Homemade Nutella

chocolate hazelnut spread

Many years ago I worked in a restaurant in New York with a group of other cooks, who were mostly women and we were all friends. We’d gather in the cold morning kitchen, working around a communal wooden counter near the warm stove armed with cups of strong coffee as we set about our various tasks while engaging in conversations while doing all the repetitive work of chopping the piles of vegetables we used for soups, salads, and other things that we were going to prepare the rest of the day.

One woman, who I’ll call Mary Smith (and who, for some reason, we all called her by her complete name, “Mary Smith”, rather than just “Mary”), was bookish and almost librarian in her demeanor, and she was attending a local Ivy league institution, getting her doctorate in Russian and Russian studies. She worked very efficiently with no unnecessary movements, and always had perfect posture, like a ballerina, along with pristine skin and straight brown hair pulled sharply back in a tight ponytail.

chocolate-milk and dark hazelnuts, toasted

One quiet morning we were all going about our usual business of silently peeling onions and chopping celery when Mary put her knife down on the counter, looked up, and simply announced, “Who do I have to bl-w around here to get some carrots?”

Startled at the suddenness of her request, as well as the straightforward delivery of it, we all just kind of froze for a moment in mid-action, and stared at her until someone broke the stone silence of disbelief.

As I’ve come to believe, it’s as if they’ve implanted something in my brain so stores in Paris can know what I’m out of so that when I get there, they can be sure to not have it in stock. So I went to G. Detou (which translates in French as “I have everything”, which they normally do) to pick up hazelnuts to try a recipe for World Nutella Day from the Encyclopédie du Chocolat that landed on my doorstep. Of course, they had every kind of nut and seed crammed onto their shelves; almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, four kinds of pistachios, and even Macadamia nuts. They indeed have everything—except the one thing that I wanted: hazelnuts.

grinding homemade nutella homemade nutella

But lest you think I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, it’s not just me: a woman was there at the exact same time looking for the exact same thing as I was. So maybe, or maybe not, my paranoid ramblings of brain implants are just in my head. (Although I’d love to know how uncanny it is that this always happens to me.)

And I spent the second half of my day looking for these seemingly-common nuts…and after wondering what kinds of acts I’d have to perform to find some hazelnuts around here, I finally came across them at the Arabic market, which never fails me when I’m in desperate need of something. Plus as an added bonus for my troubles, they came already skinned. So at long last, with nuts firmly in my grasp, I finally headed home.


There were a few recipes in this book that raised an eyebrow: Lobster with chocolate mousse? Fish with a green tea-white chocolate sauce resting on a pool of milk chocolate sauce enriched with fish stock? Well, you likely won’t be seeing them on the site anytime in the near future. But being open-minded, if anyone does try them, I’d be interested in knowing how they turned out.

Yet I was interested in the recipe Pâte à tartiner maison, or “homemade spreading paste.” I’m not sure why they call for a small amount of almonds (to make me have to look for two ingredients instead of one?), and two kinds of chocolate—milk and dark—when you’re already adding fresh milk and milk powder. (Although I think the bigger question is who would mix chocolate and seafood?) But I’ve learned not to ask questions any longer and just deal.

chocolate hazelnut paste homemade nutella

When I started gathering the ingredients in my kitchen, I realized I didn’t have any milk chocolate (although I did have almonds and surprisingly, powdered milk), so put my coat on and headed out in search for some. I won’t tell you what that entailed. But in the end, I was rewarded with a couple of jars of tasty homemade Nutella which are sitting in my refrigerator, so I know right where to find them.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Two jars (about 1 cup each)

Adapted from the Encyclopédie du Chocolat under the direction of Frédéric Bau

As noted, I wasn’t sure why they called for a small amount of almonds so I think you could get away with swapping out hazelnuts for the 1/3 cup (40g) of almonds and save yourself a trip to the store. I also think you could use all dark chocolate, and perhaps skip the honey, but since I have two jars of this homemade Nutella in my refrigerator, it’s going to be a while before I make any more.

Frankly, I was concerned when I was done at how liquidy the mixture was. But after a few hours of refrigeration, the spread was just the right texture for smearing on bread. Because a number of ingredient questions came up in the comments, so I’ve answered them at the end of the recipe.

