Oven Roasted Chestnuts

About this Recipe

Folks dressed up like Eskimos? Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Sounds like the perfect season to test out this Oven Roasted Chestnut Recipe. The first time I tried roasted chestnuts was at a Christmas holiday fair in Vancouver, BC at Granville Island Market. They truly smell delicious and when the season is glistening with twinkly lights and holiday cheer, than it’s always fun to join in the festivities. My Mother told me she ate them the first time while traveling with her sister in Greece when they were in their 20’s. She said it was a common thing to find being sold by the vendors and she loves the smell..brings her back to her adventurous youth. So when our neighbor told us she knew a spot and would pick up and give us some chestnuts for free, my Mother jumped at the idea.

This was the FIRST time that we ever have gathered and roasted our own chestnuts, so as you can imagine there was a lot to learn.

Grandmother’s TIPs for Oven Roasted Chestnuts Recipe:

1. If you are picking and cleaning and cracking your own...do so in SMALL batches. It just really is quite a process.

2. We would suggest 10 or so nuts per person at a time in order to be able to peel the shell off without smashing up the nut. It becomes almost impossible to peel them once they cool down, so if you want an unbroken chestnut, you have to do in smaller batches.

3. Chestnuts aren't just for snacking like the song implies. You can add them to salads, stir fries, or to make a crunchy topping for chicken, fish or even a pie crust.

4. Chestnuts are very high in fiber and other micro nutrients like manganese and B vitamins and so make a great nut to add to all sorts of meals.

5. We would suggest 10 or so nuts per person at a time in order to be able to peel the shell off without mushing up the nut. It becomes almost impossible to peel them once they cool down , so if you want an unbroken chestnut, you have to do in smaller batches.

6. Again, to make it clear - DO IN SMALL BATCHES. It was fun though and we got some tasty chestnuts out of it, but know for next time not to do a whole big box at once!



Makes: Amount as per the amount of chestnuts you are roasting


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. If you have picked your own chestnuts off the ground They will likely have the very spiky outer casing on them. Using thick gardening or work gloves, remove the prickly shell.

3. Fresh chestnuts must always be cooked before eating to removing their tannic acid content.

4. Wash the chestnuts before cutting if you have picked them off the ground as they are on the dirty side.

5. If you are buying pre-shelled chestnuts you can just go straight ahead and put the cut on each on.

6. Using a sharp knife, make an X on each chestnut. In looking at other methods it would be easier to later peel them if there was one big long score across half the chestnut instead of the X. It is difficult to cut into the nut to make the X and that made it hard to make an X long enough that it would make peeling easier after roasting. Next time we would just put one long cut across the center of each chestnut.

7. Place the chestnuts onto a roasting sheet, like a cookie pan and cook in preheated oven for 18 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven.

9. Let cool just enough to handle then peel the chestnut from where you make the X.

10. Peel the chestnut with your fingers. We found that most of the shells would not come off easily so we reheated the chestnuts in the oven for 5 minutes, put into a bowl and covered it with a wet tea towel so the chestnuts would 'steam' and get softer. We then peeled more of the chestnuts and again found it pretty difficult although it was easier than just baking.

11. The third thing we did was to boil the roasted chestnuts in water for a few minutes to soften more. After straining, we peeled and yes there were softer and the flavor remained close to the same as being just roasted. Overall we found we just did too many chestnuts all at once.

12. The nuts were delicious roasted and will be nice used in recipes.

13. You can freeze the nuts in ziploc bags and when needed.

14. We used a few of these roasted chestnuts in our Baked Spinach Dip Recipe instead of canned ones and it added a bit of a nutty flavor to the dip.


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Chestnuts have been synonymous with Christmas in the United States and Canada even before The Christmas Song was sung by Nat King Cole in 1946. They've also been eaten since ancient times as well. On the east coast of the United States, they were one of the most popular ingredients in all sorts of dishes like squash with chestnuts or roast with chestnuts.

The chestnut trees grew to be very large over 100 feet tall and over 10 feet wide. People found that by roasting the nuts, they became almost sweet in flavour with a delicious nutty flavour. They were sold in bags by street vendors in cities all over the east coast, and the smell would permeate through the streets becoming a classic Christmas scent.

In 1904, there was a disease that spread throughout New York City causing nearly every American Chestnut tree to die. Over the years, there has been an enormous effort to save these beloved trees and The American Chestnut Foundation was created in 1983 to restore chestnut trees. There are also chestnut trees growing in Canada, mainly in Ontario and on the west coast in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Eating these roasted nuts, you'll get all of the great chestnut nutrients including manganese, vitamin B6 and copper as well as vitamin C as they have the most vitamin C of any nut. To tell edible chestnuts from toxic ones you can check the nut while it's still in the husk. The toxic nuts called the horse chestnut will have a smooth husk that has just a few warts.

These are the chestnut trees that are commonly found in forests and backyards. Both nuts are brown with a light mark in the middle, but the safe ones have a tassel or a point on the nut that you can feel with your finger. The toxic ones will not have point and will be smooth all over. Enjoy these nuts on their own or in recipes and enjoy the fun of gathering and roasting them with friends and family.

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