Boiled Peanuts
Credit: Michael Coté

On a recent trip to Georgia and South Carolina I was finally convinced to try boiled peanuts.  Often made in large batches over a propane burner or in a cast iron kettle over an open fire for large family gatherings, this Southern treat is tasty and fun to eat.  While the process for making a large batch seemed a bit involved, making a smaller batch for enjoying at home is quite simple.

A trip to a local store gave me insight on how to make a small batch of boiled peanuts using a crock pot, or slow cooker. One pound of boiled peanuts is plenty for two to four people to enjoy over a few days.  The ingredients needed are:

  • 1 lb RAW peanuts in shell (often found in the produce section)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 6-7 cups water
  • (optional) smoked ham hock
  • (optional) substitute Cajun seasoning in place of salt

First, rinse off the raw peanuts to remove any left over dirt.  Next, place the peanuts in the crock pot, add salt and cover with water.  Stir for a minute or so to dissolve the salt.  If using the optional ham hock, place it in the crock pot as well.  

Turn on the crock pot to its highest setting, cover, and let it cook for at least 8-10 hours.  Since crock pots vary in cooking temperature the amount of time it takes to completely cook the peanuts will vary.  Since the peanuts are in their shell they will float.  As the peanuts begin to absorb the water they will eventually sink to the bottom.  You can use the sinking process as an indicator of when they are done cooking.  Test the peanuts when the majority are no longer floating.  A finished boiled peanut will have a shell that is easily opened and the nut will have a semi-soft consistency but not mushy.  

Long time boiled peanut connoisseurs will first suck the salty (or spicy) liquid from the shell, then open the shell with their hands and enjoy the nut.