Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire....

Hey, has anyone ever done this? Roasted chestnuts, I mean. Are they good? How long does it take? Where could I get some chestnuts? I don’t have a fireplace, but I’ve got a grill. Could I roast some in a charcoal grill?

I’m just curious. Thanks!

Bought some from a street vendor in Munich once. I thought they tasted pretty good. Have never done the at home thing though. I don’t think I have ever seen them for sale.

We used to have a chestnut tree in our yard. They’re actually very good roasted. I’m not sure where you can buy them though.

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin

Some supermarkets have chestnuts in the produce section around the holiday season. You could probably roast them in your oven. Have you done a general web search for info?

Oh, and to answer your question about how to roast them, here are a couple of suggestions…

Use the point of a paring knife to slash an X on the flat side of each nut, being sure to cut through the skin.
Bake in a single layer at 425 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes for peeling only. If you want them completely roasted, bake 15 to 25 minutes until tender. Stir nuts occasionally during the roasting time.

Always peel chestnuts while they’re still warm. If they cool so much that the shell won’t easily come off, reheat them briefly.

Or here’s another suggestion, with tips on picking them out at the store. (The below came from this website, where there are some additional recipes (like chestnut stirfry) that you might like to try.

Your greengrocer will likely have two kinds of chestnuts: castagne, run-of-the-mill chestnuts, and marroni, larger, gloriously meaty chestnuts that can be an inch or more across. While good castagne will do for boiling and such, you will want marroni for roasting.

Pick them over carefully, taking only those that are firm and whose skins are a rich glowing brown. If they smell moldy, look blotchy, feel light, or have pin-holes, pass them by.

Before roasting the chestnuts, make a cut in the round side of each, to keep them from exploding. Out in the country people still use terracotta vessels that resemble colanders to roast chestnuts over the coals, but if you are doing them over the stove you will want a chestnut-roasting pan, which looks like a skillet with holes punched in its bottom (if need be you can make a pan youeself, by purchasing a cheap skillet and punching holes through it with a thick nail). Put the chestnuts in the pan, sprinkle them with water, cover them, and set the pan over a medium flame. Shake the pan frequently and continue roasting until the skins are blackened and have pulled back from the meat where you cut into them; this should take 5 to 10 minutes (charring means you didn’t shake the pan enough). Wrap the hot chestnuts in an old towel, squeeze them hard to crush the skins, and let them sit wrapped for five minutes. Open the towel and enjoy: The nutmeats will be deliciously soft and sweet.

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin

I had been wondering about this same thing myself. We have lots of chestnut trees in the area, but all the ones I’ve seen are usually wormy. A coworker of my husband’s brought him several pounds of wormless chestnuts recently and I’ve been looking for a recipe to use them in. Even my trusty Fannie Farmer cookbook has been no help.

If anyone knows any other chestnut recipes, I’d be grateful for a peek at them.

Ahhh, New York City in the wintertime is nothing without the acrid smell of roasting chestnuts from street vendors wafting by as you wait in the cold to buy half price Broadway tickets in Times Square.

BTW, I’ve never actually bought or tasted them for two reasons: 1) Did I mention ‘street vendors’? 2) Did I mention ‘acrid’?


Never made them myself, but they sell them on street corners in switzerland. Usually they are made on a grill and served in paper bags. I think they are very good. They are served in the brown shell, you crack open the shell and eat the chestnut.

Quand les talons claquent, l’esprit se vide.
Maréchal Lyautey

The shell is rather leathery, but dries out and cracks easily after it’s been roasted.

BTW, if you’ve never seen a chestnut tree, the nuts (two or three at a time) inside an outer shell that looks like a sea urchin–very prickly.

Save some for conkers, you people!

Launcher may train without warning.

Are all chestnuts edible? When I was a kid we were told that the chestnuts that grew in our part of the world were inedible/poisonous (depending on whether it was an adult or a peer telling us) and that the “open fire” chestnuts were something different. I never questioned this since the darn things didn’t look the least bit appetizing but now I’m suspicious that I bought into a local UL at a young age.

“If ignorance were corn flakes, you’d be General Mills.”
Cecil Adams
The Straight Dope

The ones I had were pretty blah and tasteless. I ended up putting creamed cheese on them to make them more palatable. Never bought them again so I am not so sure that I didn’t just get a bad batch. To me, they tasted like hominy.

I really try to be good but it just isn’t in my nature!


Actually, you have it right. Chestnuts are indeed bland, possibly the absolute blandest nut.

It’s also the nut with the lowest percentage of fat. Coincidence??? Dunno. . . .

My whole eighth grade science class did this. The teacher had to leave the room for quite a while, and left us mid-experiment. Since there were chestnuts lying around the classroom, someone had the bright idea to roast them. And roast we did, over our Bunsen burners. They didn’t turn out too great…