How *not* to make almond butter in a Vitamix, courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

The current Williams-Sonoma catalog includes a Vitamix almond butter recipe in a beautiful Ascent Series spread. As I read it, I kept finding more and more problems. I believe their recipe works, but it doesn’t follow Vitamix best practices and takes considerably more time than necessary. It looks like Williams-Sonoma used a food processor recipe without fully adapting it for a Vitamix.

Some people run into difficulties with making almond butter, and I thought this could be a good learning opportunity. I previously wrote about how to make Vitamix almond butter, so today’s post will just focus on the downsides of the Williams-Sonoma recipe. Here is a zoom:

If you have a wide Vitamix container like the one in the Williams-Sonoma spread, 3 cups is not enough nuts for easy blending. (You can use 3 cups of almonds in a narrow Vitamix container, but, at this point, the only narrow Vitamix containers that can be used with a tamper are for Legacy models and don’t work with Ascent models.) For the wide Ascent and G-Series containers, you should use 4–5 cups of nuts. Interestingly, in the photo it looks like they have at least 5 cups of nuts in the container.

Warming toasted nuts is not necessary. As the nuts blend in a Vitamix, they naturally heat up from friction, so pre-warming them is a pointless 10-minute step. And transferring directly from the oven to a container can be risky. If the nuts are too hot, they will melt the container. (In most blends the container could never melt because water prevents the blend from going above 212°F. But nuts are dry enough that they can go above ~250°F, where the container starts to melt.)

Next, blending on low speed increases the chance of overheating the motor and makes the process take longer.

Finally, if you blend enough nuts to use the tamper, you don’t need to stop and scrape down the sides, and it will blend in about 1 minute, not 10.

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How *not* to make almond butter in a Vitamix, courtesy of Williams-Sonoma — 10 Comments

  1. I am glad to receive this information. I have a vitamix for about 2 years and never used it because I did not know what to combine for healthy smoothies. Thanks so much.

  2. “Low speed???” Good grief!

    You’re quite right–NOT a good way to use one’s Vitamix and yes, the quantity given is wrong for the model shown. And I learned a trick some years back from a demonstrator named Will who made an appearance at one of our NYC Whole Foods locations. I substitute ⅓ – ½ cup of (raw or toasted) pecans for the same amount of almonds (I put them at the bottom of the container but it’s probably not necessary). The softer, oilier pecans not only facilitate blending but the results are sublime; even better IMHO than straight almond butter. Salt is optional and I like to add just a teaspoon or so of coconut sugar to pull everything together.

  3. Good grief really – LOW speed! Who in the world came up with that idea? I have been making almond butter for years before it became a national delight. It’s always FAST speed. And yes, the more almonds the better the machine performs. And, for everyone’s info, after scraping all you can of the butter out of the container, put a cup or a cup and a half of your usual drinking water in the machine and run FULL speed for 60 seconds. And woalah! You have fresh, frothie, almond milk that is more delicious than anything else from the stores.

  4. or just add some fruit, etc and make a delicious smoothie with the remaining almond butter and you have a delicious fruity drink also….

  5. I have heard the reason that you roast your almonds for ten minutes is so that the natural oils can be released, which will make the blending easier. Otherwise, you can add a little coconut oil.

    • The natural oils have already been released in commercially toasted almonds. There’s no need to add oil of any kind and as Adam pointed out, warming the nuts too much can result in a melted container.

  6. Thanks for the good info. Everything helps. I love to use almond butter in my smoothies that I freeze-dry, and using the Vitamix has made it that much better.

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