Say you want to make a recipe that calls for peanuts, such as Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. But at the store, you’re confronted with an array of peanuts, all labeled differently.
When we shop for peanuts, we look to the ingredient list on the package—if it reads peanuts, oil, and salt (unless the recipe specifies unsalted peanuts), we know we have the right nut. These peanuts go by a number of names, including roasted, cocktail, and Virginia peanuts. (None of these peanuts are really roasted; they’re fried, usually in peanut oil, and their flavor is rich and purely peanut.)
Unless a recipe specifically calls for them, avoid “dryroasted peanuts” for cooking and baking—they tend to be seasoned with spices and flavorings that don’t always go with the other flavors in a recipe. Dry-roasted peanuts, as the name implies, are cooked in an oven by forced hot air, and oil is not in the ingredient list.