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Roasting Chestnuts - How to?

essny Nov 29, 2008 12:53 PM

I bought a bunch of chestnuts from Sahadi's (Brooklyn, NY) and want to have them available for guests to eat at tomorrow's brunch. My mom usually steams them but I want to try roasting them in the oven. Should I use my cast-iron skillet? or put them in a roasting dish? Do I need to score them? how high should I set the temp? Are they done when the skin has curled/popped?

And if there's been a post about this already, sorry for the repeat. I'd appreciate a re-direct.


  1. a
    adamshoe Nov 29, 2008 02:33 PM

    Definitely score them!!! Not only does it help w/ shelling, but they can pop or explode if not scored. Cast iron should be fine or a heavy roasting dish. For doneness, not sure: refer to a book for time and temp. but probably 400 degrees for 20-25 mins? Adam

    1. goodhealthgourmet Nov 29, 2008 02:43 PM

      wipe off any visible dirt, and as adamshoe said, score the nuts to allow steam to escape - with a sharp, sturdy paring knife, cut an "X" in the round end of each chestnut. place the chestnuts in a single layer on a baking pan or in a shallow baking dish, scored side up, and roast in a pre-heated 425 oven for 20-25 minutes. they'll burst open & the insides will be soft when they're done.

      ***you MUST peel them while they're still warm or you'll never get the shells off...do it as soon as they're just cool enough to handle without burning yourself.


      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        ipsedixit Nov 29, 2008 09:21 PM

        As an aside, instead of scoring, I sometimes use a walnut cracker and give the chestnuts a bit of a squeeze -- just enough that small fissures are showing, but not to the point where they are totally cracked open.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          goodhealthgourmet Nov 30, 2008 06:04 AM

          ooh, nice! i like that improvisation...might be an excuse for me to buy a walnut cracker :)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            ipsedixit Nov 30, 2008 11:59 AM

            Using a walnut cracker also makes it easier to peel after roasting.

      2. i
        itryalot Nov 30, 2008 12:07 PM

        Tried the nut cracker but finds it blemishes the meat of the chestnut. Also, when you take them out of the oven. put them in a clean dishcloth and cover for a few minutes and that seems to help peeling too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: itryalot
          ipsedixit Nov 30, 2008 08:04 PM

          You squeezed too hard.

        2. greedygirl Nov 30, 2008 01:39 PM

          I have a special pan for roasting chestnuts. It's basically a frying pan with holes in it. I picked it up in Lidl (German supermarket) for next to nothing and it's fab. It also came with a special implement for cutting the chestnuts so they don't explode.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greedygirl
            pemma Dec 1, 2008 07:40 AM

            I roast them on a baking sheet at 450 for about 20-25 minutes. They kind of pop open at the score when good and done. If they are not done they will be very hard to peel.

            You must score them or they will explode. There is actually a chestnut knife that is great for this, much easier and safer than a regular night. You can get one at Williams Sonoma. It is actually called a "chestnut knife".

          2. c
            cookiegirl Dec 15, 2008 10:13 AM

            How long will roasted chestnuts last? How should they be stored? Or should I roast only the amount that I need today? Thanks!

            1. v
              Vshu Dec 15, 2008 12:42 PM

              After I score the chestnuts, I also soak them in water while the oven is pre-heating. Once the oven is to temperature (400 degrees), I drain the chestnuts and place them on one layer in a sheet pan. Roast about 20 minutes. To keep the chestnuts from cooling too quickly, keep the chestnuts in the pan and cover with a kitchen towel.

              Unless you are saving your chestnuts as an ingredient in another recipe, you should roast what you need. I find they are best eaten while warm.

              1. p
                Potomac Bob Dec 15, 2008 02:04 PM

                First, you need an open fire. Then, With a sharp knife cut out a slit on the convex sides of the shells of chestnuts. Bake them in an oiled baking pan in a very hot oven (450°) for 5 or 6 minutes. When the chestnuts are cool enough to handle remove the shells and skins with a sharp knife.

                1. g
                  geotcret Nov 24, 2009 11:46 AM

                  Last Thanksgiving I roasted chestnuts for our dressing. I had trouble with the scoring. I then read about the chestnut knives and found an even better tool. I use a box cutter with the long hook blade. These blades are cheap and available at all home and hardware store; maybe others.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: geotcret
                    karykat Nov 24, 2009 12:45 PM

                    Scoring is tricky. If you put the chestnuts on a flat surface while you're scoring they will catapault into space when you apply a blade. And if you try to hold them while you score, you are at risk of cutting a finger or two off.

                    Some years ago, my Dad rigged up a good system for me. I put he chestnut into an adjustable wrench that you can tighten so it clamps down on the chestnut. Then I used a regular box cutter.

                    Now I have one of those gizmos that you put the nut into and it pierces the chestnut. Haven't made a lot of use of that so I'm hoping it works. I bought some chestnuts from Iowa and will be giving that a try. They looked a little smaller than the imported chestnuts I've bought other years. So we will see how they are.

                    However you do it, give some thought to safety. Scoring chestnuts can be a risky business.

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