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When you buy a jar of natural peanut butter, it typically has a layer of oil on top, which has separated:

enter image description here

Mixing it can be messy and time consuming.

Aside from slowly and patiently mixing it with a knife, are there any tips and tricks to make this job faster, and without spilling?

25 Answers 25

24

I've done this with almond butter, and I imagine it would work for peanut butter as well. The secret is to buy it a month or so before you need it, and then store it upside down for a week, so the oil traverses all the way through the jar and its contents, then turn it right way up for another week, and repeat again in each direction. Each trip through the jar mixes the oil with the solids a little more, and it's fairly homogeneous after four turns.

  • 3
    I was going to post something like this, except it's not always necessary to even turn more than once. I just leave them upside down and don't have to think about it. You'll end up with extra oil on the bottom, which is only a problem if the consistency is too thick without the extra oil getting integrated. – Doug Kavendek Mar 10 '15 at 2:22
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    True, it works with less turning around, but doing it a few times really makes sure the oil is evenly distributed. Four may be overkill/ritual - there may be some brand dependency. – James McLeod Mar 10 '15 at 2:58
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    This is the sort of genius answer I was hoping for. :) – Flimzy Mar 10 '15 at 16:54
17

Yes, this was always a problem for me. Stirring doesn't work because the oil spills out and its very hard to stir the bottom. The trick is to cut the peanut butter instead of stirring it. I can adequately mix a jar of peanut butter in less than 30 seconds without much effort and no mess this way.

Using a butter knife, cut # shapes in the peanut butter over and over again. The idea is that gravity will naturally take the oil down if you just give it a little room. As you cut and stab at the solid chunks of peanut butter, the oil naturally mixes. At the very end you can do a couple quick stirring motions, but by now the oil and peanut butter should be mostly mixed.

  • This is how I always mix peanut butter. I stab a butter knife straight down to the bottom, and rock it back and forth against the flat of the blade. Three or four (or five) stabs in, most of the oil is off the surface and in the cuts, leaving only a sheen on top. Then, I can scrape up peanut butter from the surface, or mix just the top layer, and use that - whether because I'm in a hurry and don't need the whole jar-full at once, or else because there isn't room to really mix it in the jar until some of it's gone (oil will slosh against the sides fairly sloppily). – Megha Dec 8 '16 at 1:32
  • This was the only thing that worked for me when I opened a new jar on a camping trip without many of the tools suggested in other answers, and with a knife too flimsy to stir it – Chris H Jun 11 '18 at 18:22
  • This is the way I do it, too, but... 30 seconds? I just opened a new can myself. Stuck in a butter knife and cut full-depth slices. In 30 seconds, I was only able to cut 4 slices through the very hard peanut butter. After about 2 minutes, I had lots of chunks of peanut butter sitting in oil - it then took another 3 minutes of stirring to actually combine everything. 30 seconds might be enough if you have freshly made peanut butter that has only just started to separate, but otherwise this is a slow process. – Josh Oct 26 '18 at 0:43
10

My husband came up with the best solution ever for this. He drilled a hole in the lid of an empty jar them put 1 mixer blade from the hand mixer through the hole and voila great mixed peanut or almond butter. We now keep an extra lid with the other jars of peanut butter for next time.

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    Plus 1 for crediting your husband. Most of us try hard. – Paulb Mar 15 '16 at 19:36
8

I found my own solution. Grab a single spiral dough hook from a hand mixer and chuck it into a power drill (corded or cordless).

Open the jar and, holding it securely, turn it slowly at first so that the spiral pushes the contents downward. Once the oil is incorporating, speed up the drill and work down into the center and all around the edges (take it easy if it's a glass jar so you don't break it) to get an even mix.

Once you're done, slow down again and slowly raise the dough hook out, leaving only a thin layer on it to scrape (or lick) off.

