The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat peanuts. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

rules to eat and serve peanuts

What peanut etiquette is

Peanut etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve, use, and eat peanuts. Such rules help avoid behaviors that may disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve peanuts to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat peanuts at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts.

What you should know about peanuts

Peanuts are considered nuts, but they are the seeds of a legume plant.

Peanuts have a non-edible soft shell, light brown in color. The shell contains one or two edible kernels, rich in flavor, cream in color, and firm in texture. A thin, dark brown, edible, and slightly bitter skin covers the kernel.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat peanuts

1) How to store peanuts

You can store peanuts in a cool and dry place, out of the fridge. Keep them in a sealed container or plastic bag, away from direct light and sources of heat. When properly stored, shelled peanuts can last up to 1 month. Unshelled peanuts can last up to 3 months.

In the fridge, peanuts can last between 3 and 12 months. Store them in a sealed container or plastic bag.

In the freezer, peanuts can last for over 12 months.

2) How to clean peanuts

You do not need to clean peanuts. Before serving them, you can crack and remove the shell and the skin.

Before using or serving them, check that the kernels haven’t turned rancid. Discard them if you notice mold, a softer texture, or a foul odor.

3) How to prepare & cook with peanuts

You can serve peanuts whole or use them as an ingredient.

Before using peanuts as an ingredient, it is best to remove the shell and remove the skin. You can boil, roast, and fry peanuts. They can be an ingredient in savory dishes and desserts. They are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisines, such as Chinese, Thai, Burmese, and Vietnamese. You can add peanuts to noodles, salads, fruit salads, and meat and fish dishes. They are a popular ingredient for pies, cakes, confectionery, and cookies.

Peanuts can be used to make sauces and curries, extract peanut oil, or make peanut butter.

Peanuts are among the most common allergens. Thus, some guests may avoid them in their diets. Before hosting a meal and using peanuts as an ingredient, it is important to ask your guests whether they have some dietary restrictions.

4) How to serve & present peanuts

You can serve whole peanuts as a snack, before a meal as an appetizer, or at the end of a meal as an accompaniment to fruit and dessert. Peanuts are most appropriate for aperitifs, pre-dinner drinks, and informal meals.

Serve peanuts at room temperature. You can serve them whole in their shells, shelled and peeled, or crushed. Serve peanuts in a ceramics or glass bowl, or on a plate. Present them with a serving tablespoon or teaspoon.

When serving whole peanuts in their shells, provide your guests with a small plate or bowl to discard the shells.

5) Foods & beverages to pair peanuts with

Peanuts pair well with many aromas. You can pair them with chocolate, vanilla, caramel, honey, basil, curry, and garlic.

You can use them in meat, fish, and seafood dishes, such as beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, and prawns.

Peanuts go well with many fruits, such as apples, pears, and bananas. Their aroma pairs with citrus too, such as lemon and lime.

Peanuts pair best with white wines. Pair them with unoaked Chardonnay, Riesling, or Gew├╝rztraminer. The most appropriate red wine pairing is Cabernet Sauvignon. If you combine chocolate and peanuts, you can accompany them with a Port or a Sherry.

6) How to eat peanuts

Whole or shelled peanuts are usually served in a bowl with a serving spoon. Use the spoon to put a few peanuts on your dish or hand. If a serving spoon is not available, take a few peanuts with your fingers.

The soft shell is not edible, while the peel on the kernel is. When peanuts are served whole in their shell, remove the shell with your fingers. You can either eat or discard the skin around the kernel.

Discard the shells in a spare bowl or plate. If a spare bowl or plate is not available, place the shells on a side of your dish or in an ashtray. Avoid discarding them directly on the table.

Eat one or two peanuts at a time. Do not put more than two kernels in your mouth at the same time.

Peanut etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst peanut etiquette mistakes. 

  • 7/10. Discarding the shells on the table.
  • 7/10. Eating more than two peanuts at a time.

Additional information for properly serving peanuts

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Peanuts contain about 567 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz). One peanut contains about 6 calories.

How to buy the best peanuts

A crucial factor in peanut etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.


Peanuts are available all year round.

Choose the best

Good peanuts look plump and crisp. Avoid peanuts that feel saggy.

Alternatives to peanuts

The most common substitutes for peanuts are tree nuts. Such as pistachios or almonds.