Boiled Peanuts (And how to choose a spouse)


Boiled peanuts have been popular in the south since at least the civil war when our troops used to carry them  as a large part of their rations. With salt being a natural preservative, the boiled peanuts could be carried and eaten for up to a week, providing a quick nutritional source on the go and helping to make up for the piteous lack of meat in the southern soldier’s diet.

The first time I ever had boiled peanuts was when I was a girl, not more then seven or eight. My family and I took the first of many trips to the Smokey Mountains with a set of grandparents, my mother’s father and stepmother whom we called Papa Reed and Cornetha. (I’ve told y’all I had thirteen grandparents when I was born, remember?). We were driving up these winding roads through the smokey mountains and Cornetha saw a roadside vender and wanted to stop. I was curious as to what would get her so excited and when she bought a cup of wet peanuts, my curiosity was piqued. They had steam coming from them and the most delicious smell that set my stomach to grumbling. Cornetha shared them with me and likely ended up sharing a lot more than she got herself after I had a taste of my first one!

Y’all know I just had to have them again, but how to get them? I can cook them myself, as I show here, but I still love getting to pull over at a stop sign and trade a few bills for a warm steaming cup. Problem solved: I just married a Georgian so we could go visit his family and I could get them then! (alright, I might have married him for a few other reasons, but lets try to stay on point here, shall we?).

I have always been jealous of Georgians. Not the country, but the state (although I am sure the country is lovely as well). Georgians have it made in a way that us North Alabamians can never have. You see, as soon as the slightest chill hits the air little tents, trucks, and roadside stands start setting up on street corners for one purpose – to sell boiled peanuts to fortunate passerbys. With over 45% of the country’s peanut crop grown there, its no wonder boiled peanuts are in such abundance, but the fact that I have not once seen them in my neck of the woods is a shame worth crying over!

For those of you who don’t want to marry a Georgian (or who may not have single Georgians readily available), here is how you can have this southern delicacy in the comfort of your own home – while still maintaining a relationship with your non-Georgian spouse.

You’ll need: Raw or green peanuts and salt. You can’t make boiled peanuts with roasted peanuts, they have to be raw, or green as they are sometimes called. I got a pound package. You can use a larger amount and just add a bit more salt to taste. If this is your first time with boiled peanuts, start with a cup and then taste it after a few hours, adding a few more tablespoons if you want a saltier peanut.

For the salt, just use plain old table salt. Southerners don’t get fancy with this stuff. Its part of our charm :).

Place peanuts in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the peanuts, although they will float to the top for now anyway. Add 1 cup of salt and stir.

Cover the pot with a lid and cook on about medium heat, until it comes to a good boil, then simmer it. These are going to need to cook for about three hours but can cook longer if you like. I cook mine most of the day. The texture you are going for is just slightly firmer than a cooked bean.

After they are done being cooked, if they are too salty for you (Personally, I don’t believe in such a thing as “too salty” when it comes to these!), simply add a few more cups of water to dilute the cooking water and cook for half an hour more or so. If they are not salty enough (You go, you!), add a bit more salt and give it a half hour as well to get good and incorporated. The amount of salt I am listing here is what I have found perfect to replicate the roadside peanuts I love so much.

Now how to eat a boiled peanut!

The way you eat a boiled peanut is EVERYTHING!!!

Place the entire, uncracked peanut shell in your mouth. Yes, I am serious. Don’t get all fretful about germs and such, my goodness you just boiled them for several hours. Now do like I said and pop that entire peanut in your mouth, With your mouth closed (unless you want to squirt your neighbor in the face with salty peanut juice), crack the shell open and drink the juice out of it. Then open it the rest of the way and take the shell out of your mouth, while eating the soft peanuts inside. After a few of these,  you’ll understand why the roadside vendors always give you a plastic bag or cup to hold your shells!

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Boiled Peanuts
  • 1 pound raw or green peanuts
  • 1 cup salt
  1. Cover peanuts with water, add salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about three hours, or more if you like. Place entire peanut in your mouth to eat and then crack open with your teath, drinking the juice and eating the peanut while discarding the shell.


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  1. Jivey says

    Ain’t it funny how some foods just say home. Boiled peanuts to me say North Carolina, home. They were one of my sons first solid foods when he was just a few months old (we did’t worry with things like allergies then). One of his first words was “bean” (bean meaning peanut). My father-in-law calls ’em boiled goobers. No rich man ever had a better meal than boiled peanuts and a cold coke. We sure are blessed in the south.

  2. Kathy says

    I use my crock pot all the time & they never mess up! I recently participated in a yard sale at Church and sold them for a $ bag–I made $20.00 easy and they cooked overnight on low…..I love being a Southern Lady!! <3

  3. Sheila Shapley says

    This is a copy of my status from Saturday on Facebook.

    Beautiful fall day that made me nostalgic. So I bought some Kraft Caramels for the candy dish in honor of Grandma Mattox, raw peanuts to boil and some apples. They didn’t have any Arkansas Blacks but I did ask the produce guy about apples. He didn’t know too much about the apples, I bet Mr. Hilton could have told me. ;-0.

