Roasting Chestnuts in the Oven

Roasting chestnuts in the oven is one of the easiest ways to roast chestnuts if you know the secrets! Before roasting chestnuts in the oven you must:

  • Score the chestnuts
  • Soak the chestnuts for 2 hours in water or wine

Keep reading to learn why and how. In the meantime, look at the beautiful roasted chestnuts we got by roasting them in the oven! (below)

Chestnuts, roasted to perfection!

Watch our Video Guide!

A video is the easiest way to learn the secrets to roasting chestnuts. We cover all 3 ways of roasting chestnuts in our video guide (below)! Click the link to read about how to roast chestnuts in the oven, in a pan or over fire. You’ll also learn how to…

  • Choose chestnuts —What are the characteristics of a healthy chestnut? How do you tell a bad chestnut from a good one?
  • Prepare chestnuts for roasting—How to peel chestnuts easily by using simple kitchen scissors to score them — here Victorinox scissors!
  • Pre-soak the chestnuts to make peeling them easier after roasting.
Filmed in Italy! Our definitive guide to roasting chestnuts in an oven, in a pan and on the fire!

How to Select Healthy Chestnuts

Healthy chestnuts…

  • are firm to the touch
  • have a bit of a shine
  • are free of blemishes, cracks or holes

Most people agree that the best chestnuts in the world are marroni chestnuts. Marroni (or ‘browns’ as they are called in Italian) are larger than other varieties of chestnuts and have a sweeter, tastier fruit.

How to Prepare Chestnuts for Roasting in the Oven

Don’t skip any of the steps! Many people fail at roasting chestnuts in the oven because they get lazy and skip steps. These common problems can usually be avoided if you simply follow our tips:

  • nuts exploding in the oven
  • impossible to peel nuts

We want your experience roasting chestnuts to be awesome and not traumatic, so keep reading!

Score the Chestnuts

Chestnuts expand a lot while roasting. This means that they are highly likely to explode during the roast if you don’t score them first. To score chestnuts, set the chestnut on its flat side on a work surface. Score the top with an ‘x’ or better yet make one score laterally across the top of the chestnut.

When scoring, pierce just the skin and not the nut itself. After the nuts soak in the next step, the skin will be more flexible. After the soak, you can give each nut a vertical squeeze to see if you need to score a bit deeper to cut through the skin.

Many people use a simple pairing knife to score chestnuts, but we don’t recommend it. Honestly using a knife is unsafe and awkward—although there are special

Instead, we recommend scoring with kitchen scissors. Here’s a look at the Victorinox kitchen scissors [affiliate link] that we use for the job.

Our kitchen scissors, used to score chestnut for roasting.

There are some other types of tools for scoring chestnuts to consider [affiliate links below]. These include a score press and a traditional curved chestnuts scoring knife. We’ve not used these tools, but they do look interesting! In general, we prefer multi-use tools and doesn’t everyone need a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors?

Soak the Chestnuts

After scoring the chestnuts, soak them in filtered water (or wine) for 2 hours. This will soften the skin and make the chestnuts easier to peel after roasting them.

After the soak, towel dry the nuts. It’s time to roast!

How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven

Roasting chestnuts in a conventional oven!

Almost everyone has an oven, and this is in our opinion the easiest way to roast chestnuts. You won’t get charred skins as you will with pan or fire roasted chestnuts, but the meat will still be delicious!

To roast chestnuts in the oven: Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Be sure to towel dry your chestnuts after their 2-hour soak. Arrange the chestnuts score-side up on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan.  Roast the chestnuts for 20 minutes in the bottom third of the oven,

After the 20 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 425° F (220°C) Roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes— or until  the chestnuts are golden brown and the meat of chestnuts are tender.

Transfer the nuts to a bowl and cover them with a towel. Press on the nuts gently with your palms to loosen the skins of the chestnuts. Be careful because the chestnuts will be hot! Let the chestnuts rest covered for about 15 minutes. Then, peel them and enjoy!

After the 10 minutes,  remove the lid, crank the flame to medium heat  and cook for an additional 20 minutes or so.  Shake the chestnuts or toss them in the pan every few minutes to make sure no chestnut stays in the hottest part of the flame for too long. If you shake, use a pair of tongs to turn the chestnuts score-side up again to avoid burning the nut meat.

When the nuts are cooked inside with dark brown skins, transfer to a bowl and cover with a towel. Use the palms of your hands to press, loosening up the nut skins. Let the chestnuts rest for about 15 minutes, then peel and enjoy!

Tools We Use!

► Victorinox Kitchen Shears: (affiliate link)

This recipe in Italian? Castagne al Forno!

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How to Roast Chestnuts in an Oven at Home

Learn how to roast chestnuts in an oven at home. Easy, foolproof guide!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 20 chestnuts


  • Scoring Tools: Kitchen Scissors, Paring Knife or Specialty Tool
  • Cookie sheet or roasting pan


Score the Chestnuts

  • Score the skin of the chestnuts. Score with an 'X' or laterally from one side each chestnut to the other.
    Pierce just the skin and not the nut meat. Use kitchen scissors, paring knife or chestnut scoring knife or tool for this job.

Soak the Chestnuts

  • Soak the scored chestnuts in a bowl of filtered water or wine for 2 hours.

Dry the Chestnuts

  • Towel dry the chestnuts after the soak.

Choose One Roasting Option:

    How to Roast Chestnuts in an Oven

    • Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C).
    • Arrange the chestnuts score-side up on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan.  
    • Place the cookie sheet in the bottom third of the oven and roast the chestnuts for 20 minutes.
    • After the 20 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 425° F (220°C).
    • Roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes

    Let Chestnuts Rest

    • Transfer the chestnuts to a bowl and cover with a towel. Use the palms of your hands to gently press to loosen the nut skins.
      Let the chestnuts rest covered for 15 minutes. Peel the skins and enjoy!


    Keyword healthy
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