How to Toast Walnuts
The pantry staple transforms dishes once it's toasted.
Walnuts may already be a pantry staple or a go-to snacking option, but if you really want to up the ante, try toasting them.
Toasting nuts in the oven is optimal, explains cookbook author Charlotte Druckman, to ensure more even cooking and more intense flavor. Druckman recommends preheating your oven to 350 degrees, spreading the nuts on a baking sheet, and putting them in the oven for anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes, depending on their size and desired darkness.
The other, faster option is toasting nuts on the stovetop. Put nuts in a dry pan and shake them so that they toast evenly, up to 5 minutes, tops. Whichever method you choose, Druckman cautions, keep a close watch as nuts can quickly go from toasted to burnt.
“You’ll know they’re ready when they’ve released their aroma and begun to brown; if you want more color on them, leave them a little longer,” Druckman writes. “Let them cool completely before using.”
Around Thanksgiving, toasted walnuts lend texture to bread-based stuffing and dressing recipes, a meaty texture to vegetarian-friendly sides and a fantastic toasty flavor and crunch to desserts.
Valerie Bertinelli toasts walnuts stove-top and adds the cooled, chopped nuts to bring a savory crunch to her cranberry-sausage-cornbread stuffing.
Walnuts add a buttery, toasty crunch to play off sweet apples and savory sausage in this fan-favorite baked Thanksgiving dressing.
Giada De Laurentiis pulls in toasted walnuts to add extra heft and texture to this vegetarian side of seared mushrooms with wilted arugula and dried cranberries.
Unconventional, yes. But no one will complain once they tuck into a slice of this walnut pie. Toasted walnuts are folded into a lush maple-custard filling and scattered on top of whipped cream for a final flourish.
Think beyond butter: Here are dozens of ways to top your toast.
Photographs by Levi Brown