How To Toast Nuts Perfectly In The Microwave

If you frequently stock up on healthy desk snacks to get you through the workday, you may often choose nuts. They're not only convenient and mess-free, but they also have several health benefits. Even though most nuts tend to be high in calories, Mayo Clinic confirms that they elements proven to fight high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Apart from grabbing a handful here and there to satisfy your mid-day hunger, the Spokesman-Review describes how nuts are a great ingredient for adding texture and flavor to your dishes. Per Have A Plant, you could add nuts for some extra crunch to your afternoon salad or add them to a weeknight nightly stir-fry. But if you're looking for a simple way to enhance the flavor of this protein-packed snack without the extra ingredients, adding heat may be your answer.

AP News explains that toasting nuts removes the green, sometimes bitter flavors of raw nuts. Even Smitten Kitchen compares the differences between raw and toasted nuts to the stark comparison of raw versus brown butter — the latter distinguished by its bold, caramel-like undertones. If toasted nuts are so delicious, what's the best method to toast them? It turns out, all you need is your microwave.

Try your microwave for convenient, mess-free toasting

There may be certain foods you shouldn't microwave, but if you need to level up the flavor of your nuts, your microwave can be a safe, low-prep appliance perfect for the job at hand. 

Cook's Illustrated indicates that the microwave may be the easiest way to toast nuts, as this method doesn't require stirring or immediate transfer to a room temperature plate. Simply place your nuts in a pie plate or another semi-shallow vessel and microwave at normal power for one-minute intervals, checking after each minute for differences in texture and smell. Once the nuts have begun to change color, check them after 30-second increments until they're toasted to your liking.

When chef J. Kenji López-Alt originally tried toasting nuts in his microwave, he found the outer layer of the nuts didn't pack the usual punch of flavor. The consistency also proved to be lacking varying degrees of crunch (via Serious Eats). His solution? He tossed the raw nuts in a small amount of oil before microwaving at one-minute intervals for five to eight minutes. The chef claimed this slightly altered microwaved version produced the best-tasting nuts — even more delicious than those toasted in a skillet or microwave. If you want a surefire way to toast nuts, try your microwave. To spice things up even more, King Arthur Baking Company says you can also toast nuts in your air fryer or bread machine.

Toast nuts with a few common kitchen appliances

As for the more conventional ways to toast nuts, you have a few options. To toast nuts using the stovetop method, A Couple Cooks recommends adding an even layer of nuts to a skillet over medium heat for up to five minutes, until they're slightly darker in color and fragrant. 

The Washington Post, meanwhile, prefers the oven method, singing its praise for particularly large batches of nuts and even toasting throughout. To toast your nuts in the oven, line a baking sheet with nuts and toast at 350 F for five to ten minutes. Nuts can go from toasted to completely burned in a matter of minutes, so keep an eye on the oven when exceeding the suggested time frame. Once they're toasted, transfer the nuts to a room-temperature plate to halt any additional browning.

And if you've ever wondered how to roast nuts (and how the process differs from toasting), Little & VA Pecan Co. explains that the difference lies in the addition of oil. While roasted nuts are cooked over a heat source with a small amount of fat, according to A Couple Cooks, all you need to toast nuts are the nuts themselves and a fry pan or oven. Before using one of these two common methods, Southern Living recommends starting with whole nuts, as chopped nuts tend to brown at varying points throughout the toasting process.