Better than Nutella?

Many years go I purchased a Vitamix, Professional Series 300. Having gone through various brands of blenders, I was excited to finally get one with a strong reputation.


I also purchased a smaller blender jar for dry ingredients. I’d always thought it would be fun as well as economical to make nut butters. But have I? No.


While on a road trip in November, I read many food magazines (doesn’t everyone?) and came across this recipe. Chocolate hazelnut spread that is better than nutella. Nutella is pretty darn good, but home-made is always better of course. So I knew this would be the recipe to christen that dry blender jar.

I used my cell phone to photograph the recipe and unfortunately do not remember from which magazine this recipe came, but I did find it on


Here’s what I did to make the “real” Nutella, based on the above ingredients; my verdict below.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, or Gianduja

2 cups (heaping) hazelnuts, preferably skinned (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Toast the hazelnuts on the stove in a cast iron skillet. Let cool.


Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.



Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Melt slowly and stir until smooth and shiny.



So here’s the deal – my hazelnuts and sugar never formed a “buttery paste” like they were supposed to. So I added all of the cream to the blender. You can see from the photo, the blender was working hard to combine the hazelnut mixture with the cream.


The resulting mixture was stiff and thick, but smooth and not gritty.


The recipe says to “whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.” Since my hazelnut paste already contained the cream, I simply folded the hazelnut mixture into the chocolate, gradually, stirring well.



Pour gianduja into four clean 8 ounce jars, dividing equally. Let cool.


Gianduja can be made up to 4 weeks ahead; keep chilled.


Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours to soften. Can stand at room temperature up to 4 days.


If you don’t know what to do with chocolate hazelnut spread besides eat it with a spoon, I’ve got a few suggestions:

1. Spread in warm crepes, roll and eat.

2. Thin with cream and serve drizzled over a fresh-out-of-the-oven Dutch Baby or Crespella.

3. Fold gently with beaten whipped cream for an instant mousse.


For a treat, I spread some chocolate-hazelnut spread on buttered toast.


verdict: I’m befuddled as to why my hazelnuts didn’t grind into a hazelnut butter. Secondly, the recipe claims that the nutella will thicken; mine was already really thick, and definitely not “pourable.” My husband said that the spread reminded him of cupcake batter, which I think is an excellent comparison. Also, I would suggest 12 ounces of chocolate instead of 16 ounces, or use bittersweet chocolate instead of semi-sweet. It was too chocolatey for me.

So is this stuff good? Yes, but I will tweak the recipe next time.

By Published On: February 7th, 201747 Comments on Better than Nutella?

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. sallybr February 7, 2017 at 7:14 AM - Reply

    THe only reason I would never try to make this – Nutella is forbidden foodstuff in our home. I am ABSOLUTELY addicted and if allowed near a jar, I will eat it until I see very clean glass


    You are brave to try such complex concoction, I will wait for your tweak, I am sure you will hit the jackpot next time!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 7:38 AM - Reply

      My French grandmother used to send chocolates that were chocolate hazelnut. But it was years before I learned what the filling was. My favorite sweet flavor combination, so I completely understand!

  2. chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    In my original post I had a list of ingredients and a graphic that showed them. It definitely makes me never want to purchase Nutella again. I removed it all because I don’t feel that this blog is about nutrition – people can read the ingredients for themselves. But there’s definitely, not surprisingly, a lot of sugar – way more than in the home-made version. Your chocolate cream sounds lovely!

  3. Gerlinde @ Sunnycovechef February 7, 2017 at 8:58 AM - Reply

    I bought a Vitamix a year ago at Costco and have been using it ever since. I love it and I love Nutella. I just watched a German video on how to make homemade Nutella. The cook emphasized to grind the roasted hazelnuts without sugar until you see the oil separating. She said it took a long time. I posted the video on Facebook but have no idea if it works or how it tastes.

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 10:31 AM - Reply

      Ah ha!!! So maybe the sugar was the problem? It did form a smooth paste, eventually, but not without the cream added. Which made me question the whole vitamix thing!!! Thank you for this info!!!

