Food & Drink

Can You Really Mix Oily Peanut Butter with a Milk Frother? I Decided to Find Out for Myself.

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Stirring a new jar of natural peanut butter is …. not my favorite thing. It always takes a fair bit of elbow grease, and it’s never not messy (see: oil splatters all over my countertops). But part of what makes the job so obnoxious — all that rich fat — is exactly what makes natural PB so delicious, so when I heard that there was a new hack on the block for stirring it, I decided to investigate.

This popular TikTok video instructs you to use an electric milk frother to stir the oil into the peanut butter. The host in the video suggests doing this instead of throwing out the oil, which was curious to me: Are people actually tossing the oil? If so, how are they spreading their PB? Isn’t peanut butter without the oil just brown concrete? Anyway, that’s kind of besides the point.

My method has always been to stir the peanut butter together using a butter knife. The first minute or so of this process always results in oil sloshing over the sides of the jar (you do lose a little this way), so I typically perform this chore with the jar in my kitchen sink to keep cleanup easy. Was the frother method easier? Less messy? Quicker? The video has over 65,000 likes, so I figured it was worth exploring. I picked up two jars of the oiliest natural PB I could find — both creamy and crunchy varieties — and put the test to work.

How to Stir Natural Peanut Butter Like the TikTok Video Hack Instructs

First, the details. I used an Ad Hoc whisk with fresh batteries — I had just changed them earlier that morning. My peanut butter was Santa Cruz brand: The only ingredient was peanuts, and they were very oily. Neither jar had been opened, and I’d stored them at room temperature, right-side up, for a couple of days before testing.

Or actually — what’s less than a “meh”? This technique did not work at all for me.

I started with the creamy peanut butter. I began by submerging the whisk about an inch in the peanut butter, underneath the oily layer. When I pressed the “on” button, nothing happened. At first, I worried that I’d somehow broken my frother, or that the batteries were faulty! I lifted the frother a bit higher, so that it was only submerged in the oil — not the actual peanuts. The motor began running, and you can guess what happened next. Oil flew everywhere! I attempted to slowly incorporate more peanut paste into the oil, but every time my frother got below the oil line, it would refuse to work. And that’s the whole point: You need to incorporate the top layer into the bottom when stirring, or you’ll be left with spackle by the time you’re halfway through with the jar.

The jar of crunchy PB was even oilier. My expectations were low, but I tried the method with that jar, too. You know, in the name of science. The experiment was an even bigger bust with the crunchy, because the big chunks of peanuts completely hindered the oil from incorporating into the peanut paste. All my whisk did was agitate the oil, once again decorating the bottoms of my cabinets with a slick, greasy sheen.

I gave up and used my trusty butter knife to stir the jars. Even though the electric frother didn’t work, this experiment wasn’t a total bust: Instead of being annoyed about the task, I just feel grateful that my low-tech method works with relatively little mess. 

What’s your method for stirring natural peanut butter? Tell me all your secrets.

Rochelle Bilow


Rochelle Bilow is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, the former social media manager at Bon Appétit Magazine and Cooking Light Magazine. She has also worked as a cook on a small farm in Central New York, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. Connect with her @rochellebilow.

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