Lightly Salted Crunchy Almond Butter Recipe

Whenever I get to stay in an apartment away from my own, my first order of business is to secure the makings of a good breakfast for the next morning. And when we arrived in San Francisco last month, we got to do so at the nearby Bi-Rite Market.

I first collected a bunch of farm-direct, organic apples from one of the produce baskets at the front, picked up a half-gallon of orange juice from the refrigerated section, then made my way straight to the nut butter aisle.

There, I surveyed the scene, picked up this and that jar, compared ingredients and prices, and set my heart on the lightly salted, crunchy almond butter from G.L. Alfieri. I adore lightly salted, crunchy peanut butter, but had never tried it in its almond incarnation; clearly I was missing out.

And this choice turned out to be one of the gastronomic highlights of the entire trip: the almond butter base was vibrantly flavorful, the salt dosage perfect, and the crunchy almond bits, well, what grinch doesn’t like crunchy almond bits?

We went through the jar at such a clip that we soon had to buy a second one, and the first kitchen project I undertook on our return was to recreate it with the ingredients I can get in France: here, we get a choice between blanched and unblanched almond butter (purée d’amandes blanches or purée d’amandes complètes), but sadly, no salted or crunchy options for us Gauls.

The almond butter base was vibrantly flavorful, the salt dosage perfect, and the crunchy almond bits, well, what grinch doesn’t like crunchy almond bits?

It took a few tries, but I nailed the formula, using Jean Hervé’s whole almond butter: it is made with Sicily almonds stone-ground at low temperature, and it is the closest in flavor to the Alfieri almond butter; the Naturalia brand is a bit cheaper, but the almond taste is less refined. To that I added unblanched almonds, toasted and evenly chopped (see note below recipe), and some grey (or unrefined) sea salt.

It’s a pretty simple preparation, but one that is a significant step up from regular old smooth almond butter: the salt bolsters the almond flavor, and the roasted crunch of the almond nibs makes a fine thing even finer.

And it is the key component of my current breakfast of choice: a crisp, tart apple cut into slices, dusted liberally with freshly grated Saigon cinnamon, and dipped into a good dollop of the lightly salted, crunchy almond butter. It is both refreshing and satisfying, and I find it holds me over until lunchtime.

Now, I have also brought back a pretty jar of this pecan peanut butter with wildflower honey and sea salt from Big Spoon Roasters, and I suspect this may have to be my next Pimp My Nut Butter project.

About the cinnamon I use

I am in love with the fresh cinnamon I order from Cinnamon Hill, a small company that specializes in sourcing and selling the highest-quality, freshest cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Vietnam (ordinary cinnamon usually comes from China or Indonesia). I get whole sticks, and grate them with the beautifully crafted (and highly giftable!) cinnamon grater that Cinnamon Hill has designed. Truly, you don’t know what cinnamon tastes like until you’ve tried freshly harvested, freshly grated, top-grade cinnamon, and it makes an amazing difference in this recipe.

Have you tried this? Share your pics on Instagram!

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Lightly Salted Crunchy Almond Butter Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Makes 250 ml (1 cup); the recipe can be doubled.

Lightly Salted Crunchy Almond Butter Recipe


  • 35 grams (1/4 cup) skin-on almonds, toasted
  • 250 grams (1 cup) unsalted smooth all-natural almond butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt


  1. Chop the almonds as evenly as you can (see note).
  2. In a large jar, place the almonds, almond butter, and salt, and stir with a knife until thoroughly combined. Close the jar and refrigerate until ready to eat.


I wanted my almond bits to be as evenly sized as possible, and was looking to minimize the almond dust that is unfailingly created when chopping nuts. I thought long and hard about the best method to achieve that, and this is how I do it: I spread the almonds out in a single layer on the cutting board, and chop them in close parallel cuts with a sharp knife. I rotate the cutting board by a quarter turn, and chop the almonds again so that this second series of cuts is perpendicular to the first. I then inspect the almond pieces and re-chop any that seem a bit too big. And I add everything -- inevitable almond dust and all -- to the almond butter.
  • You don’t happen to know whether or where one can buy almond butter of any kind in the UK, do you? I have never seen it on the shelves, even of our wholefood shops.

