Pecan Butter

pecan butter recipe

The past week has felt like a failed attempt at finding balance. I spent the week before last on glorious holiday with two guy friends in gorgeous Crested Butte, Colorado. It was a vacation in every sense of the word; each day began with a big, home-cooked breakfast, followed by a long, easy-going game of Scrabble with frequent mimosa refills. We soaked in a steaming hot tub at least once daily, surrounded by snow and those mountains, the sleeping giants whose mercurial personalities shifted as the sun rotated overhead. We savored the best pizza of our lives at Secret Stash—it was the kind of food that, once delivered, hushes all conversation except for occasional slips of profanity between bites. I squeezed into my mom’s retro one-piece ski suit and skied down the green slopes, making it down the mountain with all parts intact. In short, it was marvelous.

The following week, last week, was spent in a wretched state of catch-up from the week before. Deadline was rapidly approaching and I worked, hunched over my laptop, from the time I woke up to the time I dragged myself to bed. Warm memories from the last week made it possible to accept the situation, but it is absolutely not how I want to live. By the time I finished working late in the afternoon on Sunday, I sought out some companionship. Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing, climb onto the roof with a friend and sip on some cheap Champagne, am I right?

toasted pecans

Deadline has passed, and I find myself overwhelmed by other projects (please join The Food Matters Project!), but I’ll make it. This weekend has been all about finding balance: stretching out my poor back with Pilates, dancing around to my friends’ band at a dive bar and tackling the disgusting pile of dishes that is taking over my kitchen.

I’ve already typed up more than I intended, but let me tell you about this pecan butter. The idea for pecan butter came to me on the drive back from Colorado, right after I’d awoken to see mountain goats outside the window. I munched on a cracker, then a couple of pecans that Peach Crest Farm had gifted Matt for Christmas. The Peach Crest Farm pecans are extraordinary; one taste of those fresh, local, organic pecans convinced me that every pecan I’ve ever tasted has been rancid with old age. My grandmother Mimi‘s family owned a pecan farm and she adored pecans. Now I know why.

I munched on a couple more pecans, and another cracker, wishing I could smear the pecans on top like peanut butter. Bingo! Pecan butter. One quick google search confirmed that it could be done, but no one has given pecan butter the attention it deserves.

pecan butter in food processor

I’ve tried to make peanut butter before with disappointing result, but not so here. Pecan butter is the least finicky all-natural nut butter I’ve come across. Toasted pecans meld together in a food processor, turning into silky smooth, spreadable nutty goodness with maple undertones, without any added oil. A pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon at the end make it positively divine.

pecan butter

If you love pecans like I do, you must give this a try. It is truly luscious. Pecans are not cheap, but I assure you that pecan butter is worth every penny. It is liquid gold. Might I suggest that you slather it on a piece of my favorite honey-sweetened banana bread, as I have every morning this week? It makes a healthy breakfast that tastes almost as decadent as a piece of cake.

Homemade Pecan Butter
4.8 from 12 reviews
Recipe type: Spread
  • 8 ounces (about two cups) high quality pecans, either whole or in pieces
  • sea salt, to taste
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Pour the pecans into a large skillet and toast, stirring often, over medium heat until fragrant. This will take about 4 to 8 minutes.
  2. Pour the toasted pecans into a food processor and blend, pausing to scrape down the sides with a spatula often. It will be crumbly at first, but will eventually blend into super-creamy goodness after ten to fifteen minutes. (If the oil completely separates, stop processing and let the mixture cool before blending again.)
  3. Add a pinch of sea salt and a dash of cinnamon. Blend again, taste, and add more salt or cinnamon if needed.
  4. Pour into a small jar, seal it with a lid, and store it in the refrigerator for good measure.
  • Yields one cup. Feel free to to double or maybe even triple the amount of pecans in order to make a bigger batch. You may find it easier to toast the pecans in the oven at that point.
  • This pecan butter is only as good as the pecans you put it in it. Seek out fresh pecans from a store with high turnover. Bonus points if they’re local, organic and/or stored in the refrigerator.


