Can You Eat the Shell of a Peanut?

Peanuts are a tasty snack and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether dried, pureed, roasted, or salted, peanuts are generally enjoyed after they have been shelled. What if you want to eat the shell; can you eat the shell of a peanut? 

Although you can eat the shells of peanuts, there is really no nutritional reason to go out of the way to do so. Eating peanut shells can cause a backup in the gastrointestinal tract that could become a health concern. While consuming peanut shells may not be harmful initially, the outer coating that protects the fruit of the peanut may have dirt and bacteria on them that can make you sick.

Can You Eat Peanut Shells?

If you really can’t enjoy a bag of chips, regular shelled peanuts, or any other snack, then peanut shells may seem like the next best thing. Peanut shells can be consumed but they aren’t necessarily healthy as they are just an alternative to put in your mouth to chew on. 

You can eat peanut shells to enjoy an alternative snack as opposed to popcorn or chips. Peanut shells should only be consumed in moderation, however, because they can build up in the intestines and can cause digestions problems in larger amounts.

Ingestion of peanut shells is really not advised even in smaller amounts because there is no nutritional value to them. Peanut shells don’t have much for ingredients and are mostly made of crude fiber with no vitamins, minerals, or other additional nutrition value. 

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No Nutritional Value

The ingredients of a peanut shell are sparse. According to researchers who studied peanut shells and their nutritional value there is:

  • 60 percent crude fiber
  • 25 percent cellulose
  • 8 percent water
  • 6 percent crude protein
  • 2 percent ash
  • 1 percent fat

Because of the lack of true nutrition in peanut shells they are not really a healthy alternative to chips or other snacks at all. The fruit of the peanut is where all the nutrition is, the protein, the vitamins, and the minerals. Peanut butter isn’t just for sandwiches and can be melted down to be added to all sorts of snacks or dishes and is a much healthier alternative than the shell of the peanut. 

Is it Okay to Eat Peanut Shells?

If you are set on trying out peanut shells as a snack it is important to understand if it is okay to eat peanut shells. It is out of the normal for someone to munch on the shells of peanuts, but there are exceptions and you may wonder if it is safe to eat peanut shells.

While you are likely to be okay if you eat a few peanut shells, it is not recommended to gorge on them. Peanut shells don’t digest the same as other rinds, shells, or substances, and can travel into the intestinal tract with sharp edges. It is important to know that too many peanut shells can mix with other things in the gut and form a bezoar.

Bezoars can get trapped in the gut and can be dangerous if not treated right away. The safety risks of consuming peanut shells frequently is not worth the benefits of switching to them as an alternative snack. Peanut shells won’t readily break down like other foods and cause serious issues like perforation of the colon. 

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How to Eat Peanut Shells? 

Peanut shells are fairly common if you buy peanuts that haven’t already been processed. If you just can’t bring yourself to throw them away yet, you might consider giving one or two a try. While this is not recommended, people do eat peanut shells as a snack.

Peanut shells can be eaten straight off the fruit of the peanut, roasted, air-fried, seasoned, or salted. Peanut shells have no nutritional value, however. The sharp edges of the shells can also cause health problems after overconsumption. 

The amount of shells it takes to ingest to discover that there are later health problems differ from person to person. Children should definitely not try peanut shells as they pose a choking hazard among the other health issues that can be caused. 


Peanuts are a healthy option to snack on and can be used in all sorts of ways. There are some people who eat the peanut shells in various ways, including roasted, seasoned, salted, or plain. While this may seem like a healthy alternative, peanut shells contain no nutritional value and may cause gastrointestinal problems.