What’s the meaning of life? How do I become happy? How do I find love?
We’ve been asking big questions like these for hundreds or even thousands of years. And while these are no doubt essential life questions, I personally believe food-related questions are far more important.
But, I think the biggest question of all is: Do you like chunky or creamy peanut butter better? Friendships can be canceled and even families can be torn apart over this simple question! Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating, but people usually feel pretty strongly one way or another regarding their go-to type of peanut butter.
However, I think there are two things that both sides can agree on.
First – peanut butter is awesome. So awesome in fact that it has its own national day! Not only is it super tasty, but healthy too! It’s a good source of protein as well as important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
The second thing is that while it’s healthy and super tasty, sometimes peanut butter is just too hard and doesn’t spread well. Nothing is more annoying than trying to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an afternoon snack only to rip the bread to pieces when trying to spread the peanut butter.
One way to avoid this, whether it’s creamy or chunky peanut butter, is to liquify it!
Today I’ll discuss the basics of how to liquify peanut butter. I’ll look at the reasons to do it and the different ways you can accomplish it. Hopefully, I’ll help you find the best fit for you.
Reasons to Liquify or Melt Peanut Butter
As I briefly mentioned, trying to spread rock-hard peanut butter on a soft piece of bread or toast can be devastating to both the bread and your morale.
So, softening it up to easily spread is one big reason to do it. But some other reasons to liquify or melt peanut butter are:
- To be able to pour it over ice cream (yum!)
- If you want to mix it into something else (this can include a recipe that you are cooking or baking like satay or peanut butter cookies or just a simple addition to something like breakfast cereal or granola)
- To dip stuff in it (pretzels, celery, apples, cookies, you name it!).
By liquifying peanut butter you make it much easier to work with. As you can see it also opens up a variety of uses both in cooking or as a topping, spread, or dip.
How to Melt Peanut Butter on a Stove
The first way you can melt or liquify peanut butter is on the stove. This way may sound like it can be a bit of work but it’s certainly worth it and you only need a pan, spoon, and heat (oh and the peanut butter of course!)
Here’s how you do it:
- Put the saucepan or even a regular non-stick pan on the stove and turn it to low heat.
- Once the saucepan or pan is warm after a couple of moments or minutes add the amount of peanut butter that you desire.
- Spread the peanut butter around until it starts to soften/melt.
- Stop spreading it and wait and watch it as it softens until you see the oil begin to separate. Mix again after you see this happen.
- Repeat until it reaches the desired consistency.
How to Melt Peanut Butter in the Microwave
This is definitely the easiest and most hassle-free method of melting peanut butter.
So if you are in a pinch for time, don’t want to clean extra dishes, or don’t have a stove then this is certainly the method for you.
Here’s how you do it:
- Put the amount of peanut butter you want to melt into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Make sure to put the microwave on high power.
- Set the timer between 30 seconds and 1 minute and start it.
- After 30 seconds, check to see if it has reached the consistency you are looking for. If it hasn’t, continue to microwave it and keep checking it every 15-30 seconds until you are happy with the texture.
- Remove it from the microwave and then stir the melted mixture until it’s smooth.
How to Liquify Peanut Butter in a Blender
This isn’t exactly a common choice to liquify peanut butter as the clean-up can be a potential nightmare. If you’re an advocate for crunchy style peanut butter then it could be soul-breaking to use this method.
However, if you need to liquify peanut butter and don’t want to warm it then this is definitely the best method.
That’s because you don’t need to cool it down if you are going to be using it something like a salad dressing, or something else that you want to eat cold.
Here’s how to do it:
- Place the desired amount of peanut butter in a blender (or food processor) and make sure that it’s all the way down in the bottom near the blades.
- Add a tiny bit of water to help with the liquifying process. Don’t add too much water though. The exact amount that you need depends on how much peanut butter you are using. But, a good place to start is using 1 tablespoon of water for each tablespoon of peanut butter. You can add little by little to help achieve the consistency you want.
- Pro-tip: for creamier peanut butter you can add milk, and if it’s for a savory recipe you can add a salty liquid like soy sauce or rice vinegar.
- Pulse the combination of peanut butter and your liquid of choice until it reaches the desired consistency. Check every 5 to 10 seconds or so until it’s done.
How to Melt Peanut Butter by Ladling
Lastly, and most likely the least known of the methods of melting peanut butter is by ladling.
While this makes perhaps the creamiest version of all of the methods, it can have the biggest impact on the flavor of the peanut butter.
So, take a look at how this method works and maybe it’s the one for you!
- Place the desired amount of peanut butter in a large heat-resistant bowl that will allow for easy mixing and that won’t be ruined with high heat.
- Separately, in a saucepan or a non-stick pan, warm a liquid of your choice (milk, soy sauce, water, cream, etc. depending on the recipe, of course).
- Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the liquid to avoid evaporation.
- After it’s boiling it’s ready to add to the mixture. Ladle a small amount of the liquid into the peanut butter and begin to stir and mix it into the peanut butter using a wire beater and adding more and more liquid until the desired consistency is reached.
For this and for all of the previous methods, it’s important to note that you should not “overdo it”.
This means that you should avoid making it too melted, or keep it on the heat for too long as it can burn the peanut butter and have a negative impact on its flavor.
Does Melted Peanut Butter Harden?
The answer is yes and no, but mostly yes.
Whether or not and to what extent it hardens depends on the method that you used to soften it.
If you melted the peanut butter just by heat without adding additional liquid (on the stove or in the microwave) then if it’s left at room temperature it will return to its thick state almost exactly as before.
However, if you use either of the last two methods (blender or by ladling) then it will not be so close to as it was before because of the additional liquids.
But if it’s the main ingredient in something like satay sauce, there are many other ingredients including liquids and oils that will prevent it from hardening as it was before.
So, generally, it will try to return to its thicker state so that’s why it’s best to melt or liquify the peanut butter immediately before you intend to use it.
How to Make Peanut Butter Thinner
There are many different ways to make peanut butter thinner. The ways previously described can make peanut butter thinner but they require other tools other than just peanut butter.
If you want to make peanut butter thinner you can simply mix peanut butter with some other things.
Various oils tend to work the best since peanut butter is already inherently very oily. You should choose the oil carefully as it can have an impact on its taste, but you can’t go wrong by using peanut oil. However, my personal favorite oil to use is coconut oil.
I recommend experimenting until you find the one that works best for you!