How To Toast Almonds and Other Nuts
Cook time 8 minutes to 12 minutes
Nuts (any amount)
Nut oil, or a neutral oil such as grapeseed (optional)
Rimmed baking sheet or cake pan
Plate or tray, for cooling
Preheat oven and spread nuts on trays. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet. I often use a cake tin for smaller amounts as the higher sides allow me to shake the the pan to evenly distribute them.
Coat with oil. If you are roasting the nuts with oil, drizzle a small amount over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. Use as little oil as possible, starting with just a teaspoon or two.
Roast in oven. Place in oven and roast for 5 minutes.
Stir. Remove after 5 minutes and stir so that the outer nuts are moved towards the middle and the middle nuts towards the edges. If you are using a cake tin, you can gently shake it to redistribute the nuts. Return to the oven.
Check for doneness. Check the nuts again after 3 minutes. You are looking for the color to be a few shades darker. They should start to smell nutty and you might hear them crackling. Return to the oven if needed and check again after another 3 minutes. If they need longer, give another stir. Nuts rarely take longer than 15 minutes to roast, usually closer to 8 to 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool. When the nuts are browned and smell nutty, remove from the oven and immediately transfer onto a plate or another baking sheet. Do not cool the nuts on the tray they were baked on or you will risk scorching them.
A note on alternatives: Nuts can be roasted in a toaster oven and I confess to doing this now and then. But be warned: they can easily burn in a toaster oven as the heating elements are much closer to the nuts than in a regular oven. Watch them closely! You can also roast nuts in a skillet on the stove top but I find that they seldom roast evenly with this method. Usually there are browned places where the nuts have contacted the hot skillet and pale places where they haven't. An oven assures an even, all-over browning.
Chopping: If the recipe requires chopping, do this after roasting. It is frightfully easy to burn already chopped nuts since the pieces are so small. Warm nuts also chop more cleanly and with less flaking.
Pine nuts: Smaller nuts such as pine nuts are notorious for burning quickly. I check them more frequently, usually every 2 minutes or so.