  • 1/3 cup (40g) whole almonds
  • 1 1/3 cup (160g) hazelnuts
  • 1 3/4 cup (400g) whole milk (see Notes)
  • 7/8 cup (60g) powdered whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) mild-flavored honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 ounces (140g) milk chocolate, chopped (use one that's at least 30% cacao solids)

1. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, keeping the almond separate, and toast the nuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven, stirring a few times, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are browned.

2. While they are roasting, warm the whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.

3. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave oven, melt the chocolates together until smooth.

4. Once the nuts are well-toasted, remove them from oven and use a spatula to place the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel, then fold them inside the towel and rub them vigorously to remove any loose skins. They don’t need to be pristine; just try to get as much off as possible.

5. In a food processor, grind the warm hazelnuts and almonds until they’re as fine as possible. You may not be able to get them completely smooth, depending on your food processor. (I have a brand new one and even after five minutes, there were little bits of nuts in mine, which is normal.)

6. Add the melted chocolate and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, as necessary.

7. Once the mixture is smooth, add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well-combined.

(The original instructions here said to strain the paste, which I didn’t do because I don’t mind the little bits of toasted nuts, but you can.)

9. Transfer the mixture into two jars and refrigerate until ready to use.

Storage: The Chocolate-Hazelnut Paste will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes: A few people left questions in the comments about ingredients and substitutions. You can read what I say at Baking Ingredients and Substitutions, especially the section about using lower-fat dairy products than recipes indicate. As noted, this recipe is adapted from another one and although I made a few adjustments, I kept the ingredient list fairly intact. I did suggest some possible modifications in the headnote of the recipe of variations that I am pretty certain will work.

For those with questions about whole powdered milk, I have seen it at Indian and Latin markets, sometimes under the Nido brand. (A Nestlé product.) It can be ordered online through Amazon, or another brand can be ordered through King Arthur Flour. A number of readers in the comments noted that they made the spread with low-fat powdered milk and had success with it.

This recipe is part of the round-up for World Nutella Day. You can see the rest of the entries at the round-ups at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso.

Related Links and Recipes

Milk Chocolate-Black Pepper Ice Cream

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Askinosie Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate Sherbet

Chocolate FAQs

Baking Ingredients and Substitutions

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  • SpecialFXLady
    February 7, 2011 4:33am

    For those looking for lowfat/dairy free recipie,


  • February 7, 2011 6:39am

    WOW David,

    Thanks for posting this recipe on your site. I was looking for a recipe like this for quite awhile (I received various recipes from different resources, but none were as perfect as this one). The only thing I miss is the ability to obtain real Piedmont hazelnuts (I had a resource for that while living in New York City; they imported vacuum-packed hazelnuts for chocolatiers directly from Italy); but I can not locate them anymore.

    Thanks again for making my grandchildren very happy

  • February 7, 2011 7:32am

    “…with nuts firmly in my grasp…”

    that you typically strike me as being so vanilla just makes your subtler, edgier, tonge-in-cheek moments really shine, dear David. I chuckled aloud when I noticed that you snuck that one in there.

  • February 7, 2011 7:33am

    especially considering you censored even the word “blow” but a few lines before

    what acts indeed?

  • Jane in Denmark
    February 7, 2011 10:56am

    Once I tasted Nocciolata, I knew I could never go back to Nutella.

  • K
    February 7, 2011 11:24am

    Are you talking about Moosewood? I used to cook there in the early 90’s, and it sounds very close to what you described. I have a guess as to who “Mary Smith” is, if that’s the case. It was a great place to work, probably still is.

  • February 7, 2011 12:34pm

    Wow awsome, so you don’t need to buy jar Nutella anymore. Next time maybe try peanut butter ?

  • Frokostplatter
    February 7, 2011 3:02pm

    That “Nutella” or hazelnuts-cream seems very delicious.

  • Paige
    February 7, 2011 3:13pm

    I would give my right arm for a jar like yours with the “Fermer” and “Ouvrir” on the lid! I love it! Also, thanks for the recipe! It sounds heavenly!