  • +1 for creativity and use of power tool in the kitchen, though my dough hook is larger than most peanut butter jars. – moscafj Mar 12 '16 at 2:05
  • Good idea. Someone should manufacture a drill bit specifically for stirring food. It could look like one of those paint bucket stirring bits at the hardware store. – Paulb Mar 12 '16 at 17:35
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    @Paulb : I've seen drill bits for planting bulbs that might work. They're more spiral, and might not mix as well, but they're only spiral at the bottom few inches, so might not bring as much up with them. (Assuming they fit in the jar). And that you can clean them well between uses. – Joe Mar 13 '16 at 19:26
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Peanut butter mixers do a good job. The downside is that they are specific to the jar size. Witmer's makes a range of mixers based around the jar size/opening. You take off the lid, screw on the mixer and crank away until the peanut butter is smooth.

Alternatively, you can use a rubber spatula to empty out the peanut butter into a bowl and user hand mixer (or stand mixer) to incorporate the oil back in.

I would think a food processor (using the blade attachment) would work as well since you can actually make nut butters from scratch that way.

  • As annoying as it is to empty the jar (dirtying a bowl and spatula in the process, instead of just a butter knife which I was going to spread the peanut butter anyway), this is the only fast way I've ever found. I love the idea of a peanut butter mixer, though. – Erica Mar 9 '15 at 19:16
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I've used the Witmer peanut butter mixers that djmadscribbler mentions. In my experience, they work OK up to a point but since the agitator is a rigid piece of metal that turns, it can't reach all the peanut butter in the jar and ultimately won't do as thorough a job mixing the peanut butter as you can manually with a butter knife. You'll end up with some peanut butter that is well-mixed and some that isn't mixed at all (around the sides and bottom corners of the jar). I don't use mine anymore.

You may also want to try finding a natural foods store or Whole Foods, they usually have grinders on site so you can grind your own fresh peanut butter. If you store that in the fridge (or if you use it quickly), oil separation isn't a problem.

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    I would assume that you could use the middle of the jar first, and then you'll have sufficient space to stir with a knife without slopping it all over the place. – Joe Mar 11 '15 at 1:40
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If you use one brand, take an empty jar and make a small hole in the lid. This will allow the lid to slide down a wooden spoon or similar object then screw the lid/spoon back onto the jar and mix.

3

I pour off most of the oil into a container to be incorporated in later, and possibly not add all back in; it sometimes gets too runny with it all. (I use the extra oil to cook with later.) Now with the oil poured off, I have room to stir with a fork, and add the oil little at a time. I poke the fork to the bottom of the jar, and push the fork top around the edge of the jar in a circle. Add a bit more oil. I adjust the fork to another position when it seems to be mixed in that spot. This seems to be the best way for me. Faster than most other things I have tried. In the past I have taken 2 jars, poured off the oil, emptied the peanut butter into a bowl and used a pastry blender to cut them & add oil back til it seemed enough. The reason I do 2 is because I hate to dirty bowl, pastry blender, spatula, etc. for just one. Peanut butter keeps very well. I will do my almond butter or other types I may have in the same bowl after I finish the peanut butter.

  • An interesting approach. – Flimzy Apr 7 '16 at 5:50
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It's a bit less messy to stir if most of the inner seal is left on and stirred through a center hole. It is also wise to store unopened jars lid down; this minimizes the amount of oil which collects just under the lid. enter image description here

3

Am no expert, but this worked for me. Truth be told, I'm kind of proud of myself, as kitchen duty is not my strength. It was easy and easy clean-up as well. You will need three things: 1) a stainless ice cream scooper (the old-fashioned spring-loaded release kind) 2) a stainless saucepan or stainless or glass bowl, and 3) a stainless steel hand blender (the kind used to mix soups while still in the pot (cuisinart). I used the ice cream scooper to empty the contents of the cashew nut butter into the stainless saucepan. Then, I mixed it, using the hand soup blender (as if I were blending a soup). Next, I again used the ice cream scooper to return the (now mixed) cashew butter to the jar. I mention stainless and glass, as they are so easy to clean. But, am guessing plastic bowls will do as well. GOOD LUCK!

