Cooking Nuts

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Unlike most other seed foods, nuts are good simply oven-toasted or fried for a few minutes, which transforms the chewy, pliable, bland, pale seeds into crisp, flavorful, browned morsels. They can also be roasted in the microwave oven. Since nuts are small and dry, frying is generally done at relatively low temperatures for relatively short times, 250–350°F/120–175°C for a few minutes, with lower temperatures and longer times for large nuts (Brazil nuts, macadamias). Doneness should be judged by color and flavor, not texture; heat softens the tissue, which gets crisp as it cools. Stop the cooking just short of the ideal doneness, since nuts continue to cook for some time after they’re taken from the heat. Nuts are less brittle when they’re warm, so slicing them while warm can give cleaner pieces with fewer flakes and crumbs.