Buying roasted nuts at the store can get expensive. Fortunately, roasting nuts at home is not that difficult or time-consuming. While this Instructable focuses on peanuts and cashews, the peanut process can be used for almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans as well. Some techniques call for soaking nuts before roasting them, and while this results in good tasting nuts as well, it is more time-intensive. This method is much simpler yet still results in great flavor and texture.
A word about sourcing: bulk raw nuts can be purchased online at significantly lower cost than buying them in stores if purchased in 4-5 lbs bags. Included in the ingredient list below are links to the bulk raw nuts I have found to be of good quality and flavor. I order them, divide the large bags into one quart zipper lock freezer bags (which hold about enough to fill a standard jellyroll pan), then freeze them. When the family wants fresh roasted nuts, I put a bag or two out to thaw the night before, then roast them as needed. Total time from thawed raw nuts to roasted and cooled is less than 45 minutes.
- 1 quart bag of raw peanuts or almonds (approx. 1 lbs)
- 1 quart bag of raw cashews (approx. 1 lbs)
- 3 Tbsp table salt (or fine salt used in cheese and sauce making)
- 1 cup water
Step 1: Make a Strong Brine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for peanuts or almonds, 300 degrees Fahrenheit for cashews. Then make a strong brine by adding three tablespoons of salt to 1 cup of water. Microwave the water on high for about 45 seconds. Stir, then microwave again for another 45 seconds. Repeat one more time until salt is dissolved in water.
Once your brine solution is ready, carefully add it to a spray bottle.
NOTE: Some people make a brine by boiling water in a pot and dissolving salt in it. If you have stainless steel cookware like I do, this can cause pitting. Nuking the water in the microwave safe cup in slow increments, without boiling, results in a good brine without the risks of water boiling over in the microwave, or pitting your valuable cookware.
Step 2: Prep and Roast Peanuts
Spread the peanuts (or almonds) in a single layer on a jellyroll pan. Lightly spritz the nuts with the brine. Roast the peanuts in the oven for 10 minutes then toss them with the scraper and spray on a little more brine. Roast them for 10 minutes more then remove them from the oven, spray once more with the brine (or not, depending on how salty you like them) and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Step 3: Prep and Roast Cashews
If you are roasting cashews instead of peanuts or almonds, the process is a little different since cashews tend to be larger and softer. As a result, we roast them at a lower temperature and for a slightly longer time.
The rest of the process is the same. Spread the cashews in a single layer on the jellyroll pan, then roast at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Toss with the scraper, spray with the brine, then roast for 10 more minutes. Toss them with the scraper one more time, then roast for 5 more minutes. Remove them from the oven (spray again with brine, if desired) and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Enjoy! The nuts can be stored in the same quart zipper lock bags they were frozen in.