Preparing & Cooking Chestnuts

Chestnuts come in a raw state and need to be cooked using one of the below methods, raw chestnuts have a bland taste but when roasted they are described as tasting like a sweet potato. Chestnuts have many different uses besides roasting, check Chestnut Recipes sections for many great ideas.

How to Prepare

Chestnuts have three layers, an outer shell, an inner skin (pellicle) and within all that the fleshy nut that you can eat when cooked.

1. Lay chestnut on its side

2. Cut or score halfway around the outer shell and pellicle.

Cooking Methods

Bake: Preheat oven to 200°C. Cook precut chestnuts on open oven tray until shells open along cut.

Roast by open fire, stovetop or barbecue: Frequently turn precut chestnuts over a flame or under a grill, until shells blacken and open and flesh is soft.

Microwave: Place single layer of prepared chestnuts in a covered mircowave container on 850 watts/high for 2-3 minutes until shell opens and flesh is soft.

Boil or steam: Place precut chestnuts in a pan of cold water or steamer, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until shell opens and flesh is soft.

Stirfry: Add cooked chestnuts at the end of a stirfry and heat through. If using raw chestnuts, peel outer shell, chop and cook with other vegetables.

Puree: Peel cooked chestnuts, halve, scoop out the flesh and puree in blender with liquid according to a recipe.

How to Peel

Wrap cooked chestnuts in a tea towel. When slightly cooled remove outer shell and inner brown skin or pellicle while warm and damp.


Store chestnuts in an airtight container or plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator. If stored right they can stay fresh for up to a month but are best eaten as soon after you purchase them.When cooked and left to dry slightly and cool overnight they can be sealed into freezer bags and frozen until needed. Great for Xmas Chestnut dishes.

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