Fundamentals: How to Toast Nuts

Nuts on their own are a delicious and satisfying snack. But when it comes to baked goods and recipes, toasting the nuts will add depth to both the texture and the flavor, and allow the nuts to compete with stronger flavors instead of fading into the background. Think toasted walnuts and bananas – without toasting the walnuts, the banana overtakes the baked good, and all you get is the “crunch” when you find nuts.

If you’ve never toasted nuts before, you might be feeling a little intimated. But there really is no need! You can toast nuts in a myriad of ways – in the oven, on the stovetop, or even in the microwave – yes really, the microwave!

Fundamental Information

Toasting nuts releases their essential oils. This causes the nuts to become more fragrant and flavorful than in their raw state.

Fundamental Gear

  • baking sheet, frying pan, or microwave safe plate
  • spatula
  • clean and dry dish towel

    Fundamental Uses

  • In baked goods
  • In pasta dishes
  • As a topping for oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or sundaes!
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How to Toast Nuts

Ingredients:

 
Nut Time
Almonds (sliced) 7-10 minutes
Almonds (whole) 10 minutes
Chestnuts 25 minutes
Hazelnuts 12-15 minutes
Macadamia Nuts 12-15 minutes
Pecans 10-15 minutes
Pine Nuts 5 minutes
Walnuts 10-15 minutes
Peanuts (in shell) 15-20 minutes
Peanuts (shelled) 20-25 minutes
 

Directions:

Microwave Method

  1. Spread a single layer of nuts on a microwave safe plate.
  2. Cook them in 1 minute intervals on full power, until the nuts have a crisp crunch, toasted flavor, and have become fragrant. The amount of time it takes varies per nut. You will not get the same dark color you get from oven or pan toasting, but this will do in a hurry when you don't want to dirty a pan or heat up the oven for such a simple task.

Stovetop Method

  1. Heat a large frying pan on the stove top. Turn on medium-high heat.
  2. When the pan is hot, add a single layer of nuts. Do not add any oil or cooking spray - the nuts have enough oils on their own to cook.
  3. Stir frequently with a spatula until the nuts turn golden brown and smell mouth-watering.
  4. Remove from heat, and if necessary, from pan, as they will continue to cook after being removed from the heat.

Oven Method

  1. The oven method is the most often used when toasting a large volume of nuts. Preheat the oven to 350°F. When the oven is ready, use the table below to cook to your specified nut.
  2. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. If using mixed nuts, 15-20 minutes will probably suffice to make sure all the nuts are done, but check them often. You may also want to stir and flip the nuts at the half way mark on time, to make sure that all nuts are heating evenly, but it is not necessary.

Skinning Nuts

  1. If you have toasted any nuts that have skins on them, like peanuts or hazelnuts, simply allow them to cool for a few minutes, and then place the nuts in a clean and dry kitchen towel.
  2. Rub them vigorously with the towel, and the skins will slip right off. Don't worry about any skins that do remain, however. They will not affect any food you add them to, and the skins are safe to eat.
The table above is a simple time guide. Ovens heat differently, so your timing may vary. Please check the nuts often, and make sure to stir them if it appears the nuts are getting more done on one side of the oven. You can also rotate the baking sheet in the oven.

27 Responses to “Fundamentals: How to Toast Nuts”

  1. Juliette — April 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I absolutely adore your blog! What a nice way to get more flavor out of nuts!

  2. spriter — April 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Yum! I love toasted nuts-thanks for posting;)

  3. Very nice, crips tutorial. I like the time guidance for the different types of nuts, I’m always struggling to not burn mine.

  4. Brian @ A Thought For Food — April 11, 2011 at 9:11 am

    A great guide! Thank you!!!!

  5. Toasting the nuts gives what you bake a whole nother level of aroma as well – really takes a dessert from ho hum to something special.

  6. Vimitha — April 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

    A great tip Jamie… Thanks for sharing…

  7. Shirley@kokken69 — April 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

    It is very thoughtful of you to put the instructions together in that little grey card. I am printing this and sticking on my fridge! Thanks.

  8. Rosie — April 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for this post! The chart will come in very handy!

  9. Katrina — April 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you so much for the chart! I’m definitely going to print this out :)

  10. Elena — April 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    This is useful for my mom, my mom is fighting thyroid cance and she eats a lot fo nuts.

  11. I love macadamia nuts — April 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    The table is great, thanks. I have a technical question. I wonder if one could toast dehydrated nuts.

  12. super informative, thanks!

  13. Maris (In Good Taste) — April 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Excellent and informative post!

  14. maryc — April 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Great information!

  15. Aleida — April 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I thought toasting nuts would be much more difficult than this. Thank you for sharing! I’m sure my dad will love to try this out.

  16. Jim T — April 13, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Really nice post, and thanks for the timing charts on the different nuts. You’ve got to be REALLY careful with mixed nuts, because some of the nuts are high oil and tiny (like cashews) and some will be huge like filberts, so you’ll be checking the nuts often to make sure the smaller ones don’t burn.

    I love toasted nuts in everything from eating them individually to mixing them in cookies & confections and also grinding them up into nut butter. Once you’ve tasted a raw nut compared to a toasted nut, you’ll never go back to un-toasted.

  17. Amy @ A Little Nosh — April 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Ooh, thank you! This post just reminded me I have trail mix in my drawer. Was looking for something to snack on!

  18. Katie | GoodLife Eats — April 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I had no idea that you could toast nuts in the microwave! That is great to know!

  19. mymi — May 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    thank you for this posting of toasting nuts and the time lines….in helps because i’m always afraid that i may burn them or that i’ll somehow screw it all up so i’ve never tried to toast any nuts….i didn’t notice pistachio’s. are they normally already toasted if you buy them already shelled??
    thanks for any advice you can offer =)

  20. max malloy — May 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    i didnt know there was a web cite on nuts till after i roasted the nuts i bought in a trail mix. they were a little chewy, so i put them in the oven for 15 minutes on 350 deg. and they came out great. now i will use your chart on roasting nuts . thanks

  21. Jeanie — September 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Does it matter whether you chop pecans before or after toasting them? Thanks.

    • Jamie — September 16th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Jeanie,
      It doesn’t matter in terms of the toasting process, but you might need to adjust the cooking time. They’ll cook faster the smaller they are.
      – Jamie

      • Jeanie — September 16th, 2013 at 11:21 pm

        Thank you for responding!

  22. Adrienne — November 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    What is the toasting time for cashews? I don’t see it on your chart…

    • Jamie — January 10th, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Cashews run the same as hazelnuts or macadamias because they’re larger and have higher fat content than other nuts.
      – Jamie

  23. Sowmya — January 28, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Very well explained Jeanie. I ve bookmarked your page right away.

    Happy New Year and Happy cooking!

  24. Niki — July 31, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Hi. I soaked my almonds. Should I dry them first and then roast or can I just immediately roast them after I am done with soaking and rinsing. ? And I only have a microwave convection oven. So, how long do you think I need to roast the soaked almonds ?

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