This easy guide on roasted chestnuts will show you the best way to prepare and roast chestnuts that are easy to peel. You'll end up with tender, sweet, nutty roasted chestnuts with just a few simple steps. They make an excellent snack for Christmas that your whole family will love!
Roasted chestnuts are one of my favorite winter snacks, and I make sure to have them every year around Christmas! They're buttery, tender, and delightfully sweet when roasted in the oven.
What makes these the best roasted chestnuts is the technique in which they are prepared, which makes for hassle-free, easy peeling during the busy holiday season.
How to Easily Peel Chestnuts
Oftentimes, people have difficulty peeling the papery inner skin. The secret to easy-peel chestnuts is soaking them in water and then parboiling them before they roast. This softens and loosens the inner skin which makes them easy to peel.
Fresh chestnuts - Look for chestnuts that are heavy for their size, firm, and blemish-free. Check the pointy tips for any gaps or cracks - these are signs they aren't fresh. They should be solid, smooth, and not rattle in its shell.
Steps for Roasted Chestnuts (Easy-Peel Method)
- Wash and rinse each chestnut then lay them down on their flat side on a hard surface. Use a sharp paring knife to score a straight line laterally or an 'X' shape across the rounded part of the chestnut. Be sure to cut through the shell completely to avoid exploding chestnuts in the oven.
- Soak the scored chestnuts in hot water for at least two hours and up to overnight in the fridge. The longer you soak them, the easier it will be to peel. This works by softening and loosening the inner papery skin, making it easier to peel.
- Parboil the chestnuts for 4 to 5 minutes or until you see the outer shell separate, revealing the inner nut. This softens the outer and inner shell to make it easier to peel.
- Alternatively, you can par-cook the chestnuts in the microwave instead of on the stovetop. Add the scored chestnuts to a heat-safe bowl and cover it with water. Microwave for 5 minutes until you see the shell separate slightly, revealing the nut inside.
- Roast them in the oven at 425 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the inner nut is soft and tender and the outer shell has peeled back. Take them out of the oven and cover them with a clean kitchen towel to steam.
- When it's cool enough to handle but still hot, peel back the outer and inner shell to pop out the chestnut. The inner skin should easily peel away. For really stubborn ones, you can reboil the chestnuts to further soften the skin or peel them using a vegetable peeler.
Roasted chestnuts taste amazing when it's fresh from the oven and sprinkled with a bit of salt. But they also taste great when added to both savory and sweet dishes. Here are a few suggestions that you can add to your holiday menu:
- Savory dishes: Add to Christmas stuffings, soups, salads, casseroles, or roasted vegetables.
- Sweet dishes: Add them to baked goods, such as cakes, bread, truffles, and muffins.
How to choose good chestnuts
More Christmas recipes:
Roasted Chestnuts (Easy-Peel Method)
- 1 lb chestnuts - See Note 1
- water for soaking
- Score Chestnuts: Place each chestnut flat-side down. Using a chestnut knife or a small paring knife, score either an 'X' shape or a straight line across the rounded part of the chestnut, ensuring you cut through the shell. Flip it over and score a line across the other side. Do not skip this step - This prevents the chestnuts from exploding in the oven. Please be careful and use gloves or a kitchen towel for safe handling. See Note 2.1 lb chestnuts
- Soak Chestnuts: Place the scored chestnuts in a large bowl and fill it with hot water until the chestnuts are submerged. Let them soak for at least 2 hours on the countertop, up to overnight in the fridge. This softens and loosens the inner skin making them easier to peel. The longer they soak the better.
- Par-cook the Chestnuts: (Optional but highly recommended for easy peeling) Add the chestnuts to a pot of boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Alternatively, par-cook the chestnuts in a microwave. First, add them to a heat-safe bowl and add enough water to submerge them. Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes or until you start to see the shell separate ever so slightly. Work in batches if you have a lot of chestnuts.
- Roast Chestnuts: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chestnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, flat-side down. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the inner nut is soft and tender and the outer shell has peeled back.
- Peel: Wrap the roasted chestnuts tightly in a kitchen towel to steam until they're cool enough to handle. While still hot, peel off the hard outer shell and inner skin along the scored region. Serve and enjoy!
✎ Recipe Notes
- Chestnuts - When choosing chestnuts, look for firm, heavy ones with a smooth, shiny shell that's blemish-free. The shells should be tight and completely closed. Avoid the ones that rattle or have any gaps or holes. Give them a squeeze - if they are soft or mushy, they've gone bad.
- Safe handling - To safely score chestnuts, nestle each chestnut in a damp, folded kitchen towel on a flat, hard surface. This prevents them from slipping away and also protects your fingers in case the knife slips. Hold the ends of the chestnut through the kitchen towel and use a sharp pairing knife or chestnut knife to score the chestnut
- Storage - Store peeled chestnuts in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
Chestnuts taste nutty, sweet, and buttery. The texture is soft and tender and similar to that of a baked potato, however, it has a sweeter flavor.
Chestnuts can be cooked using several methods. It can be cooked on the stovetop by boiling them or roasted in the oven. Either method results in soft, tender chestnuts that are perfect for the holidays.