Boiled Peanuts

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All you need is shelled peanuts and salt to make this traditional Southern boiled peanuts recipe. The peanuts are boiled to the texture of your choice and are the perfect homemade salty snack to enjoy with an ice-cold glass of beer or soda.

Boiled peanuts.

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 traditional boiled peanuts was when I was a girl, not more than seven or eight. My family and I took the first of many trips to the Smokey Mountains. We were driving up these winding roads and stopped at a roadside vendor. I was curious about the cup of wet peanuts that had steam coming from them and the most delicious smell that set my stomach to grumbling. I definitely had more than one that day!

Nowadays, as soon as the slightest chill hits the air in Georgia, little tents, trucks, and roadside stands start setting up on street corners for one purpose: to sell boiled peanuts to fortunate passersby. With over 45% of the country’s peanut crop grown there, it’s no wonder boiled peanuts are in such abundance.

Now, if you can’t make a mad dash to Georgia right now, rest assured it’s super easy to make boiled peanuts from the comfort of your home. All you need for my Southern boiled peanuts recipe is raw peanuts and salt. Are you ready for the instructions? Place them in a pot with water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 3 hours. Yep, that’s it. The easiest boiled peanut recipe you ever did see. Keep scrolling to learn exactly how to eat boiled peanuts because yes, it’s EVERYTHING.

Labeled ingredients for boiled peanuts recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Raw or fresh green peanuts
  • Salt

How to Make My Boiled Peanuts Recipe

Place peanuts and enough water to cover them in large pot.

Place dried peanuts in a large pot and add enough water to cover the peanuts.

However, don’t stress too much as they’ll float to the top for now anyway.

Add sugar to pot.

Add the salt to the pot.

Stir together peanuts and salt.

Give that a good stir.

Cover pot with lid and simmer.

Now cover the pot with a lid, cook on medium heat until it comes to a good boil, then simmer.

Ladle full of boiled peanuts.

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.

Remove from heat, drain, and eat!

Bowl of boiled peanuts.

How to eat boiled peanuts

Let me just say, 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!

Plate of boiled peanuts.

Enjoy your traditional boiled peanuts!


When stored in their shells in an airtight container in the fridge, boiled peanuts will last up to 10 days. You can store them in the cooking liquid or drain them dry. You can also store them in the freezer for several months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • You can easily double, triple, or quadruple the recipe ingredients.
  • For the salt, you can use plain old table salt or kosher salt, whatever you have on hand. Southerners don’t get fancy with this stuff. It’s part of our charm!
  • If you use fresh green peanuts, the cooking time can be shorter. Check-in after an hour.

Recipe FAQs

How do I make my boiled peanuts more or less salty?

Once they’re 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 30 minutes 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.

But if this is your first time making boiled peanuts, it’s all about trial and error to work out the best salty balance and your desired tenderness. As a general rule of thumb, the longer they simmer, the softer and saltier the peanuts become. I recommend starting with a cup of salt and then tasting it after a few hours, adding a few more tablespoons if you want a saltier peanut.

Can I use roasted peanuts in this boiled peanuts recipe?

No, you can’t make boiled peanuts with roasted peanuts, they have to be raw (or green as they’re sometimes called).

No, you don’t have to soak the peanuts before boiling them. Some recipes do this to reduce the simmer time and it helps them settle in the pot before boiling them, but I don’t think it’s necessary. If you want to though, add the shelled peanuts to the pot, cover them with water, and place a dinner plate on top to keep them submerged. Soak for 8 hours or overnight before continuing with this recipe from the top in the morning.

Can I make boiled peanuts in the slow cooker?

Absolutely! Follow the directions but place the ingredients in the crock pot instead. However, crock pot boiled peanuts take a lot longer to cook (like at least 22 hours if not longer).

Why do boiled peanuts get slimy?

Boiled peanuts can get slimy if they’re overcooked or sit in the brine for too long. Ensure you cook the peanuts just until tender and then drain them shortly after cooling to avoid them getting soggy.

What seasonings can I add to my boiled peanuts recipe?

Many boiled peanut recipes include seasonings using dried herbs and spices. We’re keeping things simple today, but here are some suggestions. Just add about 2 tablespoons of any of these options when you add the salt:

  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Cajun seasoning (Cajun peanuts are very popular).
  • Creole seasoning
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar for salt and vinegar peanuts.

Check out these other snack-sized treats:

Peanut Butter Candy

Candied Pecans Recipe

Cream Cheese Mints

Candied Peanuts (2 Ingredients Only)

Potato Candy Recipe Made The Ole Fashioned Way

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (No Baking Necessary)

Boiled peanuts.

Boiled Peanuts

All you need is shelled peanuts and salt to make this traditional Southern boiled peanuts recipe, a homemade salty snack best enjoyed with a glass of beer or soda.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: boiled, peanuts


  • 1 pound raw or green peanuts
  • 1 cup salt


  • In a saucepot, cover dried peanuts with water and add salt.
    1 pound raw or green peanuts, 1 cup salt
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 3 hours or more if you like.
  • Place the entire peanut in your mouth to eat. Crack it open with your teeth, drink the juice, and eat the peanut while discarding the peanut shell.
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. I’m from the South. If you’re driving down here and see a roadside stop that advertises “Boiled Peanuts”, don’t bother stopping. Only the best ones can be found where the sign says “Boil Peanuts”.

  2. Raw peanuts can be found all over the country, if you just check out your local Asian markets. I find them in Indian, Chinese, and Pakistani grocery stores. Be sure to ask to be sure you’re getting the raw ones.

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