Steamed Chestnuts Recipe

How to prepare steamed chestnuts easily at home.

I am just back from Italy, where it is really easy find chestnuts in shops or at supermarket. The name “Chestnuts” also refers to the edible nuts they produce.

steamed chestnuts

The fruit has a pointed end with a small tuft at its tip (called “flame” in Italian), and at the other end, a hilum – a pale brown attachment scar. In many varieties, the fruit is flattened on one or two sides. It has two skins. The first one is a hard outer shiny brown hull or husk; the industry calls this the peel. Underneath the peel is another thinner skin, called the “pellicle” or “episperm”. The pellicle closely adheres to the seed itself, following the grooves usually present at the surface of the fruit. These grooves are of variable sizes and depth according to the species and variety.

From my point of view, this is an handy way to cook chestnuts if you don’t have a perforated pan that it is required for preparing the roast  called ” caldarroste” in Italy. Another way to cook them is the oven, but I love more steamed chestnuts than chestnuts in the oven.

Even if, one of the best ways to enjoy them greedy, is to prepare the roast, that is cooking them slowly over a fire in a perforated pan. If you don’t have this special pan, don’t worry because here I am going to explain an alternative way of serving them at home.

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • chestnuts 1 kg

peel the chestnuts

  • salt
  • bay leaves 4


  • Remove the peel with a knife.
  • When the outer husk has been removed, you will see the pellicle as showed in the photo below.

peeled chestnuts

  • Add all of them to a medium casserole and cover chestnuts with water. 

add water to boil the chestnuts

  • Tip: If you are cooking more than a kilo of chestnuts you will use a large casserole.
  • Now add salt, not too much, and bay leaves

add bay leaves

  • Cook them over medium heat.
  • Let them to cook for 30 minutes.
  • Tip: I usually don’t check consistency of chestnuts, because it doesn’t matter if any one will break a little bit. The important thing is that you don not overcook them, so after 20 minute you can check if they are tender or if chestnuts require more time. 
  • Tip: You can use a fork to check consistency. If you see that chestnuts are tender and opened,  drain chestnuts and serve on a plate.
  • Now you can eat chestnuts but before eating boiled chestnuts, remember to remove the pellicle that we left on them.
  • Enjoy this typical italian recipes that my family loves.
  • Tips: if you want to use chestnuts as ingredient for another recipe for ex. a cake, you can follow this method to cook them. When they are cooked, you will remove the pellicle as usual, using the fruit as ingredient of your cake.

Alessandra Simple Recipes

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