How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

Roasted Chestnuts

The Spruce

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 batch (2 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
222 Calories
1g Fat
50g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 batch (2 servings)
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.)

Italy is Europe's biggest producer of chestnuts, and a particularly prized kind is grown in the Mugello region of Tuscany. Though they suffered a reputation as a "poor man's food" in the past, chestnuts have become somewhat of a luxury item during the winter holiday season.

Chestnuts are in season roughly from September to January and are particularly popular around the holidays between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. In recent years, their excellent nutritional profile has also sparked a resurgence of interest.

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 roast delicacies. Sometimes some red wine or grappa is splashed over them while roasting—even better!

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

Some would argue that the best way to roast chestnuts is over hot coals, either in a fireplace or an outdoor roasting pit, but when that's not practical, Italians roast them over a gas stove burner, in a simple iron pan with a perforated bottom to allow the flames to touch the chestnuts. Roasting chestnuts produces a delicate and slightly sweet flavor while softening the texture to potato-like consistency.

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, included in stuffings for turkey or other large birds, tossed with roasted or pan-roasted Brussels sprouts as a Thanksgiving side dish, or chopped and used as an ingredient in cakes or other desserts.


Click Play to See This Roasted Chestnuts Recipe Come Together


  • 1/2 pound chestnuts (unpeeled, unroasted)

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

  2. Using a sharp paring knife, make an X-shaped cut on the round side of each chestnut, to keep them from exploding from internal pressure when heated.

    cut marks across tops
     The Spruce
  3. Arrange them on either a baking rack or a baking sheet.

    arrange on baking sheet
     The Spruce
  4. Transfer the chestnuts to the oven and roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened (exactly how long will depend on the chestnuts, but at least 15 to 20 minutes).

    roast in oven
     The Spruce
  5. Remove the nuts from the oven, make a mound of them in an old towel, wrap them up, squeeze them hard—they should crackle—and let them sit for a few minutes.

    wrap in a towel
     The Spruce
  6. Then peel the chestnuts by pulling and snap off the shells, being sure to also take off the skin between the shell and the chestnut. When you're done, you will have a pile of yellowish-white chestnuts (and another of the dark shells and papery skins).

  7. Enjoy! Roasted chestnuts pair well with a bottle of vino novello (or Beaujolais Nouveau).


  • When selecting chestnuts, look for the largest ones you can find, with shiny shells, and a weighty feel in your hand.
  • Make sure to create an X-shaped cut in the chestnuts before roasting, to help alleviate pressure when the they are cooking. This will also help you with peeling the chestnuts after they've been roasted.