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Boiled Chestnuts, the Perfect Lectin-Free Snack (In a Pressure Cooker)

Boiled chestnuts

To me, boiled chestnuts are the perfect winter snack. They are warm, sweet, and nourishing, providing lots of fiber and nutrients. This is a quick and easy method to prepare them, and you won’t need an ‘open fire’.

I absolutely love fall and all her offerings, but chestnuts must be one of the main reasons I can’t wait for October to come. I’m in Romania again, my native country, and fortunately, I live in an area where edible chestnuts are grown and popular. So, at this time of the year, they are everywhere in farmers’ markets.

Nutritional profile

Chestnuts are a starchy type of nuts, and unlike most other nuts, have a higher carbohydrate content and a lower fat content. Not only they are rich in fiber, but they are also rich in manganese, potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins including folate, and copper.

I’m not the one to count calories, but just to give you an idea, ten chestnuts are about 200 calories. I’m not sure if it’s because of the potassium and other important nutrients I mentioned above, but when I eat chestnuts I feel good.

They feel like comfort food because they are warm, sweet, and nourishing, exactly the type of food we need for the colder days. Isn’t it amazing that nature provides us with what we need, when we need it?

Type of chestnuts and how to prepare them

The type of chestnuts we have here in Romania is called Spanish/European Chestnuts, but from my experience, they are not that different from the American chestnuts. I don’t think I’ve ever had the Asian variety.

While roasted chestnuts are popular in other countries, I grew up eating boiled chestnuts, and I still prefer them to roasted ones. Last year was the first time when I figured out how to make the boiling process much easier by just using a pressure cooker. They only need 5 minutes on high pressure, with natural release.

How to eat chestnuts

I think most people are not familiar with how to eat them. I remember once I was so excited when I found them in Dallas, that I went to a meeting with friends with boiled chestnuts. They had no idea what they were and what to do with them.

I am pretty ‘sauvage’ when it comes to chestnuts, I break the skin starting at the tip end and scoop the white, creamy flesh with my teeth. You can also eat them in a more elegant manner, by slicing them with a knife or even peel them with a pairing knife. It’s a question of practice and if you have company or not 🙂

In fact, chestnuts have two skins, one hard one, brown and shiny on the outside, and another thinner one, adhering to the seed itself, which is the edible white, creamy part.

Peeling the chestnuts is the best strategy if you are planning to use them for something else, like this Parsnip and Chestnut Puree with Chives.

Peeling a chestnut

Chestnut Flour

No, I won’t give you a recipe to make chestnut flour, but I wanted to mention how much I love chestnut flour. I use it a lot in my baking because it is naturally sweet and gives great texture in baking. Since I discovered chestnut flour, I have almost never added any sweetener to my baking.

When I started working with chestnut flour, there were barely any options to buy it in the US (except for Now there are quite a few options on Amazon, and I like to believe I contributed a little bit to that by encouraging so many of you to look for it.

In Europe, chestnut flour is more popular and can be easily found in gluten-free sections of stores or online.

I have many recipes using chestnut flour, but my favorite has to be the Chestnut Lectin-Free Crepes.

Boiled Chestnuts, the Perfect Lectin-Free Snack (In a Pressure Cooker)

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By Claudia Curici Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 7 minutes

Warm, sweet, and nourishing, boiled chestnuts are the perfect winter snack. This is a quick method to prepare them, you won't need an 'open fire'.


  • 1 kilogram / 2.2 lbs chestnuts
  • enough water to cover them



Rinse the chestnuts well. Put them in your pressure cooker and cover them with water.


Set your pressure cooker to 7 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.


When the pressure is released, drain the water and serve, warm or cold.


To eat the flesh, you have to break the skin with a knife or with your teeth at the tip end and eat the white part. Or you can peel them with a pairing knife.


Boiled chestnuts will also be good the next day. You can store them at room temperature.

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