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Vegan “nutella”

February 15, 2011

Vegan nutellaHere and there on the Internet I’ve spied veganized versions of Nutella (aka chocolate hazelnut spread), and I’d had it in mind for months now to make some myself.  My only requirement was that it had to be like Nutella, or at least like this stuff, which I bought at Karmavore for a hefty $12.99.

It was serendipitous, then, that I found this recipe posted by David Lebovitz.  I have no idea who David Lebovitz is, actually, but the photo for his recipe for homemade nutella looked exactly like what I wanted to eat, only veganized.

This recipe makes a lot of hazelnut spread – David Lebovitz says the recipe yields 2 cups, but I ended up with at least 3 cups!  Like this is a problem, though?  Really, you can use this stuff in crepes, sandwich it in between cookies, put a heaping tablespoon in a cup of hot chocolate, and spread it on toast. (Or eat it right off the spoon like I know you will.)

And since I know that you’d rather me get out of the way so you can drool over the recipe, here is a pretty damn good “nutella”.


1 2/3 cup whole hazelnuts (with or without their skins)
1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used home-made cashew milk – recipe here)
3/4 cup + 1-2 tbsp powdered non-dairy milk*
4 tablespoons agave nectar
pinch of sea salt
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces (140g) dark chocolate, chopped (look for chocolate with 50% or more cacao solids)

*Note:  I used powdered creamed coconut in my recipe.  Some brands of this stuff include sodium caseinate in their product, which is a milk derivative.  So watch out for this ingredient if you’d like to use powdered creamed coconut in your recipe.


1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

2.  Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are nicely toasted and brown (but not burnt!).  Stir the nuts every 5 minutes to evenly toast them and remove them from the oven once they are done.

2. In a small pot, combine the milk, powdered milk, agave, and salt and bring to a boil.  As soon as it starts to boil, remove the pot from the heat.

3. Fill another small pot with about 1″ of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to low so that it is just barely simmering.  Put the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl and set the bowl over the top of the pot, using a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate until it has completely melted.

4. If your nuts have their skins on them (skip this step if they don’t): Using a clean tea towel, place the nuts on the tea towel and gather up the edges of the towel, creating a pouch for the nuts.  Rub the nuts together quickly and firmly to remove as much of the skins as you can.  Don’t worry about how much skin is left on the nuts.  Just try to get off as much as you can without stressing too much about it.

5. Use a food processor to grind the nuts as finely as you can (watch that you don’t turn them into a nut butter).

6. When the nuts are the right consistency (think tiny pin-head sized grains of nut), add the melted chocolate and continue to process the paste until the nuts are fully incorporated and the mixture is relatively smooth.

7.  Add the milk mixture to the paste and process until it is fully combined and you have a pretty smooth paste.

9. Transfer the mixture into two jars (I reused some canning and nut butter jars) and refrigerate.  The paste will seem a bit runny a first, but give it some fridge time and it will firm up into the perfect texture.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2011 1:59 pm

    this post makes me wish i was near a kitchen. yum!

  2. February 15, 2011 5:11 pm

    YUMMY! 😀

  3. February 16, 2011 3:17 am

    Looks yummy!! I’ve made vegan nutella before, but not with powdered non-dairy milk. I’m curious as to how it affects the flavor and creaminess. Also, I agree that there’s nothing wrong with having extra nutella. 🙂

  4. February 22, 2011 7:20 am

    Here in the Netherlands the cheapest variant of choco-hazelnutspread at the AH-supermarket is vegan so I don’t HAVE to use this recipe. Still, it looks awesome so I probably will try it. What I don’t understand however is the difference between “bittersweet” and “dark” chocolate, how much cacao is in bittersweet chocolate?

  5. February 22, 2011 9:07 am

    Jeroen: Lucky you! Although, I must admit that it’s a very good thing I can’t buy a spread like that here since I’d be eating it all the time.

    The original non-vegan recipe my recipe is based on used milk chocolate in place of the dark chocolate I call for. The difference I found was that the bittersweet chocolate had a much higher percentage of cacao solids (something like 80%) and a lot less sugar than the dark chocolate I used, which had twice the amount of sugar and 55% cacao solids. (I called for a dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao solids than the original recipe because I find these particular chocolates much smoother than those with a lesser amount of cacao solids.) Of course, there are several brands of rice and soy milk chcolate available, but I don’t think they’re that accessible to everyone since they’re hard to find no matter how vegan-friendly the city or town. You could order them online, of couse, though I think most people would probably just use whatever is at hand. Dark chocolate is a lot more easier to find, though if you or anyone else has a more milk-chocolate like bar they can use in this recipe, go for it! I think a creamier taste would only make this stuff even better.

