How to Peel Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts 7

One might think it a simple affair.

Buy raw hazelnuts, de-skin and roast, use in recipe. One might think it would be straight-forward and fuss-free. One would, as I quickly found out, sadly, be wrong.

After buying raw hazelnuts a couple of weeks ago, they’ve been languishing in my pantry looking balefully at me every time I open the cupboard and reach unerringly for something else. Deciding that I had better get a move on with experimenting with my list of hazelnut-based recipes before the nuts decided to revolt entirely (read go stale), I opened the bag and decided to see what I could make with them.

Since most recipes that include hazelnuts call for them to be skinless and roasted, I began to do just that. (Skinless, because their skins are bitter, and roasted, because this brings their oils out and increases their flavour immensely.) And immediately discovered how difficult it is to try and peel the skins off the darn things!

I tried the universally preached method, dry-roasting the hazelnuts and then rubbing their skins off with a kitchen towel.

No dice.

Even after rubbing vigorously at ever smaller handfuls at a time, my hazelnuts still had a greater part of their skins on – and I began to wonder if skinless hazelnuts were out of my reach entirely. Obstinate little *insert cuss word of choice*.

Hazelnuts 9b

Google came to the rescue with another blogger who had found herself in the same situation. She had also gone looking for a better hazelnut skin-removal technique and had found a Youtube video of Alice Medrich showing Julia Child how boiling the hazelnuts in a baking soda and water concoction, and then putting them in cold water helped the skins come right off.

I tried it, and had immediate SUCCESS!!! I am never looking back and neither should you! Although it’s still a bit of a process, this recipe makes it so much easier and had my hazelnuts naked and roasted in almost no time. *breathes sigh of relief*

Alice Medrich sharing this marvelous technique in the aforementioned video can be watched here, hidden in the beginning of her recipe for biscotti.


How to peel hazelnuts
Adapted from My Baking Addiction and Alice Medrich

Hazelnuts 5b

2 cups water
3 tbsp baking soda
1-1 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts

1. In a medium-large pot with high sides, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the water – the water will foam up.
2. Add the nuts to the boiling water and boil for about 2-3 minutes. The water will turn black, and continue foaming (don’t panic, this is normal). While the hazelnuts are boiling, prepare a large bowl of ice cold water. After two minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove one test nut, placing the nut into the ice water. Use your fingers to remove the skin, if the skin doesn’t come off easily, boil the nuts 1-2 minutes longer and test another nut.
3. When the nut’s skin rubs right off, add the rest of the nuts to the ice water and peel them with ease. You can also run them under cool running water in the sink to help wash those pesky skins off – they seem to want to stick to everything!
4. Dry peeled nuts thoroughly with a kitchen or paper towel.

Optional step, How to Roast Hazelnuts:
5. Toast the peeled and dried hazelnuts on a parchment paper lined tray at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
6. Do a little happy dance and proceed with your recipe.


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