If you like Nutella you're going to love this healthy homemade Vegan Nutella Recipe. Naturally sweetened with dates and made with toasted hazelnuts and cocoa, this is a vegan chocolate spread you can feel good about.
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When I was a kid I used to love Nutella. Love love loved the stuff.
I don't think I realized how terribly unhealthy it is until I was an adult. I thought that since it came from Europe it must be this nourishing breakfast spread that also happened to be incredibly delicious. Those clever Europeans cracked the code!
Over time as I became more interested in nutrition, and, you know, actually read the ingredients list on a jar of Nutella I realized that while it is delicious, it's not something I want to be consuming on the reg. Don't get me wrong - a warm crepe spread with Nutella is a glorious treat now and then.
But isn't it wonderful how your tastebuds can evolve and mature over time? These days, this Healthy Vegan Nutella Recipe is much more up my alley. It's made from real, honest, good-for-you ingredients. Things you can actually pronounce and recognize.
And, since it's naturally sweetened with dates, this is a healthy Nutella alternative I actually feel good about giving my kids - or eating by the spoonful myself.
What's in this vegan nutella recipe?
The list is short and sweet, my friends. Here's what you need:
- Hazelnuts --> Either roasted or raw is fine. If you can find pre-roasted and skinned hazelnuts, even better.
- Dates --> Some nice soft medjool dates.
- Cocoa powder --> Or cacao if you prefer.
- Coconut oil --> Or sub in cocoa butter if you don't like coconut.
- Plant-based milk --> I used oat milk here, but almond is fine too.
- Vanilla --> Just a bit of vanilla powder, a scraped out bean, or a splash of extract (try Homemade Vanilla Extract).
- Salt --> Some nice flaky sea salt. I like Maldon.
You’re going to need some machinery to make this recipe. I use my trusty Kitchen Aid Food Processor for making nut butters and it works great for homemade Nutella too. I have the professional model, which is a beast, but a basic one will do just fine.
How to make this recipe:
There are detailed instructions in the printable recipe card below, but let's go through it step by step together.
Step 1: (not pictured) If you're starting with raw hazelnuts, you'll need to begin by roasting them and then removing the skins. For detailed instructions on how to roast nuts please refer to my Oven Roasted Almonds recipe.
You'll want to roast the hazelnuts for about 15 minutes. Once they are cooled, place them in a clean kitchen towel and rub them together until the skins are mostly off.
Step 2: (above) Remove the pits from the dates and place them in a small pot. Add the oat milk to the dates, and set the pot on medium-high heat.
Once the oat milk starts bubbling, turn the heat off and put a lid on the pot. We just want the dates to soften a bit while we're dealing with the hazelnuts.
Step 3: (below) Make hazelnut butter. Put the hazelnuts in your food processor and pulse a few times, then let the motor run until you've got a smooth, slightly liquidy hazelnut butter.
Depending on your hazelnuts and your food processor, you may need to stop and scrape the sides and bottom once or twice. Note that roasted hazelnuts will break down much faster than raw.
Step 4: Add the softened dates along with all of the oat milk, the coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt.
Step 5: Let the food processor run until you've got a smooth, deep, dark, chocolatey hazlenut spread.
Transfer to a glass jar (or a few glass jars if you're giving vegan Nutella away as gifts) and you are done!
Pro tips / recipe notes:
Does this taste like Nutella?
If you go into this expecting the end result to taste like Nutella, well, it doesn't. It tastes BETTER than Nutella. It tastes like real things you can actually identify, like chocolate and coconut and dates and hazelnuts.
It is seriously so good. I finished mine with a touch of Vanilla Salt, which adds something special (and also makes a great gift).
How to store vegan nutella
Because there are a lot of fresh ingredients and not a lot in the way of preservatives, I keep mine in the fridge. I believe a jar will stay fresh for a couple of months, but I've never had one last that long so can't say for sure.
If stored at room temperature I wouldn't keep this around for much more than a week or two.
Is this recipe healthy?
Well, yes. And no. It's definitely healthier than legit Nutella, and, in my opinion, tastes a heck of a lot better, too.
Hazelnuts are high in protein and contain heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats. They're a great source of fiber, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.
Dates are a great source of natural sweetness, are rich in antioxidant polyphenols, dietary fiber, potassium, and manganese. Dates do contain a LOT of sugar, but unlike refined sugar, it's coupled with dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Cocoa is antioxidant rich, with a flavanoid content that appears to be helpful in protecting blood vessel linings and thus preventing high blood pressure.
This chocolate hazelnut spread is full of wholesome whole foods, but make no mistake, it's still an indulgent treat!
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Healthy Vegan Nutella Recipe
- 14 oz hazelnuts raw or roasted and skinned
- 20 large medjool dates pitted
- ½ cup coconut oil I use a scant half cup. Closer to ⅓.
- 4 tablespoon cocoa powder or cacao
- ½ cup oat milk or another plant-based milk
- ½ to 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder or half vanilla bean, scraped, or a splash of vanilla extract.
- Preheat your oven to 150°C / 300°F.
- Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them int the pre-heated oven, and toast for 20-30 minutes, until fragrant and the skin is starting to crack. Watch them carefully to avoid from burning.
- Remove the nuts from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Place the nuts in an old kitchen towel, and rub to remove the skin. You may need to do this in batches, or stop and pick out those that are skinned and then do a second round with those that aren't. I never get all of the skins off, and I never stress about it.
- Pit the dates and place in a small pot together with the oat milk.
- Place the pot on medium high heat. Once the oat milk starts to bubble, turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot to soften the dates.
- Place the hazelnuts in a food processor, pulse a few times, and then process until a completely smooth hazelnut butter forms - you may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. How long this takes will depend on how powerful your food processor is, and how old your nuts are. In my food processor I have hazelnut butter in about five minutes.
- Add the coconut oil, cocoa powder, dates along with all of the oat milk, salt, and vanilla. Process until smooth.
- Transfer the chocolate hazelnut spread into clean airtight glass jars.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only and are based on two jars with 24 servings each.
- Vegan Nutella will last approximately one week at room temperature or two months in the fridge.
This recipe was originally published December 1, 2014. It was retested, re-photographed, and most recently updated on December 11, 2020.