Come To A Boil

Boiled peanuts aren’t glamorous.

They aren’t trendy or novel or Instagrammable. Stewed in murky brown liquid to a soft yet tender, toothsome texture, they’ll inevitably leave you with dirty hands, salt water dripping down to your elbows, piles of spent shells accumulating on the floor or table in front of you. It’s impossible to look elegant while eating boiled peanuts.

Honestly, that’s a large part of their appeal.

Peanuts have been a staple food of the south since the late 1800s.

Although they were brought to the United States by slave ships from West Africa, their true roots are found in South America. They were cheap, abundant, and well-suited to the loamy soils of Virginia in particular. Though initially viewed as food for the poor, slaves, and livestock, rationing brought about by the Civil War made peanuts an invaluable crop for people of all classes.

It’s unclear why or who started boiling the goobers, but southerners certainly weren’t the first. Boiled peanuts exist in many cultures, most notably in China, Taiwan, and of course Africa. For whatever reason, I discovered boiled peanuts for the first time while in Hawaii, sold in the deli section on little styrofoam trays, chilled and shrink-wrapped for grab-and-go convenience. They were often flavored with soy sauce and star anise, subtly savory and well-salted. I was hooked from the first bite.

Cracking into the supple shells of boiled peanuts, the experience is both familiar and wholly unique.

Reminiscent of edamame, but with a more satisfying crunch, they’re a curious combination of both wet and dry, with juices exploding from the center not unlike a soup dumpling. This treatment makes them more aligned with their true nature as legumes, rather than crisp, toasted nuts, highlighting their versatility by flipping the script. You could certainly enjoy them warm, or even hot, perhaps even in soup once shelled, but I still love mine chilled as a force of habit. Something about that extra time in the fridge seems to accentuate their rich flavor too, allowing the spices to meld into a more harmonious blend.

The beauty of boiled peanuts is manifold, outward aesthetics notwithstanding. Whole peanuts are still a mercifully cheap source of quality plant protein, with plenty of fiber and nutrients to boot. Seasoning possibilities are endless, so you’ll never get bored. The only drawback may be their long cooking time, but that’s nothing a little pressure can’t solve. By cooking boiled peanuts in the pressure cooker, you can slash a full day of simmering down to just over an hour, with zero active work involved.

Conventional recipes suggest that “green” peanuts are the only acceptable option, but in truth, any peanut still in its shell is fair game. If you can find them raw, so much the better, but I’ve had excellent results with roasted peanuts, too.

Don’t worry about making a mess when you dig in; that’s half the fun. All you need to enjoy this healthy, savory treat is a stack of napkins and a robust appetite.

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 Servings

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

Make boiled peanuts at home in a fraction of the time by putting your pressure cooker to work! Try one of three flavor variations to suit any cravings.

Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


Pressure Cooker Boiled Peanuts

  • 1 Pound Raw Peanuts in Shells
  • 1/4 Cup Salt
  • 8 Cups Water


  • 1 Tablespoon Sichuan Peppercorns
  • 3 Dried Bay leaves
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon


  • 2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper


  • 6 Star Anise
  • 4 Inches Fresh Ginger, Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Black Peppercorns


  1. Check your peanuts and remove any twigs, rocks, or any other non-peanut material. Give them quick rinse under cool water and place them in your pressure cooker. Add the salt and fresh water, along with your desired set of seasonings.

  2. Lock on lid and seal the pressure valve. Cook on high pressure for 70 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally. Drain and serve warm, or thoroughly chill to serve cold.

  3. Boiled peanuts will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


If you'd like to make these on the stove top, simmer the peanuts on low, covered, for 3 - 4 hours. To make them in a slow cooker, simmer them on the lowest setting for 10 - 12 hours.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4018mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 16g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

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