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How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

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How to Roast Chestnuts

Looking for the easiest way to roast chestnuts? if you’re feeding a crowd, or need a large quantity for a recipe, oven-roasting is the way to go. It’s also the best option, if you’re working on a recipe that calls for whole chestnuts, since the shells come off easily, with minimal nut breakage. Here’s my super simple method for roasting chestnuts in the oven.

How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

This roasting method will work for any variety of edible chestnut—European, Chinese, Japanese, American or hybrid. Just don’t use it to roast horse chestnuts. They’re poisonous. Here’s a chestnut identification guide from the American Chestnut Project that you can refer to, if you aren’t sure what you have.

For the best results, roast your chestnuts as soon as you get them, so they don’t dry out, or grow moldy. If you can’t get to this project right away, store your chestnuts in the fridge, until you’re ready. Just don’t wait too long.

Cook Time:

15-30 mins

Tools You’ll Need

  • A sharp knife
  • A couple bowls (for shells and roasted chestnuts)
  • A cutting board
  • A chestnut clip (optional, but nice to have, if you’re processing a lot of chestnuts)
  • A rimmed baking sheet

What You Do:

Score the Chestnuts

Use a sharp knife to score an “X” in the round side of each chestnut. Your cuts don’t need to be very deep—you’re just trying to cut through the shell. This will serve as a vent, so your chestnuts don’t explode in the oven. As your chestnuts roast, the shells will curl back and pull away from the chestnuts, where you scored them, making them easy to peel.

Tips & Tricks

  • Some chestnut roasting instructions call for scoring the top of the chestnut, while others call for scoring the flat side. I favor cutting the round side because it allows you to sit the chestnut on the flat side, while cutting, so there’s less chance of a knife slip.
  • Nuts are easiest to peel while they’re still warm from the oven, so it’s best to roast chestnuts in small batches. I don’t recommend roasting more than one baking sheet at a time.
  • Planning to roast chestnuts every fall? Consider investing in a chestnut clip. Just stick a chestnut in the tool and press down to make your score mark in one motion—and without using a knife.

Roasted Chestnuts on a Baking Sheet

Place your chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, scored side up, and roast in a 425 degree F oven, until the shell peels back from the chestnuts around your score marks. This could take anywhere from 15-30 minutes—it just depends on the size of the nuts and how much moisture they contain. Really fresh chestnuts will take less time.

Be careful not to leave your chestnuts in the oven for too long because they’ll eventually dry out and become too hard to eat. Much like popcorn kernels don’t all pop, you’re going to have some chestnuts that don’t open, or don’t open very far. To prevent burning, I recommend taking the tray out of the oven, when the majority of your chestnuts have opened.

Roasted and Shelled Chestnuts

Allow your chestnuts to cool slightly. Then, peel off the shells as soon as you can handle them without burning your fingers. Work quickly because the shells are easiest to get off when they’re hot. I usually try to recruit a helper for this step.

Chestnut Butter

Enjoy your roasted chestnuts while they’re still warm, or incorporate them in a recipe, like this chestnut butter or this crockpot stuffing.

How to Store Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts have a relatively short shelf life, compared to other nuts. Store your roasted chestnuts in the refrigerator, and eat them within a few days, or transfer them to a freezer-safe container, and store them in the freezer for up to a year.

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How to Roast Chestnuts

How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

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When you have a lot of chestnuts to roast, use the oven to get the job done quickly and easily.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Varies


  • Chestnuts – the fresher the better


Use a sharp knife to score an ‘X’ in the round side of each chestnut.

Place the chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, scored side up.

Roast chestnuts in a 425 degree F oven, until the shells peel back from where you scored them. This normally takes between 15-30 minutes. Don’t leave them in the oven longer than you have to. They’ll eventually become hard and burn.

Let the chestnuts cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Then, peel off the shells. They come of easiest, when the nuts are still hot.

Eat your chestnuts while they’re warm, or incorporate them in a recipe.


  • Roasted chestnuts can be stored in the fridge for a couple day, or frozen for up to a year.
  • European, Chinese, Japanese and American chestnuts are edible—horse chestnuts are not. Make sure you’re working with an edible chestnut.

More Chestnuts Recipes

Working your way through a bumper crop of chestnuts? Here are more ways to put them to work in your baking and cooking.

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