Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toasting Nuts

I have read (and posted, for that matter!) many recipes that call for toasted nuts.  Pecans, pinenuts, walnuts, any nuts.  When I first started cooking, I would see "toasted ___nuts" in a recipe, and blatantly ignore it.  Why in the world would I take the time to toast nuts when I had perfectly good non-toasted nuts at the ready?  I couldn't be bothered.

Until I tried the nuts toasted.

Next time you're thinking about skipping the toasting step, I challenge you to try it.  First, try the nuts raw.  Try them again them once they're toasted.  And then let me know if you'll ever ignore the "toasted ___nuts" part of a recipe.

Toasted Nuts: Two Ways
Whichever method you choose, make sure the nuts are the same size so they cook evenly.  And when it comes to determining if the nuts are ready, use your nose and your tastebuds to make sure they're toasted.  

The Dry Skillet Technique
*Note: Use the dry skillet technique at your own risk.  It requires diligence.  I burned pecans three times in one night using this method. Not kidding.
Place nuts in a single layer in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Shaking incredibly frequently, toast for 5-7 minutes until nuts are fragrant and golden brown.

The Oven Technique
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 8-12 minutes until nuts are fragrant and golden brown, shaking halfway through.


  1. i usually use a pan and low heat .. will try the oven next time :)

  2. you're so right. there is a pretty significant difference between roasted and non-roasted nuts. it's not a small deal. the heat brings out the oils and natural flavor of the nuts. even just eating them plain but toastes is immensely satisfying. great post, thanks so much for sharing. cheers.

  3. I've never tried the dry skillet technique. It sounds like something I would definitely mess up. And you're totally right, toasted nuts make a huge difference!

  4. Thanks for posting. Little tips like this are very much appreciated.

  5. Veggie, thanks for the scientific background!! Much appreciated.

  6. I purchased a NUT ROASTER a while ago. It is a small frying pan with with a paddle which sweeps the nuts around during the toasting process. As the paddle handle needs constant "rotating," I find this a useful way to keep a guest busy while I am on other kitchen tasks. Nuts are not as tasty as with the oven roasting method, but it does allow for more preparation participation!

  7. hi erin
    i agree with you on toasting nuts...the flavours roasted nuts impart are truly great compared to the raw ones!!