Roasted chestnuts are a healthy and hearty snack with a sweet, nutty flavor. Learn how to roast chestnuts in an oven, pan or on fire this holiday season. Scoring and soaking before roasting is the key to making this tree nut easier to eat. I’ll also show you how to peel skins easily so you can enjoy delicious chestnuts!

Roasted chestnuts are a healthy and hearty snack with a sweet, nutty flavor. Learn how to roast chestnuts in an oven, pan or on an open fire this holiday season. Scoring and soaking before roasting is the key to making this tree nut easier to eat. I’ll also show you how to peel skins easily so you can enjoy delicious chestnuts!

Roasted chestnuts are a healthy and hearty snack with a sweet, nutty flavor. Learn how to roast chestnuts in an oven, pan or on fire this holiday season. Scoring and soaking before roasting is the key to making this tree nut easier to eat. I’ll also show you how to peel skins easily so you can enjoy delicious chestnuts!

If you’re familiar with the Christmas song “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, then try making this special treat at home this year! You can find fresh chestnuts from late fall through winter at local grocery stores. The aroma of chestnuts roasting signals a delicious beginning to the cold-weather months.

Chestnuts are one of the lowest fat nuts (less than 2% fat, compared with 73% fat for macadamia nuts) according to USDA, but are high in protein, vitamins, and fiber. They’re also gluten-free.

Roasted chestnuts have a starchy texture kind of like a baked potato and taste sweet and earthy with a rich flavor. The flesh is covered by a bitter-tasting inner skin and a hard outer shell. This easy step-by-step guide provides everything you need to know and will be your go-to resource!

Fresh raw chestnuts in a red bowl.

How to roast chestnuts

Roasting chestnuts is my favorite way to cook chestnuts. The first step is to make sure you get fresh chestnuts, otherwise, they can turn out hard and dry.  You can roast them in your oven without any special equipment, or you can use a chestnut roasting pan or a regular skillet to easily cook them on the stovetop or even an open fire (see recipe notes).

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Set aside a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Rinse off the dirt from raw chestnuts and cut through the shell on the rounded side to score an “X”.

Close-up of cutting through the shell on the rounded side to score an “X”.

  • Then soak them in hot water for 1 minute, and then pat dry.

Soaking scored raw chestnuts in hot water in a clear bowl.

  • Add scored chestnuts to the baking sheet flat side down in a single layer.

Adding soaked chestnuts to the sheet pan with flat side facing down.

  • Cover the chestnuts with aluminum foil.
  • Roast for about 20 minutes until the peel is curled up and chestnuts are cooked through.
  • Then remove them from the oven and keep warm in a tea towel for 5-10 minutes before peeling.

Buying fresh chestnuts

Look for the fresh chestnuts that are plump and firm with shiny shells, and a weighty feel in your hand. Never eat fresh chestnuts raw, as they are tannic and tart. (Note that the chestnuts from your backyard are usually horse chestnuts which are inedible and dangerous to eat.)

Scoring chestnuts

It’s important to score chestnuts (slit the shells) before cooking or they can explode. Cut through the shell on the rounded side to score an “X” with a serrated knife. This will prevent them from exploding as the internal pressure builds during baking. It’ll also help you with peeling after roasting.

Soaking chestnuts quickly before roasting

After you’ve scored chestnuts, soak them in a bowl of hot water for 1 minute. This step will help them to steam in the oven. Drain and pat dry with kitchen towels before roasting.

Watch Video: How to roast chestnuts in the oven

Peeling roasted chestnuts

Once the chestnuts are roasted, it’s time to peel them! It’s important to use a clean tea towel to keep them WARM so that the skins don’t shrink onto the nuts again. Start peeling as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. If some chestnuts cool off and become tricky to peel, you can pop them back in the oven for a few minutes more to warm up.

