Fresh Boiled Peanuts: A delicious Lowcountry treat

Boiled peanuts are a delicious treat most South Carolinians love – so much that they are the official state snack.

When you’re driving down a beautiful South Carolina country road on a summer day and you see a sign that reads “boiled peanuts,” hit the brakes. 

Boiled peanuts are best in the months of August and September because that’s when peanuts are in season. When they’re pulled out of the ground and immediately thrown into a big pot for boiling, they’re at their most delicious. That’s why the ones you buy at roadside stands during the summer and early fall taste so much better than at other times of the year.

If you prefer to make your own boiled peanuts, it’s the simplest thing in the world. If you can boil water, you can make boiled peanuts. The key to perfect boiled peanuts is using green peanuts. That means it’s a raw peanut fresh from the field that hasn’t been dried yet.


Peanuts freeze well, so you can buy in bulk during the season and put them in the freezer to use all year. Boil them for a few minutes, then drain and cool before placing in freezer bags. Or you can prepare a large batch of boiled peanuts and package them in freezer bags to use later.

Some people like to add Cajun seasonings to boiled peanuts, but we purists think that’s not necessary.


Peanuts boil in a big pot at Barefoot Farms on St. Helena Island. ESPB photo

Here’s the basic recipe:

2-3 pounds of green peanuts
About ½ cup salt, depending on how salty you like your peanuts

Wash the peanuts and place them in a large pot. Cover (generously) with water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook for one to two hours.

You can easily adapt this recipe to cook any amount of peanuts. Just increase the amount of water and salt.


Article by Gwen Fowler / Discover South Carolina