Instant Pot Boiled Peanuts
Boiled peanuts are a Southern snack mostly found at road side stands and local convenient stores. If you’re not from the South, it may sound crazy to boil a “nut” you’re used to eating roasted at a base ball park or at a roadhouse steak restaurant. After you realize peanuts are actually a legume like a chickpea, it makes more sense to boil them, but I’ll admit when I first moved to Alabama and saw the sign “Boiled Peanuts”, I was not impressed.
I’m a newbie to boiled peanuts and I’ll be honest, the first time I saw a boiled peanut shack (seriously a shack) I turned my nose up and said out loud, “Gross!” It was alongside the road in Mississippi with a hand-written sign that simply stated Boiled Peanuts.
I was on my way from Arkansas to Birmingham, Alabama to interview for the test kitchen position at Oxmoor House (Southern Living cookbook publisher at the time). The four lane 278 highway from Memphis to Birmingham was not yet finished so I traveled the two lane 78 highway (which I loved getting to drive the the quaint towns-unless I was in a hurry). I was working as a quality control manager in a large hospital as my first job right out of college and food safety was my job! The sight of an outdoor kettle cooking goobers to a mushy pulp sounded unappealing to me.
Boiled Peanuts couldn’t be easier or quicker to make than in an Instant Pot pressure cooker. Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern delicacies that you just know takes hours to cook on the stovetop, so many people avoid making them altogether and only enjoy them if they are lucky enough to find a roadside hut selling them. The Instant Pot solves that problem and cooks them in 40 minutes.
Many, many years later, I decided to make a batch in my Instant Pot just to see what they were like since I’d seen plenty of boiled peanut pictures on Pinterest and they didn’t look mushy. I mean, chickpeas are one of my absolute favorite things to eat…yes, right out of the can… so maybe, just maybe these legume cousins might be similar.
If you are already a boiled peanut fan, you are probably laughing at me right now. But, y’all, I loved them! They were addictive and except for the messy juice (which I know many people think that’s part of the experience), I would have eaten the whole plate I fixed myself.
Where and when to buy raw peanuts
Now, truth be told, I made these back in November when Publix had raw peanuts on sale BOGO (buy one get one). You can still buy raw ones in the produce section. Don’t mistake them for green peanuts or roasted peanuts. Green ones are fresh peanuts and are highly perishable so they probably won’t be available now. Raw peanuts are air dried but not cooked or roasted.
If you find a sale on raw peanuts, stock up and freeze them in the shell so you can have boiled peanuts in the Spring and Summer. Still Tasty, the ultimate shelf life guide, says they will keep in the freezer indefinitely.
You can make them for the big game this weekend. Actually, you will HAVE to make them yourself because I doubt there are any roadside shacks open in the Winter. It’s cold here, even for Alabama weather.
How to cook Boiled Peanuts in the Instant Pot
I will give you the breakdown of how to make boiled peanuts in a 6 quart Instant Pot. To make them on the stovetop, you basically place them in a large pot with 1/4 cup salt, add water to cover 2 inches, then bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, for 3 to 4 hours, depending on how soft you want them.
Add 1 pound raw peanuts in the shell in the pot inside the Instant Pot. No need to use a trivet. If you grow them yourself or buy them at a farmers market with dirt on them, make sure you have washed them thoroughly, first.
Add 1/4 cup salt or sea salt and 6 cups of water to the Instant Pot, stirring to distribute the salt. I researched plenty of boiled peanut recipes and several swore by sea salt but you know me, I like to use what I have on hand so I used table salt and they were perfect!
Add a tablespoon of Tony Cachere’s Creole seasoning if you want a little kick in your boiled peanuts. Add another tablespoon if you prefer them hot ‘n spicy. Tip: The peanuts inside absorb more of the flavor if they sit in the water overnight.
Cook raw peanuts 40 minutes on high pressure for peanuts that are similar texture of a chickpea. If you like them “slurpy-style” where they are soft and mushy and “slurp” them right out of the shell-juice ‘n all, add another 10 to 15 minutes.
Be sure to push the valve over to sealing and not venting to cook them. It took 17 minutes to come up to pressure and start cooking. After 40 minutes of cooking time, let it naturally release pressure (NRP). Mine took 25 minutes to release the pressure naturally.
Let them cool enough so you don’t burn your tongue and enjoy them hot or at room temperature. The quality control manager (and former caterer) comes out in me when it comes to storing boiled peanuts. As with any food stored in the danger zone (between 40 degrees and 140 degrees), food borne illnesses can occur.
When stored in the refrigerator, boiled peanuts can keep up to 10 days. Here’s a handy guide from Do You Cook With Me that also tells you how to freeze boiled peanuts.
Have you ever noticed the inside of a peanut has something that looks like a fish? I remember as a child cracking open peanuts my dad would grow and oh-so-carefully biting into the peanut so as not to disturb the fish inside. I would eat the fish first, then eat the rest of the peanut. I never knew why there was a fish inside peanuts, so I did a little research and, of course, it’s not a fish at all. It sure was a fun tradition, though. The fish-shaped nub inside a peanut is just part of the legume or “seed”. You can read more about it here from Huff Post.
If you love peanuts and peanut butter, you may also like these recipes in my recipe box: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cheesecake and Microwave Peanut Brittle. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cheesecake is also made in the Instant Pot. Try them and leave a comment to let me know how you like them.
Instant Pot Boiled Peanuts couldn't be easier or quicker. Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern delicacies that you just know takes hours to cook so many people avoid making them and only enjoy them if they are lucky enough to find a roadside hut selling them. The Instant Pot solves that problem and cooks them in about 40 minutes.
- 1 pound dried, raw peanuts (not green or roasted)
- 1/4 cup salt or sea salt
- 6 cups cold water
Stir together the peanuts, salt, and water in a 6 quart Instant Pot. No need for the trivet. Secure the lid on the pot.
Close the pressure release valve, making sure it is on sealing, not releasing. Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK and set the pot at HIGH pressure for 40 minutes. This will take about 17 minutes to come up to full pressure and the timer begins.
At the end of cooking time and it beeps, allow the pressure to release naturally, undisturbed (NPR). This will take about 25 minutes.
Make sure the pressure release valve has dropped, then remove the lid carefully. The liquid inside the shells will be HOT so be careful if you eat the peanuts immediately. I like to let them cool enough that they are still warm but not piping hot.
Variation: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning for a bite of heat or a blast of heat.