Peanut butter has been adapted into so many different things. Smoothies, spreads, pastries, brittles, and all manner of things use peanut butter in a variety of different forms. Less appreciated than the common solid form of peanut butter is melted peanut butter. But how do you even melt peanut butter?
The two best ways to melt peanut butter are in the microwave and on the stovetop. Be warned, however, that both of these carry a risk of a mess. Especially on the stovetop, you will likely have a pot afterwards that is thick with the refuse of liquified peanut butter. If you have nonstick spray, it will help.
Melting Peanut Butter In The Microwave
While many foods will make extremely easy use of the microwave, there are a few preparation steps to melting peanut butter that are required before you can get started. Unlike most cases, it is not a situation where you can just toss a jar of peanut butter into the microwave and expect things to work out for you.
The first step is putting the desired amount of peanut butter in a non-stick bowl. You might not have a non-stick bowl, and if you do not then spray down a normal bowl that is safe for the microwave. If you cannot do that either, then just use a microwave safe bowl and be prepared to clean it out afterwards.
Now, you may be wondering: How does one know how much peanut butter is a desirable amount? The answer to that is determined by your bowl. Just fill it up to halfway at most. The reason for this is that the peanut butter will expand when it melts, and you do not want it running over the edge of the bowl.
This is actually the same reason why you do not want to microwave it in the jar especially with the lid still on it. The best case scenario is that the jar is ruined. The worst case, and considerably more likely, the scenario is that your whole microwave is ruined by the peanut butter exploding out of the jar (which can totally happen).
The last precaution to take is making sure that whatever you stir the peanut butter with does not go into the microwave with the bowl. Usually, this utensil will be metal, and metal explodes in microwaves. Be careful.
After all that just set it to thirty seconds and you should be good to go.
Melting Peanut Butter On The Stovetop
The process on a stovetop involves similar components as the process in a microwave. Instead of a bowl, you use a pot. Filling it up halfway still works, and you should still be careful with it once it heats up.
This time though you will have more control over it. Use a low flame and the peanut butter should melt within five minutes. Do not walk away from it during this time, but continuously stir it to keep it from caramelizing. You can heat it as long as you want to make it as runny as you want, just do not let it stop moving.
Is Melted Peanut Butter Good For You?
The short answer is yes, peanut butter is good for you. The long answer is that not only is it good for you, but uniquely among foods boiling the peanut butter does not take away its healthy qualities.
When it comes to things like vegetables, most of them are reliant on cells that are still technically living to provide their most healthy qualities. Vegetables will give you fiber no matter what, so they are always healthy, but if they are frozen or cooked, they might not give you the enzymes that are the really healthy parts of them.
Peanut butter, however, is healthy for completely different reasons. Peanut butter’s two primary health benefits are iron and protein, both of which are derived from materials in peanut butter that are still there whether it is frozen, melted, or anywhere in between.
Can You Turn Peanut Butter Back To Normal After Melting It?
This is an age-old question in cooking: Is it possible to unscramble an egg? Can you turn a chicken nugget back into a chicken? In the case of those two, the answer is no. But in the case of peanut butter, the answer is actually yes.
The melted peanut butter will, eventually, turn back into normal peanut butter if left at room temperature. This goes along with the previous point, as it is important to understand that the biggest chemical change the peanut butter goes through is that its molecules are less cohesively bonded together.
Compare something like almond milk. Almond milk contains almonds, but unlike cow’s milk, the liquid produced by the almonds is often not liquid-y enough to be a viable product on its own. As such, almond milk contains a lot of water. It also contains cream to give it the milky texture people are familiar with.
Almonds, water, and cream all boil and freeze at very different temperatures. This means that if you freeze a glass of almond milk, then it will separate into its three base components in the glass. It takes an “emulsifier”, which is a chemical that aids in the rebonding of other chemicals, to turn those chemicals back to almond milk.
Peanut butter is made up of more than just peanuts, but nothing in its ingredients has such a drastically different boiling point that their bonds are broken by being heated. As such, peanut butter can transition from one state to the next and back again without any loss of form or function. It is basically the perfect food.