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Whenever I roast nuts (walnuts, sesame, ...) to add to dishes, I either choose a very low oven temperature and then it takes far too long, or I use a very high temperature and I struggle to get them just golden, without getting any higher notes of oil that reached the browning point.

What is the right temperature and the range of duration to obtain strong tones of roasting in nuts? Is this different for different nuts?

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I know that most oven based recipes I've seen suggest 350 F and checking every 3-5 minutes. I personally prefer to use a skillet over medium heat - this way I can move the nuts around as they roast and I have more control over how dark they get. The time, of course, depends on the size and type of nut, etc.

  • I've struggled with the skillet method. Because the heat is too intense at one point I always end up with one or a few dark spots on each nut, with the rest of the nut still uncooked. It might be a matter of constantly stirring. That's why I was hoping for a standard recipe: preheat oven to 350F, put nuts on foil, and bake for X minutes. Since all walnuts are about the same size, I'd expect X to be in a narrow range, and then we can all look after something else while the nuts are browning. – Calaf Dec 4 '15 at 15:47
  • About the foil: is there any other material that does not hold heat but that is reusable—to avoid blistering the bottom of the nuts and to avoid having to turn them halfway? – Calaf Dec 4 '15 at 15:49
  • Since nuts are grown and not manufactured, there are too many variables to be able to say "always cook this amount of time" as depending on when they were harvested, how much water the tree got etc the nuts might be drier, oilier, etc which all have an effect on the roasting. Then you also have to take into consideration the how long it's been since they were harvested, how they were stored, etc. This is why they say to check them every few minutes - there isn't a once size fits all time. – djmadscribbler Dec 4 '15 at 17:49
  • What you're saying makes a lot of sense. Yet it would make me have a lot of sympathy for the use of almonds at an industrial scale in things like chocolate bars. It's hard to imagine these factories have staff with the patience to lovingly roast small batches of almonds. – Calaf Dec 4 '15 at 17:58
  • I don't believe that they do - however I also don't believe that they need to. In a home scenario, you're roasting enough nuts for your single batch. If they are over(or under)-done, they have a large impact on your dish. In a commercial setting, they'd be roasting a huge quantity - so some will be over-done, some under-done and some just right. Once chopped up, mixed and distributed the homogenous mixture should be "good enough" – djmadscribbler Dec 4 '15 at 18:57

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