Chinese Boiled Peanuts

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
  • To cook on the stovetop, combine all ingredients in a large pot and cover with water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, adding more water as needed, for about 3 to 4 hours or until desired tenderness. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to allow peanuts to cook evenly.
  • To cook in a pressure cooker, combine all ingredients in the pressure cooker. and add enough water to cover. Lock on the lid and close the pressure valve. Cook on HIGH for about 60 minutes. When the pressure cooker beeps, release pressure naturally and let the cooked peanuts sit for about 30 minutes.

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