Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts
This image courtesy of Gentl & Hyers

If you are pressed for time, the soaking step is not essential, but it reduces the cooking time by a couple of hours and helps ensure that the peanuts cook more thoroughly and uniformly. The salt in the soaking liquid keeps yeasts and molds from developing overnight.

Makes4 pounds; enough snacking for 12 people

Preparation Time8 hr

Preparation Time - Text8 hours to soak

Cooking Time5 min

Cooking Time - Text480



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCocktail Party, Game Day

Recipe CourseSnack

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and TextureNutty, Salty, Savory


  • 1½ cups salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 gallons water, plus more as needed
  • 2 pounds raw peanuts in the shell (see Notes)


  1. In a 3-gallon stockpot, dissolve ½ cup of the salt in 2 gallons of water and add the peanuts (the peanuts will float, but you can keep most of them submerged by using a dinner plate as a cap). Allow the peanuts to soak for 8 hours or overnight (see note below).

  2. Discard the soaking water and fill the pot with 2 gallons of fresh water and the remaining 1 cup salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook at a low boil, covered, for 5 to 8 hours. Keep the water in the pot at roughly the same level with hourly additions of 2 cups water until the peanuts are soft (South Carolina-style peanuts are very soft, but some cooks prefer them al dente).

  3. When the peanuts have boiled for 3 hours, sample them to check for texture and saltiness. Allow a peanut to cool, then crack open the shell to get at the kernels inside. If you find them too salty, remove some brine with a ladle or small pot and replace it with an equal amount of fresh water. If the peanuts are not salty enough, add salt in ¼ cup increments, turn off the heat, and let them soak for an hour to absorb the salt. If the peanuts are too crunchy for your taste, boil on. It can take as long as 12 hours if you prefer them mushroom-soft. Sample them every hour.

  4. When the peanuts are cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and cool for 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, drain and eat immediately or store (in the shell) in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Boiled peanuts will keep for 7 days in the refrigerator, several months in the freezer.

Raw Peanuts

Raw peanuts are unroasted peanuts, most raw peanuts are sun-dried in the shell to remove enough moisture to make them shelf—stable. But midsummer is high peanut season, and in markets throughout the Southeast you may be lucky enough to find “green” peanuts, which are raw peanuts freshly plucked from the ground. Their high moisture content gives them a hint more fresh-pea flavor (and cuts the cooking time in half), but it also makes them extremely perishable. If you do find them, keep them refrigerated and boil them as soon as possible.


Free recipes, giveaways, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password