There's no need to wait for the carnival to come to town or hunt down a street vendor—you can easily make roasted peanuts at home. It's incredibly easy to do and it's hard to beat the flavor of freshly roasted peanuts straight out of the oven.
There really are no tricks to roasting nuts in your own kitchen. The biggest concern is the timing because you'll need to roast the ones in the shell a little longer than peanuts that have already been shelled. Either way, it takes less than 30 minutes, and you'll be crunching in no time.
The only items you need are peanuts and a shallow baking dish. Raw, dried peanuts are the best for roasting. If all you have are green peanuts—those that have not been dried—you'll want to boil them instead.
Your dried peanuts can be shelled or unshelled. When using peanuts in the shell, sort through them before you begin. You only want to roast the ones that have clean, unbroken, and unblemished shells. Also, they shouldn't rattle when you shake them.
A healthy, convenient snack, these peanuts are perfect to take with you on road trips, hiking adventures, or days at the beach, offering a quick source of protein. Once you learn how to roast peanuts, you may start to see other possibilities: it's a great prep step before making amazing homemade peanut butter. All you need is a food processor and something to sweeten the blend. Use your butter in delicious desserts or simply enjoy the freshest peanut butter and jelly sandwich possible (with homemade jam, of course!).
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- 1 pound shelled peanuts (or 1 1/2 pounds unshelled peanuts)
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the raw peanuts in a single layer inside a shallow baking pan.
For shelled peanuts (peanuts removed from the shell), bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the skins become loose and the peanuts are lightly golden. For unshelled peanuts (peanuts still inside their shells), bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the shells are lightly golden brown. The peanuts will continue to cook when removed from the oven.
Let cool 10 minutes before eating.
- If you need to know how many peanuts you need to roast for a recipe, keep in mind that 1 1/2 pounds of unshelled peanuts are equal to about 1 pound shelled. This will produce between 3 1/2 to 4 cups of shelled peanuts.
- Straight out of the oven, the peanuts are very hot and will finish cooking as they cool (you can actually hear the skin crackle). If you want to check a shelled peanut for internal doneness, handle it and crack it open with tongs, let the steam escape, and cool a bit first.
- If you prefer to wash the in-shell peanuts first, rinse them in a colander under cold running water. Shake off excess water, then lay them out flat on a towel and pat dry.
Is It Necessary to Remove the Skin From Shelled Peanuts?
Inside the shell, the actual peanut meat is covered by a thin, papery skin. If you want to remove it, you'll save a lot of time and hassle by waiting until after the peanuts are roasted because the skin dries out and loosens up. Once the peanuts are cooled, the peanuts should pop right out of the skin when squeezed between your fingers. Remove the skins from an entire batch at once by shaking the roasted peanuts vigorously in a lidded bowl. The agitation removes most of the skin and you simply have to pick out the peanuts.
Is It Easier to Shell Peanuts Before or After Roasting?
Many people prefer the taste of peanuts roasted in the shell. It does soften the shell and makes them slightly more difficult to crack open. If your intention is to use the peanuts in a recipe or as a no-mess snack, consider shelling the peanuts before roasting. For the best of both worlds, roast part of the batch in the shell with the extended cooking time.
- You also can roast peanuts in the microwave oven.
- Sprinkle shelled peanuts with salt, spices, or dried herbs for a savory twist before roasting or while they're still warm.
- To sweeten peanuts like those you can buy from street vendors or baseball parks, try caramelized peanuts or honey-roasted peanuts.
How to Store Roasted Peanuts
- Store unshelled roasted peanuts in an airtight container up to one month on the shelf. In the refrigerator, they will keep for six months. In the freezer, they're good for up to one year.
- The same storage recommendations apply to raw unshelled peanuts. If you find a great deal, stock up and store them properly so you can enjoy your peanuts whenever you'd like.