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How To Toast Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are great raw, but they have a deep, earthy flavor when toasted. We’ve got some tips here for how to toast pine nuts, and I hope you give them a try.

The traditional foundation for many a pesto, pine nuts, also called, pignolias, are great for so much more. Known for their soft crunch and mild flavor, some have an aroma of pine, and some don’t smell or taste like pine at all.

Toasted pine nuts are used to give a distinctive crunch to salads and to make pesto sauce, dips like hummus or white bean dip, desserts, and coffee.

Table Of Contents

What are pine nuts?

Considered the smallest and “fanciest” of all nuts, pine nuts refer to the edible seed of the pinyon pine tree that originates in the mountains of California and some parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming.

This nut variety, with the scientific name pinus edulis, is believed to be eaten by early humans during the Old Stone Age. 

When raw, it has a mild buttery and nutty flavor with a soft crunch, similar to cashews or macadamia nuts. 

Toasting pine nuts brings out their unique flavor. 

This process also makes them nuttier and offers a nice crunch to various recipes like salads and pasta dishes. 

Are you running out of pine nuts? Substitute the seeds with almonds, cashews, macadamia,  pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pistachios!

How to toast pine nuts

As mentioned, heating pine nuts until golden enhances their flavor. 

Toasted pine nuts can be eaten raw and you can incorporate its chewy texture and sweet, nutty flavor profile to a variety of savory dishes such as antipasto pasta, glazed chicken, broiled fish, roasted veggies, sauteed greens, risotto, hummus, and chickpea stew. 

Before you toss them into your recipes, be sure to learn how to toast pine nuts the right way so you can get those seeds nice and toasty. 

The only important thing that I need you to keep in mind is that you don’t leave your pine nuts unsupervised when toasting to avoid them from burning. 

Here are the three best ways to toast your pine nuts–in a pan or skillet on the stovetop, in an oven, and microwave.

How to toast pine nuts in a convection oven

Though it’s sure to heat your kitchen, toasting pine nuts in an oven is the perfect choice for those who want to toast them evenly. 

I ONLY recommend using this method if you already have something baking in the oven or you want that evenly golden-brown color to your pine nuts. 

Here’s how to do it: 

Tools needed:

    • Raw pine nuts
    • Parchment paper
    • Baking sheet
    • Oven

Instructions:

    1. Preheat the oven at 325°F.
    2. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    3. Toast them for seven to eight minutes. Make sure to stir the nuts occasionally. 

How to toast pine nuts in a toaster oven

In case you don’t want to turn on your oven but want to achieve a similar result, then you should toast your pine nuts in a toaster oven!

Be wary, though, this method might burn the nuts. To avoid this, make sure to frequently stir and check them while they’re getting toasted.

Here’s how to do it: 

Tools needed:

    • Raw pine nuts
    • Toaster oven
    • Baking sheet
    • Parchment paper

Instructions:

    1. Preheat your toaster oven at 300°F.
    2. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    3. Toast them for seven to eight minutes. Stir the nuts at the four minute mark.

How to toast pine nuts on a stove

This is my favorite way to toast my pine nuts. It’s quick and convenient!

You can toast or warm up pine nuts on a stove using a cast-iron skillet or nonstick frying pan. 

However, it’s harder to toast large quantities using the stove method and the pine nuts tend to burn more easily than with the two oven methods.

Here’s how to do it: 

Tools needed:

    • Raw pine nuts
    • Nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet
    • Stove

Instructions:

    1. Heat the nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. 
    2. Place raw pine nuts into the skillet in a single layer. This makes sure that the nuts toast evenly. 
    3. Heat them for two to three minutes. Make sure to stir them frequently.

How to toast pine nuts in a microwave

Microwaving pine nuts is a bit tricky that’s why it’s my last resort and my least favorite. 

When you leave them unsupervised in a microwave, pine nuts can develop uneven and spotty color, or worse, you’ll burn them or burn your house down!

So please, be mindful!

We recommend following these four simple steps:

Tools needed:

    • Raw pine nuts
    • Microwave 
    • Paper bag
    • Cold-water

Instructions:

    1. First, rinse raw pine nuts under cold water. 
    2. Transfer them to a paper bag then fold the edge of the bag. 
    3. Pop them in the microwave for a minute. 
    4. Toast for another 30 seconds if they aren’t fully golden-brown.

How to store toasted pine nuts

Now that you already have roasted pine nuts, it’s time to learn how to store them correctly!

Storing toasted pine nuts is a convenient way to ensure that you have enough supply for a month or two. 

You heard it right!

Roasted or toasted pine nuts generally last for up to two months in the fridge. 

When stored at room temperature, the nuts are usually still edible within a week. 

I learned the hard way that it’s possible for a whole container of pine nuts to go rancid because I didn’t want them to go to waste. It was MONTHS past their expiration date, but wow, that was a lesson!

Here are some quick instructions on storing toasted pine nuts in the fridge: 

Tools needed:

  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Airtight container
  • Refrigerator

Instructions:

  1. Ensure that the nuts are fully cooled down. 
  2. Place toasted pine nuts in a clean, airtight container. 
  3. Slide the container into your refrigerator. 
  4. Consume the stored, toasted nuts within two months.

Why toast pine nuts?

Though toasting nuts is really up to your personal preference, heating them until golden brown triples their nutty, earthy flavor.

Toasting them also offers that nice crunch to your recipes. 

I’m a big fan of spinach salad and there’s no way I can forget to include berries and toasted nuts into the mix!

The bottom line

Pine nuts are the foundation for traditional pesto, which is far and away better when you make it yourself. 

While our pesto recipe uses spinach and less-expensive almonds, this pesto will fill the bill. 

Pine nuts make a great snack as well as an ingredient, and toasting them brings out lots of flavor.

Here’s an incredible looking pasta dish over at Epicurious that uses golden beets and pine nuts. It looks incredible. Let us know if you try it.

How To Toast Pine Nuts On A Stove

How To Toast Pine Nuts On A Stove

We love this quick and convenient way to toast pine nuts—in a frying pan on the stove!

Ingredients

  • Raw pine nuts
  • Nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet
  • Stove

Instructions

  1. Heat the nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. 
  2. Place raw pine nuts into the skillet in a single layer. This makes sure that the nuts toast evenly. 
  3. Heat them for two to three minutes. Make sure to stir them frequently. 
  4. Remove when fragrant and golden brown.

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