Cashews on their own offer a creamy, nutty flavor good enough to keep you eating them by the handful. But they also make a great vessel for other flavors to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings. If you have raw cashews or cashew pieces waiting to be eaten, roasting them is simple and gives you the ability to add a range of flavors. You can experiment or follow some of these recipes to add tried and true flavors to your snack.
How to Roast Cashews
Even without adding additional flavors, roasting cashews is a great way to naturally enhance the flavor of the nuts and add extra crunch. And even better, it can be done simply at home. All you need to start out is cashews or cashew pieces- the higher quality and fresher the nuts, the better. You’ll want to look for a label that says “raw cashews” when choosing the base for your recipe. All raw cashews have technically been cooked to remove their shell and any toxins that may be present, but this is different than the roasting process you will put them through at home, which is meant to enhance flavor and texture.
The most common way for cashews to be roasted is to use the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and add a single layer of cashews. Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching or uneven cooking. Once removed, you can serve as is or chop into cashew pieces to add to a variety of recipes.
Cashews can also be roasted on the stove, in a medium skillet over medium heat. This will typically allow you to make fewer cashews at once, but they’ll be browned and fragrant within 5 minutes.
These simple steps are enough to make a delicious snack, salad topper, or cookie ingredient, with or without simple seasoning like salt. Once you’ve mastered roasting cashews, you’ll be able to add any flavor you desire to spice up your snack.
Savory Flavorings for Cashews
Here are some of our favorite spice mixtures to add to cashews for a savory, even spicy, treat.
Pizza Roasted Cashew Nuts
Before roasting your cashew pieces, for every 1 cup of nuts, mix with:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (or more to taste!)
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Chili Lime Roasted Cashew Nuts
For a spicy and bright flavor option, add the following to each cup of cashews before roasting:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 2 pinches of citric acid
Ranch Roasted Cashews
This recipe uses 2 pounds of cashews, seasoned with the following:
- 2 packets of Ranch seasoning of choice
- 1 tbsp dried dill
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
Sweet Roasted Cashews
Cashews are often used in baking, and because of their creamy texture, they complement sweet flavorings just as well as savory ones. Below is a recipe for the classic honey roasted cashew as well as other unique sweet options.
Honey Roasted Cashews
This recipe is a bit more complex than some others but is worth it for the sweet, crunchy flavor you get in this natural and sweet classic. Start by pre-heating your oven to 350F and then follow the steps below.
In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Heat this on medium-low heat and whisk constantly. Once the butter is fully melted, remove the pan from the burner and whisk in ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. This can also be done in a microwave-safe bowl rather than on the stove.
This is enough to cover about 1 pound of cashews. Line your baking sheet and add the cashews, then coat with the honey mixture. Bake for about 6 minutes, then remove to toss the nuts and spread them in an even layer. Repeat this step 2 more times for a total of 18 minutes bake time.
When done, the honey and maple glaze will be thick and sticky. Move them into a bowl and add ¼ cup of sugar and a pinch of salt to coat. Let the cashews cool and then enjoy your snack!