  • Jade
    February 7, 2011 3:59pm

    Why, oh why, are you writing such good recipes?!?! :) It’s not so good for my “tour de taille”!

  • February 7, 2011 4:53pm

    Your story was very entertaining to read and am very happy to get the nutella recipe!

  • sandy
    February 7, 2011 5:27pm

    is there anyway of making it keep a little longer. Because if I only have one week to eat it… it could be dangerous to my middle. thank you for the great recipes!

  • February 7, 2011 5:35pm
    David Lebovitz

    sandy: I don’t know but if someone wants to try freezing it, I’d be interested in hearing how it turns out. Another option is to just cut the recipe in half, although I had zero trouble giving away extra jars : )

    Colin: Oh, the stories I have about my restaurant days. However there’s quite a few readers with sensibilities different than mine (and yours, most likely as well.) Someday maybe I’ll start a top-secret blog under a pen name and reveal everything. But for now, it’s about hazelnut paste (and carrots, where applicable. )

  • kayenne
    February 7, 2011 5:56pm

    i don’t see any issue with using low-fat or skimmed milk in this recipe. in a pinch, i think you can even use non-dairy creamer – like the ones for coffee. the powdered milk’s purpose seemed to be to give the spread more body and keep it from getting too runny.

    going further, i would be interested to try going dairy-free (or even vegan – just skip the honey and use another liquid sugar) and swapping the whole milk with nut milk – maybe almond and using all-dark chocolate.

  • Norine
    February 7, 2011 9:28pm

    soooooo who delivered the carrots?

  • February 7, 2011 10:26pm

    wowwwwwwww!!! I love Nutella !!!! looks yumm

  • Vicki
    February 7, 2011 10:37pm

    None of my cookbooks have a nutella recipe in them — thanks David. Speaking of cookbooks, I have an embarrassing number of them. I can’t buy anymore because there is NO PLACE to put them in my house — they’re stacked in closets as it is. I’m starting to wonder if I have a problem….

  • Stephanie
    February 7, 2011 10:55pm

    Lovely recipe David :)
    My entire family gave up hydrogenated oils so sadly Nutella has been off of our shopping list for a while. I never got around to looking for a recipe and am so happy to hav ethis one. I totally agree with your thoughts of omitting the almonds and one of the chocolates….I will try it and let you know.
    Oh, and I am sure you have heard of it, but at Le Pain Quotidien in Paris they do have nice chocolate/hazlenut spread…..among other things.

  • February 8, 2011 2:45am

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried to make a “nutella” using almond butter as the base, but it didn’t really work out – I think I will use some of the tips and techniques from your recipes the next time I try it again.

  • February 8, 2011 3:07am

    I am certain that this wasn’t the problem on your search, but I have to share: When I was in college, I worked for an upmarket cooking store in Denver. Very near the end of a long day, an exasperated woman came in, looking for hazelnuts. She’d been all around town on her search and had reached her wit’s end. Rather tentatively I asked her (fearing for one of our lives), “Did you happen to see any filberts?”
    “Why, yes.”
    “They’re the same thing.”
    “You’re kidding me?!”
    She blushed and was out the door like a shot.

  • deedee
    February 8, 2011 3:28am

    Has anyone tried powdered goat’s milk in place of whole milk? Do you think it would change the consistency much? I have all of the ingredients, just powdered goat’s milk (bought for a homemade facial mask recipe). Should I try, or hold out for the whole dried milk? That might be a search, I work at Whole Foods and we only have non-fat powdered at my location. Does anyone else think this recipe might need a little vanilla extract as well?

  • February 8, 2011 4:19am

    bless you bless you bless you …

    just landed 4# of hazlenuts last week from my favorite dealer, Holmquist Orchards in Washington State.

    hazlenuts, meet your destiny…

  • February 8, 2011 4:40am

    Hi David, your nutella looks fantastic….cannot buy the stuff any more. Have to make it and I use ALL dark chocolate. Then I can claim it as a health food…all those antioxidants!

  • arline of va
    February 8, 2011 6:01am

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My family and I love Nutella and this home-made version will be healthier for us. I will make it soon. I’ve been trying to convert the little kids from peanut butter to Nutella. I miss the street vendors in Paris selling Nutella crepes!

