If you are familiar with the Christmas song “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, then try making this special treat at home this year! Roasted Chestnuts are a great holiday appetizer and a healthy snack that’s sweet with a nutty flavor.
To me, the heartwarming aroma of chestnuts roasting signals a delicious beginning of the holiday season. Peeling and eating them are so satisfying on a cold day!
They’re also healthy and good for you. Chestnuts are low in fat (less than 2% fat, compared with 73% fat for macadamia nuts) according to USDA, but high in protein, vitamins, and fiber.
Pro Tips: Don’t eat fresh chestnuts raw, as they are tannic and tart. Also note that the chestnuts from your backyard are mostly horse chestnuts that are inedible.
Tools You’ll Need for this Recipe
- Roasting Pan: I recommend using a chestnut-roasting pan that has holes in it. Alternatively, you can also use a cast iron skillet.
- Open Fire: You can use your fireplace, or a campfire, fire pit, open fire grill.
- Sharp Serrated Knife: In order for the chestnuts to be roasted properly, you’ll need to score the chestnuts with a sharp knife or chestnut knife before cooking.
If you don’t have an open fire, you can roast your chestnuts on the stove or in the oven.
How to Roast Chestnuts on an Open Fire
1. Prepare the fire: Start a fireplace, campfire, or open fire pit. You’ll need to move things around so that there is a bed of coals that the pan can rest on.
2. Prepare the chestnuts for roasting: Rinse off the dirt from chestnuts and cut through the shell on the rounded side to score an “X”.
3. Roast the chestnuts: Add scored chestnuts to the roasting pan in a single layer. Then place the pan on the fire for about 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
4. Peel and enjoy: Remove them from the pan and keep warm in a tea towel for 5-10 minutes. Peel the roasted chestnuts and serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks
- Buying Fresh Chestnuts: It’s very important to use FRESH chestnuts for this recipe. Old chestnuts don’t taste good and are extremely difficult to peel.
- Scoring Chestnuts Before Cooking: You’ll need to score chestnuts or slit the shells before cooking. Scoring will prevent them from exploding from the internal pressure during cooking, and it’ll also make peeling much easier.
How to Peel Roasted Chestnuts
Use a clean tea towel to keep them warm so that the skins don’t shrink onto the nuts. You’ll need to move quickly and start peeling as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
Peel both the shell and the brown papery skin. Start at the “X” mark, and if it’s too hard to handle with hands, use a knife. The inner skin and the shell should come off easily.
Pro Tips: If some chestnuts cool off and become hard to peel, you can put them back on the fire for a few minutes to warm them up. (If your chestnuts are too difficult to peel, it’s might because your chestnuts are not fresh.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Chestnuts Taste Like?
Roasted chestnuts taste sweet and earthy with a rich flavor. They have a starchy texture similar to a baked potato.
Where to Buy Chestnuts?
You can find fresh chestnuts from late fall through winter at local grocery stores. You may also find them in the farmer’s market. Look for chestnuts that are heavy for their size with tight, shiny skin. Avoid nuts that have wrinkles in their shell – this means they’re old.
How to Serve Roasted Chestnuts?
Chestnuts are delicious on its own as a healthy snack. They can also be used in both sweet and savory dishes. You can chop the roasted chestnuts and add them to cakes, cookies, salad, and soup.
How Long Do Chestnuts Last?
Store your fresh chestnuts in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Roasted chestnuts taste the best when they are freshly cooked. The leftover can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If You Like This Recipe Try These Out
If you tried this recipe, let me know how your Roasted Chestnuts turn out in the comments below!
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Recipe
- 1 pound fresh chestnuts in the shell (make sure to use the edible variety)
- optional seasoning
- Start a fireplace, campfire or open fire pit. You’ll need to move things around so that there is a bed of coals that the pan can rest on.
- Rinse off the dirt from chestnuts and cut through the shell on the rounded side to score an "X".
- Add scored chestnuts to the roasting pan in a single layer.
- Place the pan on the coal for about 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Remove them from the pan and keep warm in a tea towel for 5-10 minutes before peeling.
- Peel the roasted chesnuts and serve immedietely.
- You can add seasonings to your chestnuts if you wish. Some good options include honey, salt, and melted butter.