If you’re like me, you can’t resist eating these delicious air fryer chestnuts the moment you peel them. However, there are countless other ways to use this delectable recipe—a handy way to make the most of the chestnut season. Air fryer roasted chestnuts make an excellent base for my silky Chestnut Cream Soup, and they fit flawlessly into any Christmas dinner when you prepare my five-star Chestnut Dressing. Or, try whipping up my Chestnut Puree Recipe for an irresistibly creamy dish perfect for pastries, parfaits, and so much more.
When it comes to recipes with simple ingredients, air fried chestnuts are hands-down the easiest for your grocery list. All you need to make this toasty dish is one ingredient: chestnuts!
However, as with all one-ingredient recipes, the key to getting the best results is to begin with high-quality chestnuts. Here are just a few things to keep in mind when selecting your nuts:
- Type of chestnuts: For this recipe, I highly recommend using Italian chestnuts (also known as European chestnuts) or American chestnuts, as they peel easily and are altogether easier to work with. Chinese chestnuts—the most popular variety in Asia—also taste good, but I find that they are harder to peel, so I don’t suggest using them in this recipe.
- Choose equally sized chestnuts: If possible, try to hand-pick chestnuts of an equal size, as they’ll roast the most evenly in the air fryer.
- Ensure your chestnuts are of high quality: When looking for chestnuts, try to find ones that are smooth, plump, and shiny—especially those without blemishes or mold. I also encourage you to handle the chestnuts in your hand to ensure the skin isn’t dry.
- Where to buy: You should be able to find fresh chestnuts in most U.S. grocery stores. However, they also crop up in farmer’s markets during fall and winter, should you prefer a locally grown alternative.
- Avoid chestnut mix-ups: Though similar in name, be careful not to accidentally purchase horse chestnuts (which are toxic) or water chestnuts. These two are not the same as regular chestnuts and will drastically change the taste and texture of your recipe.
How to Prepare Chestnuts for Cooking in the Air Fryer?
Proper preparation is a must when getting ready to air fry chestnuts. These three steps will ensure your nuts are clean, tasty, and easily peelable when they come out of the air fryer.
- Rinse the chestnuts: Add the raw chestnuts to a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain them when thoroughly rinsed.
- Score: Lay the flat side of a chestnut on a cutting board, ensuring the rounded side (AKA the belly side) faces up. Hold the chestnut firmly with one hand and use the other to cut horizontally across the rounded face with a sharp paring knife or chestnut knife. Then, rotate the chestnut 90 degrees and make a second cut, forming an “X” on its top. Repeat the scoring process for the remaining chestnuts, trying not to score their inner skin.
- Soak chestnuts: Transfer the cut chestnuts to a bowl, cover them with cold tap water, and let them rest for 30-60 minutes.
How to Roast Chestnuts in an Air Fryer?
Air frying chestnuts is a great way to enjoy nutty, easy-to-peel treats in no time. With this easy cooking method, your chestnuts will be on the table in less than 20 minutes.
- Prepare your air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Dry the chestnuts: Drain the soaked chestnuts, transfer them to a clean kitchen towel, and dry them as much as possible. Alternatively, you may line a baking sheet with paper towels and pat them dry.
- Fill the air fryer basket: Arrange the scored chestnuts in your air fryer basket so that their cut sides face up. Be careful not to overcrowd the basket, as your nuts should fit comfortably in a single layer. If necessary, you may air fry your chestnuts in two batches to ensure proper air circulation.
- Cook the chestnuts: Roast the chestnuts in the air fryer for 17 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice during their cooking time.
- Steam the cooked chestnuts: Once roasted, transfer the (very hot!) chestnuts onto a clean kitchen towel. Draw the edges of the cloth toward their center, turn the towel into a small pouch, and let the chestnuts steam for about five minutes. For an alternate steaming method, place your air-fried chestnuts in a paper bag and roll down the top so the steam gets trapped inside. Again, let the nuts steam for five minutes or for up to 30 minutes.
- Peel: After the chestnuts steam, grasp the pouch in your hand and gently squeeze it to loosen the chestnut shells. Then, carefully peel off the outer shell of the nuts while they’re still hot by lightly pulling back on their scored “X.” Be sure you’re removing the papery skin to expose the yellow flesh inside. If you can’t remove the fuzzy inner skin by hand, you may use a small sharp knife to assist you, being careful not to pierce the yellow inner nut.
- Serve: Enjoy your air fryer roasted chestnuts while they’re still warm.
How to Store Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts?
After roasting chestnuts in an air fryer, the last thing you want to do is let a single one go to waste. With these easy tips, you can store this delectable recipe to snack on throughout the week or for long-lasting meal prep.
- Store: When ready for storage, let your air roasted chestnuts reach room temperature and then transfer them to an airtight container. You can then store them in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- Freeze: To freeze your peeled air fryer chestnuts, transfer them to a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Then, tightly seal the bag and freeze your chestnuts for up to three months.
