Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an open fire or Nat King Cole playing in the background to enjoy the delightful taste of roasted chestnuts. With just a quick soak, a simple score, and less than 10 minutes in the Air Fryer, you can indulge in these easy-to-peel, sweet and nutty Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts. Get ready to discover your new favorite winter snack!
Eat them While They’re Hot!
Have you ever experienced the joy of eating warm, charcoal-roasted chestnuts on the streets of Hong Kong? The sweet aroma wafting through the air, enticing you closer to the street vendors… Well, you can recreate that experience right in your own kitchen!
Let’s start with the basics: chestnuts. Yes, that’s right, just one ingredient. But there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best chestnuts:
- They have a short season, usually from mid-September to December.
- Don’t be fooled by size; the sweetest chestnuts are often the small local ones.
- It’s best to buy them from a local source to ensure freshness and avoid mold.
- Look for chestnuts that are dark brown with light tan edges and feel heavy and firm.
- Avoid chestnuts with holes, blemishes, or a rattling sound inside the shell.
- Buy more than you need, as there may be some that don’t make the cut.
- Always wash and soak the chestnuts before air frying; discard any that float during soaking.
How to Store?
Raw chestnuts have a short shelf life, so it’s best to use them within 2 to 3 weeks of purchase. Store them in a covered container in the refrigerator, unwashed, until you’re ready to roast them. If you harvest your own chestnuts, remove the outer spiky shell and let them cure at room temperature for a couple of days before storing.
How to Prepare and Roast?
- Preheat your Air Fryer to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
- Wash the raw chestnuts thoroughly and soak them in warm water for about 15 minutes. Discard any that float during soaking.
- Use a serrated knife to make an “X” score on the rounded side of each chestnut. Be careful!
- Place the chestnuts in the air fryer basket with the “X” upright. Air fry for about 10 minutes, tossing them midway for even cooking.
- Keep a close eye on the chestnuts, as the cooking time may vary depending on their size. You want the skin to peel back and reveal the yellow chestnut inside, but be careful not to let them burn or burst.
How to Peel?
After air frying, while the chestnuts are still piping hot, place them in a kitchen towel or paper bag and tie it tightly. Give them a good shake — you might even hear them crackle! While still warm, peel off the shell and skin using your fingers. If they’re too hot to handle, use kitchen gloves or a tea towel to assist in the peeling process. Remember, it’s easier to peel them while they’re warm!
What Do Chestnuts Taste Like?
We must warn you: Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts are utterly addictive! They have a sweet and buttery taste, with a firm texture resembling a potato. The inner flesh is a beautiful golden yellow. You won’t be able to stop at just one!
How to Enjoy?
There are countless ways to savor our Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts. Here are a few ideas:
- Peel and eat them while they’re still hot!
- Toss them in a little brown butter and lightly salt them.
- Add them to dishes like Chicken Breast with Chestnuts and Mushrooms or Roasted Chestnut Pumpkin Risotto.
- Incorporate chopped roasted chestnuts into recipes like French Canadian Meat Dressing or Curried Harvest Black Forbidden Rice.
- Use them as a delicious topping for Coconut Rice Pudding with Cardamom Spiced Honey Pears.
- Heat peeled chestnuts on the stovetop with sugar, vanilla, and orange peel for a quick and delightful treat.
- Get creative and experiment with lentil soup, cakes, pasta, or even soaked in brandy!
Unlike almonds or pecans, chestnuts are low in fat, with only about 37 calories per nut. They are also vegan and gluten-free. A study by Zhang et al. found that chestnuts contain flavonoids and polyphenolic acids, which possess anti-diabetes and anti-cancer properties. So, you can enjoy these roasted chestnuts guilt-free!
Equipment and Utensils
To make this recipe, you’ll need a few basic items:
- Knife: A serrated knife or bread knife works best for scoring the chestnuts with an “X” cut.
- Air Fryer: We recommend a toaster oven-style air fryer, such as the Cosori brand. Keep in mind that different air fryers may have varying capacities and cooking times, so adjust accordingly.
The convenience and health benefits of using an air fryer are truly life-changing. Check out our other delicious air fryer recipes like Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers, Banana Spring Rolls, and Chinese-Style Garlic Ribs!
Boiled vs. Roasted
You may be wondering, “Are boiled chestnuts better than roasted ones?” Well, it depends on your preference and how you plan to use them. Here’s a comparison:
Roasted: Roasted chestnuts have a more intense, toasty nutty flavor and a firmer texture, making them easier to peel. While the flavor is concentrated in the nut itself, it’s easier to infuse additional flavors into roasted chestnuts after peeling. Air frying or baking them adds extra nutty deliciousness to the equation.
Boiled: Boiled chestnuts have a milder flavor and a creamier texture. When boiled, they absorb the aromas and flavors of the liquid you cook them in. Try adding orange peel for sweet recipes or bay leaves for savory dishes. Boiled chestnuts are great when you need a smoother texture in desserts or certain savory recipes.
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