On their own, cashews already have a rich and creamy flavor, a perfect complement to their slight crunch. But some people prefer roasted cashews, which brings out a soft, sweet flavor and adds an additional bite to the texture. Luckily, it’s simple to roast cashews at home to use as a recipe ingredient or a snack. You can even add flavors to your roasted cashews to add some variety!
Why Choose Cashews
Any number of nuts can be roasted and make an excellent snack, but raw cashews have some special qualities that make them particularly worthy of the process. Cashews are actually the seed of a tropical evergreen tree that sprouts a fruit called cashew apples. Originally grown in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, cashews have been brought around the world and are grown in many areas, including West Africa. In addition to being an excellent snack, cashews are commonly found in many Asian cuisines and are increasingly used as a dairy substitute.
When you buy raw cashews, they will already be out of their shell. This is because their natural shell contains oils that can cause a reaction similar to poison oak or poison ivy. To ensure they’re safe to eat, all cashews undergo a heating process before being sold. This means that when you buy them raw, cashews have already been cooked once. However, this form is perfect for roasting.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you can roast cashews using a number of methods and flavor combinations.
Roasting Cashews in the Oven
One of the most common options is to use the oven for easy roasting. You can preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you pull out a baking sheet. Line the sheet with parchment paper or foil, and add cashews in one layer. You’ll roast them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, but make sure you stir occasionally so they are evenly cooked. Once done, you can use the cashews in a recipe or simply grab a handful!
Roasting Cashews on the Stove
You can also roast cashews using a skillet. Heat the cashews over medium heat until they are visibly browned and fragrant. Make sure you stir frequently to maintain an even roast. It is not necessary to include oil in the skillet, but it can further enhance flavor and texture if you are planning to use the nuts as a garnish or a snack. If you do choose to use oil, the smallest amount will do. Many people opt for a nut oil, like almond or walnut oil, or a healthy alternative like coconut oil.
Adding Flavor to Roasted Cashews
If you are planning to add cashews to a recipe, they usually have enough flavor on their own that after roasting, they are ready to be used. But when cashews are being used as a snack, many people like to add various flavors to them. A handful of cashews with a touch of salt and oil can be delicious, but below are some ideas to take your roasted cashews up a notch.
Possibly the most common version of roasted nuts is honey-roasted. Before placing your nuts on the baking sheet, they can be covered in a glaze made of honey, maple syrup, and melted butter and topped off with vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Once cooked, these can be tossed in salt and sugar to further highlight the sweet and savory flavor mixture here.
If you prefer a more savory snack, rosemary is another great option to roast your nuts. In this case, you will roast the cashews while creating a seasoning mix separately. Rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt, and butter make an excellent combination, though you can skip the cayenne if you don’t want a bit of spice. Finished cashews can be tossed in this mix before serving.
Another unique take on the roasted cashew is a sweet and spicy glaze. Before roasting, combine a simple two ingredients: honey and cayenne pepper. Once cooked, you can toss the cashews in salt and sugar to enhance the flavors.
While these are some ideas, you can choose any flavoring you’d like for roasting your cashews. They are a great canvas for sweet, spicy, and savory flavors!
It Starts with High-Quality Cashews
When you want to roast cashews, one of the biggest factors will be the cashews themselves. Choosing high-quality cashews will ensure your final product has that same quality. It can also help to buy in bulk. When you purchase cashews from Beyond the Nut, you are starting with locally sourced, organic cashews that are ready to be roasted.