Don't Skip This Step For The Best Roasted Chestnuts

Somewhere along the line in the tangled history of human culinary experience, the smell of chestnuts roasting became forever intertwined with the holiday season. Biting into the spongey nuts, and letting their vaguely sweet potato-ish flavors bewitch you, became synonymous with nipping cold December days and the growing anticipation of firesides and family feasts. In the holiday season, roasted chestnuts are the law, and roasting them right is a covenant as sacred as when Leonardo DiCaprio-as-Romeo swears true love to Claire Danes-as-Juliet.

In synthesis, and to quote Fox News journalist Dagen McDowell, "Roasted chestnuts are indeed delicious." We're here to make sure that you roast them right. If you want truly spectacular results, simply scoring a cross across the top of the chestnut isn't going to cut it. Because if all you do is score your chestnuts before roasting them, you might find yourself in exactly the same situation as Toronto-based rapper, Dijah SB, who recently wrote, "my grandma tryna get into the Christmas spirit she roasted some chestnuts that s**t felt like I was biting into a tooth."

Always soak you chestnuts in water before roasting

It's a relatively simple step, but nonetheless easy to forget. After you score a cross on the top of your chestnuts, soaking them in water before roasting them is vital. That's because, per The Splendid Table, the water left over in the chestnuts after you drain them ensures that the chestnuts don't dry out when you roast them. Tada! You'll end up with softer, easier to peel, deliciously Christmasy nuts.

Depending on who you ask, you should let your chestnuts soak, completely submerged in warm water, for between 15 to 25 minutes before draining and roasting them (via Epicurious and Fine Cooking). Everything else is as easy as pie. Unless, of course, you happen to be musician Billy Sheehan, who neglected to "wait till the fire dies down!" and whose "'Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire' turned into 'Chestnuts burned into unrecognizable inorganic carbon.'"