- Thaw: When ready to thaw, remove your chestnuts from the freezer and defrost them in the fridge overnight.
How to Season?
Making roasted chestnuts in the air fryer gives you the freedom to play around with all your favorite flavorings. With these mouthwatering seasoning ideas, you can transform your chestnuts into everything from a decadent dessert to a savory snack.
- Honey and vanilla: If you want your air fryer chestnuts to have an irresistibly dessert-like finish, mix two tablespoons of honey with a teaspoon of vanilla. Once thoroughly combined, drizzle the honey mixture over your cooked chestnuts for a great holiday season treat.
- Melted butter and maple syrup: Richly sweet and easy to customize, try drizzling your chestnuts with a mixture of melted butter and maple syrup. You can even sprinkle ground cinnamon over your nuts if desired for a warmer, woody flavor.
- Balsamic glaze with a sprinkle of sea salt: Coating your air-roasted chestnuts with a rich balsamic reduction is an easy way to give your recipe complexly sweet notes—a flavor profile that tastes straight out of Europe. Finish this tasty variation with a sprinkle of sea salt, and every bite will explode with flavor.
- Asian style: To give your air fried chestnuts a zingy, Asian-inspired flavor, coat them with a blend of soy sauce, a hint of sesame oil, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. This umami-packed recipe transforms sweet chestnuts into a savory treat perfect for all-day snacking.
Want to know more about how to roast chestnuts in an air fryer? This beginner-friendly guide will answer any remaining questions, from ideal cooking times to expert peeling suggestions.
To ensure your chestnuts develop warm, tender insides without burning their exterior, I recommend cooking them at 350 degrees F. for 17 minutes and shaking the basket 1-2 times during the process.
Yes, chestnuts’ brown skin is technically edible. However, it has a fuzzy texture and bitter taste that may interfere with the overall flavor of your roasted chestnuts. Therefore, I recommend removing them before eating.
When checking your chestnuts for doneness, look for a few easy visual cues: The outside of your nuts should turn lightly brown, their scored edges should begin opening up, and their insides should be warm and soft by the time they’re ready to remove from the air fryer.
If you try this Air Fryer Chestnuts recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Air Fryer Chestnuts Recipe
- 1 lb Chestnuts preferably Italian (or European)
- 3 cups Water
- Place chestnuts in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain.
- Place the flat side of the chestnut down on a cutting board, making sure that the rounded side (aka the belly side) is facing up. Hold the chestnut firmly and cut horizontally across the rounded side using a sharp paring knife (or a chestnut knife, if you have one.) Then, turn the chestnut 90 degrees and make a second cut, forming an X. As you are cutting, do your best not to score the inner skin. Continue with the rest of the chestnuts.
- Transfer the now-cut chestnuts into a bowl. Cover it with cold tap water and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 °F.
- Drain chestnuts and transfer them onto a clean kitchen towel. Dry them off as much as you can.
- Place them in the air fryer basket, making sure that the cut side is facing up. Do not overcrowd the basket. If needed, you can bake it in two batches.
- Air fry them for 17 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the air-roasting process.
- Once the air frying is completed, transfer the now-very hot chestnuts onto a clean kitchen towel. Collect the edges of the cloth in the middle and turn it into a small pouch. Let them steam in the “pouch” for 5 minutes or so. Alternatively, you can use a paper bag to do this. Simply place the hot roasted chestnuts in it, roll the bag to trap the steam inside, and let it steam for 5 minutes.
- Holding the pouch in your hand, give it a gentle squeeze to loosen the shells. Then, carefully remove the outer shell of the chestnuts when they are still hot by gently pulling back on the scored “X,” peeling away the papery skin and exposing the yellow flesh inside. If you are unable to remove the fuzzy inner skin by hand, use a small sharp knife to peel it, being careful not to pierce the yellow nut inside.
- Enjoy while still warm.
- Yields: This recipe makes a little less than a pound of chestnuts. If you are serving it as a snack, you would likely end up with 7-8 chestnuts (depending on their size) per person if you are serving it to 4 people. The calorie information below is per serving.
- Air frying temperature: Don’t be tempted to increase the temperature of the air fryer to roast them faster. I have tried air frying chestnuts in higher temps to shorten the cooking time, but ended up with chestnuts that were burned on the outside and raw on the inside.
- Soaking: Though popular belief holds that you must soak your chestnuts in hot water (or warm water) for a long time (8 hours or so), I’ve found that a quick soak in cold tap water (30-60 minutes) is more than sufficient.
- Chestnuts: There is a direct correlation between the age, size, and origin of the chestnuts and the quality of the end result. Over the years of cooking chestnuts, I learned that chestnuts from Europe and the US tend to peel easier than chestnuts from China. Needless to say, it is best to buy the freshest chestnuts you can get your hands on for the best results.
- Store: Bring cooked chestnuts to room temperature and then transfer them to an airtight container. You can then store them in the refrigerator for up to four days.