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    If you're using a saucepan, you can maybe make cleaning up even easier by making hot chocolate or something afterwards, where the peanut or other nut butter left over will be a benefit. Most of the residue can be lifted off the saucepan, or carefully washed off the blender and scooper, and used in the hot chocolate. Mmm, peanut butter hot chocolate. – Megha Mar 25 '17 at 1:26
  • depending on your stick blender, you can just blend it in the jar! mine fits all but the teeny tiny jars, and there's usually enough free space at the top of the jar that nothing overflows. – kitukwfyer Dec 3 '17 at 13:44
3
  • Microwave jar (without metal lid!) on level 3 or 4 a minute or so, repeat if needed throughout the mixing.
  • Stir with a narrow bread knife - reaches easily to bottom of jar, is thin and flexible, and the bladed side is great for breaking up large lumps at the bottom.
  • I would only recommend this for a glass jar, though! – Flimzy Mar 29 '17 at 16:33
2

Mixers are very effective, however when you add up the time end effort it takes to clean a mixer bowl and attachment it's usually is the same as if you just mixed it up with a knife. I haven't found a better way personally.

2

Buy one or two jars ahead depending on how much you eat. As stated earlier leave stored upside down. Once a week shake the jar(s) vigorously still upside down. Even if you forget the harder blob will be at the lid and overall easier to deal with.

2

Someone mentioned microwaving it or running it under hot water. Living in the Phoenix area, I have discovered a really easy way (but it only works well in places where it's hot.) Just buy it one day, leave it in your car all day (and all night if hot enough.) When you go to take it out, it will be easy peasy to stir it.

1

I store the nut butter upside down. When all the oil is on the upturned bottom, shaking to make it rise, I use ONE beater attached to my hand mixer. I then store it in the fridge. This has worked well for me. I may try the pastry brush attachment for my mixer for the larger sized jars.

1

I've been using a BBQ fork with twisting/turning motion instead of a mixer. And it's an easy cleanup to boot. I just tried pre-heating the jar in the microwave and that idea is a slam-dunk! It made the mixing job SO much easier. Just beware - if you have a jar that's sealed with some sort of foil you have to get every bit of it off the rim of the jar or it will catch fire in the microwave! Adam's PB is great and does not have the foil seal.

IMO all the recommendations that talk about emptying the jar into a bowl end up with too big of a cleanup job.

Kitchen Fork

0

I use one beater and a hand mixer. Taller jar leaves a bit un mixed on the bottome, perfect for midnight snack & no drips.

0

Empty the peanut butter jar into a 4 cup measuring cup or bowl. Mix with whatever is appropriate - spoon works well - until oil is combined, then spoon back into the original container, use a rubber scrapper to get the last bit (clean with fingers and take a taste now and then). Then put it in the fridge to keep it together.

0

remove lid, use egg beater. Takes 2 or 3 minutes. That is all.

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Slide it into a bowl and mix it with a hand mixer. Spoon it back in the jar and refrigerate. I’ve tried wrestling with the jar itself—way more time consuming. And I toss the bowl and the beaters into the dishwasher.

0

We have a lovely hand-held mixer with adjustable speed that came with a pair of spiral blades, it fits perfectly in a 16oz Crazy Richards jar. We first place the blades all the way in, then using the lowest speed we rotate the jar until done, then lift the mixer up slowly until the hook ends start to appear. Turn the mixer off before going any farther!

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Go to the hardware store and buy a new paint stirring rod for your variable speed electric drill. Most are 1/4" drive, and have 4 blades. At a slow speed work the paint stirring bit into the solid peanut butter. Increase the speed, and whip it to your heart's content. Wash and store your "peanut beater" with your other whisks.

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Turn the jar upside down (at room temperature) for about a day. Let gravity do the rest. The oil will try to start rising to the "top" again. Turn back over when it has self mixed and refrigerate to keep it in its newly reconstituted state.

  • This is a duplicate answer. – Flimzy Mar 12 '18 at 7:45
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Use a fork. Start by stabbing up and down.

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    That is already in another answer – Jan Doggen Mar 12 '18 at 7:25
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a strong variable-speed powerdrill equipped with a drywall mud-mixer

enter image description here

done in seconds

  • Does that fit in a normal-sized jar of peanut butter? – Erica Jan 16 '18 at 13:29
  • @Erica No it does not ;-) – Jan Doggen Jan 17 '18 at 9:02

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