Skip to Content

How To Boil Chestnuts

How To Boil Chestnuts

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Creamy and sweet boiled chestnuts is one of the most delicious and easy fall snacks you can make at home.

Cooked chestnuts in general are very characteristic of fall (October, November).

Sometimes, depending on the region, you can still enjoy chestnuts even during December.

Delicate, sweet and buttery flavor of cooked chestnuts is why many look so much forward to the chestnut season.

There are 4 ways to cook chestnuts: boiling, pan roasting, roasting in the oven, and, if you’re lucky enough, you can roast chestnuts on open fire or right in the fireplace.

The aroma and comforting FEELING when peeling lightly char-coaled chestnuts is amazing.

But except for char-coaled part, you can get equally delicious result with other cooking methods.

Boiling chestnuts is probably one of the easiest ways, and also the quickest one.

In Italian boiled chestnuts are called Castagne Bollite.

Here are some tips and tricks to make delicious boiled chestnuts at home.

How To Score Chestnuts – 3 Easy Ways

Scoring chestnuts is a simple but very important step.

You can do it in a couple of different ways.

Choose the method depending on what you’re planning to do with your boiled chestnuts next. How you score chestnuts will determine how they peel when cooked.

Method #1 – With a tip of the knife

This method of scoring chestnuts is perfect if you boil chestnuts for direct consumption or for the recipe that doesn’t require use of a whole chestnut, ex. only use the pulp.

If you’re making boiled chestnuts just for eating or for a chestnuts necklace, it’s enough just to dig in a tip of the knife as shown on the photo.

How To Boil Chestnuts - Step2

To open chestnuts scored with this method simply cut them in half and squeeze out the pulp.

It’s easier to do this while chestnuts are still warm.

Method #2 – Using a kitchen knife

This is the most classic method to score chestnuts. It can be used for all cooking methods.

Make a long slit cut across the rounded side of a chestnut trying not to cut too deep into the nut.

You can perform the cut positioning chestnut on a cutting board flat side down.

It’s easiest though to simply hold the chestnut with your fingers as you’ll get a better grip and control over a chestnut and can rotate it easily to make that long cut all across the rounded side.

Be very careful. If for any reason it doesn’t feel safe, hold chestnuts in place on a cutting board.

You can peel cooked chestnuts scored with this method simply by removing the outer shell with your fingers.

Method #3 – Using a chestnuts knife

This is THE best way to get perfect, intact whole chestnuts out of the shell.

This is also the easiest AND the most safe way Scoring chestnuts with THIS chestnut knife.

Stick the tip of the knife blade at the bottom of the chestnut on the side.

Slit the chestnuts all the way up through the pointed top of the chestnut down again to the bottom, making kind of a  vertical “U” cut. Go deep enough inside the chestnut with the knife blade to cut through inner skin, but not too deep to avoid cutting the chestnut itself.

scoring chestnuts with a chestnut knife

This method works great for when you need to preserve a whole chestnut and peel the inner thin skin without breaking the chestnut, like for making wold famous Marron Glacé – Candied Chestnut Treats.

If you need to use whole chestnuts it’s also best to under-cook them a little. So just 18-20 minutes of boiling will be enough. Adjust the time depending on the size of the chestnuts you have.

How To Boil Chestnuts – Step By Step

Start by rinsing fresh chestnuts in cold water.

How To Boil Chestnuts - Step1

Score chestnuts using one of the methods above (with a tip of the knife, classic – with a kitchen knife, using a chestnuts knife).

After you scored the chestnuts, transfer them to a large pan and fill it with cold drinking water. Add bay leaves and a drop of olive oil.

How To Boil Chestnuts - Step3

Bring to boil and cook on low heat for 25-35 minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of chestnuts. The large the nuts more time it need to be cooked.

How To Boil Chestnuts - Step4

To test, take out one chestnut at 25 minute mark and cut it open. If the pulp is soft and creamy chestnuts are done. If not let cook for another 10 minutes and taste again.

Once ready, drain chestnuts and pass them quickly under running water.

How To Boil Chestnuts - Step5

Wrap first, in a large piece of parchment paper (to absorb excess water), then wrap in a kitchen linen towel and let rest for a few minutes.

