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Chinese Boiled Peanuts Recipe

Alongside fire-roasted chestnuts, Boiled Chinese Peanuts are sold as cheap street food in China. It’s a cold-weather thing, and I know I’m posting this recipe in the dead heat of the summer, but I am missing real Chinese food….a little nostalgic for humble eats.

Raw peanuts are boiled in water with cinnamon sticks, star anise, garlic cloves and a little salt. Even though there’s no sugar in the mix, you’ll get a molasses-like sweetness just from boiling the peanuts (even if you add NO spices!)

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Star Anise and cinnamon will add complex flavors, liquorice-like (though please don’t let that scare you – it is NOTHING like black liquorice), rich and sweet-smelling. If you’re a chile-nut, go ahead and add a couple of dried red chiles into the pot.

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3 sticks of cinnamon, 3 star anise, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. If you’ve got really good quality cinnamon sticks, just use one or two. I had to use 3 sticks, well….because I’m cheap and bought a lower quality of cassia bark.

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There are 4 ways you can cook this:

  • No soak + pressure cooker for 60 minutes
  • No soak + slow cooker all day
  • No soak + boil on stove for 4 hours
  • Overnight soak + boil on stove 1 hour

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How to cook Chinese Boiled Peanuts

Step 1: Wash the raw peanuts
Give them a good rinse. Pick out any peanuts that just don’t look right, twigs, roots, etc.

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Step 2: Add in seasonings & water

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Step 3: Weigh down the peanuts
Raw peanuts float to the top of the water, so to make sure that they cook evenly, I like to add a plate into the pot to submerge the peanuts.

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Step 4: Cook
I am using a pressure cooker (60 minutes under high pressure), but you can use a slow cooker (high for 6-8 hours) or boil on stove (bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for 3-4 hours)

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Chinese Boiled Peanuts Recipe

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: varies
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Make sure you buy RAW PEANUTS. If you don't have star anise or cinnamon stick, just use 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice powder instead.

Ingredients:

1 pound raw peanuts (also called green peanuts)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 star anise
1-3 cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons of kosher or sea salt

Directions:

Wash the peanuts. In a large pot, add in all of the ingredients. Fill pot with water, enough to cover the peanuts by 3" when submerged. Optional - use a plate to submerge the peanuts in the water.

FOR PRESSURE COOKER:
Cook under pressure 60 minutes high (it will take time to get up to pressure as well as cool-off period to release steam). Follow manufacturer's instructions.

FOR SLOW COOKER:
Cook high for 6-8 hours

FOR STOVETOP:
Bring to boil, cover and set heat to low. Simmer for 3-4 hours or until desired tenderness.

Alternatively, you can soak the peanuts overnight in cool water. The next day, simmer on stovetop for 1 hour or until desired tenderness.

Comments 22

  1. Nancy Swallow

    I am not sure what kind of plate can safely be used inside the pressure cooker. What is yours made of?

    Thanks. I want to try this recipe.

    Nancy

  2. Dee

    They look so yummy, Jaden! I usually just boil them plain and add a bit of salt at the end for seasoning but now have to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Dee

      Jaden,

      I made this over the weekend and they are delicious! I got greedy and made a lot but will bring them to work to share =) Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Nancy

    Chinese peanuts makes me miss home in Hawaii :( Closest that I get to a peanut is the stuff at the Nationals game. Looks yummy!

  4. Peanutter

    Stupid question – but, do you eat them shell and all, or peel them? And do you eat them warm or cold?

  5. Joy

    So happy to come across this recipe! Reminds me of my childhood.
    I soaked my peanuts, and after an hour they were done, but I felt like it lacked the flavor I was longing for. It made me wonder if cooking for 3 hours unsoaked would taste different? I will try next time.
    In the end, all is well. The next day, my chilled peanuts were perfect. The anise flavor was more prominent. Perfect! Thanks for posting.

  6. Karen

    Please talk about the difference between cooking raw green peanuts and raw dried peanuts. Green peanuts are available only during harvest season in the fall — we’re past that now.

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