Toasting nuts at home is worth the 10 minutes you will spend. It will improve your salads, snacks, rice pilaf and just about any other kitchen recipes requiring nuts you might make.
Toasting nuts is a step that some cooks skip, which is unfortunate because this simple effort can really make a good recipe into an amazing recipe. don’t take the attitude that it isn’t worth preheating your oven. But it bears repeating. If your recipe called for roasting the nuts be sure to take this important step. Flavor matters!
Nuts toasted in the oven are particularly the most popular. This is because the dry, indirect heat the oven offers will toast the nuts more evenly than a skillet will.
Using a skillet might take less time but the heat is uneven. Even if you’re using medium or medium low heat, you’ll still get black or charred spots. Using a sheet pan in the oven will give you beautiful, even browning.
Nuts will take on a deeper color when toasted. Toasting nuts enhances their flavor. Since nuts are high in fat, they can scorch easily. Always toast nuts in a shallow container in a single layer.
A low to moderate oven is best. The nuts are done when you can smell their aroma and they’ve become golden brown. Remove them from the oven when their color is just a shade lighter than what you’re looking for, as they’ll continue to cook a bit as they cool.
If you’re toasting sweetened coconut, remove it from the oven and stir it on the baking pan every five minutes to ensure even browning.
So how do you toast nuts?
Toss the nuts with a good pinch of kosher salt. As the nuts heat up, oils will rise to the surface, giving the salt something to adhere to. Spread them out in an even layer on a sheet pan, and pop them in a 350° oven.
Generally speaking, lighter, more tender nuts like pecans, pistachios, and walnuts will take 6-8 minutes to get to a good place.
Denser nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias will take more like 8-10 minutes to finish toasting.
Trust your nose over the timer. Good toasted nuts should be fragrant and roasted smelling. They should never smell burnt or acrid. Regardless of the type of nut, you should give your sheet pan a solid shake halfway through to shift the position of the nuts for even browning.
You should also make sure to transfer the nuts to a plate or bowl right after you take them out of the oven. They’ll continue toasting if you leave them on the pan. Once the nuts are done, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cool surface immediately, to minimize this continuing cooking.
From here, you can just store the nuts at room temperature. They’ll be their best on the day you roast them, but they’re also good for the next three days.
After that, they start to lose that toasty aroma and flavor.
Dry Roasting vs Roasting with Oil
Roasting nuts with a touch of oil is a really nice way to add flavor and crispness. While matching the nut with the oil gives them a special touch, it is not necessary. A neutral oil such as grapeseed oil is fine too.
But it’s not always appropriate to roast nuts with oil, especially when they are being used in a in a recipe that already requires oil. Feel free to roast nuts in oil when adding them to a salad, when they will be used as a garnish, or just when you serve them on their own.
Check and Stir
It is important to check the nuts frequently while they roast and to stir them often. Most ovens have hot spots, so you want to move the nuts around for even roasting. Stir them from the edges to the middle. The edges can brown sooner than the nuts in the middle.
If the recipe requires chopping, do this after roasting. It is easy to burn already chopped nuts since the pieces are so small. Warm nuts also chop more cleanly and with less flaking.
Smaller nuts such as pine nuts are notorious for burning quickly. Check them more frequently, usually every 2 minutes or so.
Enjoy Toasted nuts that you make at home! you will enjoy them even more.
Research from Bon Appetite and The Kitchn
Most images in my Tip Friday Series use free stock photos.
This article is part of the Tips That Help in the Kitchen Series, Tip Friday.