  1. says

    Oh my gosh Kate, your description and photos of the pecan butter have my mouth watering! Pecans are my favorite nuts, I will have to try your recipe :)

    Your time in Colorado sounds dreamy. Balance must be hard to attain after such a lovely vacation. I sure could use one myself, as I am currently buried under layers of grad school work. I bet cheap champagne would do the trick, though ;)

  2. says

    This looks mouth watering good. I’ve been meaning to make nut butter in general since getting a “big girl” food processor for Christmas and yet somehow I haven’t yet. This looks like a great one to start with. Easy, few ingredients and my husband is a pecan fiend!

  3. says

    Oh. my. goodness! During the week, I pretty much eat toast with peanut butter on a near daily basis, and as much as I love it, it gets old pretty quickly. Pecan butter would be such an easy, refreshing change of pace! I’m definitely going to have to try this (and pecans are by far my favorite nut). Thanks, Kate!!

  4. says

    That looks beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever made pecan butter! I don’t know why not, because it sounds amazing and I’m a huge fan of any and all nut butters. Can’t wait to give it a try :)

  5. says

    I’m a huge fan of different nut butters and this looks like no exception! Pecans are so beautifully soft and sweet I can imagine it tastes incredible on that banana cake. Yum!

  6. says

    Oh my goodness! I am a nut butter lover, but I’ve never thought to try pecan butter! This looks and sounds phenomenal! Will try to make asap! Thanks, Kate!

  7. says

    Also, would you be able to post the recipe for the kale, mushroom and avocado frittata? It looks so scrumptious!!
    P.S. I adore your blog. Your posts are wonderfully written, and the photography is beautiful!

  8. says

    I’m so surprised that it’s just the nuts you need and it gets this creamy. I actually have a reaaaaally big bag of pecans that I got at Costco, which I’ve been worrying might go bad. This would be a perfect solution!

    • says

      Ta da! It is the perfect solution. If you’re patient and scrape down the sides often, the pecan butter gets silky smooth. I was surprised, too.

  9. says

    This pecan butter looks delicious! I love how creamy and smooth it looks. Once I make it, it’ll definitely be a new morning ritual! This is exactly what our food lovers love to see on our community page! We’d love if you’d check it out and contribute! Cheers!

  10. says

    Hi Kate – I’m a new reader, and just had to drop in and tell you how gorgeous your photos are! I don’t know that I’ve ever looked into my food processor and thought “I need to take a photo of this,” but yours looks incredible :-)

    I’ve made pecan butter before, and I like to describe the taste as Christmas in my mouth – it always reminds me of pecan pie and Christmas!

    • says

      Thank you, Jennie! I was a photographer before a cook, but I am always trying to improve my food photos. Glad to hear that you’re following along!

  11. says

    Sounds like the perfect vacation. Ooo I’ll have to make this next! I’ve tossed a few pecans in with a batch of almond butter, but I’ve never made just simple ol’ pecan butter. I can’t believe how silky smooth it looks, too.

    • says

      Hi Harvey, the pictures above do show the general consistency, but it is not soupy in real life. Pecan butter is more spreadable than peanut or almond butter, but definitely not drippy. It’s just ridiculously smooth!

  12. says

    I made a batch of pecan butter today following your recipe and it tastes heavenly! I kept eating spoonfuls out of the jar all afternoon. And I just LOVE how drippy it is. Can’t wait to try it on oatmeal, toast, apple slices, and anything else I can think of!

    • says

      Isn’t it the greatest?! I think my favorite is banana bread with pecan butter. My mom recently realized that she is sensitive to peanut butter so I plan to make her some pecan butter for Mother’s Day!

    • says

      Hey Cat, I don’t know for certain but it should last about as long as whole pecans or other natural nut butters would. I think it would keep for a few months or more.

  13. Alida Lee says

    HELP! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I tried to make this twice, and both times I ended up with a very lumpy consistency and the oil was totally separated. What did I DOOO?!!?!?

    • says

      Uh oh, I’m so sorry to hear you’re having trouble! I have made pecan butter using the method described in my post about 5 times and that has never happened to me. I’m using high quality local and organic pecans, are you sure yours are still good? Could it have to do with your food processor? I’m really surprised to hear that the oil separated because the oil never separated in my batches, even after sitting in a jar for a couple of weeks. I’m baffled, truly! I’m sorry!

