How to Roast Chestnuts Over an Open Fire

Roasting chestnuts over an open fire is a classic and satisfying way to eat the prickly spiced fruit. It requires little work but yields many delicious treats that are perfect for snacking or cooking into desserts.

Roasting chestnuts over an open fire is a classic way to enjoy the delicious, crunchy, and sweet nuts. However, it’s not always possible to find an open fire. Here are some tips on how to roast chestnuts without an open fire.

Vintage boys roasting chestnuts in fireplace illustration.

You’ve most likely heard the “Christmas Song” hundreds of times, and you’re well aware of the opening lyric about “chestnuts cooking on an open fire.”

How many of us, though, have really participated in this festive custom? You’re missing out if you’ve never tried a warm roasted chestnut. Chestnuts grow from mid-fall to early-spring, peaking around the holidays—hence their association with the holidays. They have a texture similar to a baked potato and are the only nut that contains vitamin C, so if you’ll be spending Christmas sailing as a pirate, eating some is a good way to avoid winter scurvy. Chestnuts have a sweet, nutty taste that will warm your macho holiday spirit, and roasting them provides you a reason to do anything with fire.

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What You Will Require

The Caramelizer

chestnut roaster for cooking nuts on fireplace.

Chestnuts may be roasted in the oven. But where’d the joy be in that? A guy would never pass up the opportunity to create a fire and cook over it.

You’ll need a pan that you can put over the fire to roast your chestnuts. Long-handled popcorn or chestnut roasters are great containers for roasting chestnuts over an open fire since they enable you to do so without burning your face. And, instead of having to turn the chestnuts over manually or losing a few while turning them in a lid-less pan, their lids allow you to shake them about for even roasting.

If you don’t have a long-handled roaster, a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or another pan would do. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself. If you have an old, battered skillet, drill 30 or so holes in the bottom to transform it into a true chestnut roaster.

You may also use a fireplace shovel if you don’t have a chestnut roaster or a skillet. If you’re patient, you could even attempt skewering them individually like the lads in the opening picture.

The Horse Chestnuts

chestnuts in bowl.

Some grocery shops sell chestnuts, but you should call ahead to be sure they have them. While there are many different types of chestnuts, most people roast Castagne and Marroni chestnuts during the holidays. Castagne is more widely available, whilst Marroni is a more costly speciality. The Marroni nut is sweeter and plumper, and it peels away from the skin more readily than other nuts.

Look for chestnuts that are plump, smooth, lustrous, and free of blemishes when purchasing them. Squeeze and shake the chestnut to determine whether the nut has shriveled up and torn away from the shell, which is a typical issue.

It’s important to remember that the bigger the chestnut, the longer it’ll take to roast. Select chestnuts that are of a similar size and hence may be harvested at the same time.


Rinsing chestnuts for roasting.

Using cold water, rinse the chestnuts. Place them on a cloth to dry.


Cutting the edges of the chestnuts.

You must score chestnuts before roasting them to enable steam to escape and prevent them from bursting like chestnut bombs during the cooking process. Simply cut a “X” into the flat surface of each chestnut using a sharp knife.

Burning fire in fireplace.

Build a nice, comforting fire in the fireplace after your chestnuts are clean, dry, and scored. Allow it to burn down to create a lovely bed of hot embers.


Placing chestnuts in long gazzle pan.

In the pan, arrange the chestnuts in a single layer. There’s no need to add oil or grease since the chestnuts will release their own oil as they cook.

Roasting chestnuts in the pan on fireplace.

Cover the pan with a cover and place it over the heat, but not in it. After about five minutes, give the chestnuts a good shake or toss to ensure even roasting on all sides. This procedure should be repeated every few minutes.

Chestnuts in roasting pan with dark color.

I didn’t have time to wait for a decent ember bed, so I tossed the chesnuts into the fire, despite the fact that this isn’t recommended. The exteriors were scorched, but the inside were mainly unharmed.

Holding a roasted chestnut in hand.

After 25 minutes, most chestnuts will be thoroughly roasted. When the shell begins to open where you set the score mark and you hear popping sounds, the chestnut is thoroughly roasted. Try piercing a chestnut with a knife to see if it’s done; it should be sensitive.

Removing the upper layer of chestnut.

Remove the chestnuts and set them aside to cool for approximately 10 minutes in a towel-lined basin. Remove the shells while they’re still warm. Along with the outer shell, the fuzzy inner skin will peel away.

Roasteed chestnut in the hand palm.

The chestnuts may be eaten straight or dipped in butter and cinnamon for added seasonal taste.



It is easy to roast chestnuts over an open fire. The process requires no electricity, and the only materials needed are a pan and some chestnuts. Reference: how to roast chestnuts in a pan.

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