Saturday, May 15, 2010

Goober Peas - Cajun Boiled Peanuts

A southern staple, raw peanuts are boiled in a salty, Cajun seasoned water - stovetop, crockpot or pressure cooker.

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

♫Sitting by the roadside on a summer's day
Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away
Lying in the shadows underneath the trees
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.

Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.♫
"Goober Peas" by P. Nutt and A. Pindar, 1866

Boiled peanuts - or country caviar as they are often referred as - are a decidedly Southern thang, and even amongst us Southerners, there are two factions. You either love them. Or you hate them. There is rarely a middle ground with boiled peanuts.

Boiling peanuts requires using either green or raw peanuts. The growing season for fresh green peanuts runs between May and September, with major harvests happening generally between August and October each year. You can pretty much find raw peanuts at your local market anytime of the year. What's the difference?

It's all in the timing.

While both are raw, green peanuts come fresh from harvest, are harvested a tad bit early, and much like Southern peas (which like the peanut are actually beans), have a high water content and must be refrigerated after harvesting to keep them fresh. You almost have to live near a peanut farmer to find green peanuts, but if you do find them locally, you will find them in a refrigerator at a roadside stand or in the refrigerator section of a local market, and rarely at a major chain grocery store - unless you live in Georgia. There are, of course, online resources where you can have green peanuts shipped to you as well, and generally they are available from a quarter bushel up. Green peanuts will cook quickly, generally under 2 hours for a large 5 pound batch, a little less for a single pound.

HOT WET GOOBERS from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

Raw peanuts, which you'll see everywhere in the South, have been allowed to air dry to reduce the water content and make them much less perishable. They will take significantly longer to boil. I was hoping to wait and find some freshly harvested green peanuts before posting my recipe, but, to be honest, most of us just don't have access to green peanuts anyway, and when we do, we're much more likely to be in Georgia for a visit and just buy them already boiled from a roadside vendor.

The best flavor, by far, is gonna be a freshly boiled green peanut, no doubt. No different that the taste of a fresh garden tomato from the backyard or the farmer's market versus a grocery store hot house tomato. That said, logically it makes much more sense to write the recipe for the most common ones around for most of us, the raw grocery store peanut. They are still pretty darned good y'all. Just know that if you are lucky enough to get your hands on freshly harvested green peanuts, you'll be enjoying yours much faster than the rest of us!

To be honest, I once thought boiled peanuts were kinda yucky. I mean I love hot, freshly roasted peanuts, but mushy, soft peanuts? Then as happens when we get older, I tried them again and flat out fell in love. So, now I'm of the love 'em camp myself, and in fact, find they are just a bit addictive. The texture might be off-putting to some folks, since boiling a peanut gives it a very soft, soggy feel to the mouth - very different from the crunchy roasted peanut most people are accustomed to. But, they do kinda grow on you.

It is believed that Southerners started boiling peanuts back during the Civil War when on the march through Georgia, Confederate troops were split up, and food and supplies became hard to come by. Peanuts became an important source for nutrition, and Confederate soldiers often roasted them over campfires and some began to boil them. Somewhere along the way somebody used salt when they were boiling them, which made the boiled peanuts last a little bit longer, and hot, boiled and salted peanuts were born in our country.

Boiled peanuts are even available in the can at the local chain grocery markets around here and are very good, but I love to stop and grab a bag of hot, boiled peanuts right out of the pot from the guys who sell them on the roadside. It feels more authentic to me and I feel like I'm helping them out by buying from them. Of course, unless you live somewhere in the southeast region of this country, I suspect you won't find many boiled peanuts showing up at roadside vendors or local farmer's markets, so you'll be relegated to makin' your own. It's not hard at all, it's just a bit time consuming, especially when using older raw peanuts.

The problem with out of season, raw peanuts is, that they are generally last year's crop and over time become quite dehydrated, meaning that they can take forever to cook. While fresh green peanuts can be ready in less than 2 hours, older raw peanuts can take 8 hours, and even much longer, so as long as you are prepared to stew them literally all day long {and sometimes into the next day} you can still have boiled peanuts any time of the year.

For older peanuts, you'll also need to use lots of salt, primarily because you will likely find that you are having to refresh the boiling water continuously to reach the level of softness you want. Otherwise, they will not be seasoned enough. The biggest key to boiling raw peanuts is that you'll just need to continually sample from the pot to taste them as they cook, until they reach the desired level of tenderness you like. Remember if you're out of season with your boiling, that is, somewhere been November and July, you're likely using last season's leftovers. The older your raw peanuts are, the longer they will need to boil.

This recipe is written for a single 1-pound bag of raw peanuts, but amounts listed in the recipe are very dependent on personal preference to be honest. I like to use crab boil, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, onion and garlic powder, and giardiniera peppers when I have them which makes for a nice tingle of spice across the lips.

If you've never made your own boiled peanuts before, just make up a batch to see how the seasoning is for your taste and then make adjustments for your next batch.

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

Yield: 1 pound
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 4 HourInactive time: 8 HourTotal time: 12 H & 15 M
A southern staple, raw peanuts are boiled in a salty, Cajun seasoned water - stovetop, crockpot or pressure cooker.


