Homemade Nutella vs. Store-bought Nutella

I am so excited to be writing this post. Homemade Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread – also known as gianduja) is something that I have always wanted to make. I grew up eating Nutella and loved the creamy chocolate hazelnut spread on bread as a snack.

Nutella vs. Gianduja

Nutella is a brand name of chocolate hazelnut spread known as gianduja. Both originated from Italy but their flavour profiles are very different. Gianduja is made up of 30% hazelnuts compared to Nutella which has 13% on average. As a result, gianduja has a stronger, aromatic toasted hazelnut flavour whereas Nutella tastes like chocolate with a nutty finish.

roasting hazelnuts
Roasting hazelnuts


chocolate hazelnut spread, homemade Nutella
Homemade Nutella

Is it worth it to make your own chocolate hazelnut spread?

Nutella is not the cheapest thing to buy but it’s not cheap to make either. After doing this experiment, I learned that it’s actually cheaper to buy the store bought stuff (especially when it goes on sale). This was a big shock for me because other condiments like jam, soup and barbecue sauce tend to be cheaper when you make them from scratch. So why not Nutella? One reason – nuts are expensive.

Although you can get deals at Costco, nuts are one of those ingredients that run on the pricier side and the main ingredient in homemade Nutella are hazelnuts. I went to Bulk Barn to purchase hazelnuts to make 1 cup of homemade Nutella and it set me back $8 (yikes!) and that doesn’t include the other ingredients that I had to buy.

But making homemade Nutella is actually quite easy. The most difficult step (which isn’t all that difficult) is toasting the hazelnuts in the oven (or on the stove in a pan which is what I do) and removing their skins by rubbing them in a tea towel. After that you simply grind them until they become a liquid paste (this takes a bit of patience as they transform from ground nuts, to a thick paste, to a liquid nut butter), mix in the rest of the ingredients and voila – you have homemade Nutella!

making Nutella
Roasting and peeling hazelnuts; grinding hazelnuts into a nut butter; mixing in cocoa and icing sugar to make homemade Nutella

I was a little worried that my mini food processor wouldn’t be able to get the texture as smooth as store-bought Nutella but the end product was not that grainy or course. The key is making sure that you grind the nuts for long enough. The addition of icing sugar, cocoa powder and oil all help to smoothen out and emulsify the mixture. So if you’re worried that the end result will end up grainy, don’t worry. It’s not an issue.

Nutella vs homemade
Bottom: Store-bought Nutella; Top: Homemade Nutella (aka gianduja)

I was mesmerized watching it all come together. Grinding the hazelnuts until they liquefy will test your patience (it only takes 3-5 minutes) but it’s pretty cool watching the nuts transform from a ground mixture, to a shiny liquid paste.

All in all, it costs twice as much money to make Nutella from scratch vs. buying it in the store (who would have thought?) but the taste difference is definitely worth it. You are getting a higher proportion of nuts vs. sugar and you can really taste the flavour of the roasted hazelnuts whereas you don’t get the same complex flavour profile with store-bought Nutella (it just tastes sweet in comparison).

I can say that I would rather make my own Nutella and store it in the fridge for a month (if it lasts that long), rather then buy anything store bought. However, because it only lasts for about a month, I would still buy Nutella if I needed something that’s more shelf stable.

spoonfuls of Nutella and hazelnut chocolate spread
Left: Store-bought Nutella; Right: Homemade Nutella (aka gianduja)

Making Nutella from scratch is something that I recommend that everyone try at least once. First, because it’s kind of cool making your own nut butter and it’s always good to know how things are made. Here is a simple homemade Nutella recipe so you can try it out for yourself:

Homemade Nutella – makes approximately 1 cup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup toasted hazelnuts (you can use 2/3 cup hazelnut butter for a shortcut if you don’t have a food processor)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
pinch of salt (optional)

Place the hazelnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir frequently as they roast for 10 minutes. (You can also do this step by placing them in a 400 degree oven for the same amount of time – shaking the pan about half way through).
Remove the skins by placing the hazelnuts in a tea towel and rubbing them together.
Transfer the hazelnuts to a food processor and grind them for about 5 minutes. First they will look like a course powder, then an oily, thick paste and eventually they will liquify. It should be as liquid as any nut butter you would buy. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Add the cocoa, icing sugar, salt and a tablespoon of the oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended. Add more oil if you would like to thin out the consistency.
Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Is it worth making homemade Nutella?
Homemade Nutella costs anywhere from $8 to $12 to make depending on whether you can get a deal on hazelnuts (I hear you can get a good price at Costco). This is definitely more than buying store-bought Nutella at $4.99/375g jar. Sadly, it costs nearly twice as much to make Nutella yourself.

However, the benefits of making homemade Nutella are that it tastes better, it contains more nuts than sugar and you can make a smaller amount if you want to (for those of you who don’t keep Nutella in the house for fear that it will be gone in a day). It’s actually hard for me to get through an entire jar of Nutella so being able to make a small amount (that tastes better) works just fine for me. Plus homemade Nutella has more nuts than sugar (and no modified palm oil).

It’s also not as shelf stable. But if you make smaller batches, you shouldn’t have a problem using it up.

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