    • I have found it at Whole Foods in London, and would have thought the natural food stores elsewhere would offer it as well. Perhaps it’s a matter of asking the staff and seeing if it can be stocked or at least ordered?

      • Thanks; my nearest branch of Whole Foods Market doesn’t stock as much as the Kensington High Street branch, but it may well have it; the local wholefood shop, as far as I know, doesn’t stock it. Although I will enquire when I am next there – I need to go there within the next couple of weeks, anyway.

    • Ana

      Hi Annabel, I saw almond butter in Holland and Barrett’s, but haven’t tried it.

      Clotilde, this sounds fantastic! I will try it!

      • Thanks for the tip, Ana, and do let me know if you try it!

      • Thanks. Will have a look in H&B, although our local branch is tiny, so might well not have it.

    • Anne

      Hello Annabel,
      you will find Almond butter in all H&B shops and even in your local Tesco and Sainsbury: usually from brand Meridien. They used to be smooth butter but are now crunchy nut butter with larger pieces of nuts left which makes for a more oily butter in my view. Or you could just make your own. All supermarkets stock whole almonds on their Asian products shelves and I think I have seen recipes from Hugh Fearnley Whittingston. Anne

  • This sounds delicious. Almonds are usually less allergenic than peanuts too.

  • Do you have other good pairing suggestions besides apples for this recipe as my husband doesn’t like them.(Crazy, I know:) )

    • My own sweetheart doesn’t like apples either (I know!) and he recommends eating this by the spoonful. :) Other than that, it is absolutely lovely on multigrain or sourdough toast, or with a sliced banana.

  • Rebeca

    Perfect timing! I made almond butter yesterday, and I’m going to try this right now. The crunchy almond bits and salt sound like a great addition.

  • I love this idea as a breakfast treat, especially!

  • This almond butter sounds delicious, especially with cinnamon sprinkled apples for breakfast. I have been eating your savory pumpkin and cornmeal quick bread for breakfast. It is great toasted. Thanks for the recipe and your great new cookbook. I actually blogged about the bread.

    • I’ve never tried that savory bread for breakfast (note to other readers, it is a recipe from The French Market Cookbook), but I have served it at brunch to gratifying acclaim. I’ll try it toasted next time!

  • That crunchy almond butter would be delicious for my daughter’s sandwich.

  • Angeline

    I’m currently fascinated with Almond Milk. I ended up buying a high tech blender that blends almonds into a milk using hot water, a pinch of salt, honey and a pinch of vanilla extract. I also found a recipe they use to make Almond butter but with a high tech blender. Apparently, you can make it into almond butter using these types of blenders. Unfortunately, in the States there are too many options for Almond Butter, it’s hard to sift through the genuine flavors. You just revamped my fascination.

    • I love almond milk too. In a pinch, I make it by diluting almond butter…

  • Great recipe! I can’t wait to experiment with other nut types… Have you ever tried a similar recipe with pistachio ?

    • I haven’t, but I’m sure it would be delicious! Will you report back if you try it?

  • Great for Christmas breakfast!

  • Nina

    When you were at Bi-Rite did you taste/buy their smoked salmon…. the best in town… they are trained how to slice it thin… rivals Zabars in NY.

    • I didn’t, but now I wish I had! Adding it to my list for next time… ^^

  • Guest

    Hi, do you have a recipe for the almond butter itself?


    • I don’t, but you’ll find lots of tutorials documenting that online.

  • Lori

    Hi, do you have a recipe for the almond butter itself?
    thank you. By the way, I am eating your beet, carrot, fig, cashew salad daily. My oh my, it is addictive.

    • I don’t, but you’ll find lots of tutorials documenting that online. So glad you enjoy that salad! ^^

    • Lori

      Thanks, I just love everything you make so was wondering. I have seen the other tutorials.

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