    I am from South Georgia and always loved boiled peanuts. We always cooked them ourselves. Never bought from the side of the road til after I married and lived in SC.
    Now we live in the Nashville area but it seems boiled peanuts are not popular here. ;-( But I found some raw peanuts @ Kroger on Saturday so got my fix in.

    Grandma Mattox was my husband’s grandmother and Mr. Hilton was his dad,who was a produce manager at Kroger for 40 years. Both are now gone.

  4. Lana says

    Nothing makes my southern accent come out stronger than 1. being around my NC mountain relatives or 2. eating hot b’old p-nuts. Since those two things usually happen around the same time I’m really not sure which has the greater influence on my accent and grammar! Neither my dear husband nor our Georgia-born-and-raised children appreciate them so each fall I’m “stuck” eating the whole cup.

  5. Belinda says

    Y’all do have it good in the South! I’m displaced out here in Colorado and can’t get green peanuts anywhere. Finally found a bag of raw peanuts at Walmart, but I boiled them for 26 hours and they never get as soft as I like them. Sure miss grabbing a handful out of the bushel baskets at the farmer’s markets back home- or buying a little paperbagful from the roadside stand! Thank the Lord they at least have Krispy Kremes out here finally.

  6. Amy Dear says

    I went to college at Auburn University, and we could get boiled peanuts at the football stadium! Made this Georgia girl feel right at home. Nothing like boiled peanuts and a Coca-Cola!

  7. Carolyn says

    Christy, my hubs is an Iowa guy, but it didn’t take him long to develop a love affair with boiled peanuts! However, we’ve found that boiking them on the stove just is counter productive for us because we both start and continue testing the peanuts till we don’t really have that many left when we get done! So, we decided to go a different direction and put them in the crock pot the night before! They come out great the next morning!

    After visiting a little roadside stand in Townsend TN, it didn’t take us long to realize that the peanuts were just a little different cause they sorta had a bite to them. We asked the guy that cooked them in a black kettle what he had done different. He proudly told us he added Zatarfain’s Crab Boil to his water. Now he wouldn’t give us the proportions or anything, tho! WARNING!! Be very careful with this because the oils will dispel in the air and you may have to boil the peanuts outside! We obviously used too much and the oils in the air sure cleaned out our sinuses!! But oh ny gracious……are they ever good! Worth every minute!

  8. says

    I was raised on boiled peanuts and just love them!! I’ve been wanting a simple recipe on how to make them for a while now. While there are lots of recipes out there, they weren’t for a basic boiled peanut which I adore! So thank you for this recipe!!!

  9. Angela says

    I had boiled Peanuts on my way home from Panama City on Saturday. LOVE the way you described to eat them as that is exactly how I taught my daughter to eat them. I live in AL but am on the border of GA and my grandparent actually lease out all their farm land to a peanut farm in south GA. Boiled peanuts are a part of who I am. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Meg says


      I read with interest that you are from Alabama, but on the border of GA. I now live in WA State, but I’m originally from Columbia, AL so you have to be from somewhere near my hometown. I love boiled peanuts…just plain boiled peanuts like they had at all the peewee, jr high and high school football games. I can’t think of football season (or the National Peanut Festival/Fall) without thinking of boiled peanuts. I hope I can convince my relatives to ship me some green peanuts so I can make them myself. Last time I came home and was on my way to Panama City, FL with my sister Mari-Ane, I had to stop at a roadside stand on Hwy 231 and get me some of those boiled peanuts. The guy had such a thick country Southern accent that even I couldn’t understand him. My husband being from here in WA State doesn’t really care for boiled peanuts. That’s alright…more for me! I’ll gladly eat mine and his share 😛 BTW, when I was growing up there was no suck thing as Cajun boiled peanuts…it’s was just the plain salty boiled peanuts.

  10. Ben MacAran says

    I was raised by my grandparents in north central Oklahoma (Blackwell/Braman area). And some of my fondest memories come from helping my grandparents in the kitchen. One of the first things I was allowed to cook on my own were boiled peanuts. Waiting for them to cook and also watching so they didn’t boil dry taught me patience. I was also taught how to share . . . I did the cooking why do I have to share with my cousins? Still not certain if I ever completely learned that lesson. Boiled peanuts are just too good to share. Now my grandparents are gone and I have moved to the really deep south . . . New Zealand. And being on the bottom of the planet can’t be much more south. But I still boil peanuts, and even on certain occasions share with my kiwi friends who have never heard of such a delicacy. But, like others before me have said, there is nothing better than a dish (make that large dish) of boiled peanuts and a cold coke. My true taste of home.

    • Kerri says

      I too have looked for raw peanuts… none to be found in Colorado. I tried with roasted… yuck – not right. (from Georgia)

      I did find a can of boiled peanuts at Walmart, was not the same, but better than none.

  11. Rudy says

    I know you put a lot of work into this and I am trying to cretae lists too. Thanks so much! If you ever want to work on a soy-free list (lecithin and oil is ok), then feel free to let me know. My guy is allergic to peanut, egg, and soy. Boo!

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