Boiled Chestnuts: the simple recipe to make in fall

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

Because of their availability from October to December, boiled chestnuts are the ultimate fall snack food. So, if you’re looking for something tasty to serve this fall season, then look no further. Besides being enjoyed as a snack, they are also added as an ingredient to both sweet and savory recipes such as Thanksgiving turkey stuffing, Christmas cookies, cakes or chestnut strudel.

You don’t need any special ingredients or equipment to make this dish—only fresh chestnuts and a pot of boiling water. Creamy and sweet boiled chestnuts are one of the most delicious and easy fall snacks you can make at home. Try this recipe—we’ll think you’ll love it!

You can also roast the chestnuts if you want to enhance their flavor, but peeling them will be less easy if you don't pay attention to a few tricks.


How to pick Chestnuts for boiling

When you want to steam them, choose fresh chestnuts from your grocery store or farmer market throughout fall and early winter. European (Italian ones in particular) and Chinese varieties are excellent. If you can't find them, you can also use American chestnuts for this recipe.

How to Boil Chestnuts

First, wash the chestnuts and drain well. Cut into the chestnuts, making sure to pierce both the outer shell and a part of the soft flesh. Be careful not to cut yourself! Place the chestnuts in a large pot of cold water (they need to be completely submerged) and bring to a boil. If chestnuts don't sink to the bottom but float, it means they're moldy on the inside. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes.

If you plan on eating the freshly boiled chestnuts as a snack (or in a salad), 30 minutes of cooking time is necessary. If you want to use it in another dish (like stuffing), boiling them for about 15 minutes will be enough.

Once cooked, allow the chestnuts to cool down in the pot for few minutes. Then you can peel the chestnuts when they're still warm, if you wait them for being at room temperature it will be more difficult to peel them. Take the chestnuts out of the water as you peel them, otherwise, the shell might harden quickly.


It’s important to cut the chestnuts before boiling, this allows the water to penetrate the shell, and soften the chestnuts. If you see that the shell is difficult to remove, continue to boil for a few more minutes.

If you want to enjoy the boiled chestnuts as a healthy snack, you can add herbs and spices to the boiling water to infuse extra flavor.

Chestnuts are delicious enjoyed as a snack, added to salads, or mashed into a turkey stuffing!

Chestnuts can be boiled in an Instant Pot too! Add 1 lb of chestnuts and 4 cups of water to an Instant Pot, and cook on high. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes.


How To Peel Boiled Chestnuts

It’s easier to peel chestnuts when they are warm. So start peeling them one-by-one while they’re still in the warm water. You can also peel them by cutting the chestnuts in half and then squeezing the nuts out.

Chestnuts are delicious enjoyed as a snack, added to salads, or mashed into a turkey stuffing!

How to store Boiled Chestnuts

Store the boiled chestnuts in the fridge (in an airtight container) for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the boiled chestnuts for up to 3 months, closed in a freezer bag. Before serving, thaw them in the fridge overnight.

fresh chestnuts
Boiling water


Wash the chestnuts well and drain.

Make a horizontal cut in each chestnut. Place in a pot.

Pour in water, bring to a boil, leave for 30 minutes, and remove from the heat. Drain and peel easily.


Chestnuts are an excellent source of carbohydrates and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They’re also a good source of iron.

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