These deliciously addictive and aromatic Chinese Boiled Peanuts are super easy to prepare in the crockpot. Slow-cooked in soy sauce, sugar, and aromatic spices, they make a nutritious and delicious appetizer, snack, or side dish.
The first time I tried Chinese boiled peanuts was on one of our grocery trips to the Asian supermarket I used to shop at in California. I picked up a few bags from the bin they had near the cashier area and found myself polishing the whole 2 pounds within our 20-minute drive home.
They were so addictive, I couldn’t stop shell-shucking and popping them in my mouth! In fact, I loved them so much, I now make a batch at least once a week. They’re great as an appetizer when I’m entertaining or just any time I want a salty soft snack.
Boiled peanuts are also a common street food in the Filipino food scene. But while they are cooked in a simple mixture of water and salt, the Chinese Boiled Peanuts have a more complex flavor from the addition of various spices.
Unshelled Peanuts – surprisingly, peanuts do not fall under the nut family. They are classified as legumes along with green peas, soybeans, and lentils. You can use raw “green peanuts” that are freshly dug from the soil and still very moist in their shell or raw peanuts that have been air-dried for longer storage and have a much lower moisture content.
Spices – the spices used in this recipe are garlic, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and dried chili. Experiment with other spices like Sichuan peppercorns, lemongrass, and bay leaves for variety.
Seasonings – the combination of soy sauce and sugar adds a delicious medley of sweet and savory flavor
Soak the peanuts in cold water to loosen dirt or grit clinging to the shells. Wash thoroughly until the water runs clear. Pick out and discard any stray twigs or roots.
Make sure the raw peanuts are completely submerged in water to ensure even cooking. Place a plate or trivet over the peanuts to weigh them down and keep them from floating.
To help them absorb more flavor, press each peanut at the tip to give it a little crack.
You can cook the peanuts on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in the pressure cooker. Please check the recipe card for the easy steps.
Once cooked, leave the peanuts in the liquid until cooled and well-flavored.
How to serve
Chinese boiled peanuts can be eaten warm or cold. They make a great appetizer or snack and go great with an ice-cold beer or your favorite drinks.
To prevent the peanuts from drying out, keep in the braising liquid. When you’re ready to eat, drain well and enjoy!
How to store
Drain leftover boiled peanuts well and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days or freeze for about 3 months.