  • Dean
    February 8, 2011 6:04am

    I recently started a list of blogs & sites to feed my daily insatiable quest for recipes, techniques and anything food…David, your on the list, and I have enjoyed the site so far.

    Today, I headed to Chef Central in Paramus, NJ after a half-day of mundane, but not required, so-called work. I planned the night of super bowl sunday (I won $$$$) to buy some kitchen gadget…so I perused my wish list: immersion blender, food processor, vita-mix blender. I bought a Cuisinart and immersion blender and traveled home to chop, slice, grate, puree, and FOAM something…anything. YES, HOMEMADE NUTELLA…thank you, David. 2 jars will work just fine.

  • Dean
    February 8, 2011 6:09am

    shoot, btw, I did use non-fat powdered milk, non-instant by Organic Valley…purchased at a Whole Foods.

  • Seth
    February 8, 2011 9:38pm

    I’ve been using Kettle (potato chip brand) hazelnut butter for buttercream, cake and gianduja. Just ground hazelnuts. Sounds perfect for this. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Jennifer
    February 9, 2011 7:32am

    This is so fantastic…but can you add to your list of future kitchen endeavors to recreate a homemade Speculoos cream? The jar we brought back from Paris in December is dwindling and there are no American suppliers to be found. Kthxbye. xoxo

  • Jen
    February 9, 2011 4:35pm

    Great post! I live in the Netherlands and I am frequently frustrated by the seeming disappearance of ingredients as soon as I go look for them… such as almonds, which have somehow disappeared in the past few weeks. Now when I go home I’m struck dumb upon entering a Safeway, Whole Foods or TJs. So much choice, all of the time!

    But luckily I have an amazing Arab grocer down the street — they typically have everything, including hazelnuts! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Vidya
    February 9, 2011 7:48pm

    I find it hilarious that you had trouble finding milk chocolate in Paris when Milka is available practically everywhere. Man they really must have implanted something in your brain. I would make this but it’ll last approximately two hours so I’ll save myself the trouble.

  • Tracy in Seattle
    February 9, 2011 8:23pm

    This recipe is amazing! For those who want a vegan alternative, the following also is lovely, and I have no trouble giving it away. It keeps a month, but it generally doesn’t make it that long.

    8 oz. raw hazelnuts
    ¼ cup vegetable oil
    ½ t. vanilla
    1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
    ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    Preheat oven to 350

    Roast Hazelnuts: Lay hazelnuts on baking sheet. Bake until the skins are very dark and nut is dark brown, about 12-15 minutes. Halfway through baking, stir nuts to ensure even heating.

    Remove skins: Let hazelnuts cool until you can handle them. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel and rub until the skins come off.

    Process: Process the hazelnuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides when necessary. The hazelnuts will progress from chopped to a finer texture and then clump around the blades. Continue to process until the oils are extracted and they are liquefied, a total of about 4-6 minutes of processing.

    Flavor: Add sugar, vanilla, and cocoa, processing briefly. Scrape down the sides if necessary.

    Adjust consistency: If the mixture is too thick, add small amount of vegetable oil (1 t. at a time) and process briefly until desired consistency is reached.

    Store in refrigerator in airtight container up to 1 month

  • February 10, 2011 12:42am

    Fantastic recipe and my daughter will love it! I see friends of mine getting jars of this as hostess gifts. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • February 10, 2011 9:18pm

    Incredible! I can’t wait until I get to try this out. It would totally beat jam when it comes to giving Christmas spreads. Thanks for figuring this out.

  • holly
    February 10, 2011 9:55pm

    another spectacular-sounding recipe, david! can you think of any reason it would only last one week in the fridge? seems like something that would keep a long time, if one had the gumption not to eat it all up…

    • February 10, 2011 10:21pm
      David Lebovitz

      All I can think of is that there is a lot of fresh milk in there, and not a lot of sugar which would preserve it, hence the one week advisement.

  • February 11, 2011 10:50am

    We love to eat bread especially with yummy spread or dip… This homemade nutella is definitely worth trying and I can’t wait to buy all those ingredients and try making our very own spread. It is really a great feeling to make things on your own especially if you have kids and husband to impress.

