Kitchen Basics: How to Roast or Toast Nuts

Knowing how to roast or toast nuts will come in handy when you want to use raw, organic nuts for toppings on hot cereals and desserts, or would like a crunchy snack.  You can roast nuts in as little as eight minutes, with no oil needed, using your oven or stove top. Roasting or toasting nuts releases the natural oils from them, bringing the oils to the surface. Continued cooking with that oil on the surface makes them crunchy and full of flavor.

roast or toast nutsI always thought the difference between “roasted” and “toasted” was as simple as where you cook the nuts. Roasted, for me, means you cook them in the oven, and toasted means you cook the nuts on the stove top. I see both words used interchangeably online, though. I use both methods, depending on whether I need to roast a few nuts or a lot, and how quickly I need them.

While roasting nuts using the oven or stove top, you will know they are done when they darken slightly and become aromatic. You might even hear some crackling sounds as the nuts heat up (especially when toasting them in a skillet). One test I use for doneness is to pick up one of the nuts and try to snap it in half (be careful, they’re hot!). If I get a good clean crisp snap without too much effort, then I know the nuts are ready.

Most softer nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, or cashews will be done roasting in 8 to 10 minutes. Some harder nuts like almonds or hazelnuts might take 12 to 15 minutes. Most nuts fall into the 8 to 12 minute range. If the nuts are small, or are already in small pieces, the cooking time will be shorter. Once you have gone through the cooking process a couple of times, you’ll see how long it takes using your own oven or stove top.

Once the nuts have cooked to your satisfaction, remove them from the hot baking sheet or skillet immediately. They will continue to cook if they are left on the hot pan. Moving them to a cooling rack is recommended, but even a plate or platter will work.

If you need to chop any nuts for the recipe you are using them in, do the breaking after the nuts have roasted. They will be easier to cut and you have less risk of small pieces overcooking if you cut them first.

You might enjoy these recipes made with nuts:

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Mixed Nuts

Grape Avocado Arugula Salad

Apple Pecan Arugula Salad

Orange Avocado Spring Salad

Maple Roasted Fall Vegetables


Print Recipe
Roast or Toast Nuts
Roast nuts to add to salads, top desserts, roasted vegetables, hot cereals, or for quick crunchy snacking. Two easy methods!
To Roast Nuts in the Oven:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread the nuts onto a baking sheet (or pie plate for a smaller amount of nuts). Place the pan into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
    roast or toast nuts
  3. Remove the pan from the oven to rearrange and toss the nuts so they will all roast evenly.
  4. Place the pan back into the oven for three more minutes, then check them again. Continue baking if the nuts are not fully roasted.
  5. Once the nuts are slightly darker and are aromatic, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the nuts from the hot pan immediately, placing them onto a cooling rack.
    roasted nuts and fall vegetables
  6. Once the nuts have cooled, break them into the desired size.
  7. Use the nuts, warm or room temp, to add to a favorite salad or top a dessert. These make a very nice snack, too! These are best eaten on the day they are made, but will keep up to three days (some crunchiness will be lost).
To Toast Nuts on the Stove Top:
  1. Using an iron or stainless steel skillet, heat the pan on a burner over medium high heat. Once heated, reduce the heat to medium low and add the nuts to the skillet.
    roast or toast nuts
  2. Stir the nuts almost continuously while they cook (frequently, anyway) until the nuts start to darken slightly and are aromatic.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the nuts from the pan right away. The cooking time should be no more than 8 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately while warm or at room temp. The nuts are best eaten the first day, but will keep for up to three days. They will lose some crunchiness after the first day.
    grape avocado arugula salad

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