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Roasted chestnuts 3 delicious ways


For years, the most I knew about chestnuts was from the classic Christmas song. I’d never had one, never even seen one for sale and sure as heck had no clue how to actually cook them.

Then, in 2002, I was living in Spain in a seaside city, and the few weeks leading up to Christmas, little street carts started popping up, selling roasted chestnuts wrapped up in newspaper. The smell was intoxicating, and after passing it up for a couple of days on my walk home from class, I finally caved.

They were smoky, dense and starchy like a potato, and the best snack around 5 p.m. (since my Spanish host family didn’t eat dinner until 10 o’clock every night) to hold over my not-used-to-that-kind-of-schedule American stomach.

Fast-forward a few years, and I finally found real chestnuts for sale in the grocery store near me. Of course I had to pick some up, and ever since, I’ve made it a point to roast them a few times each season, if for nothing else than to remember how awesome it was to be 20 years old, living in Spain, walking through a city decorated in white Christmas lights, with nothing more to worry about in life than the stupid paper I had to write for class.

There’s nothing more to roasting chestnuts than throwing them into the oven for about half an hour, but if you want to go to town with different flavors, then these three spicy, savory and sweet options are delicious places to start.

Roasted chestnuts: 3 Ways

Toss chestnuts into different spice combinations to get simple and festive winter snacks.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes


  • 2 pounds chestnuts
For savory
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
For spicy
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For sweet

  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Score the chestnuts with an “X” on the rounded side. You want to just pierce the hard shell but not cut all the way through the chestnut
  3. Soak the chestnuts in hot water for 1 minute, drain, and dry.
  4. Combine the ingredients for each flavor in 3 small bowls. Heat them in the microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds, until the butter melts. Stir each bowl to combine the ingredients.
  5. Divide the chestnuts equally among the 3 bowls, and toss in the mixtures until the chestnuts are fully coated.
  6. Line a baking sheet with foil, and arrange the chestnuts in a single layer on the foil.
  7. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the shells start peeling back.
  8. Remove from the oven, let cool to the touch, and then eat. You’ll have to peel away the shell with your hands or carefully using a knife.

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More chestnut recipes

Chestnut-white bean soup
Filet mignon with chestnut cream sauce
Butternut squash-chestnut soup with caramelized pears

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