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Boiled chestnuts being removed from the pot

Boiled Chestnuts Recipe

Learn how to boil chestnuts using my foolproof method. Plus, get all my tips on peeling chestnuts to use in recipes such as soups, purees and cakes or to serve it as a healthy snack.
Course Healthy Snacks
Cuisine American
Diet Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 222kcal


  • 1 lbs chestnuts* preferably Italian or American chestnuts
  • 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 with the rounded side facing up. Hold the chestnut firmly and using a sharp knife (or a chestnut knife, if you have one) cut it horizontally across the rounded side to make a small incision (about ½ to 1 inch). Turn it 90 degrees and score once again, making an X. As you are cutting, make sure you are cutting through the inner skin without going too much into the yellow flesh. Continue with the rest of the chestnuts.
  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Place the scored chestnuts into the boiling water and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the scored section opens up and the inside of the chestnut is exposed.
  • To check doneness, carefully remove one chestnut and peel to check if the yellow nut inside is fully cooked. If it is not fully cooked, cook it for another 3-4 minutes, checking doneness during the boiling process once or twice.
  • Do not discard the hot water.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer boiled chestnuts into a bowl and let them cool for 10 minutes. When still hot, but somewhat cool enough to handle, peel chestnuts one by one first starting with the outer shell and then removing the inner skin. If you have a hard time removing the fuzzy skin, put them back in the hot water for a few more minutes or use a paring knife to remove it as much as you can.
  • Alternatively, if it is hard to peel, you can cut it in the middle and remove the flesh using a small spoon and collect the boiled chestnuts in a bowl. You will end up with broken pieces but it will still be delicious.


  • The boiling time and the ease of peeling largely depends on the size, age, and type of your chestnut. This recipe was tested with Italian chestnuts that I hand-picked one by one while making sure that each piece was somewhat equal in size. If your chestnuts are in different sizes, the time of cooking might change. Please check doneness (following my tips) after the first 15 minutes of boiling and cook them longer if need be.
  • Boiled chestnuts were easier to peel when they were still warm, especially the fuzzy skin underneath the shell. It was harder to remove the shell after it was cooled down to room temperature. If your chestnuts cool down too much, pop them back in the pot of hot water for 3-4 minutes to rewarm, then drain and continue with peeling.
  • Seasonings: While they are optional, you can flavor the boiling water with bay leaves, orange peel, or cinnamon sticks.


Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 549mg | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg