Here Comes the Sun: Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

July 9, 2014 | By | Comments (7)

I was born with a tree nut allergy. But I consider myself lucky—and oh so thankful—for peanuts, the misunderstood member of the bean family. Peanut butter is one of those things in life that just makes sense. Why not grind up golden legumes into a creamy salty spread… and consequently put it on everything?

In recent years, that genius idea has been applied to hazelnuts, cashews, and of course, almonds. Almond butter is now the norm when mixed into frozen yogurt and nestled into chocolate cups. It even plays a newly crucial part in the childhood staple, ants on a log.

Those of us with tree nut allergies gaze on longingly with bittersweet emotions about this craze. But no more. I’ve discovered something so intensely flavorful and subtlety sweet that it makes me contemplate throwing out my peanut butter. It’s called sun butter.

Gina Yu Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

2 cups raw unsalted sunflower seeds
½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. vegetable/coconut oil

Yield: About 1 ½ cups
Serving size: 2 Tbsp.

Gina Yu Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the sunflower seeds in an even layer on a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and toss. Toast in the oven for 20 minutes or until a light golden color. Let cool.

(Skip the first part if using roasted, salted sunflower seeds. I would advise buying raw seeds because the sun butter was salty enough with the amount I added.)

Puree seeds in a food processor on medium speed, 25 minutes total. Scrape the mixture down every 2 minutes.

3min_m copy

At 10 minutes, add the oil. Begin scraping the mixture down every minute, based on how small your processor is.

Gina Yu Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

Gina Yu Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

The mixture will be crumbly at first, but by 20 minutes, the seeds begin to release their natural oils, allowing it to relax into a creamier texture. At this point, drizzle in the honey and puree for the remaining 5 minutes.

With some labor and attention, the delicate little seeds become a creamy, delightfully nutty spread that is oh so comforting. The sun butter has a deeper flavor than peanut butter with less calories and sodium.

Gina Yu Honey Sunflower Seed Butter

Have some fun with the recipe, and add in a dash of cinnamon or cocoa for a sunny alternative on your toast.

I love it on apple slices, but the sun butter would be great in cookie batter, over oatmeal, or shaken into a salad dressing. (Someone even suggested using it as a substitution for tahini!)

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons

Calories: 115, Fat: 8g (sat. 1.4g), Protein: 4g, Carb.: 6g, Fiber: 2g, Chol.: 0g, Iron: 1g, Sodium 80g


  1. 100-Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups | Cooking Light

    […] peanut butter out, making it easier to mix with the chocolate. (This recipe also works great with sunbutter, but almond butter proved to be a bit too thin). Spoon the peanut butter mixture into the other […]

    February 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm
  2. Gina Yu

    Hey Joe,

    A 21 oz. mini processor should work! I have quite a small one as well. Our nutrition doesn’t measure sugar, but the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon honey and serves 12. There are 16g sugar in 1 tablespoon honey, so our rough estimation is that there is around 1.3g of added sugar per serving.

    Hope you enjoy!

    November 14, 2014 at 10:37 am
  3. Joe

    Sunbutter, sunflower spread now offers no sugar added (although I haven’t been able to find it) that brings sugar down to 1 gm. .Do you know what the sugar content is in your recipe? I would love to try this. I just bought a Cuisinart Mini-Prep processor with a 21 oz bowl. Do you think this would work? If you think the processor is too small, would it work to cut it down by a 1/4?

    November 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm
  4. Sharon

    Looks like 600 calories per cup of raw seeds and 60 grams of fat. 64 calories per tablespoon of honey. 80 calories for 2 tsp coconut oil, 9 grams of fat (8.4 of them saturated
    16 Tablespoons =1 cup. So, if my calculations are correct, each tablespoon is about 44 calories. Peanut butter is about 90 calories.

    July 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm
    • christy

      Thanks so much! Looking forward to trying it.

      July 19, 2014 at 7:47 am
  5. sharon

    would love to find out how to can this for longer term storage other than just one jar at a time.

    July 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm
  6. christy

    This looks amazing, something I think I could do! Do you think it’s healthier than peanut butter as well? Can you estimate the calories, fat grams? Thanks for sharing!

    July 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

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