Georgia Hot Boiled Peanuts

hot boiled peanuts

This page is intended to inform the uninitiated about the fine delicacy that is the boiled peanut. Eating hot boiled peanuts is one of the finest ways to enjoy one of Georgia's largest agricultural crops.


Boiled peanuts are raw peanuts that have been prepared in a pot of boiling salt water. They are best enjoyed as a snack on long car trips through the curvy mountain roads of the Southern U.S.A.

Where to find good Boiled Peanuts

When traveling on the rural highways of Georgia, you won't go far without seeing a sign:


If you have never tried them before, slam on the brakes and pull over. Hot boiled peanuts are a southern delicacy not to be missed.

How to spot a Good Boiled Peanuts Stand

As with any other cuisine, presentation is and important part of the dining experience. An authentic boiled peanuts stand has several distinguishing characteristics.

First, look at the signage. An authentic hot boiled peanut stand will be hand painted on the back of what was up until recently a road sign warning of a sharp curve ahead. In fact, if you look further up the road, you may see skid marks from a vehicle driven by some hapless yankee.

Beware of machine printed boiled peanut signs and/or those without spelling mistakes. No doubt some yankee is trying to break into the business. Yankees have tried to make inroads by purchasing genuine boiled peanuts and then bagging them and putting them in the refrigerator. In my opinion, this is deceptive advertising. In reality you will be purchasing COLD, SLIMY, SOGGY peanuts. In a pinch they will do, but you don't want to try them as your first experience. If nothing else, ask the proprietor to heat them up for you in the microwave.

Second, look for the cooking apparatus. It should be in plain view and you should see smoke and/or steam spewing forth. You may see a haphazard contraption fashioned from an old 55 gallon drum and a propane tank. If you see a wooden fire then you can be sure you are getting the REAL thing. Boiled peanuts are cooked with lots of salt, so expect to see rust and a nice crust of dried salt in and around the equipment.

The next characteristic you should check out is the boiled peanut pot itself. Now, it takes a long time to make good boiled peanuts. The pot will probably not look all that clean, but relax, boiling kills almost all known pathogens. The water inside the pot should be black. This is because the water has probably been used and reused for a week or two.

Finally, look at the proud entrepreneur manning the hot boiled peanut booth. You want to find a vendor that eats his own product. How can you tell? Well, boiled peanuts contain lots of salt. Lots of salt is bad for your teeth. My suggestion is to tell a joke about someone from Alabama. You should be rewarded with a big gap filled smile.

How to eat Boiled Peanuts

When you order the peanuts, you should ask for 2 bags - one full of hot peanuts and one for the shells. A brown paper bag is usually provided, and some kind vendors put a plastic bag inside.

Well done peanuts split open just with your fingers. With a little practice, you can split them open and carefully squeeze out the tender peanuts without breaking their skin. I usually slurp them right out of the shell unless I'm shelling them for the kids.

Lloyd at Austin Electronics tells me that he loves to savor those in the shell juices. I agree. When those juices dribble down your arm, you aren't upset that your shirt and pants are getting wet - you're disappointed that you didn't get more of that good stuff in your mouth.

I feel silly for saying this, but you do not eat the shells, of course. That is what the second paper bag is for. Unfortunately, more than one yankee has made this mistake. One was thankful enough for my advice to drop me a line. This poor creature started off on the wrong foot, but things are looking up. She now resides in South Carolina.

 Subject: Feedback from boiled_peanuts.shtml
    Time: Sat May 21 18:38:52 2005
    Name: <name withheld to protect privacy>
   Email: ima.yankee-at-clemson.edu

Comments: Thanks for the info.  I actually am not from the south and 
          tried some boiled peanuts....wish I had known then that you do NOT 
          eat the shells.  The bag said ready to eat...I thought that was 
          what it meant!  Well, I'm sure to have more instances like this....
          any other advice on other things???  Thanks

Jen, ... Oops, I mean anonymous feedback provider, I hope you had a chance to experience boiled peanuts properly. For the advice, please remember that South is capitalized in this context for future reference. If you have any more advice for our adopted bretheren, please drop me a line.

How to tell when you've had Enough

Just like the famous potato chip jingle, you can't eat just one boiled peanut. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating them when your fingers turn wrinkly from the salt water. Either that, or you've reached the bottom of the bag.

Boiled Peanuts in a Can

If you have never tasted boiled peanuts before and can't get out of the city, you might try to find them in a can at the store. They will probably be right beside the grits section in your local supermarket. If your supermarket doesn't have grits, they probably won't have boiled peanuts. You can do a Google search (or check the links on the left of this page) if you want to order some. Make sure you HEAT THEM UP before you eat them. About a minute in the microwave usually does the trick.

The Professional Recipe

As everyone knows, a carpenter is only as good as his tools (or is it that a poor carpenter blames his tools? I get that mixed up.) Anyway, you will need proper equipment to boil peanuts professionally.

Suggested Equipment List:
  • Beer keg
  • Lid for said beer keg (metal trash can lid works well)
  • King Kooker outdoor burner (Available at Walmart)
  • Propane tank
  • Strainer with long handle for ladling out peanuts.

First, make sure you have your friend purchase the beer keg and put the deposit on his credit card. Then drink all the delicious beer inside. It would be polite to invite your friend to join you because he might get upset with what you are about to do next. Use a welding torch or other metal cutter to remove the top out of the keg. Now you have a perfect size container for boiling peanuts.

