Sunflower Nutella – Nut-free Recipe

Growing up in Spain I sometimes had Nutella sandwiches.  Ok, maybe not the healthiest of snacks but my grandmother served it as a treat.  Sometime in the 90s, she bought her first food processor; and she experimented like no one else to re-create a nut free version for my cousin.  After a while, sunflower chocolate spread is all she served.  Not too long ago, I stumbled upon Chocolate Covered Katie’s better than Nutella recipe and I adapted it to make a nut free and affordable version of the original.  –Laura

sunflower nutellaSunflower Chocolate Spread.  When Laura sent me this recipe I instantly knew it would be a hit with my kids. Who knew that just a few ingredients could result in such a delicious treat.

Similar to the chocolate spread we all know and love, but made instead with sunflower seeds instead of hazelnuts and no refined sugar.  It can be used in so many ways, but is especially good spread on a slice of toasted whole wheat bread and topped with fresh fruit.

You will need a food processor to to cream the sunflower seeds into a buttery texture.  If you don’t have one, this recipe alone will be the excuse you’ll need to buy yourself one!

The only reason Laura asked me to write this post is because the one in the test kitchen broke and her neighbor needed hers back! My kids were really happy I might add.

After a few minutes of processing the sunflower seeds they will turn into a thick creamy nut butter. 
sunflower nutella

Doesn’t it look AMAZING with fresh strawberries?
Please, refrain from biting your screen and drooling over your keyboard.

sunflower nutella

Of course, we have to show you how delicious it can be as an after school snack! Full of protein, vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium these seeds sure know how to pack in the nutrition and health benefits! Oh, I am sure I don’t need to go into the health beneifts of chocolate… right?

sunflower nutella


4.8 from 4 reviews
Sunflower Nutella
Cuisine: Snacks
Serves: about 2 cups
  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract* use less if you want
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons maple syrup (may sub agave or honey)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons coconut oil or vegetable oil, optional (for extra smoothness)
  • ½ cup milk, dairy or nondairy
  1. In a medium non-stick pan, toast sunflower seeds over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, process toasted sunflower seeds, stopping intermittently to scrape down the sides of bowl. Continue 2-3 minutes until seeds have turned to thick, creamy butter.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and blend for an additional 4-5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
  4. Store in airtight container up to 30 days in the fridge --if it lasts that long.



  1. Nat says

    This is a favourite in our house! I’ve made it several times now, and it never lasts long enough to go bad.
    I try to avoid processed foods, additives, preservatives and excess sugar/ salt, so knowing what exactly is in this spread appeals.
    My four kids (aged from 5 to 9) and my hubby all like this, and for me it is chocolatey enough to satisfy my chocolate “needs”!!
    Of course it doesn’t taste just like Nutella, because it isn’t. But, like anything, your taste buds adjust. My family call it Chocolate Spread, so that is what it is :-)
    Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  2. Elizabeth says

    FINALLY made this today (I bought the sunflower seeds about 6 months ago!) Although I didn’t get quite the smooth texture I was looking for, I would attribute this either to my toasting time or my processor. It certainly was smooth enough for my texture driven son to proclaim he liked it :) Also, my first impression was that it wasn’t sweet enough (of course, it isn’t loaded with sweeteners) but I’m holding off before adding anything unless someone actually complains. I think my taste buds will quickly adjust. All in all, I’m really happy I tried this, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again! My son is thrilled because he loves graham crackers with Sun Butter and Nutella and now he can finally take some to school. Thanks for another winning recipe.

  3. Mary says

    i tried this yesterday and it wasn’t a big success. It’s thick and dull (not glossy like the photo) and doesn’t taste chocolatey at all, it just tastes like sunflower seeds.

    • says

      Mary, did you toast your sunflower seeds? Also, you might have to add a little additional oil to make it smoother. nut butters are not an exact science since the age of the seeds/nuts can alter the amount of natural oils.

      • Mary says

        I toasted them but maybe not enough? I’m going to give it another try as it would be good to have an alternative to the nut-free butter I send to school. It also has lot of quick snack possibilities.

  4. Georgina says

    I know I’m a bit late coming to this party but my son was just diagnosed with a hazelnut allergy on top of his peanut allergy… Bye bye Nutella

  5. May says

    Hello dear, Im planning to try this recipe… but maple syrup is really expensive here in our place… can i use corn syrup instead? :)

  6. Petra says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it tonight and it is so delicious! My 4 y/o is allergic to nuts and his sisters love nutella so I figured this would be perfect. The girls love this nut free version, so do I. The boy, who is the main reason we tried this, said: That is gross, Mom.
    Me and the girls will still enjoy our chocolatey treat

  7. Rachel says

    I ordered the Bob’s Red Mill sunflower seeds but the label says they are processed on machines that also process tree nuts. :-( so we will have to sub Sunbutter I guess.

  8. alex says

    Great recipe really turned out well like real peanut butter but in chocolate form. I made some adjustments though instead of syrup I used 1/4 cup prunes which made it sweeter nice and thick and added fiber. I omitted salt I don’t like it and I replaced the oil with 3-4 tbsp. of greek yogurt really made a smooth creamy texture. I did not add vanilla cause I thought might take away from chocolaty taste I just used more milk. Came out great will make again.

  9. Corie says

    Mine came out with a gummy thick texture. Is it suppose to be that way or is itsuppose to have that smooth nutella texture. I did it exactly like yourrecipe says. The taste is good the texture is aweful.