    On a similar note, I found a recipe in Veganomicon the other day called “not-tella”. It called for cocoa and not melted chocolate, though it had the very delicious addition of hazelnut liquor, which would totally put this spread over the top. I have plans to try it sometime 🙂

  6. March 10, 2011 2:05 pm

    Holy guacamole that looks good. Bookmarked!!

  7. Christian permalink
    May 1, 2011 2:44 pm

    How is it vegan if it has chocolate in it?
    Sorry I’m new to the vegan life, I love it though! but I am trying to be really strict with it.

  8. May 9, 2011 11:59 am

    Christian: Some chocolate has milk and other animal ingredients, other chocolate doesn’t. The chocolate is doesn’t is vegan (remember to read the label). Some manufacturers process vegan chocolate on shared machinery that’s also had non-vegan chocolate processed on it. That’s one reason why sometimes you’ll see an ingredient label with a statement akin to “May contain milk ingredients”. The machinery used to process chocolate can’t be cleaned with water, so this is why traces of dairy, eggs, or other animal ingredients are sometimes found in chocolate. If this is a concern for you, you could do some research on brands of chocolate made on dedicated dairy-free machinery.

  9. May 19, 2011 12:33 pm

    Oh wow- must make this, to be eaten by the spoonful! Now, I’m sure Panacea carries it, but I’ve never found powdered non dairy milks. Anywhere. What have you seen and where- I can always look around but I”m curious as to what you’ve actually seen and used. Oh- my sis made your cinnamon buns- and they were spectacular! She’s an omni and followed the recipe to a t except for the icing: she had cream cheese in her fridge and not being vegan, used it- but she said she’d make them again for me when I visit!!! Wa hooo! I won’t make then unless I have an occasion cause I”ll eat the whole pan in one shot…

  10. Cecil permalink
    June 17, 2011 5:52 pm

    Hello! I really want to try this recipe but where i live i can only find vegan dark chocolate. Do you think i could use chocolate powder instead of semi sweet chocolate, maybe? 🙂

  11. June 25, 2011 5:22 pm

    Hi Cecilia:

    You could absolutely use dark chocolate if that’s all you can find. You could also use cooca powder too, though you’ll have to play with the recipe a bit since the volume of cocoa powder is different than that of whole chocolate. If you have a chance to look at a copy of Veganomicon, there is a recipe for vegan Nutella toward the back of the cookbook, and I believe it calls for cocoa powder. There’s also many recipes on the Internet that use cocoa powder too, so have a look around to get an idea how how much to use. You might even find a recipe you like better than mine! Good luck 🙂

  12. November 13, 2011 5:25 pm

    Do you mind sharing the brand of powdered creamed coconut you used? I’ve only been able to find soy milk powder in stores, but I don’t think I’ll like the flavor.

  13. Diana permalink
    February 10, 2012 11:09 am

    How long do you think the spread will last in the refrigerator?

    Can’t wait to make it!

  14. March 7, 2012 5:30 pm

    I gotta try this!!!!! Thanks!!!!

  15. March 26, 2012 7:48 am

    Reblogged this on veganchiq.

  16. tailoredbones permalink
    March 27, 2012 8:41 pm

    Reblogged this on tailoredbones.

  17. April 12, 2012 4:41 am

    I had the same question as Christian. I am new to Veganism- I would not call myself a vegan- yet- I am in the stages of exploration and figuring out what it is all about and how I could maintain it as a lifestyle, but I was wondering about the chocolate thing too. I would have assumed even dark chocolate contained dairy. In your answer back to him, you wrote, “The chocolate is doesn’t is vegan” What does that mean? I was trying to follow your answer, but I didn’t really get it. It sounded like you were backing him up more than yourself that this was a vegan recipe so I’m a little confused! I am so new to this I just don’t know a thing so I am trying to learn!

  18. May 5, 2012 8:34 pm

    in the directions you call for agave but there is no agave but you never say how much! I really would like to try this but…


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