      • Gerlinde @ Sunnycovechef February 7, 2017 at 12:04 PM

        Take back everything I said. I just tried to grind ½ cup of hazelnuts in my Vitamix and it the oil never separated. I finally gave up and added a little bit of hazelnut oil, some cocoa powder , melted chocolate and milk . I had just made some vanilla sugar and a little bit of the sugar was left in the Vitamix when I added the hazelnuts . When I have more time I will try it again. The woman in the video used 150 gram of hazelnuts,

      • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 2:53 PM

        Okay! Thanks!

  4. Cocoa & Lavender February 7, 2017 at 9:42 AM - Reply

    I’ve always wondered how these recipes for homemade Nutella are. Thanks for your candid thoughts! I don’t have a Vitamix, so I will have to use my food processor or my regular blender. I wonder if that will work?

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 10:29 AM - Reply

      I think it might be crunchy nutella instead of smooth, but that would be good! In fact, it might taste more like hazelnuts that way.

  5. chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 10:30 AM - Reply

    Well, it does have a lot of sugar, like most products. I was actually going to cut back on the sugar, just because I always do that, but then I realized that 1/4 cup just wasn’t too much. But I would definitely use a less sweet chocolate next time.

  6. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso February 7, 2017 at 12:16 PM - Reply

    Though I’m not a big fan of Nutella, as I too find it way too sweet, I like the idea of homemade version. Even with all the reservations, it looks like a very tasty spread. :)

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 2:59 PM - Reply

      I once tried to force myself to buy a jarred spaghetti sauce, and I just couldn’t do it. I kept seeing more and more sugar on the labels. I don’t get it! This nutella was not as sweet, but I’d like to cut back on the chocolate volume, as well as use a less sweet chocolate. Then it should be perfect, or close to it!

  7. elliebleu February 7, 2017 at 1:24 PM - Reply

    This looks delicious! I now have an excuse to get out the waffle maker. I bet it’s also good with strawberries and pancakes.

  8. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward February 7, 2017 at 1:52 PM - Reply

    I had a similar experience. I believe that your nut butter seized… this has happened to me before. I now add no liquids. Sometimes you can save it by putting back in blender and adding cream. Looks yummy, still!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 2:57 PM - Reply

      Even though I only blended the hazelnuts and sugar?

  9. Darya February 7, 2017 at 4:06 PM - Reply

    As kids, my brother and I ate Nutella for breakfast; we loved it. My mom on the other hand hated it, and finally decided she would stop buying it, except for special occasions, once or twice a year. I never eat it nowadays, and can’t remember the last time I had it. But I make a homemade version using cocoa powder, dates, and hazelnut butter (not homemade, as my blender is definitely not powerful enough), and it is wonderful. I like the idea of making the whole thing from scratch, but I’ll wait until I have better equipment! Your thick gianduja looks really good!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 4:12 PM - Reply

      Is the recipe on your blog?

      • Darya February 7, 2017 at 4:17 PM

        No! Here is the recipe I’ve been using:

        15 dates (around 90 g. or 3 oz.)*
        125 g. [1/2 cup] hazelnut butter
        60 ml. [4 Tbsp] agave or maple syrup (or raw liquid honey)
        30 g. [1/3 cup] cocoa powder
        15 ml. [1 Tbsp] water
        Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes. Drain. Blend all the ingredients, scraping down the sides now and then. Add a little water if it looks too thick or dry (it will depend on the kind of dates you use). That’s it. :)

      • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 4:22 PM

        Fantastic! What do you call it? And thank you!

      • Darya February 7, 2017 at 4:28 PM

        Hmm… datella? Just made that one up! It is thick, more like a paste than a spread, though a bit more of the liquids might change that. Obviously, the softer the dates, the better (I use Sukkari dates from Saudi Arabia and don’t even soak them).

      • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 4:44 PM

        Oh those sound good. The ones I can get are pretty dry. I can’t wait to make this, thank you!

  10. chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 4:07 PM - Reply

    Now I’m wondering if I’d purchased blanched hazelnuts… I’ll have to look in to my order!

  11. chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 4:07 PM - Reply

    You could make them with dark chocolate for sure.