How To Boil Chestnuts - Step6

Did you know that boiled chestnuts are used to make Italian “Halloween” Chestnut Necklace? It’s one of least known but truly meaningful traditions.

How to peel boiled chestnuts

Adding a drop of olive oil in cooking water helps chestnuts to peel off easily.

Another trick is to peel them while they’re still warm.

The easiest way to peel and eat boiled chestnuts is to simply cut them in halves and squeeze the mushy pulp out (see pictures above).

You can also use a small coffee spoon to scoop the pulp out this way.

What do boiled chestnuts taste like?

Boiled chestnuts have a rich buttery taste and a creamy consistency.

Compared to roasted chestnuts they’re softer and have a milder flavor.

Boiled chestnuts will also absorb the flavor and taste of the aromatic herbs that you choose to boil them with.

More Recipes with Chestnuts

How To Make Delicious Boiled Chestnuts At Home
5 from 1 vote

How To Boil Chestnuts

Creamy and sweet boiled chestnuts is one of the most delicious and easy snacks you can easily make at home.
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Finger Food, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lb fresh chestnuts , approx 1 kg
  • ¾ gallon water , approx 3 liters
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional, for extra flavor)
  • Olive oil or other vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Start by rinsing fresh chestnuts in cold water.
  • Using a small sharp knife make a small cut on each chestnut. For boiled chestnuts It’s enough just to dig in a tip of the knife.
  • Transfer chestnuts to a large pan and fill it with cold drinking water. Add bay leaves and a drop of olive oil.
  • Bring to boil and cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of chestnuts. The large the nuts more time it need to be cooked.
  • To test, take out one chestnut at 25 minute mark and cut it open. If the pulp is soft and creamy chestnuts are done. If not let cook for another 10 minutes and taste again.
  • Once ready, drain chestnuts and pass them quickly under running water.
  • Wrap first, in a large piece of parchment paper (to absorb excess water), then wrap in a kitchen linen towel and let rest for a few minutes.
Liked this recipe?Follow @italianrecipeb for more!

There you have it, nutty, mushy and butterly, delicious boiled chestnuts made at home.

Did you make this recipe or any other recipe on the blog?
I’d love to hear how it went! Please comment and rate it below 🙂

How To Boil Chestnuts

Have you ever wanted to roast chestnuts at home?
With delicious soft pulp and easy peel like chestnuts you get from a street vendor?
Here are all the tips and tricks how to do it!

How To Roast Chestnuts {Soft & Easy Peel}

Recipe Rating




jim

Saturday 9th of January 2021

Used this twice this past holiday. Easier to monitor than roasting. Soft, moist, flavorful, consistent results. Reminds me of how my grandmother made them on Christmas Eve.

Italian Recipe Book

Thursday 14th of January 2021

Thank you for letting me know, Jim! Glad your boiled chestnuts turned out delicious. Enjoy!

Pasquale J Argenio

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Sounds confusing. Just peel the outer skin with a paring knife. Boil for a half hour with bay leaf & sugar. Then peel the inner skin as you eat them. It practically falls off anyway.

Italian Recipe Book

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

Hello Pasquale. You must have misunderstood the recipe or left your comment on the wrong website. There's no need to peel the outer skin of the chestnut before boiling. In fact, it's even dangerous to do so since the outer shell is very hard. You can find more than one safe and easy method above to prepare chestnuts for boiling (choose one depending on the intended end use of the boiled chestnuts). Wishing you Happy Holidays!

Comment faire rôtir des châtaignes au four Soft & Easy Peel – Cuisine-nature

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

[…] beaucoup châtaignes bouillies – Une méthode infaillible pour des châtaignes super douces et beurrées à chaque […]

How To Roast Chestnuts In The Oven {Soft & Easy Peel} - Italian Recipe Book

Thursday 7th of November 2019

[…] used to really enjoy boiled chestnuts – a foolproof method for super soft and buttery chestnuts every single […]

Italian "Halloween" Chestnut Necklace - Italian Recipe Book

Tuesday 31st of October 2017

[…] Chestnuts are first cooked to done. Depending on the region you can see different methods how chestnuts are cooked, but for the most part they are boiled. […]