This homemade Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) is creamy, rich, chocolaty, and so delicious! It’s also vegan, keto, and paleo friendly. We spread it on crepes, dip fruit in it, drizzle it on top of coconut flatbread, or just eat it with a spoon. I would argue that this homemade Nutella tastes better than the original version by Ferrero. Honestly. We’re almost through my last batch I made two days ago? Yes, it’s that good!
Have you ever seen a deconstructed jar of Nutella? If not, it’s essentially a photograph of a Nutella jar filled with its raw ingredients – sugar, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, skimmed milk powder, and palm oil. The image was first published in January 2017 and left many people in shock. While most consumers probably know that hazelnut-chocolate spread so sweet contains a fair amount of sugar, the visual breakdown can still be quite shocking. In the image, more than half of the jar is filled with white sugar and third of the other half is filled modified vegetable oils.
Based on the Nutella nutrition label that states each two-tablespoon serving has 21 grams of sugar, there is approximately 210 grams of sugar in a 13-ounce jar of Nutella. That’s more than quadruple the sugar in a 16-ounce of Coca-Cola!
As if that was not enough, most people don’t spread Nutella on celery sticks. It’s going on a piece of toast (most often the white kind) or crepes/pancakes. When the sugar from the refined carbohydrates meets the sugar from the chocolate hazelnut spread, there goes any sugar balance for the day. So, having Nutella for breakfast probably isn’t the healthiest choice.
If you’ve read until now, hopefully you are feeling inspired to make your own Nutella at home.
Tips for Making Homemade Nutella
Unlike the original Nutella recipe, the main ingredient in this homemade Nutella are hazelnuts. I always roast the hazelnuts first to enhance their flavor and allow any excess water to evaporate. The bonus of roasting hazelnuts is that you can then also remove their somewhat bitter skins.
The second ingredient is Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Not raw cacao. Not natural (non-Dutch-processed) cocoa. Dutch-processed cocoa. Yes, there is a difference. Dutch-processed cocoa is darker in color and less bitter than the other two. However, it’s not a deal-breaker if you use raw cacao powder or regular cocoa powder.
As far as the sweetener goes, you’ve got several options. If you have no dietary restrictions and simply want to make a healthier version of Nutella, you can use any powdered sweetener you like. I say powdered because liquid sweeteners will seize. This is because nut butters are fat-based whereas liquid sweeteners are water-based. Since oil and water do not mix well, the addition of a liquid sweetener will cause the nut butter to seize up. (The same applies to tempered chocolate, BTW).
Granulated sweeteners are a better option than liquid sweeteners, but not ideal. This is because sugar doesn’t dissolve in fat (including nut butters). So, your Nutella will only be as smooth (or grainy) as the sweetener you use. So, if you do use a granulated sweetener, such as coconut sugar, you will need to grind it into a fine powder before you use it for this homemade Nutella.
I should also mention that homemade Nutella (without the addition of any oil) is thinner than regular Nutella. Palm oil, remember? So if you want your homemade Nutella to be thicker and smoother, add a few tablespoons of coconut oil and/or melted chocolate.
Many people don’t realize that Nutella isn’t actually vegan. But if you’ve read the beginning of this post, you now know that Nutella contains skimmed milk powder. To compensate for the creaminess dairy would normally provide in this chocolate spread, I use cashews. They are a great alternative to dairy if you want to make vegan Nutella. If you’re not a fan of cashews, you can just skip them.
Hardcore cocoa fans probably don’t need any sweetener here, but I find the natural bitterness of cocoa too much. The good news is that keto Nutella doesn’t have to be sugar-free. My favorite keto-friendly sweetener is a monk fruit sweetener. It’s made from the fruit’s extract, and it’s vegan, paleo, keto, diabetic, and low carb. The best thing about this sweetener is that it has zero aftertaste, so you won’t know the difference between regular Nutella and keto Nutella.
The most consuming part of this hazelnut spread is removing the skins from the hazelnuts. A dry pan is quicker and no doubt more energy efficient, but you’ll get a more even result in a hot oven. To remove the skins, you can either rub the hazelnut skins off with a clean kitchen towel, or shake the hazelnuts vigorously in a tightly closed container for a minute or so, until most of the skins have fallen off. If you find that rubbing off those papery skins is too tedious, blanched hazelnuts are relatively easy to find.
The next step is grinding the hazelnuts into nut butter. A good way to tell you’re are the right consistency when processing the hazelnuts is when the hazelnut spread starts having an almost oily, sleek or shiny surface. Keep in mind that his recipe does require a heavy-duty food processor. A less powerful food processor isn’t robust enough to make nut butter. If you doubt your food processor’s ability to cope, I would recommend buying hazelnut butter.
As I already mentioned, if you aren’t using powdered sweetener, you will need to grind it before adding it to the hazelnut butter. Please, don’t skip this step (unless you’re fine with grainy Nutella).
Tips for Using Nutella
Nutella might be one of the most popular sweets of all time. You can eat it with a spoon, spread it on toast, fold it into a croissant, drizzle it over ice cream or use it for your favorite recipe.
Talking about a recipe, a lot of people have asked how to substitute the dates in these raw brownies. Nutella! My favorite ratio of nut flour, nut butter, and cocoa powder is 3 : 3 : 1. So, if you use 1 cup Nutella (= 2 1/2 cups nuts + 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder), you would need 2 1/2 cups nut flour and 3/4 cup cocoa powder. The Nutella itself is quite sweet, so you might need to add only a little bit of extra monk fruit sweetener (or any other sweetener of your choice).
Tools You’ll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Blender (Vitamix 5200) | 3. Baking Sheet (Pampered Chef, Stone) | 4. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 5. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and roast the hazelnuts for about 15 minutes, watching closely, until the skins have darkened and are starting to peel away from the nut. Shake the pan every 5 minutes to make sure the hazelnuts are evenly roasted.
When the hazelnuts are done roasting, transfer them onto the center of a kitchen towel. Gather the corners of the kitchen towel, enclosing the hazelnuts, and then rub vigorously for 1-2 minutes until the skins fall off. It's fine if not all skins fall off. Pick out the nuts (leaving the skins behind on the towel) and place them into a heavy-duty food processor. Another option is to place the roasted hazelnuts into a mason jar, put the lid on, and then shake the jar vigorously for 1-2 minutes until the skins fall off. Pick out the nuts (leaving the skins behind on the towel) and place them into a heavy-duty food processor.
Process the hazelnuts anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes, until they turn into nut butter. A good way to tell you’re are the right consistency when processing the nuts is when the nut butter starts having an almost oily, sleek or shiny surface. Depending on your food processor, this should take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
Add the cashews, cocoa powder, powdered sweetener, sunflower lecithin, and salt. Process for another 5 minutes or so, until the spread is smooth. As the food processor is running, add the melted coconut oil and melted chocolate (optional).
Store leftover Nutella in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. The Nutella will thicken when chilled. Simply bring it to room temperature to soften. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for 3 months.
*If you use a granulated sweetener (as opposed to a powdered sweetener), you will need to grind it into a fine powder first.
**Homemade Nutella (without coconut oil) is thinner than regular Nutella. That's because the Nutella thickens as the coconut oil cools. FYI, the amount of palm oil in the original Nutella recipe is ~20%.