Peanut butter is one of the few products with little to hide since it must contain at least 90% peanuts. The remaining 10% can be different ingredients depending on the brand, and some of these ingredients might make your peanut butter runny.
If you don’t like the consistency of your peanut butter or if you got watery peanut butter as a result of letting it sit in the cupboard for too long, there are different ways to fix it. Sometimes simply stirring it long enough will work, otherwise, you can also use additional ingredients.
How to thicken peanut butter?
There are different types of peanut butter and even when buying from the same brand there might be some differences in the flavor and consistency of the product, which strongly relies on the type of peanut and its natural characteristics.
As a result, some peanut butter is thicker than others or is easily affected by the environment, temperature, and other factors. Other types of peanut butter might stay the same no matter what.
When we talk about runny peanut butter we usually mean that there is liquid in the peanut butter, because the cream itself should remain consistent. However, the texture of the peanut butter might sometimes become watery for different reasons.
It’s easy to thicken peanut butter and there are several ways to achieve the consistent and fluffy cream you desire:
That’s the easiest and quickest method to thicken peanut butter but works well with many other creamy products. In order to thicken your peanut butter, you should stir it for as long as necessary. It may take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
The more you stir it, the thicker and creamier it will become. Once you reach the consistency you desire, you can consume it right away or store it in the fridge.
Remember to stir your peanut butter thoroughly before storing it in the refrigerator. This is the best way to keep your peanut butter thick and creamy. If you live in an area where temperatures are warm on average, you should always keep your peanut butter in the fridge when you’re not using it.
The cool temperature will prevent the natural peanut butter from separating into different layers. Conventional peanut butter should remain as it is regardless, but sometimes this type of peanut butter can become runny as well, so play on the safe side and store your stirred peanut butter in the fridge.
Drain out the oil
Some jars of peanut butter may contain too much oil, either because of the natural content of the peanuts or because it was added in the production process. Luckily, oil remains on the surface when you leave peanut butter to rest, so you can easily drain it out and stir the peanut butter to the desired consistency.
Do not throw out the oil, it can be used in stir-fried recipes and it will add a pleasant peanut butter flavor to your dish. In an alternative, you can add it back to the jar if you feel that it’s too dry. Add it back little by little and remember to stir thoroughly in between until you reach good results.
Add extra peanuts
You can make the peanut butter less runny by adding texture to it through additional peanuts. It’s a simple method which only requires peanut butter and a bunch of normal or roasted peanuts. You should grind the desired amount of peanuts beforehand, then add it to the jar of peanut butter.
Stir it thoroughly until the ground peanuts are well-blended with the peanut butter. You can use it immediately or store it in the fridge for later use. This method allows you to experiment with different flavors because you can also choose to add other ingredients instead of peanuts: crackers, powder sugar or other thickening agents can be good substitutes for peanuts.
Keep in mind that your peanut butter will have a slightly different flavor depending on the ingredient you choose.
Add liquid in peanut butter
This method is the exact opposite of draining out the excess of oil from your jar of peanut butter. It may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t because sometimes peanut butter benefits from a little extra liquid. In fact, when you first add liquids to peanut butter and stir it, it helps the cream thicken.
It’s only when you add too much that peanut butter becomes watery. You can thicken peanut butter by adding a little oil or a little water. Some people find that adding water might make the peanut butter a little chalky. Palm oil is often used as a stabilizer and thickening agent in peanut butter.
If your peanut butter has a tendency to become runny, especially during the warm season, it is better to always keep it in the refrigerator, even if you’re planning to use it several times per day.
Sometimes, peanut butter that has been kept in the refrigerator for a while becomes too hard to be consumed immediately, so you should take it out beforehand. In that case, make sure to keep it in a cool and dry place, or at room temperature (if the season allows).
How to thicken natural peanut butter?
Natural peanut butter is more likely to become watery or oily in comparison with normal peanut butter. That’s because it lacks the additional ingredients that, despite being considered less healthy, are also the ones that keep the cream together no matter what.
Homemade peanut butter fits into the natural peanut butter category. This kind of peanut butter it’s perfectly thick and fluffy when it’s freshly made, but might become watery when left to sit for a long time outside of the fridge, so it’s important to keep it refrigerated.
You can thicken natural peanut butter in all the ways you would thicken normal peanut butter, but it will be especially important to stir it regularly and keep it in a cool and dry environment.
Why is your peanut butter watery?
When peanut butter is watery, it’s usually due to its ingredients or the way it was stored.
The FDA established that a product can be labeled as peanut butter only if it contains at least 90% peanuts. This means that manufacturers are left with a small percentage of products to use for additional ingredients.
There are many varieties of peanut butter, but we can mainly divide them into natural peanut butter and conventional peanut butter.
Watery natural peanut butter
Natural peanut butter doesn’t have industrial additives, sugars, or other potentially unhealthy ingredients. It’s usually just peanut butter and salt, with palm oil added as a stabilizer. However, that’s exactly why natural peanut butter can become watery really easily.
When natural peanut butter is left to sit for a few hours, the ingredients start to separate and the oil remains on top, resulting in oily peanut butter with a runny consistency.
Keep in mind that peanuts are naturally oily and each peanut is different, which is why some peanut butter can be more oily than others.
Other varieties of peanut butter include no-salt natural peanut butter and conventional peanut butter. These products can turn into runny peanut butter because of room temperature or improper storage.
Watery conventional peanut butter
Conventional peanut butter contains additional sugars and different ingredients depending on the brand. These additives could cause the peanut butter to become watery when left outside of the fridge, just like natural peanut butter.
Some specific types of peanut butter might just not have the consistency you would expect. This happens especially with peanut butter that is meant to fulfill a specific purpose.
For example, there is peanut butter that has little salt and sugar, but a greater amount of proteins. These products might be more liquid or less viscous than the average grocery store peanut butter you may be used to.