      • Alida Lee says

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! These pecans were from my husband’s aunt’s tree, but they were a Christmas gift and I had frozen them. Maybe that has something to do with it? I will try again with fresh pecans and report back!

  14. Alida Lee says

    After doing so experimenting I figured out that my pecans (which had previously been frozen) have a threshold where they go from crumbly to oily, so the next batch I caught them before they got oily. I then hand mixed in 2 tbs of coconut oil and a little honey until it was nice and creamy. It worked! The stuff is delicious!

    I’m so happy because my daughter is allergic to peanuts and therefor I can’t buy pecans from the store (they all have “may contain traces of peanuts” warnings.) I can’t stand store bought nut butters, so this is a life saver!

    • says

      I’m so glad you figured it out, Alida! Somewhat ironically, I just posted a coconut butter recipe today. If your daughter likes coconut, you might give that a try!

  15. says

    We have still a lot of pecan nuts from our tree, so I gave it a try. I don’t have a food processor- only a hand held blender- so maybe that’s why it did not turn out creamy… but it is so delicious! Just love it. I added a spoon full of date honey for a version that is a bit sweet.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Julie says

    Just made this with pecans from my backyard and it was DELICIOUS. I did not have any cinnamon so I added a dash of vanilla extract. Thanks for posting this simple recipe, it gives me a way more practical use of the pecans falling in my backyard rather than just pecan pie!

    • says

      You’re welcome, Julie! I’m so glad you love the pecan butter as much as I do. I’m just as obsessed with it this year as I was last year. I ran out of my jar this morning (it’s so good in oatmeal) so I’ll have to make more pronto. I wish I had access to a pecan tree. Fresh pecans are incredible.

  17. Brittany says

    After hearing how much my parents loved some pecan butter they received, I decided to make my own version for them as a present. Your recipe turned out amazing! (I made a preliminary batch to ensure later success). My friends are still surprised that it came out so well with no extra (canola) oil. I have decided to make your banana nut bread in addition to the butter for a Christmas morning treat for my family. My only question is how long do you think the flavor will be optimal when stored in the refrigerator? Not that it has a chance of surviving very long!

    • says

      So glad you’re enjoying the pecan butter, Brittany! I haven’t noticed the flavor diminishing at all over time, but I’m always polishing off my batches in under a month. I wouldn’t worry too much about it!

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that, Owen. Did you try your pecans before you blended them up? The only explanation I can think of is that your nuts went bad/randcid before you blended them.

  18. Ale says

    It doesn’t matter how long I stand in front of the processor and scrape the sides, mine always has a very grainy texture, not really spreadable… :(
    I still love the flavor an make it anyway, but would love to fun out what I’m doing wrong…

    • says

      Hi Ale, I’m sorry your pecan butter isn’t turning out well. I wonder if it’s due to a difference in our pecans or food processors? If it ever seems like the oil is separating from the nuts, stop and let the mixture cool down, then try blending it together again. I’m sorry, I wish I knew the answer for you.

  19. Greta says

    I was pleasantly surprised to find that the farm we just purchased has two full-grown pecan trees that bear an ungodly amount of nuts. Yummm. I will be trying this recipe out VERY shortly.

  20. says

    lovely post and pictures! was just thinking of trying to make my own nut butter and you’ve convinced me that I should try it. gonna make an attempt soon :)

  21. says

    Wonderful will definitely try this out, do you think this could be added to ‘homemade’ butter pecan ice-cream rather than the ‘actual nuts’ as well? Thanks for the great idea.

  22. Amanda Gifford says

    So yummy!!! I stumbled across this wanting to make my own nut butter for a mini-muffin recipe. The nut butter was the primary ingredient in the recipe and this completely made them delicious! I saved a few of my toasted pecans and finely chopped them up on top. Holy wow. Thanks for experimenting and sharing…

  23. Cathrina says

    I tried this today and it worked wonderfully, but my only fear is that it may have become toxic. I continued to pulse the processor even though the sides of the container began to warm up because of the friction caused by the high speed blades. After my pecan butter was finished, it was warm and smelled amazing except it was also mixed with the smell of burning plastic. Should I still eat it?

