There is no smell move evocative of crisp winter days than freshly roasted chestnuts! Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts bring this aromatic and delicious snack right into your home. With these detailed step-by-step instructions you’ll find them easy to prepare and roast in very little time.
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To me, roasted chestnuts are the smell of walking down the south bank in London in winter looking at the Christmas lights. They’re not really something we have here in my hometown but they are a popular snack around the world and are most closely associated with Christmas here in the UK.
I’ve seen chestnuts available in the run up to Christmas for years but it’s only recently that I decided to finally figure out how to cook them at home. The air fryer was my first port of call because of how fast and economical it is. Chestnuts want to be roasted and eaten in one sitting so smaller batches are what you are looking for.
After a few experiments and lots of research, I discovered that many recipes call for the chestnuts to be soaked before roasting. There are two reasons for this. Firstly to soften the nut and secondly to make the shell softer and easier to cut and then peel off.
Other recipes head straight to the air fryer and many others simply boil them without roasting. I found that simply soaking and then roasting didn’t soften the nutty flash enough for my liking. So for this recipe, I’ve first boiled and then roasted the chestnuts. The results were perfect.
How to Serve
You will want to serve roasted chestnuts for a snack as hot as possible. Usually they are served in the shell and then you peel and eat them. It is much easier to peel a hot chestnut than a cold one so don’t hang around!
You can add flavours if you choose. Serving with spiced sugars is really common – either sprinkle over the chestnuts or dip the peeled chestnuts into it. Try a mix of light brown sugar, ground ginger and ground cinnamon. Or use mixed spice or pumpkin pie spice depending on what you can get local to you.
You can of course cook with chestnuts or use them in desserts. If this is your intention then you should peel all the chestnuts as soon as they are roasted. You can then use, store or freeze the chestnuts until you want to use them.
The ingredients list for this recipe is exceedingly short. In fact there is just one ingredient unless you count the boiling water too!
Are horse chestnuts and chestnuts the same thing?
No. Horse chestnuts or conkers may look very similar to chestnuts (and the name is certainly confusing) but they are two different nuts from two different trees.
Conkers tend to be more round whereas chestnuts have a flatter side and a more bulbous side. The more important difference is that horse chestnuts are poisonous to humans. So please don’t try air frying them.
Are chestnuts actually nuts?
Yes! Unlike some of the nuts we call nuts but aren’t actually nuts like peanuts and cashews, chestnuts are actually classified as a culinary nut.
Why score chestnuts before cooking?
Cutting a cross (or at the very minimum one cut) will prevent the chestnuts from exploding in the air fryer. It also gives some purchase to start peeling them.
How to peel roasted chestnuts?
The simplest way is to just use your thumps to slide under the shell and prise it off. It will likely come off in a few pieces.
There are two layers to the shell, the outer thick brown husk and an inner thinner layer which can be a bit furry looking. You do need to remove both layers before eating.
Where can you buy chestnuts?
Here in the UK, chestnuts in their shell are largely only available to buy very late in the year. You may find them hanging around a little into the new year. But as they are largely stocked for Christmas, they do only have a small availability window.
When they are available, you can generally find them in netted bags in the fresh fruit and vegetable section. Or with other shell on nuts if there is a dedicated section.
This recipe is free from egg, dairy and gluten.
Chestnuts and Nut Allergies
Despite being classified as a culinary nut, chestnuts are botanically different from tree nuts. Allergies to chestnuts are quite rare and so they will likely be safe for those with allergies to peanuts, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
But you must not ever assume that something is safe to eat for someone with an allergy without checking. For more information, Allergy UK produce a factsheet about nut allergies including information about chestnuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Roasted Chestnuts
After boiling for 10 minutes and the shell being scored, medium sized chestnuts take 10 minutes to air fry.
Each of the chestnuts I used weighed between 17g and 25g (0.6-0.8oz). I would consider these to be a fairly standard size that I’d buy here in the UK. Smaller chestnuts will require slightly less time in the air fryer and larger ones may need longer.
It is best to err on the side of caution and test one of the chestnuts to see if they are soft and fully roasted. You can always cook for longer but you can’t go back in time.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
I would recommend trying to only roast as many chestnuts as you are intending to actually eat straight away. I don’t think they keep so well just for snacking purposes. You can reheat them in the air fryer but I do find that it is very easy for them to become dried out.
You can boil, cool and then store the chestnuts to speed up the roasting process later. Don’t score them and store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Bring to room temp before air frying. Or air fry at a lower temperature for a little longer.
If you are roasting chestnuts to use for culinary purposes, I find they store for a much shorter time than you might imagine. Unlike other culinary nuts, chestnuts don’t have a high fat content so there is little fat to act as a preservative.
They can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for around a week. If you need to store them for longer, they can be frozen.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
Come on over to Facebook and join my community discussing all things air fryer. Get involved in sharing your experiences and trials, help out others and find out what wonderful things everyone is cooking in their air fryers!
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve since bought this version to use for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I used for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked also has a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls. I’ve now actually retired by Actifry in favour of having my two basket type fryers.
Mini Oven Air Fryers
These usually have a glass door, shelves and overall are really quite large. You can cook quite a decent quantity of food in them so are best if regularly cooking for multiple people. They often come with extra features like a rotisserie spit or kebab skewers.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is often necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori models have a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c/400f for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c/390f because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c/450f and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which many people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different. And there are occasionally exceptions to the rule.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although most come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
When I do want to collect the juices, I mostly use some foil, or occasionally a foil tray which can be washed and reused.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts Recipe
- 350 g Chestnuts
- Put a kettle on to boil.
- Check over 350g Chestnuts. Discard any that have damaged shells or holes.
- Put the chestnuts into a saucepan and cover with boiling water from the kettle.
- Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Use a lid if available.
- Once boiled, drain the chestnuts and leave them to sit for a minute or two to cool slightly.
- If your air fryer requires preheating, start this running now.
- Take a chestnut and lay it flat side down on a board. Cut a a cross into the top of the chestnut. Try to only cut through the shell and not into the nut itself. I do find some deeper cuts are just inevitable so don't stress. The best way to do this is….
- Use a small sharp serrated knife to cut a a cross into the top of the skin.
- Pick the chestnut up and carefully extend the the cut in all 4 corners. Be extremely careful not to slip and cut yourself. Lean the chestnut against the board for more stability if needed.
- Repeat this until all the chestnuts have been cut.
- Place the chestnuts into the air fryer basket. Make sure they are sitting cross side up and ideally not touching each other too much.
- Air fry for 10 minutes at 190°c/370°f.
- Once the chestnuts have finished cooking, tip them into a clean tea towel.
- Wrap and let them sit for 3 to 4 minutes in the towel. This will give them a moment to steam in their own heat which makes the chestnuts easier to peel.
- Serve warm, peel and eat. If they're not going to get devoured straight away, wrap them up again and keep them warm. Alternatively you may be able to use a keep warm setting on your air fryer if it has one. It is much harder to remove the shell once roasted chestnuts are cold.