  • February 11, 2011 6:12pm

    Yum…..Homemade nutella don’t think it gets much better

  • porkchop
    February 12, 2011 1:24am

    My introduction to David !!! love the carrots and nuts comments ( Colin) – and the comment policy advice to ‘don’t be a douche’ I can tell this site is gonna rock- and homemade Nutella with DARK chocolate – heaven ! merci shlomo !!

  • February 13, 2011 6:16pm

    I ate an entire jar of David’s home made Nutella in two days (I was leaving for vacation for a week, so I had to finish it, right?) As someone who loves the nuttiness, I thought this was even better than the stuff in the stores…perhaps there’s less sugar than in the commercial stuff, because I didn’t feel sick at all!

    I know, David, maybe that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but wouldn’t YOU buy a jar of Nutella that said “Eat the whole jar and you won’t fall into a sugar coma!” on the label? ;-)


  • Laura
    February 13, 2011 10:11pm

    Laughed out loud at the “Mary Smith” story and think there may be another book brewing about your restaurant days, David….Just made your homemade nutella this morning as a little Valentine’s Day gift for my family. I used only dark chocolate because I didn’t have any milk chocolate, and everyone loved it. Thank you for your wonderful recipe.

  • Amy
    February 14, 2011 12:24am

    What does “librarianish in demeanor” mean, exactly? I’m a librarian and, honestly, we’re not all alike.

  • February 15, 2011 7:25am

    I just made nutella the other week, except without milk, powdered milk, almonds, honey– I followed the LATimes recipe from a year or so ago and put hazlenuts, powdered sugar, and valrhona cocoa powder but found it intensely hazlenutty but lacking the yummy milk quality of nutella. So.. I added two Lindt milk chocolate bars and found the flavor more to my liking. Your recipe sounds great, except my concern would be that it wouldn’t keep as long (perhaps not a problem though if it tastes as good as it sounds). BTW- you saved me once by posting a fabulous german chocolate cake recipe; would you please consider posting a chocolate malt biscuit recipe, like the biscuits used in Tim Tams (but perhaps less sweet)? There seems to be high demand out there for a homemade Tim Tam recipe. Martha Stewart and Nancy Baggett both have recipes on chocolate malt cookies, but somehow, both don’t seem like they would capture that ethereal candy crunch of Tim Tams. And their filling contains cream cheese, which I am not terribly fond of. I am certain you could do better than both of them!

  • Nouk
    February 16, 2011 3:01pm

    Does it taste as Nutella?

  • February 17, 2011 11:14am

    Hi David;
    Great recipe! I’d like to try it. However, I wonder what happens if powdered milk is omitted from the recipe. Is it absolutely necessary to use it?


  • February 17, 2011 8:12pm

    I would love to make this one day, and I hope that when I do that I’m able to find some pre-skinned hazelnuts. I tried removing the skins once when I made a hazelnut cake, and after an hour of trying and barely getting the skins off, I just gave up. I’m not a quitter but it was 3 a.m. and I was getting sleepy.

    Anyway, the combination of chocolate and seafood doesn’t sound appetizing to me either. Although I must say that chocolate and chicken goes together quite nicely, and that was an unexpected surprise. I just made it way too spicy and that kept me from enjoying it the way I would have liked.

    Anyway, your homemade spread looks divine! :)

  • February 20, 2011 4:28pm

    Just tried the recipe with low fat powdered milk and it worked out perfectly. (Though I don’t have the comparison how it would be with whole fat powedered milk)
    Next time I would only use 350g whole milk since for a spread it was a bit too liquid.

    Great recipe!

  • February 20, 2011 7:16pm

    I just gained 10 pounds reading this recipe but I still cant wait to try it!

  • Tricia
    February 22, 2011 11:59pm

    There’s a recipe for homemade Nutella in Baked’s new cookbook Baked Explorations, in case you want another for comparison. In my humble opinion, one can never taste-test too many types of nutella.

  • February 26, 2011 2:26am

    Thanks for this recipe! I made it almost 2 weeks ago, with all hazelnuts, no honey, and all dark chocolate. I only had 2% milk and nonfat milk powder on hand, did not strain, and it turned out wonderfully.