How to Cook Chestnuts on Stove and in Oven

Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s the perfect time to go chestnut picking! Picking chestnuts is one of my favorite autumn hobbies, along with capturing photos of the changing leaves. Recently, I gathered nearly 2kg of chestnuts from the park, which will allow me to make a variety of dishes, including Korean Chestnut cookies, Vietnam’s Sapa Chestnut Cake, Braised Pork Belly with Chestnut, Chestnut Rice, and Chestnut Paste for making various cakes. But before we can use them, we need to cook the chestnuts and remove them from their shells. Let’s explore how to cook chestnuts using two simple methods: boiling on the stove or roasting in the oven or air fryer.

What is Chestnut?

Chestnuts, originating from chestnut trees, have a rich history dating back thousands of years. They served as a staple food in various ancient civilizations, including the Greeks and Romans. While native to Europe and Asia, chestnut trees can now be found worldwide and are a valuable food source for humans and animals, especially during the fall and winter months. I particularly enjoy observing ducks and squirrels in the park as they collect and consume the entire chestnut in one go.

Chestnuts are different from other nuts like almonds or peanuts because they are not oily or crunchy. It’s soft, starchy, and naturally sweet. Thanks to that, we can cook them in various dishes turn them into delicious chestnut desserts as well.

Chestnut’s Nutrition Fact

Chestnuts are not just tasty; they are also nutritious. Here’s the nutritional value for 100g of chestnuts:

  • Calories: Around 213 calories, making them a moderate-calorie nut.
  • Fat: Chestnuts are low in fat, containing only about 2 grams of fat per 100 grams.
  • Carbohydrates: They are relatively high in carbohydrates, with approximately 45 grams per 100 grams. However, most of these carbohydrates come from complex carbs, which provide a steady source of energy.
  • Fiber: Chestnuts are a good source of dietary fiber, offering about 8 grams per 100 grams. Fiber is essential for digestive health.
  • Protein: Chestnuts contain around 2 grams of protein per 100 grams, making them lower in protein compared to other nuts.
  • Vitamins: They are particularly rich in vitamin C, providing about 43 milligrams per 100 grams. This vitamin supports the immune system and skin health.
  • Minerals: Chestnuts are a good source of potassium, offering approximately 592 milligrams per 100 grams. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Folate: They contain about 59 micrograms of folate per 100 grams. Folate is essential for cell division and the formation of DNA.

Chestnuts are often round or oval in shape, and they have a hard outer shell, similar to a tough jacket. Inside, you’ll find the edible part—the chestnut itself. This outer skin can be challenging to open, so it’s essential to score it before roasting or boiling chestnuts. Scoring the skin also helps prevent bursting during the cooking process.

How to cook chestnuts quickly and easily

Cooking chestnuts is not a challenge, and you can have them ready in around 20 minutes. The most common method is roasting. Additionally, boiling is also an easy way to cook chestnuts on the stove in case you don’t have an oven or air fryer available.

As I mentioned above, we must score chestnuts before proceeding with any cooking steps to prevent them from bursting and to make it easier to peel the skin. Before delving into the roasting or boiling techniques, let’s prepare them.

Preparation

  • To prepare chestnuts, first, you should remove any damaged ones. When classifying them, remember that good chestnuts should feel firm and have shiny shells. Avoid the ones with cracks or holes, as these signs indicate that your nuts might be dirty, old, or have been bitten by a worm. The first time I cooked my harvested chestnuts, I skipped this step, and I ended up with numerous worms baked inside my chestnuts 🙂
  • Next, wash the nuts with a bit of salt to remove any dirt or debris on the outside. Also, take a second look at each chestnut to ensure there are no bad ones. If a chestnut looks moldy or damaged, be sure to remove it.
  • Then, score the chestnuts. Use a sharp knife with a heel and make a shallow crosswise cut on the nuts. If desired, you can create a crosscut (X-cut) for a more appealing appearance in the final cooked chestnuts. Alternatively, you can purchase a Chestnut Clip to save time cutting them by a knife. Of course, it’s safer as well.
how to score chestnuts
Use a sharp knife or a Chestnut Clip to score them.
  • Soak the chestnuts in water to hydrate them a bit more before cooking.

Boil Chestnuts

To cook chestnuts on the stove, I recommend boiling. Roasting is also possible, but the heat on the stove may not be as even as in the oven, which can result in unevenly roasted nuts. Follow these steps:

  • Place your prepared chestnuts in a pot. Add enough water to cover them completely. Put the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.
boil chestnuts
Boiling chestnuts on stove
  • Simmer: Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with the lid, and let the chestnuts simmer in 10-15 minutes.
  • Checking for Doneness: To check if they’re done, take one chestnut out, let it cool for a moment, and then peel it. If the inside is soft and creamy, they are ready to eat. If not, continue simmering and check again in a few minutes.
Boiled chestnuts
Boiled chestnuts: soft, brightly yellow.

