How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

Roast Chestnuts in the Oven recipe

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Yields: 1 1/2 pounds
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
222 Calories
1g Fat
50g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 222
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 2g
Calcium 22mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Roasting is one of the best ways to enjoy chestnuts. Bitter when raw, roasted chestnuts have a delicate and slightly sweet flavor with a soft texture similar to sweet potato. They're especially popular around the Christmas holidays and really easy to make at home.

Beloved in Italy starting in autumn, some would argue that the best way to roast chestnuts is over hot coals, either in a fireplace or an outdoor roasting pit. When that's not practical, Italians roast them over a gas stove burner, in a simple iron pan with a perforated bottom that allows the flames to touch the chestnuts. If you do not have a special chestnut-roasting pan or a gas burner, don't despair. No special equipment is necessary to roast them in your oven.

Roasted chestnuts can be enjoyed on their own, as a festive winter snack or after-dinner treat. They pair well with a bottle of vino novello (or Beaujolais nouveau). From turkey stuffings to cakes and other desserts, you can use them in a variety of chestnut recipes, too. One simple side dish that's perfect for Thanksgiving tosses roasted chestnuts with roasted Brussels sprouts.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound chestnuts (unpeeled, unroasted)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 425 F.

    Roast Chestnuts in the Oven ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Using a sharp paring knife, make an X-shaped cut on the round side of each chestnut. This critical step keeps them from exploding from internal pressure when heated and makes peeling easier after roasting.

    The top of each chestnut gets a knife-sliced "X"

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Arrange chestnuts on a baking rack or a baking sheet.

    The chestnuts are placed on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Transfer the chestnuts to the oven and roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened. The actual time required will depend on the chestnuts but will be at least 15 to 20 minutes.

    The roasted chestnuts straight from the oven

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Remove the nuts from the oven and pile them into a mound in an old towel. Wrap them up, squeeze hard—the chestnuts should crackle—and let them sit for a few minutes.

    Hot roasted chestnut are put in a towel so they can be squeezed and cracked

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Pull and snap off the dark shells to reveal the yellowish white chestnuts. While peeling, make sure to also remove the papery skin between the shell and the chestnut.

    chestnut shells in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Enjoy.

    Roast Chestnuts in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Tip

  • When selecting chestnuts, look for the largest ones you can find, with shiny shells, and a weighty feel in your hand.

Chestnuts in Italy

Italy is Europe's biggest producer of chestnuts, and a particularly prized kind is grown in the Mugello region of Tuscany. Chestnuts are in season roughly from September through January and are particularly popular around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.

The Italian language has two names for chestnuts: castagne (for the smaller, more common varieties) and marroni (for the larger, more prized heart-shaped varieties). 

As autumn gets into full-swing each year, and particularly just before Christmas, roasted chestnut stalls and stands appear in seemingly every piazza and on street corners throughout Italy, selling paper cones full of the roasted delicacies. Sometimes some red wine or grappa is splashed over them while roasting.

Sagre (food festivals) celebrating the chestnut take place all across Italy in October.

Are the Worms in Chestnuts Safe?

Harvesting your own chestnuts is a fun autumn activity. Make sure you're not gathering horse chestnuts, because they are poisonous, and to pick up chestnuts within three days after they fall to the ground. Chestnut weevil larvae may be found in some chestnuts. If you notice worm exit holes in the chestnuts, discard them. To kill unhatched eggs and larvae that have not exited, The University of Missouri's Center for Agroforestry recommends soaking chestnuts for 20 minutes in water that is exactly 120 F. It's a common practice among commercial growers, and the chestnuts are then edible.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Center for Agroforestry. University of Missouri School of Natural Resources. Chestnut Weevils. CenterForAgroForestry.org.