Now, prepare yourself for the secret to success. I obtained this recipe from a local. They didn't say, but I assume this has passed down from generation to generation. I know that because three generations of the family now run The Produce Patch right here in Norcross at the intersection of Holcomb Bridge Road and Spalding Drive. They carry all sorts of wonderful farm fresh produce and seasonal items such as pumpkins and Christmas trees right outside the bowling alley (y'all know where that is).

Carver was manning the peanut pot. As near I could tell, he had all his teeth, which is a bad sign. BUT, he told me that it is his father is in charge of the peanuts, who was away at the moment. Its a good thing he was away, because I might not have escaped alive with the secret recipe. I spoke with Lynn who gave me some tips on the boiled peanut trade (such as, "You can't sell produce without boiled peanuts!"), and eventually gained her trust and they gave me their secret family recipe not knowing I was about to publish it to the screaming hordes of the Internet.

Professional Boiled Peanuts Recipe:
  • 1 50 lb. bag of raw peanuts (makes 2 batches)
  • 4 containers of table salt
  • 1 can beer (optional)

First, fill the empty keg with half the sack of raw peanuts. Next, fill the keg with water. Cut the top off of the salt containers and dump them in. Light up your burners and wait, adding water as necessary. You must boil peanuts for at least 6 hours in the beer keg before they are even tender enough to sample. After 6 or 7 hours, they are ready! Dispense in to small brown bags for authenticity. Turn down the heat. You can leave them simmering for the rest of the day, adding water as needed. If you want to sell some of them, you may want to check out this site. You have a reputation to maintain, don't you?

The can of beer was dropped from The Produce Patch's repetoire for public consumption after locals got word of the secret ingredient.

With Scooter Libby as my witness, I solemnly swear that I did not break the Geneva Convention or the terms of Surrender at Appomattox to obtain this recipe.

Recipe to make Boiled Peanuts at Home

All you need is a big pot, water, a "lot" of salt, and raw peanuts. Raw peanuts are not what you eat at the ball park; those have been roasted. Don't try to boil roasted peanuts as they will just will just taste like salty peanut butter.

Amy's recipe is to use a crock pot:

  1. Fill the Crockpot about 2/3 full of water.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of salt. The taste should be a bit saltier than sea water.
  3. Add raw peanuts. They may float at first until they are soaked through with water.
  4. Cook for 6-12 hours.
  5. You can tell when they are done when the shells easily open by squeezing them with your fingers and the peanuts inside are completely soft. You won't save much time cooking them on the stove. It takes hours and hours for the water to soften those shells.

Cajun Style Hot Boiled Peanuts

Yes Virginia, there is such a thing. Some entrepreneurs have expanded their offerings to include boiled peanuts spiked with Cayenne Pepper. The amount of heat varies from stand to stands, so partake at your own risk.

The International Delicacy

I've gotten many comments on this page, but here is one of the most interesting from Alexandra Carter:

      Time: Thu Oct  6 01:02:52 2005
      Name: Alexandra Carter
     Email: alexandracarter-at-ebay
  Comments: With a name like Carter I know a thing or two about boiled 
            peanuts - one of Nature's most underappreciated delicacies! All over 
            East Asia boiled peanuts are eaten, and since the weather is hot, 
            generally nice and cold! There's nothing finer on a hot
            day. They're generally cooked nice and fresh the night before,
            using a pressure cooker, then refrigerated and sold in bags in the
            store or from a roadside stand.  Great stuff!! Nothing like popping
            'em out of the shell and feeling the peanut skin pop and release a
            bit of salty water in your mouth, that's just perfect. "Edamame",
            the boiled soy beans that are eaten in sushi  bars are a poor
            cousin of the boiled peanut, and not nearly as good. I hope in my
            lifetime to see the boiled peanut recognized in the US as the  
            king of boiled nutlike beans! 

Thanks for that tidbit (and the circuit boards from eBay) Alexandra. I still think they are better nice and hot, but its nice to know that such a fine delicacy is appreciated a world away.

The Best Boiled Peanuts are Green.

Fellow robot builder Keith Rowell of Knewt fame chimed in with his secret to what makes the best boiled peanuts. I never new there was a distinction between green and raw peanuts.

    Time: Sun Nov 13 21:10:15 2005
    Name: Keith Rowell
   Email: rowell-at-mindpsring


          I enjoyed your peanuts page alot and was inspired to
          comment. We grew peanuts on our farm when I was a kid, as
          you may have guessed. 

          The best boiled peanuts are made from "green" peanuts. Peanuts 
          like this are pulled directly from the ground, just a few weeks 
          before they are all ripe and "filled out". Boiled peanuts from 
          this source are more tender and delectable. Mature 
          peanuts by contrast are more "woody" and hard. Because
          "green" peanuts  aren't available commercially, you have to
          know someone with a peanut field. You go there and dig up
          the vines with a pitch fork. You can't just  
          pull them up by the vines because the nuts will break off in the 
          ground. If inspection reveals that the nuts are mature
          enough, (some will just be white hulls with barely a formed 
          nut inside). You take these vines to a shady, comfortable
          chair It takes alot of this to get a "beer keg" full of
          nuts. You can while away a long afternoon this way. It's a
          long way to go for boiled peanuts but it's the only way as
          far as I'm concerned. The commercial raw peanuts are
          harvested by machines after they are fully mature and most
          times have been left "inverted" in the field for a week to
          dry them out for shipping.

          One more thing. We were cooking boiled
          peanuts in Houston once to quell a pang of home sickness,
          and this girl who came to visit, upon getting a whiff of the
          scent as she came through the door exclaimed,"Who's cooking

Thank you Keith for your intricate knowledge of the green peanut. Long live the BOLLD P-NUT!


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