Chestnuts are quite different from other nuts, both nutritionally and culinarily. Nutritionally, they are closer to whole grains. And taste-wise, chestnuts have a sweet nutty taste, but a texture more like a baked potato.

Chestnuts have a unique nutritional make-up. They are lower in fat and have a higher water content than other nuts. Chestnuts are the only nuts that contain vitamin C and, compared to other nuts, contain the most carbohydrate, at around 32g/100g, and dietary fibre. Like other nuts, they provide plant protein.

Chestnuts contain a similar profile of vitamins and minerals to other nuts, but their higher water content means the concentration of these nutrients are lower. 

A 30g serve is about 4 chestnuts.

Nutrient Per 100g Per 30g
Energy (kJ) 727 218
Protein (g) 3.4 1.02
Total fat (g) 0.2 0.06
Saturated fat (g) 0.04 0.01
Monounsaturated fat (g) 0.07 0.02
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0.08 0.02
Omega 3 ALA 10 3
Carbohydrate (g) 32.1 9.63
Sugars (g) 3.3 0.99
Dietary fibre (g) 14.9 4.5
Calcium (mg) 18 5.4
Copper (mg) 0.4 0.12
Iron (mg) 0.7 0.2
Magnesium (mg) 30 9
Manganese (mg) 0.3 0.09
Potassium (mg) 468 140
Selenium (ug) 0 0
Sodium (mg) 1 0.3
Zinc (mg) 0.4 0.12
Thiamin (mg) 0.1 0.03
Riboflavin (mg) 0.02 0.01
Niacin (mg eq) 1.7 0.51
Folate DFE (ug) 58 17.4
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.4 0.12
Vitamin E (mg) 0.5 0.15
Arginine (g) 0.2 0.06
Sterols (mg) DU DU
Polyphenols (mg) 2756 827

Health effects

Given their different profile compared to other tree nuts, the established health effects of chestnuts also differ. Chestnuts have been linked with: 

  • A low GI diet can help to manage blood glucose and insulin levels, and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Chestnut meal has a low glycaemic index [1].

What makes chestnuts unique?

  • Given their high carbohydrate content, relative to other nuts, chestnuts have been glycaemic index (GI) tested, and are considered a low GI food with a value of 54. A low GI diet can help to manage blood glucose and insulin levels, and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease [1].
  • Chestnuts are the only nuts that contain vitamin C, with a serve providing around 30% of the RDI.
  • They are low in total fat, saturated fat and kilojoules. Chestnuts contain <1g of fat per 100g. And a 30g handful provides around 220kJ.
  • Chestnuts are a good source of fibre, with 15g fibre per 100g (or 4.5g in a 30g handful).
  • They are naturally low in sugar and sodium, and are gluten free. 
Nuts for Life - Chestnuts

Where are chestnuts grown?

Australian chestnuts are grown principally in the southern states of Australia, including Orange, Southern Tablelands, Blue Mountains and Batlow (New South Wales); Northern and Central Tasmania; North-east and Central, and East of Melbourne (Victoria); Adelaide Hills (South Australia); South-west (Western Australia). Around 70% of Australia’s production is located in the North East of Victoria. 

Forms and best eaten with…

  • In Australia, fresh chestnuts are in season between mid-March and July. 
  • Ready-to-use peeled and frozen Australian chestnuts, along with other chestnut products, including vacuumed-packed cooked and peeled chestnuts, are available throughout the year. 
  • Chestnuts are incredibly versatile. They can be roasted, grilled, barbecued or boiled. Once cooked, they can be served whole, halved, in pieces or pureed, and added to a wide variety of different dishes.
  • They can be added to hearty stews and casseroles, spicy Asian stir-fries, to stuffings and into creamy soups. They also work well in sweet dishes such as mousses and tiramisus, and even bliss balls.

Preparing and cooking chestnuts

According to Chestnuts Australia, there are many ways to prepare chestnuts. Before cooking, cut a shallow cross into the flat side of the shell, this prevents the nut from overheating and bursting while cooking. When boiling, cut in half across the width of the chestnut before cooking.


Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Place prepared chestnuts onto a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the shells split open.

Grilling or barbequing

Cut a shallow cross into the flat side of each chestnut. Place chestnuts on a tray under a moderate to hot grill or place directly on a barbecue grill. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the shells blacken and split open, turning every few minutes.


Place prepared chestnuts into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the flesh is tender and easily separates from the shell.


Place 6-8 prepared chestnuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Cook, uncovered, on full power (850 watts or high) for 2-3 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Timing can vary depending on chestnut size and microwave power.


Once cooked, remove chestnuts from the heat and wrap in a clean tea towel for 5-10 minutes and then, while still warm quickly peel off the outer brown shell and remove the papery thin skin underneath.  


  • Fresh chestnuts should be kept in the fridge for optional freshness. They can be stored in a paper bag in the crisper for 2-3 days, or in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
  • Cooked chestnuts can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Peeled and unpeeled chestnuts store perfectly in the freezer for year-round goodness.


  1. Livesey, G., et al., Glycemic response and health--a systematic review and meta-analysis: relations between dietary glycemic properties and health outcomes. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008. 87(1): p. 258s-268s.

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