Castanhas Assadas – Roasted Chestnuts in the Air Fryer

There’s no better indicator that autumn has arrived in Portugal than the smell (and the smoke) of roasted chestnuts. With their portable charcoal grills, chestnut vendors are scattered all over the Portuguese cities, in parks, outside shopping centres, and on busy downtown streets. The chestnuts are usually served in little paper bags or newspaper cones, and cost around €2.50 a dozen.

Dia de São Martinho – St. Martin’s Day Tradition

Roasted chestnuts are great to snack on, highly addictive and are consumed during the entire autumn-winter season. However, there’s a day where eating chestnuts is mandatory in Portuguese culture, St. Martin’s Day, on the 11th of November. While some families will just make sure to buy roasted chestnuts from their local vendor. Others will gather with family and friends around an open fire to roast chestnuts and drink homemade sweet grape spirits (jeropiga and água-pé). The tradition is known as magusto.  

Portugal Chestnuts

The St. Martin festivity also coincides with the time of the year where wine producers will try for the first time the young wine made from last year’s harvest. In popular folklore, on the day before St. Martin’s Day, the weather usually clears up. Giving the Portuguese one more reason to want to spend some time outdoors drinking and eating with their loved ones.

Roasting Chestnuts at Home in an Air Fryer?

Luckily, for those who won’t be coming to Portugal during the winter, making roasted chestnuts at home is way simpler than it looks. You don’t need to build a bonfire at your backyard or even own a charcoal grill. They can be made in the air fryer from the comfort of your kitchen, come together in 30 minutes, and are as delicious as those from the chestnut carts in Portugal. Or how we say in Portuguese: quentinhas e boas!

Air Fried Chestnuts

How to Make Portuguese Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts

Serves: 2

Calories per Portion: 148

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 20


  • 12 units chestnuts
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • Boiling water


  1. Start by scoring the outer shell of the chestnuts with a serrated knife. This will make peeling them easier and will also allow the salt to penetrate better.   
  2. Place them on a large bowl, then cover with boiling water. Soak them for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pre-heat your air fryer to 200°C.
  4. Drain the chestnuts, then sprinkle them with the salt.
  5. Transfer the chestnuts to the pre-heated air fryer, cook for 20 minutes. The time might vary slightly depending on your air fryer.  
  6. Transfer them to a serving bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, allow them to steam for about 3 minutes before serving. This step will make peeling them easier. Don’t forget to also peel the fuzzy inner membrane too!
Chestnut Preparation

Have you tried this recipe? Let me know in the comments! If you are looking for more easy Portuguese snacks, you may want to check out my Alheira Croquettes.

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