Roasted Chestnuts from The Nutcracker!

Posted December 1, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 11 Comments




This month we’re making a menu for a play: The Nutcracker! The story is so well-known and beloved that I knew it would be downright sinful to pass up the chance to make a menu for it. Plus, what better way to get in the mood for Christmas than with some Nutcracker food?

When I was brainstorming Christmasy, Nutcracker-themed recipes, roasted chestnuts sprang to mind almost immediately. I’d never made roasted chestnuts before planning this menu, so I was really excited to try them. There’s a little bit of a trick to making them easy to peel, but the warm, savory nuts inside are well worth the extra effort.

P.S. I used a method outlined on Tori Avey’s blog, which you can check out here.


Roasted Chestnuts





  • 15 raw chestnuts, whole


Makes 12-15 chestnuts (Expect to lose a few in the shelling process—chestnuts go bad quickly, and it can be hard to tell from the outside if one has spoiled. If a nut bursts open after roasting and its inside looks dark or gray, discard it.)



    1. Preheat your oven to 425°.
    2. Turn each nut onto it’s flat side, so the curved side is facing upward. Cut a large “X” across the top of the shell, far enough in that it pierces the shell but not so far that it gouges the nut within. You can use a paring knife or special chestnut knife, but I like to snip them with kitchen scissors.

      Cutting the shell open allows steam to escape as the nuts roast.
    3. Next, place your chestnuts in a saucepan and fill the pan with just enough water to cover the chestnuts. Heat the water until simmering.
    4. Strain out the nuts and scatter them on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes or until the shells have burst open and the nut inside is golden yellow.
    5. Pour the hot nuts into a large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to sit for 15 minutes (allowing the nuts to steam makes them easier to peel).
    6. Peel the shells and tough inner lining from the nuts, working quickly since the shells are easier to remove when warm. You can use the tip of a butter knife to pry open the shells if they’re giving you a hard time.
    7. Serve warm around an open fire with your favorite nutcracker companion.



Want more chestnuts? Check out our Borrower Breakfast!

A Borrower's Breakfast
A Borrower’s Breakfast
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11 responses to “Roasted Chestnuts from The Nutcracker!

  1. Oh this looks like a fun recipe! I’ve actually never even eaten chestnuts, let alone roasted them. Do they taste okay plain? Or do you add seasonings to them?

  2. So these are a savory snack then? I tried Adagio’s Chestnut tea, and it had the aroma of maple syrup, so I just sort of assumed this was a sweet snack…

    • I’ve only ever heard of roasted chestnuts being savory, but you could probably add them to a dessert if you wanted (like chopped on top of ice cream). Now that I think about it, they’d probably taste AMAZING tossed in cinnamon and sugar. You can make candied chestnuts as a stand-alone dessert too, though it’s a pretty long process.

  3. ladyelasa

    These sound so good! I actually picked up some chestnuts recently, but I didn’t know they went bad quickly. Oops! I guess I need to roast them soon then. XD

  4. Hannah


    I only just came across your blog and started reading through it. I’m really enjoying it. It is right up my alley, since I love literary inspired food.

    I just felt the need to comment here, since you don’t seem to know, that the “Nutcracker” is indeed a book one can read. The ballet by Tschaikowski is based on a children’s book by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. It was published in 1816 and is one of the earliest German children’s books (we started a bit later than English writers) and still loved by kids today. I personally used to listen to the audio book around Christmas as a child. The title is “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” if you ever feel like reading it

    Have a nice day


    • Wow! I had no idea! I remember doing a search to see if the play was based on anything when I first started planning the menu, but I must not have done a very thorough job of it. Oops! 😛

      I’ll pick up a copy some time and give it a read. I did a quick search on my library’s website just now, and it looks like they have two versions (one by Wren Maysen and one by Anthea Bell). Are you familiar with either version? I’m wondering if one might be more authentic than the other.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      • Hannah

        I have only read the story in German, but I just had a look on amazon. I could only find the Anthea Bell version and it seems quite close to the original. The penguin black classic version reads more smoothly, but the Bell version seems to capture the old fashioned language of the original better.

        I just did a quick research and found out that the libretto of the ballet is actually based on a story by Alexandre Dumas which itself is based on the story by Hoffmann. The ballet is quite a shortened version of the original. Interestingly, little Clara is actually called Marie and Klara is the name of her doll.

        I hope you will enjoy the story

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