How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven





Introduction: How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mart...

The smell of roasting chestnuts is one of my favorite holiday aromas! If you aren't lucky enough to have an open fire to cook them over, here are simple instructions on how to roast them in the oven!

Step 1: Choosing Your Chestnuts

To ensure that you're getting fresh, healthy chestnuts, avoid wrinkled, mottled, or dingy shells. These things can indicate mold or that they're past their prime. Also check for pinholes as those can indicate worms. (blech!)
The chestnut season is October through the end of December, so any for sale outside that window will likely be either too young or too old. Neither are desirable.

You want glossy, firm nuts that have little, if any, space between the shell and the meat inside.

Step 2: Tools of Tastiness

All you need other than primo chestnuts are a rimmed baking sheet, a very sharp paring knife and a clean tea towel.

Step 3: Cutting Technique

Before you begin cutting, turn your oven to 350 degrees F.

Starting on the flat underside of each nut, use a sharp paring knife and make an 1/8" deep incision that goes through the skin, the fuzzy papery layer, and just barely pierces the flesh. Slowly and carefully continue the cut almost all the way around the nut, stopping just short of meeting back up with where you started.

The reason you make this cut is so that the nuts are more accessible / easier to peel after they are roasted.

NOTE: The classic chestnut cut is an 'X' on the flat side. Feel free to do this if you prefer traditional / old school ways. : )

Step 4: Roasting Time!

Place your cut chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes. (smaller chestnuts = 35 min., larger ones = 40 min.)

Give the pan a little shake at 15 min. to make sure they cook evenly.

Step 5: Chestnut Swaddle

Once your timer has gone off, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the nuts to a clean tea towel. Wrap them up and let them cool off for about 4-6 min. before serving or removing the shells.

*Wrapping them up helps to keep the nuts from drying out and the shells from hardening.

Step 6: Peel and Serve!

While the chestnuts are warm, but not too hot to handle, remove the shells and papery skins.
You can do them all yourself, or let your guests peel their own. If you do go the guest route, make sure to provide bowls to put the shells in. And note that once they cool completely they will be difficult to peel, so pay attention to the timing if you're going to let your guests do this themselves.

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

*As always, I love your feedback, other techniques, or ideas. Let me know if you have anything to add to this tasty project!



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    Actually I think mine might have just been too old, a bunch of them were moldy inside. I only bought them a month ago.

    Actually I think mine might have just been too old, a bunch of them were moldy inside. I only bought them a month ago.

    This seems like way too long to put them in the oven. When I did mine for 35 minutes they were tough and hard to chew. I would recommend doing 20 mins.

    Wonderful :D Thanks for all the help!!

    If you want to check if your chestnuts are moldy before cutting them squeeze them. If you can bend them like a half empty waterbottle, they will be moldy. Another thing you can dois shake them. If you can shake the nut and hear a ball like thing inside its moldy

    Thank You!

    to use as a handwarmer, how do you heat it? Would a microwave do it, and how long do you heat it? I'd be afraid of making it too hot. Also, what happens to a chestnut that you baked and baked, then couldn't open and kept heating for handwarmers?

    the way im doing it its by making a cross like with the knife on the top of the chestnuts. So the end result should be something like this...


    Martha Stewart was flogging some sort of device that poked an "X" into the shells--I never used it but might be an idea if you can find one.

    IF you have one that the shell did not open on and refuse to peel they make great handwarmers---just heat them up the next time it is cold and stash in your pockets. I used to walk to school with these in my pockets in the US Northeast.

    I really like roasting chestnuts but I'll only buy the first ones that come in during the year. If not stored exactly right the nuts will start to mold and as far as I can tell there is no way to tell by looking at the shell that the nut inside is moldy. I've had perfect looking glossy beautiful shells reveal a moldy nut. It really takes a lot of fun out of it to roast them and then have to throw out half of them, particularly at $8/lb.

    I love that you are bringing back this tradition. They are sooooo good. We also soak the cut nuts in a little salty water for an hour. It really helps the flavor. Oh yeah, they do explode, and I mean explode, if you don't cut them. I only had to learn that lesson once.

    we add one glass of water and salt during roasting.

    I always put a little water on the baking tray as this stops them drying out too much. :)

    if you put them into a cup with full of water before cutting; it helps to cut shell more easier and also cooking result will be better with humidified chestnuts:)

    Ooh! This seems much better (and safer) than chestnuts roasting on an open fire! Very festive instructable!

    Pro Tip: Not doing this means they explode showering you with molten nuts.