Hazelnut Spread (Cleaned-up Nutella)

Sooooo I made The Best Thing in the World today.

I don’t mean that as a description – I mean I made The Best Thing in the World. Like a proper noun. I made it today in my kitchen.

I think I have to call it “Hazelnut spread” because “Nutella” is a trademark, but for all intents and purposes: I made Nutella. You guys. OMG. O.M.G. You guys.

I’m not going to do too much talking here because we need to get right down to it so you can go make some. But I do want to mention a few things:

Nutella that you buy in a jar is insanely delicious, yes. But it’s also pretty bad for you.

Nutella ingredients: sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor.

Meh. First of all, the first ingredient is sugar. In a single serving—which is only 2 tablespoons--there are 5 packets of sugar. That’s the same amount of sugar in 5 Oreo cookies. It’s candy on a spoon.

The second ingredient is the very controversial palm oil, which is

"linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced.”

You want to stay away from palm oil.

Hazelnuts and cocoa are okay, not a big fan of skim anything, processed milk, or artificials.

Luckily, I made some today and cleaned it up for you. AND IT STILL TASTES AMAZEBALLS.

So promise me: if Nutella is your thing, and you have a jar of it sitting in your house somewhere, please consider buying the ingredients in this recipe instead and make a big batch of it yourself. You still have to consider it an indulgence because it has maple syrup in it and it’s a whole lotta hazelnuts condensed into a creamy gooey spoonful of a package, but it’s miles above the trademarked variety. And it really tastes ridiculous.

You will need:

  • Hazelnuts, toasted. I bought a container of raw hazelnuts and toasted them in a pan over a low flame until I could smell them in the air. Granted, I let them go a little too long and ended up burning them slightly, but I gave myself a pass for that because I have a 2-year old.
  • Maple syrup. Use the real stuff. No Log Cabin here. You want the stuff from the trees. Organic, if possible.
  • Cacao powder. I use Nativas Naturals.
  • Coconut milk, canned. Trader Joes has an excellent price on their organic canned variety, so grab that if you can. Otherwise Native Forest or Natural Value make good ones.
  • Vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla bean powder if you want.
  • Sea salt.

If you have a Vitamix, I recommend using that because it’s going to make this a lot creamier than a regular food processor. I used my mini-processor and left a little texture in there. But if you want smooth & creamy, you’ll need a high-powered blender.

Although clean, the same addictive properties of the original are still at work here. Store carefully. Mine is in a hard-to-reach area of the fridge in my garage. Good thing I have Amazon Prime, because I might need a padlock.


2.5 cups hazelnuts, toasted

½ cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup cacao powder

¼ cup coconut milk, canned

Dash of sea salt


1.     Blend hazelnuts until it becomes almost like a nut butter consistency, about 3-5 minutes.

2.     Add syrup, vanilla, cacao, and salt and blend until smooth.

3.     Add coconut milk and blend to desired consistency. (Add more if it feels too thick, one drop at a time).

4.     Prepare yourself

5.     Lick the spoon.

6.     Yes.

Thank you to Giada Mazzer & FurtherFood.com for the recipe inspiration!