    It tastes good, but it has this weird toxic flavor. Is it because I may have mixed some of the pecan shells in. Is that weird flavour normal?

    • says

      Cathrina, I’m so sorry I didn’t answer sooner. I would not recommend eating anything that smells or tastes toxic. I’m concerned that your processor’s plastic container might contain BPA, which is not a chemical that you want in your food. If you want to try making it again, definitely stop blending as soon as the container starts warming up, and wait until it cools down to try again. The best solution would be to buy a higher quality food processor or blender with BPA-free bowls.

  24. Karin says

    Just made my first batch! YUM! I made enough for one mason jar. Now I’m enjoying scraping the bowl with the leftover warm pecan nut butter with crisp slices of apple. Oh my.. wherever heaven is, surely this deliciousness is there.

  25. Michael says

    bummer. It started off SO good. Then, I added too much salt, THEN I tried to dilute it with more pecans and over-proceessed it. Make sure you don’t overprocess- it’ll ruin the consistency. Before I added too much salt it was REALLY GOOD. Of course adding a tablespoon of local honey made it great too.

    I’ll try it again – now I know :)

    • says

      Hey Michael, I’m sorry your pecan butter went south! Sometimes nut butter can be finicky like that. Hope your next attempt turns out just right.

    • says

      Good question. Yes, there are 8 fluid ounces in a cup. Pecans aren’t fluid. If you’re measuring them in measuring cups, you’ll actually need 2 cups to get to 8 ounces. Eight ounces is 1/2 pound, if that helps…

  26. Lindsey says

    My dad has pecan trees, and he always gives me tons of pecans. I found your recipe about three days ago, and made some for my dad. Well, he bought a new processor for me as an early Christmas gift and keeps bringing more and more pecans over. I’m making it as Christmas gifts in little jars. My 2 year old loves it, my husband loves it, my dad loves it and I’m crazy about it! This is the best of all the nut butters! Thank you for another great recipe!!!

  27. Karen says

    Just made this for the second time. Wonderful. My husband just brought me 220 pounds of pecans from our place in GA (I’m in CT), so I’ve got a lot of shelling to do, but this will be a great way to use them! We didn’t have a great year so our nuts could be a little sweeter, but no problem. I added a touch of wildflower honey and it was perfect. I’m thinking of this with pear jelly from the farm that I made this fall … how good can it get???

  28. Lora says

    I made it! I’ve tried many times to make nut butters in the past and thought I failed again with the pecans, but your comment that it took up to 15 minutes kept me going. It worked and I now have some delicious pecan butter with no other ingredients. Thank you!

  29. says

    I have just made and sampled a batch of pecan butter. I have been hoarding the pecans in my freezer that my family bring from the U.S. when they visit me here in the U.K.

    I only thought of pecan nut butter the other day and absolutely love it. Sadly I think my pecans are a little tired so it means that I’m not getting the full wow flavour you talk about with the fresh nuts. I’ve never had the opportunity to try really fresh pecans, but I do have a lovely hazel tree that yields well, so long as I beat the squirels to the nuts, so I shall definitely be putting hazelnut butter a try. I already make Almond butter but Pecan is my number 1 so far! And I love the little bit of cinnamon you suggested.

    Thank you for the tips! It also really helped reading the comments and learning by everyone else’s mistakes. Just a pity the others didn’t get the hoped for results.

    • says

      Thank you, Esther! I’m glad you enjoyed your pecan butter! I tried making hazelnut butter once and I over-processed it. The oil separated from the “meat” and it wasn’t so good. Be careful with that one!

  30. says

    PS Not sure what just happened but I added 5 stars and managed to change without realising. Oops! But this is definitely a 5 star recipe.

  31. says

    So I made pecan butter, just randomly with espresso powder too :) and maple syrup. But I think I am reactive to pecans! It didn’t sit well with me. Do you have any recipes using it, like cookies where I can replace the butter with it? :)

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