You need to peel both the shell and the brown papery skin underneath. Peel the shell at the “X” mark. If it’s too hard to handle with hands, use a paring knife. The inner skin and the shell should come off easily. (If your roasted chestnuts are really difficult to peel, it’s usually a sign of old chestnuts.)

Closeup of peeled chestnuts after roasting.

How to serve roasted chestnuts?

Chestnuts are delicious on their own as a healthy and festive winter snack. They can also be used in both sweet and savory dishes. If you have leftover chestnuts, you can chop them and add to cookies, cakes, puddings, Thanksgiving stuffing, soups and salads, etc.

How long do chestnuts last?

Fresh chestnuts should be stored in fridge for a few days before cooking. Roasted chestnuts taste best when freshly cooked. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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5 from 2 votes

Roasted Chestnuts (How to Roast and Peel + Video)

Step-by-step guide on how to roast chestnuts in an oven, pan or on fire. Mastering the preparation technique is the key to making this tree nut easier to eat. I’ll also show you how to peel skins easily to enjoy the delicious chestnuts!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chestnuts, raw in the shell (edible variety), 454g
  • hot water, enough to submerge chestnuts

Instructions

Prepare Chestnuts

  • Rinse off any dirt from the fresh chestnuts.
  • Place them on a cutting board flat side down. Use one hand to hold down the chestnut firmly, and use another hand to cut through the shell on the rounded side to score an “X” with a serrated knife. Be careful with the knife as the outer shell can be very slippery. (Make sure to cut through the skin, otherwise, the skin won’t curl up during baking. It’s ok to cut right into the chestnuts.)
  • Repeat for remaining chestnuts. Place the cut chestnuts in a medium bowl.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and remove from heat.
  • Pour the hot water over the scored chestnuts and soak for 1 minute.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove soaked chestnuts to a cutting board or plate and then pat dry with paper towels.

Roasting in the Oven

  • Place the oven rack in the middle position and then preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Set aside a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Add scored chestnuts to the baking sheet in a single layer flat side down.
  • Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Roast for about 20 minutes until the peel is curled up and chestnuts are cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and wrap them in a tea towel (leave them in the tea towel for 5 to 10 minutes).

Peeling roasted chestnuts

  • Start peeling as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Peel the shell at the “X” mark. If it’s too hard to handle with your fingers, use a paring knife. The inner skin should come out easily with the shell if you use fresh chestnuts. (It’s important to use a clean tea towel to keep them warm so the skins don’t shrink back onto the nuts. If some chestnuts cool off and become tricky to peel, you can pop them back in the oven for a few minutes to warm up.)
  • Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Use this recipe as a basic guide and keep a close watch on how long it takes to cook chestnuts. Adjust the roasting time slightly depending on the temperature and the size of your chestnuts.
  • If you want to add flavorings, add them during the last 5 minutes of cooking, and toss well with the seasonings and spices of your choice, such as melted butter, honey, rosemary, salt, etc.
  • Roasting on the Stovetop
    • Heat a chestnut roasting pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
    • Add scored chestnuts in a single layer.
    • Cook chestnuts for 15-20 minutes or until opened.
  • Roasting on an Open Fire
    • Start a fireplace or campfire. Move things around so that there’s a bed of coals that the pan can rest on.
    • Add scored chestnuts to the pan in a single layer.
    • Place the pan on the coal for about 20 minutes or until opened.
Nutrition Facts
Roasted Chestnuts (How to Roast and Peel + Video)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 222.26 Calories from Fat 13
% Daily Value*
Fat 1.42g2%
Saturated Fat 0.27g1%
Sodium 2.27mg0%
Potassium 548.85mg16%
Carbohydrates 50.09g17%
Protein 1.85g4%
Vitamin A 29.48IU1%
Vitamin C 45.59mg55%
Calcium 21.55mg2%
Iron 1.06mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please read our nutrition disclaimer.

Author: Cindy
Course: Snack
Keyword: How to Roast Chestnuts, Roasted Chestnuts
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