  12. ladyredspecs February 7, 2017 at 4:23 PM - Reply

    I read this with great interest as I really wondered how you would get a smooth texture with domestic equipment, even good domestic equipment. I was hoping your Vitamix would do it. I think the sugar would prevent the oil from flowing from the nuts in the blender, in fact if I’m grinding nuts for a cake that’s my ploy to keep the mix dry! I had a mastication juicer years ago that made smooth nut butters with no other ingredients added, it worked very hard. Chocolate and hazelnuts are a favourite although I get outraged at the ingredients list on a Nutella jar so I’ve never tasted it

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 4:25 PM - Reply

      That’s really good to know.. Next time I will blend the roasted hazelnuts (not blanched) without sugar. The Vitamix did make a really smooth mixture, eventually. I was just a bit stumped when it didn’t create the hazelnut butter, which is why i wanted a Vitamix! I do love it, though!

  13. Laura @ Feast Wisely February 7, 2017 at 4:57 PM - Reply

    I love this Chef Mimi – because the real stuff is so loaded with chocolate and also vegetable oils I believe. So much better to see a version made with good old butter and cream!

    • chef mimi February 7, 2017 at 5:16 PM - Reply

      Palm oil, if I remember right, and lots of sugar. I think the hazelnuts and cocoa powder are the only real ingredients!

  14. Marisa's Italian Kitchen February 7, 2017 at 10:02 PM - Reply

    I adore Nutella and usually just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar. I’d love to try a homemade version but will wait till you’ve perfected the recipe…no pressure Mimi 😍

    • chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 7:38 AM - Reply

      Hahahaha! I’ll definitely be making again with different chocolate, and maybe without blanched hazelnuts. That may be why the butter didn’t happen as it should.

  15. pat@alldayieat February 7, 2017 at 11:33 PM - Reply

    oh man. i am going to try this. just running out of my nutella jar, need to get some strawberries for crepes this weekend!!!

    • chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 7:37 AM - Reply

      Oh my… that sounds really good. What a nice treat!

  16. Lisa @ cheergerm February 8, 2017 at 2:18 AM - Reply

    I need to get off my butt and make this for my Nutella loving 12 year old. Good job.

    • chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 7:36 AM - Reply

      Thanks! My grand daughter enjoyed some on a banana!

  17. dishinwithdidi February 8, 2017 at 5:00 AM - Reply

    Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you find a recipe, being an experienced cook/baker, you eyeballl the recipe, everything seems in order and then…
    It doesn’t come out? Crazy, I say crazy Mimi!

    That being said, you improvised and it still looks absolutely mouth watering!! I adore Nutella!

    • chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 7:35 AM - Reply

      I definitely saw nothing wrong with the recipe, but I’m still scratching my head a little. Need to play with nut butters more!!!

  18. chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 7:39 AM - Reply

    Definitely. Of course, I make everything less sweet. I can’t even handle the sugar in Thai food. I know it’s supposed to be in there, but I can’t do it!

  19. chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    Well, the recipe made 4 jars!!!

  20. kitchenriffs February 8, 2017 at 11:10 AM - Reply

    I’d definitely eat this with a spoon. Not sure if there would be enough left to actually make something with it. :-) Fun idea — thanks.

    • chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 11:22 AM - Reply

      hahahaha! Well the recipe makes 4 jars…

  21. chef mimi February 8, 2017 at 6:12 PM - Reply

    Thank you! Can’t wait to look in to this. I love Stevia, but I’ve never done anything with it than to use it in my coffee and to make lemonade!!!

  22. Karen February 9, 2017 at 10:08 AM - Reply

    Mimi, what I found so interesting about this post is your wondering how you could improve the recipe and all the input you have gotten. Your machine should have the power to create the right consistency…it will be interesting to see your final product, I’m sure it will be great.

    • chef mimi February 9, 2017 at 6:01 PM - Reply

      That’s why food blogging is so fun and educational! I didn’t expect to have any issues with this recipe!

  23. myhomefoodthatsamore February 13, 2017 at 5:36 AM - Reply

    My son would adore this !

  24. Elena Bourke February 13, 2017 at 7:45 AM - Reply

    Hi Chef Mimi,

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I remember from many years ago, Italian chocolates with this type of filling. Would not have thought of making this spread! I look forward to your tweak when you try that.

    Take care, Elena Bourke

    • chef mimi February 13, 2017 at 7:47 AM - Reply

      They’re my favorite chocolates! I asked my mother again, and she doesn’t remember those chocolates, unfortunately. I’d love to track them down!

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