours over two days and they never got done! Valencias are done in 4 hours or so (faster if pressurized).

    Valencias are much harder to find in normal markets but it is definitely worth the effort to locate them. It will make your boiled peanut experiance a lot better.

  • Rush Montgomery III

    You can buy raw peanuts at Wal-mart. I make them all the time in a crockpot, but I add soy sauce instead of salt (seems to saturate the husk better) and lots of spices.

  • Grace

    As a child from an Alabama peanut farm, let me encourage you to seek “green” raw peanuts, not to be confused with the environmentally responsible growing conditions, but with their undried state. They are even harder to find, but well worth the effort.

  • David

    Use lots of salt. 1/4 cup per pound is for parts of the world where salt cannot be found. We cook ’em by the bushel and take some out for freezing in gallon ziploc bags before they’re done. The partially cooked frozen goobers keep well and can be dumped in boiling salty water for only an hour or two if you want some in a hurry.

  • Tauna

    Elise, We make these all the time. It doesn’t have to be warm or cold out for us. I’m from Northeastern Ohio and My husband is frome the “Everglades” in Florida. The first time I heard him talk about getting “Hot Boiled Peanuts” I thought he was out of his mind! lol Others who have commented on this recipe are right, depending on where you go to get them, depends on how they are flavored. Where my husband comes from, they use a bunch of hot spices, hot pepper seeds, hot oils, etc. We buy our peanuts at our local ‘Wal-Mart” since our farm markets don’t sell the raw peanuts, and we put them in our large electric crock-pot. I set the timer for 24 hours, put the water, 2 1-lb. bags of nuts, and about 1/8 of a cup of curshed red pepper flakes in, then let it go. They turn out perfect every time. We prefer the hot one over the plain salted ones, they just have more flavor and kick. I’m thinking about using some chipolte peppers next time, just to give it more of a smokey taste. MMMMMM gotta go make some now. Take care!!

  • Lisa_S

    I got completely addicted to goobers (boiled peanuts) when I lived in FL for 6 years – fortunately there’s no intervention required, just some salt, cayenne, tabasco, and beer and a crock pot. Yeah, I like them “Cajun Style.” And they’re best when boiled in a beer-water-salt base.

    For supplies, I recommend going to They have raw peanuts by the pound and they have pre-boiled (regular, Cajun) in cans – depending on your needs for instant gratification. Shipping is cheap. You can also find them boiled and frozen on eBay.

    And if you have left over raw peanuts (uncooked) don’t forget the birds and squirrels who love them this time of year.

  • Nick

    Never tried or even seen these before. I did buy a bag of them the other day specifically for this task. Does it matter if they are already roasted? And what about if you shelled them first?

    Yes, they need to be raw, and in the shell. You can likely get them at the Davis farmers market, Nick, though it’s quickly getting to the end of the season. ~Elise

  • Kelly in Louisiana

    Even if you don’t like roasted peanuts, southern boiled peanuts are worth a try. Down here nothing is lightly salted or seasoned. The peanut is transformed into a carrier for the flavoring and you can feel your blood pressure rise even before you eat them.

    I like my boiled peanuts on the al dente side. To get the right amount of saltiness for the shorter cooking time, I find you have to use more salt than you could possibly think necessary. I almost feel like I’m getting close to the saturation point before there is enough salt.

    Also, if you want the peanut to soak up the salt but not get too mushy just turn off the heat and let them sit in the salty water for a few hours after boiling. If you don’t allow for proper salt absorbtion you end up with only the shell and juice having any salt flavor. I’m not a huge fan of salt so I don’t drink the juice, but the peanut is just not right without tasting salty through and through.

  • Amelia

    My favorite boiled peanuts are the ones you add sugar or honey to the water, gives the nuts a sweet edge with the salt that is wonderful. Give it a try.

  • Kathleen

    I am from North Carolina and I have fond memories of eating huge, salty boiled peanuts from a brown paper bag, bought from a roadside stand. Every now and again I get a hankerin’ for em and I just have to make a batch. The several hours it takes to get them just right seems an eternity. I use a crockpot to make mine. Let them go for at least 2 hours before checking them. Until they start absorbing the water, the peanuts float. It takes at least 2 hours for them to get a good soaking. Sometimes you have to add a little extra (plain) water after a couple of hours, make sure it’s boiling hot to keep the cooking going. Before starting make sure to rinse the peanuts thoroughly until you get clear water (this cleans them and the shells absorb the water which softens them and gets them started cooking faster.) Darn, now I wants me some boiled peanuts, I think I’ll go start a batch now.

  • Karen

    If you don’t want to cook for hours, put peanuts in a pressure cooker, add salt and enough water to cover the peanuts, and cook at 15 pounds for 5 to 10 minutes. The shortest time is for peanuts straight out of my father’s garden. The longest for ones that have been setting around in a grocery store. You can always test once the pressure has come down, and decide if you need a little longer.

    Great suggestion, thank you Karen! ~Elise