  10. Anonymous says

    I would really like to try your recipe,but I want to use hazelnuts.But I have a question:when I put them in the food processor should I process them until they form a kind of hazelnut butter or until they form a kind of hazelnut cream,and then add the rest of the ingredients?Thank you,I can’t wait to make this :)!

    • says

      you are going to need to roast hazelnuts first to release the oils (they will be oily and the skin peels off easily). then follow the recipe and imagine the sunflower is actual hazelnuts.

  11. Franki says

    Oh…my…god! Thank you so much for this recipe! We just had to go all nut free in our house due to severe allergies. This recipe was easy and sooooo delicious! I only had one cup of sunflower seeds in the house so I made a small batch which is sooooo sad! I also had unsalted roasted seeds, so I still roasted them for just a minute not to dry them out, worked out great. I added a touch of seat salt because I like the salty/sweet combo! Thank-you!!

  12. Julie says

    I just bought sunflower seeds last night,and then I saw this recipe. It was meant to be! I think I am going to try come up with some kind of sunbutter cookie dough balls with this in the middle. Thanks for the great recipe!

  13. Tracy Breem says

    I finally made this after a month having the recipe. My husband said I should use honey as a substitute for the syrup but definitely not sweet for my little one. I think I am going to add some syrup or confection sugar and mix. Hopefully my picky 4 yr old will like :)

  14. Netty says

    This is AMAZING…I bought a new food processor just to try this. Well, I was really wanting one and this recipe pushed me to go ahead and buy one. As the recipe says…the purchase was worth it just for this recipe. I made this last night and couldn’t believe how easy it was. I put it in two glass containers and we had if for a snack this afternoon. My kiddos LOVED it and gave me the double thumbs up. :) The possibility are endless on how we can use this spread this summer. THANKS so much for sharing this recipe, I can guarantee we will be making this often.

  15. ashleigh b says

    Can someone tell me how long they toasted the seeds and how long they processed them? I couldn’t get the nuts to turn to paste and I processed them forever. My picky child doesn’t like it because it’s too bumpy! Crazy I know.

    • says

      I toast my seeds on a pan for a few minutes. they begin to smell “nutty” or light brown, not burned. 1) where did you make the butter? blender? food processor? your blades could be a bit dull. might need sharpening. you can do that by processing ice cubes in there. a few cups at a time until you get shaved ice. dump, repeat.

  16. Lori says

    I made this recipe over the weekend and mine came out chewy and sticky. Do you have any idea what I could have done wrong? I used all the ingredients And didn’t make any substitutions. It’s not creamy or spreadable.

  17. Melissa says

    I tried this and…YUM!!! This is going to go a long way towards satisfying my choco-holic daughter and husband when they have craving!! Also referred this recipe to a friend who’s son has severe allergies – what a great way to introduce chocolate and nutrition at the same time!! Thank you!!

    • says

      absolutely! this was the answer for all of those “we love nutella but have nut allergies!” Plus, sunflowers are way cheaper than hazelnuts :)

  18. Pam R says

    I’m wondering if I can do this with pre-made sunflower butter. I purchased some for my kids to have at a nut-free school and they didn’t like it, but if Ican add cocoa and srup, etc, maybe they’ll eat it and I won’t feel like I wasted money. How much “thick, creamy butter” does 2 cups of seeds make before the other ingredients are added?

    • says

      Pam, I don’t see why not! start with 1 cup sunflower butter and add vanilla, cocoa powder and syrup. you might need to add an additional 1/4 cup of sunflower butter but i’d start there. you don’t need the other ingredients.

      • JulieL says

        Would love to hear back if this worked or not! We buy the I M Healthy Chocolate Soynutbutter, and it is pricey at my local grocer. I order Sunbutter on Amazon for much cheaper and would love to try making it chocolate! I’ll probably give it a go, but I thought maybe the original poster might see this and give us a report!

  19. says

    I pinned this recipe but never got a chance to make it – until TODAY! And, although I was skeptical, it was definitely a fantastic substitute for nutella!!!!! Delicious! I can taste the flavor of the sunflower seeds, but it is such a pleasant taste that I love it.

    I did make a few changes to the recipe. First, I soaked my sunflower seeds in warm water and a teaspoon of salt. Then I dehydrated them overnight to get them back to normal. I skipped toasting them because I didn’t want the heat to denature the nutrients of the seeds.

    Your proportions are perfect though. I used full fat coconut milk since I am going dairy-free for my nursing baby. And it really is amazing. I just have one very important question: I doubled the recipe and now I’m wondering if I can freeze some without ruining it? I have two full pint jars of this and don’t want to lose any!!

    • says

      Hi Lisa! So glad that although you made substitutions the recipe came out great! yes, we played around with proportions for a long time before we published the recipe! here are some thoughts on freezing your homemade nutella: i don’t recommend it. You can, however, make nutella cookies and freeze it within the dough. or nutella fudge pops… other things. I’ve not heard positive things about the consistency of being able to “spread” it again once you thaw it out. IF you decide to freeze it, perhaps I’d suggest it in ice-cube sized portions. they can be easily added to recipes and doughs.

  20. Sarah Grooms says

    Oh man! I have been telling my friends for the past two weeks that I wish they had nut-free nutella… Thanks so much for this!

  21. ali says

    Looks good
    One of my kids cant eat cocoa. Do you think we could use carob powder instead? Love your ideas.
    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Melinda C. says

    I made the Sunflower Nutella today and it is delish!!! I used some of it as part of the Homemade Granola Bar recipe that are cooking in my oven, now! Thank you for posting this recipe :)

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