Learn how to roast chestnuts in the oven and the 4 major things you need to know for success. Plus recipes to use your roasted chestnuts.
During Christmastime we all have traditions. Many of mine mimic a well-known Christmas song, like listening to yuletide carols being sung by a choir or being outside while Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, so let’s just cut right to the opening line of the song…
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. . .
If you’ve ever wondered, “How the heck you roast chestnuts?!?!?”, or “Do you really need an open fire for that? It sounds dangerous?!?!?” then today’s post is for you!
Things To Look For When You Roast Chestnuts
While chestnuts can absolutely be roasted over an open fire, for most people an oven is more accessible. Here’s the thing about chestnuts. . . you really have to work hard to get to the nut. There are a few things that have to fall perfectly in to place for success, including:
- The shell has to be cut or broken before cooking.
- There needs to be steam to help separate the shell from the nut.
- The shell has to be removed while the nuts are hot. When they cool down, they become increasingly harder to peel.
- There is a second fuzzier layer around the chestnut that sometimes grows into the ridges of the nut. Do an extra inspection to make sure you have removed it all.
As you can see, you have a little work ahead of you. Don’t worry though, I have tips to help you with that.
How To Roast Chestnuts In The Oven
Because chestnuts cool down rather quickly, I find it easiest to work in batches. To roast chestnuts you’ll need a sheet pan, aluminum foil, a very sharp paring knife and some hot water. Here we go.
To Roast Chestnuts:
- Preheat. Preheat your oven to 400°F
- Score. Very carefully use a sharp paring knife to cut an “X” on the flat side of the chestnut. Be careful, because they like to slide out from under you while you’re cutting. Use safety gloves if needed.
- Soak. Place all of your scored chestnuts in a bowl and cover them with hot water. You can use boiling water if you like, but the hottest water your tap offers will work splendidly. Let them soak for about 3-5 minutes, or until air bubbles stop escaping from the score marks.
- Foil. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to around a foot long. Place a handful or two of the chestnuts inside of the aluminum (don’t worry about drying them, the water helps). Lift the edges of the foil up to create a mostly enclosed nest with just a small hole for ventilation. Repeat this step until all of the chestnuts are packaged and place them on a sheet pan. If the chestnuts begin to stack on top of each other, you have too many in your foil packet.(Note: I usually slop a tablespoon or two of extra water into each foil packet to create extra steam.)
- Roast. Put the sheet pan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the corners of your scored “X” have curled back.
- Peel. Open only one bag of chestnuts at a time and work quickly to peel away the skins. There are two different layers to deal with, the hard one, and a softer fuzzy one. Both need the chestnut to be as hot as possible for success.
- Repeat. Repeat until all the chestnuts are peeled. If they become too cool for peeling, place them back in the oven for around 3 minutes, then try again.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now that you’ve roasted perfect chestnuts, you need an excellent recipe to put them to use, right? Here are some of my favorites that I recommend:
- Chestnut Roll Wreath + Video (coming soon!)
- Sheet Pan Chestnut Pilaf Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Brussels Sprouts (coming soon!)
- Pick-Me-Up Chestnut Cocktail (coming soon!)
Thank you so much for stopping by!
Do you have any tips, tricks, or hacks for how to roast chestnuts? What is your favorite way to eat them? Tell me about it in the comments or show me on social media – @foodabovegold. If you used this post to help you roast chestnuts, make sure to tag a photo with #CallMeMichelin so everyone can see it!
Happy Cooking! 🙂3