Roasting Chestnuts is easy in the oven and shouldn’t be missed as a holiday treat! This guide has Everything You Need to Know!
You’ve probably sung about ‘chestnuts roasting over an open fire’ but have you eaten roasted chestnuts? OR did you know you can roast chestnuts yourself?
They are a fun treat at during the holidays and the oven is perfect for roasting chestnuts!
Roasted chestnuts are a delicious and unique signature of the holiday dining-scape, as well as very easy to prepare.
The chestnut itself is a large, soft, sweet-tasting nut enclosed in a beautiful, hard mahogany-looking shell.
With a few tips you can start a new tradition to go along with the Christmas Carol!
When are Chestnuts Available?
In the United States, chestnuts begin showing up in grocery stores around Thanksgiving. In other areas of the world they are available at different times of the year.
You will find them in grocery stores now (available as ‘organic’ too), ready to be oven-roasted and enjoyed as part of your holiday celebrations.
Where to Buy Chestnuts
You will find chestnuts in grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets. Often outdoor Christmas markets and fairs will sell them already roasted too.
How Long to Keep Chestnuts Before Roasting?
Chestnuts should be kept in the refrigerator only for a few days before roasting.
What Do Roasted Chestnuts Taste Like?
The tender meat of the chestnut has a slightly sweet flavor more like a sweet potato than another type of nut.
Roasted chestnuts also are a bit spongey rather than crunchy. They are a wonderful flavor of the season that everyone should try!
How to Eat Roasted Chestnuts
They can be eaten plain or added to dishes like stuffing for a sweet crunch.
Roasting Chestnuts: How to Make an X and Why
You’ll notice both in these photos and in most photos of roasting chestnuts there is an X cut into the chestnut.
If the chestnuts are not scored, they can explode due to the pressure inside as they cook.
That’s easy to avoid. Making an X avoids the pressure build up AND makes them easy to peel after roasting.
I have read other methods suggesting using a dull knife; ignore that advice!
The outer shell of the chestnut takes some effort to penetrate.
Though it is a thin shell, it’s smooth requiring a tight grip and a sharp knife to slice through it; a sharp serrated knife works best.
Roasting Chestnuts: How to Do It
The great news is that roasting chestnuts is easy with a few simple steps!
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
STEP 2. Cut the chestnuts to vent
With a serrated knife (a bread knife works great), slice a large ‘X’ on the flat side of the chestnuts.
NOTE: Be sure you slice through to the nut itself which allows steam to escape when cooking and easy peeling.
Place scored chestnuts on a baking sheet with the X facing up.
STEP 3. Bake
Bake until the shell of the chestnut is peeling back around the ‘X’ (depending on the chestnuts aproximately 15-25 minutes). Refer to the photos below.
STEP 4. Steam
Remove from oven and place a kitchen towel over the pan allowing them to steam slightly for 15 minutes.
How to Peel Roasted Chestnuts
When peeling roasted chestnuts there is the outer shell and a thin inner covering that comes off easily after this roasting method.
Chestnuts can be peeled when cool enough to handle (peel by pulling the shell away at the ‘X’). Roasted chestnuts are best eaten right after roasting (versus saving them for another day).
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- 1 pound Chestnuts (edible variety from a store, in the quantity you desire)
- serrated knife
- rimmed baking sheet
- clean kitchen towel
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- With a serrated knife (a bread knife works great), slice a large ‘X’ on the flat side of the chestnuts. Be sure you slice through to the nut itself which allows steam to escape when cooking and easy peeling.
- Place scored chestnuts on a baking sheet with the X facing up. Bake until the shell of the chestnuts are peeling back around the ‘X’(depending on the chestnuts aproximately 15-25 minutes). Refer to photos.
- Remove from oven and place a kitchen towel over the pan allowing them to steam slightly for 15 minutes. Chestnuts can be peeled when cool enough to handle (peel by pulling the shell away at the ‘X’). Chestnuts are best eaten right after roasting (versus saving them for another day).
Originally published: December 8, 2012
They turned out hard, after they cooled, like an uncooked bean. I need them for 20 minutes when the edges turned and covers them with a towel for 15 to 20 minutes. I’m not sure what the trick is. Maybe I used the wrong being sheet or maybe I should have let them cool and covered in another room temperature surface. I don’t get it. I’ve tried to make chestnuts several times in the oven and pan and none seem to work.
Toni Dash says
Hi Amber. I’m wondering if your chestnuts were fresh (sometimes they might not be and it’s hard to know) and I’m sure you purchased edible chestnuts? Did you score them with an X and bake them until the X begins to peel back? I wasn’t able to completely follow your method in your comment but I’ve never had the result you mentioned. Since you mention you’ve tried to make chestnuts multiple times unsuccessfully I am curious about the quality of the freshness of the chestnuts, oven temperature accuracy, steaming method and time. As you can see from the comments others have had success with this method so it feels like something may be going wrong as you mentioned in your comment. I’m so sorry they didn’t turn out for you! You might also check your oven temperature by adding an auxiliary thermometer in to see if the oven is actually cooking at the temperature you’ve set the oven to.