How to Microwave Chestnuts

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Written By Ross Young


Chestnuts are a delicious treat, eaten during wintertime or the festive months. Think of all those Christmas fairs and the smells of Christmas that include the delicious scent of roasted chestnuts.

The traditional way to cook chestnuts is by roasting them. This is a little tricky to do and can quickly go wrong, so is there another way? Can you microwave chestnuts instead? Yes, you can!

To microwave chestnuts, cut a slit in the skin and then pop them onto a plate and microwave for around 5 minutes, giving them a shake every minute or so.

How to Microwave Chestnuts

Microwaving chestnuts is surprisingly easy to do.

You do have to keep a careful eye on them. You also need to make sure the skins are cut before cooking them because if you don’t the nuts will burst from the skins and make a mess.

To microwave follow these simple steps.

  1. Cut
    The first thing you need to do is cut every chestnut. You need to slash a cross into the flat side of the shell of the chestnut. This is very important because if you miss this step out, the nuts will likely explode in the microwave!
Cut Slit in Chestnuts
  1. Place Onto a Plate
    Next, grab a microwavable plate and lay about 20 chestnuts onto it in a flat layer. Make sure the layer is left as a single layer, and you don’t put too many into the microwave simultaneously.
  2. Microwave
    Pop this into the microwave and microwave it on full power for one minute.
  3. Stir and Microwave
    Give the chestnuts a quick stir or shake and then pop them back into the microwave for another minute.
  4. Repeat
    Repeat steps 3 and 4 every four to five minutes.
  5. Peel and Serve
    Peel the shells from the chestnuts and serve. Be warned, they will be very hot, so use gloves or allow them to cool a little.

How to Microwave Chestnuts Successfully

If you want to have guaranteed success when microwaving chestnuts, then follow these three simple tips:

  • Ensure You Cut Properly – Cutting the skin is the most crucial step when microwaving chestnuts. Take a sharp knife and make a cross on the flattest side of the shell of the chestnut. This allows any air and moisture to escape as the nuts cook.
  • Add Flavourings – When you have made your microwaved chestnuts, you could try adding a little flavour. For a sweet and savoury feel, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and sugar. Or, you could go for a festive feel and sprinkle on cinnamon.
  • Soak for 20 Minutes – If you are struggling to remove the peel after cooking, then there is a tip that can help. Before you cook them, soak the chestnuts in water for about 20 minutes. This will soften the shells and make them easier to peel.

Why You Should Microwave Chestnuts

There are a couple of clear benefits to using a microwave to cook chestnuts:

Less Fiddly

It’s a little easier and less fiddly to cook your chestnuts in a microwave.

You do still have to give them a stir every minute, but that beats standing over a hot grill or oven for half an hour, burning your arms and risking your chestnuts catching.

Super Speedy

When you are looking for a tasty snack in a hurry or have some unexpected guests, and want to give them a festive treat, then you can’t beat microwaved chestnuts.

It’s quick and easy and can help you out in a pinch.

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Chestnuts

There are, however, two drawbacks to microwaving them (and one that could be dangerous):

Lack of Texture and Flavour

Even if it is quicker, there is one big disadvantage to microwaving your chestnuts.

You won’t get that same crunch and texture that you get from grilling or roasting the chestnuts. They will still be delicious, but they are not quite as good, lacking the obvious smoky flavour.


Explosion Warning!

If you don’t slit the shells or don’t do it quite right, it can be quite dangerous to microwave chestnuts.

They can explode and cause all sorts of problems in your microwave. You can avoid this by ensuring the shells are slit well enough to let out any moisture or steam that happens when the chestnuts cook.

Microwaving Chestnuts FAQs

Are you still left with questions about microwaving chestnuts? Then these FAQs might clear them up:

Do You Need to Boil Chestnuts Before Microwaving Them?

No, you do not need to boil chestnuts before you cook them in the microwave. Providing that you cut a slit in the top of the chestnuts, they will cook just fine.

Do Chestnuts Explode in the Microwave?

Yes, they will explode if you fail to cut a small cross on the top of each one. This can be time-consuming but will mean that the peels can expand as the inside cooks.

1 thought on “How to Microwave Chestnuts”

  1. How come all the chestnuts I buy are moldy?
    They look ok in the store, but when I put the slit in the shell they might look ok but after I bake them they are moldy.
    How can I make sure they are not moldy?


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