For the Brine:
  • About a gallon of water
  • 1 1/4 cups of kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh raw peanuts in shells
For the Boil:
  • Water to fill the pot
  • 1 tablespoon crab boil, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) or to taste
  • 1 cup of giardiniera peppers, sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers, or a combination of both, or to taste


  1. You'll need a large stockpot large enough to hold several gallons of water, a lid or plate that will fit just on the inside of the pot, and something heavy to weigh the plate down.
  2. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the peanuts, plus a couple of inches; add the salt and stir to dissolve.
  3. Rinse the peanuts and add them to the water. The peanuts will float, but you'll use the lid to push them down into the water and then set another heavy pot on top of that lid to hold the peanuts down in the pot. Set aside to soak overnight.
  4. When ready to boil, remove the weight and the lid and add additional water to the brining water, to bring it up to a full pot. Stir in the crab boil, Cajun seasoning and peppers and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 4 hours for raw, checking first at 2 hours if peanuts are very fresh and in season, and up to 6 hours for older, adding water as needed to keep peanuts covered.
  6. If additional water is added, bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat back to a simmer. Taste one for texture and flavor and continue cooking, as needed, checking in 30 minute increments until they reach your desired consistency. Some people like them with a bit of a crunch still, others prefer them to be very soft.
  7. Use a kitchen spider to extract those peanuts into a small bowl, leaving the rest of them soaking in the water to increase saltiness and heat level.
  8. Transfer to a covered container with the liquid and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days; warm in the microwave in a covered container in one minute intervals, until heated through.
  9. Will not keep longer than a few days, however they can be frozen. To freeze, place cooled peanuts into freezer containers.
  10. Recipe may be multiplied for cooking outside on a boiler if desired.


For Green Peanuts: Fresh, green peanuts will require much less salt and a quicker cooking time. Skip the overnight brine, and place peanuts in a full pot of water with 1/4 cup of salt. Check first at 1 to 1-1/2 hours and continue cooking to desired tenderness.

Optional Seasonings: Add to above seasonings - 1 tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and garlic powder.

Slow Cooker: Use the largest crockpot you own, brine, then transfer the peanuts to the crockpot with just enough of the brining water to fill the crock 3/4ths way full. Cook on High overnight, or for roughly 12 hours (or as long as 24 if peanuts are older) checking the water occasionally; test and continue cooking to desired texture. You may skip the brine for these but cooking time will be lengthened. Add about 1/4 cup of kosher salt if you skip the brine.

Electronic Pressure Cooker: I use this method to make my peanuts now. Reserve water from brine. Add one tablespoon of oil to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Top with peanuts and seasonings; stir. I always include the optional seasonings listed above also. Add enough water of the brine water to cover peanuts.

Cover, seal and cook at high pressure for 55 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, then transfer peanuts and liquid to crockpot, add additional water to fill crockpot 2/3rds full, and finish on high for approximately 2 to 3 hours; taste and continue cooking as needed until peanuts reach your desired consistency. You may skip the brine for these and the crockpot version but cooking time will be lengthened. Add about 1/4 cup of kosher salt if you skip the brine.

Recommended Products:

Giardiniera, Peanuts, Snacks, Southern Classics
American, Southern
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @DeepSouthDish on instagram and hashtag it #deepsouthdish

Posted by on May 15, 2010

Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Recipes are offered for your own personal use only and while pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, please do not copy and paste post or recipe text to repost or republish elsewhere such as other Facebook pages, blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

As an Amazon Associate, Deep South Dish earns from qualifying purchases. See full disclosure for details.

Hey Y’all! Welcome to some good ole, down home southern cooking. Pull up a chair, grab some iced tea, and 'sit a bit' as we say down south. If this is your first time visiting Deep South Dish, you can sign up for FREE updates via EMAIL or RSS feed, or you can catch up with us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Articles on this website are protected by copyright. You are free to print and sharing via Facebook share links and pinning with Pinterest are appreciated, welcomed and encouraged, but do not upload and repost photographs, or copy and paste post text or recipe text for republishing on Facebook, other websites, blogs, forums or other internet sites without explicit prior written approval.
Click for additional information.

© Copyright 2008-2022 – Mary Foreman – Deep South Dish LLC - All Rights Reserved

Material Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from the provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

DISCLAIMER: This is a recipe site intended for entertainment. By using this site and these recipes you agree that you do so at your own risk, that you are completely responsible for any liability associated with the use of any recipes obtained from this site, and that you fully and completely release Mary Foreman and Deep South Dish LLC and all parties associated with either entity, from any liability whatsoever from your use of this site and these recipes.

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. CONTENT THEFT, EITHER PRINT OR ELECTRONIC, IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE. Recipes may be printed ONLY for personal use and may not be transmitted, distributed, reposted, or published elsewhere, in print or by any electronic means. Seek explicit permission before using any content on this site, including partial excerpts, all of which require attribution linking back to specific posts on this site. I have, and will continue to act, on all violations.

Email Subscription DSD Feed