How to Prepare and Cook Chestnuts

From scoring to cooking and finally peeling, here are some of the tips and tricks.


This is the #1 most  important rule of cooking chestnuts!

Before cooking a chestnut in its shell, it is very important to cut a shallow cross into the chestnuts shell to let some of the moisture escape. This prevents the nut from over heating or bursting while it cooks.

If you choose to boil your chestnut, cut it in half across the wide edge of the chestnut before cooking.

Note: Careful not to cut yourself when cutting the chestnut with a knife. Some people even use scissors to negate this issue. Try not to cut the actual nut, only it’s shell. By cutting a cross shape instead of just a line it tends to be a little easier to peel.



Once scored you can cook the Chestnuts in an oven at 200C, or 180C if Fan-Forced. Place the Chestnuts on a baking tray and bake until the shell splits open (15-20 minutes)

Alternatively, once scored, you can cook over hot coals on a cooking rack until the shells split open (15-20 minutes).  Turning every few minutes so that they cook evenly and don’t burn.

If your chestnuts are already peeled, roast for 15-20 minutes at 180C, check after 15 minutes. This can also be done from partially frozen.

Note: The firmer the chestnut, the more moisture is inside it, these tend to  be sweeter when cooked. If it is squishy in its shell you risk it ending up too dry once cooked.



Once split in half across the width of the chestnut, place chestnuts into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the shell easily separates from the Chestnut and the chestnut itself is tender.



Steam already peeled chestnuts 15-20 minutes.


Air Fry

With Peel:
Place scored chestnuts in air fryer in a single layer, cut side up so they can breathe at 200C. The time differs depending on the size of the nut: Small Chestnuts, approximately 10 min, large ones cook for up to 15 minutes.

Do not cook for over 20 mins as they will lose too much moisture.

Without Peel:

Place chestnuts in the air fryer at 180C for 15 minutes.


BBQ (Or Grill):

Score each chestnut shell, without piercing the actual chestnut. Place onto barbeque grill, or single layered on a tray under a moderate to hot grill. Cook, turning every few minutes until the shells split open and blacken; approximately 15-20 minutes.



Place a single layer of chestnuts (scored if in their shell), uncovered on a microwave-safe plate. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your chestnut. You will know when they are cooked as the flesh will be tender.



Wrap them in a clean tea towel for 5 or so minutes before quickly peeling off the shell and the papery under-skin of the nut. This holds the heat and moisture in a bit longer, not only buying you time to peel, by slowing the cooling process, but it also allows them to cool slightly so that you don’t burn yourself on hot chestnuts. Keep the extra chestnuts in the tea towel while to peel to hold the heat a bit longer.

You can crush the shell of the chestnuts off inside a  tea towel if they are too hot to handle- or just wait a couple of minutes for them to cool a little. Peel before they get too cold, or they are harder to peel.

If you boiled the chestnuts, remove them from the water one at a time to peel, again being careful to not splash or burn yourself.


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