How to roast chestnuts

Get in the festive mood by roasting your own chestnuts, then use them in turkey stuffing, cakes and crumbles, or tuck in while they're warm from the oven.

Roasted chestnuts in a pan over fire

A tray of freshly roasted chestnuts is a wonderful festive snack, but you can also serve them with roasted meats, fold them into your stuffing mixture, or chop them up to add to crumble toppings. They add depth to both sweet and savoury dishes.

Available from late September until January, chestnuts are at their peak over the festive season. For maximum flavour, look for the largest chestnuts you can find and choose those that are shiny and feel heavy for their size.

1. Cut the shell carefully

Knife cutting up chestnuts

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Lay the chestnuts on their flat sides and, with a sharp knife, make a long slit crosswise over the top. Make sure you cut carefully through the outer shell but not the nut inside.

2. Roast for 30 mins until split

Chestnuts in a roasting tray

Place in a roasting dish large enough to have one layer of chestnuts, without overcrowding them. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the skins split open. They will be very hot, so leave in the tin for now.

3. Cool, peel and serve  

Peeling chestnuts on a table

Once cool enough to handle, but still warm enough to work with, peel the outer shell, then remove the inner brown membrane. Serve immediately, or chop, ready to be added to your recipe. 

For a smoother cooked chestnut

Oven-roasting chestnuts is the best way to bring out the fullest flavour (if you want to eat them straight away or chop them into your stuffing mix). Boiling them will give a smooth texture for cooking in soups or purées. To do this, prepare them in the same way as step 1, then boil for 30 minutes instead of roasting. Peel, then chop or purée as required.

Need inspiration? Try our favourite chestnut recipes...

Chestnut & cranberry roll 
Italian sausage & chestnut pasta
Chestnut, bacon & cranberry stuffing
Chestnut, spinach & blue cheese en croûte
Chestnuts in Cointreau & orange syrup
Chestnut & shallot Tatins with mushroom & madeira sauce
Chocolate & chestnut truffle torte
Parsnip, cranberry & chestnut loaf

Find more delicious ideas in our guide on what to do with chestnuts.

What are your favourite roasted chestnut recipes? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

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5th Dec, 2015
I would suggest soaking the chestnuts both before and after roasting for up to 1 hour. This facilitates cutting them as the shell softens from the first soaking, and after scoring the resting in water for an hour means that the chestnuts will almost steam as they roast in the oven so the shells release easily. I think 20 minutes at this heat is sufficient. Also do not allow chestnuts to cool too much as they will become tough again and hard to peel. I wear gloves and so can remove shells almost immediately out of oven.
24th Oct, 2019
You mention soaking after roasting. Would this be hot water to keep them soft?
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