Anyone can make boiled peanuts, as long as they have the best recipe and know all the tricks.
A lot of people refer to boiled peanuts as a southern delicacy, but I’m not sure that’s accurate, because you can get them almost anywhere — including at the majority of southern gas stations within ten miles of a body of water. I personally think of them as “the edamame of the south,” a delightful protein-packed snack with a satisfying saltiness and very slight crunch.
So this southern cook is going to share are a few things you need to know to make the best boiled peanuts. You’ll be a pro in no time at all.
How to make the best boiled peanuts, step-by-step
First, you need to start with green peanuts. Not raw peanuts, green peanuts.They have a higher moisture content than raw peanuts, which have been left to dry out before selling. (Removing the moisture makes them less perishable.)
A Piggly Wiggly, or any self-respecting grocery store in the south, will sell green peanuts in the produce section, because they are meant to be refrigerated if they won’t be used immediately. However they are seasonal. If you can’t find them at your usual store, try Asian or Indian markets.
1. Rinse the green peanuts to remove any lingering dirt.
Peanuts are the only fruit that grows underground. And yes, they’re a fruit!
2. In a pot, add water, peanuts, and plenty of salt and extra seasoning, then bring to a boil.
Some of the water will evaporate after cooking for a while so be sure to add enough water so that it will cover the peanuts by at least a few inches. Boiled peanuts are boiled, not steamed, y’all.
And how much salt should you add? Well, more than you think you should — maybe half a cup for every gallon of water, or less if you’re using a seasoning, like Old Bay, which already contains salt.
3. Cover the pot and boil on low for 3-5 hours.
Why such a wide range of cooking time? Because everyone has a preference as to doneness with boiled peanuts. You can start testing the peanuts after a few hours by removing one, letting it cool, and cracking it open to eat. In my not-at-all-humble opinion, they’re done when mild pressure causes the shell to separate and fall open.
4. Turn off the heat, and leave the pot covered for at least several more hours.
Boiled peanuts get nice and juicy if you let them soak in the cooking water for at least a few hours after they’re done, or as long as overnight.
5. Optional: Add a few shakes of balsamic vinegar to the pot
I do this to sweeten the pot a little, before letting them sit overnight.
How to serve boiled peanuts
As I said, boiled peanuts are the edamame of the south. So you can serve them in bowls as an appetizer, hand them out as snacks between meals, or you can try my favorite way: Take a Ziploc bag full of boiled peanuts to a pool, a beach, or a boat and dig in whenever you get hungry.
By the way, they pair nicely with your favorite flavor of La Croix, a light beer, lemonade, or a crisp Prosecco. Perfection!