After boiling chestnuts, if they become too soft and are difficult to peel, you can let them dry for a while.

Roast Chestnut in Oven

With the roasting method, your chestnuts will become firmer and develop a vibrant yellow color after peeling their brown skins. The roasting process usually takes around 15 minutes at 400°F (200°C):

  • Preheating the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C). It’s important to get it nice and hot before you put the chestnuts in for an even roasting.
  • Roasting on a Baking Sheet: Place the prepared chestnuts on a baking sheet. Make sure they are in a single layer and not piled on top of each other. This helps them cook evenly.
Bake chestnuts
  • Bake the chestnuts on the baking sheet in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. The smaller the size of the chestnuts, the shorter the roasting time. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook.
  • Checking for Doneness: To check if they’re ready, take one chestnut out, let it cool for a moment, and then peel it. If the inside is soft and creamy, they are done. If not, put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.
how to cook chestnuts
Baked chestnuts are quite firm and has vibrant-yellow color.

Roast Chestnut in Air Fryer

An Air Fryer can act like an oven with the hot air circulation in the frying basket. It even helps to roast chestnuts more evenly in shorter time. Let’s learn how to roast them in air fryer:

  • Preheating the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
  • Roasting Chestnuts: Place the prepared chestnuts in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding them for better air circulation.
  • Air Frying Chestnuts: Set the air fryer timer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Checking for Doneness: As always, the best way to determine if they’re ready is to take one chestnut out, let it cool briefly, and then peel it. If the inside is soft and creamy, your chestnuts are done. If not, air fry them for a few more minutes.
Peeled chestnuts

It’s all you should know about how to cook chestnuts. The boiled chestnuts would be softer, more hydrated, and lightly yellow, while the roasted ones would be firmer and vibrantly yellow. Peel them carefully, enjoy to the fullest, and save some for other recipes with chestnuts.

how to cook chestnuts

How to cook chestnuts on stove and in oven

Yield: 1 kg
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Let's discover how to cook chestnuts with two simple methods: boiling on stove, or roasting in the oven or air fryer.

Ingredients

  • 1kg chestnuts
  • A bit salt to wash chestnuts

Instructions

Preparation

  • To prepare chestnuts, first, you should remove any damaged ones. When classifying them, remember that good chestnuts should feel firm and have shiny shells. Avoid the ones with cracks or holes, as these signs indicate that your nuts might be dirty, old, or have been bitten by a worm. The first time I cooked my harvested chestnuts, I skipped this step, and I ended up with numerous worms baked inside my chestnuts 🙂
  • Next, wash the nuts with a bit of salt to remove any dirt or debris on the outside.
  • Then, score the chestnuts. Use a sharp knife with a heel and make a shallow crosswise cut on the nuts. If desired, you can create a crosscut (X-cut) for a more appealing appearance in the final cooked chestnuts. Alternatively, you can purchase a Chestnut Clip to save time cutting them by a knife. Soak the chestnuts in water to hydrate them a bit more before cooking. how to score chestnuts

Boil Chestnuts

  • Place your prepared chestnuts in a pot. Add enough water to cover them completely. Put the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. boil chestnuts
  • Simmer: Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with the lid, and let the chestnuts simmer in 10-15 minutes.
  • Checking for Doneness: To check if they're done, take one chestnut out, let it cool for a moment, and then peel it. If the inside is soft and creamy, they are ready to eat. If not, continue simmering and check again in a few minutes.boiled chestnuts

Roast Chestnut in Oven

The roasting process could take 15 minutes at 400F (200C):

  • Preheating the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C). It’s important to get it nice and hot before you put the chestnuts in for an even roasting.
  • Roasting on a Baking Sheet: Place the prepared chestnuts on a baking sheet. Make sure they are in a single layer and not piled on top of each other. This helps them cook evenly.roasting chestnuts
  • Baking Chestnuts: Bake the chestnuts on the baking sheet in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. The smaller the size of the chestnuts, the shorter the roasting time. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don't overcook.
  • Checking for Doneness: To check if they’re ready, take one chestnut out, let it cool for a moment, and then peel it. If the inside is soft and creamy, they are done. If not, put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.how to cook chestnuts

Roast Chestnut in Air Fryer

An Air Fryer can act like an oven with the hot air circulation in the frying basket. It even helps to roast chestnuts more evenly in shorter time. Let’s learn how to roast them in air fryer:

  • Preheating the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
  • Roasting Chestnuts: Place the prepared chestnuts in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding them for better air circulation.
  • Air Frying Chestnuts: Set the air fryer timer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Checking for Doneness: As always, the best way to determine if they're ready is to take one chestnut out, let it cool briefly, and then peel it. If the inside is soft and creamy, your chestnuts are done. If not, air fry them for a few more minutes.how to cook chestnutshow to cook chestnuts

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 250g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328

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Other Chestnut Recipes

Beside basic Roasted/Boiled Chestnut, you can also try:

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