Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts

AlexandraGluten Free, Nibbles and Small Bites, Side Dishes, Starters, Vegan, Vegetarian100 Comments

Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

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Although this recipe contains just a handful of basic ingredients, there is one, very clever, little cooking tip which will enhance the dishes in which you use these nuts. The clue is in the title; you roast the nuts!

This easy recipe for Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts is deceptively simple.

It is, however, very versatile. These roasted nuts are a welcome addition to many savoury dishes.

If you’ve never roasted nuts before, this technique will be a revelation. When you apply heat to the walnuts, you release their essential oils and enrich flavours that would not be present if the nuts were raw. Roasting the walnuts reduces their moisture content, thus causing them to become deliciously crisp and crunchy.

In this recipe, after roasting the walnuts, I add them to a tea towel and rub them vigorously to remove as much of their skin as possible. Walnut skins are high in tannins which many people find bitter. Roasting the nuts and removing as much skin as possible, enhances their deep, nutty flavour and minimises any potential bitterness.

I further enhance the flavour of these crispy, Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts by coating them lightly in olive oil, sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

You will find many ways in which to use these roasted walnuts which are ready in less than 20 minutes. They will add a crunchy texture and earthy flavour to many dishes. Keep some in an airtight container and I guarantee that they will not last long.

Why should we roast walnuts?

I learnt this tip from one of Australia’s favourite cooks, the wonderful Maggie Beer. She advises that the high oil content of walnuts makes them prone to becoming rancid. Furthermore, she says that those which are sold shelled are often rancid and advises to never omit the step of roasting them.

I use these ingredients to make the Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts:


The history of walnuts dates back thousands of years. They are one of the oldest tree foods, dating back to 7000 B.C. However, technically, walnuts are not a true, botanical nut; they are actually a seed.

Walnuts are sold in two forms; shelled or still in their shell. They contain a lot of health-benefiting oil and for this reason, they can turn rancid very quickly.

To extend their life, shelled walnuts should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

However, for longer-term storage, it is best to buy unshelled nuts. If you plan on using them soon you can keep them in a cool, dark place. Alternatively, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Olive Oil:

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils to use, but if you prefer, you could use oil with a more neutral flavour, such as grapeseed oil.

Sea salt:

My choice is for Maldon Sea Salt flakes as it adds great texture and flavour. However, you could also use regular sea salt.

Black Pepper:

For the best flavour, always add freshly ground black pepper.

How to buy walnuts:

If you want walnuts with the longest shelf life, I strongly advise to buy them whole, in the shell. However, realistically speaking, this is not always convenient as it does take some time to shell them.

If buying them in the shell, they should seem heavy and full. The shells should not have cracks, holes or stains; this may be a sign of mould.

Shelled walnuts should appear plump and pale. Avoid those that are shrivelled or discoloured.

Tips for success for Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts:

The most important tip is to always start with good quality walnuts. See the tips above for purchasing walnuts.   

I always roast nuts in the oven. The dry, indirect heat of the oven ensures that the nuts roast evenly. Although some recipes stipulate roasting nuts in a frying pan, I find the heat to be less even and you may end up with some charred spots. Cooking on the stove may lessen the actual cooking time but it does require constant vigilance and the result may be less than satisfactory.

When it comes to serving the Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts:

Other uses for Walnuts:

You will find these Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts are a great addition to many dishes.

Do let me know in the comments below when you try them!
Alex xx

Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts

If there is one simple way to greatly enhance many recipes, it is this; roasting the nuts.  When you roast nuts, you enhance their flavour and texture, making them ideal as a snack or addition to many savoury dishes. These crunchy, salty snacks become delightfully crispy in the oven. You will find that they are great to have on hand when friends drop by.  Or, add them to many savoury dishes for textural contrast and the rich flavour they provide.
5 from 29 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetiser, Garnish, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: International
Keyword: delicious, easy, nuts, pepperoni, roasted nuts, roasted walnuts, salted caramel, simple, walnuts
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 891kcal
Author: Alexandra


  • 1 cup shelled walnuts See Note 1
  • 1 tbsp olive oil See Notes 2 & 3
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes See Note 4
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees C (350F).
    For easy clean-up, line a small baking tray with non-stick baking paper or aluminium foil.
    Spread the walnuts on the tray in one layer, ensuring there is space between them for the heat to circulate.
    Raw walnuts on baking paper.
  • Roast the walnuts for 8-10 minutes, stirring them halfway through, until they are fragrant and lightly browned.
    Roasted walnuts on baking paper.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and place the walnuts in the centre of a clean tea
    towel. Bundle the towel into a pouch and rub the walnuts vigorously to remove as much of the walnut skin as possible.
    Removing skin from walnuts on a white tea towel.
  • Tip the walnuts into a colander and shake it to remove the fine particles of walnut skin.
    Walnuts sitting in white colander.
  • Return the walnuts to the baking tray and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Return the tray to the oven for 2-3 minutes.
    Roasted walnuts with olive oil and salted peper on a baking paper.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and turn the walnuts onto some paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
    When the walnuts are completely cool, place them into an airtight container.
    Roasted walnuts draining excess oil on white paper towel.


  1. If you have purchased walnuts in the shell you will need a nutcracker, or, as I do, the flat side of a meat tenderiser, to crack the shell and remove the pulp. The flesh should appear plump and pale. Avoid those that are shrivelled or discoloured.
  2. I always use olive oil for flavour and health benefits. However, you could use a mild-flavoured oil, such as grapeseed, if you prefer.
  3. The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may need to adjust the recipe accordingly.
  4. Different types of salt vary in their intensity. This is the amount I add when using Maldon Sea Salt flakes. If using another type, add it according to your preference and taste.
  5. The nutritional information is based on one cup of walnuts. (Not an individual serve!)
  6. You could customise the spicing to suit your taste; consider curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, chilli flakes, lemon thyme or rosemary. 


Calories: 891kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 90g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 2328mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 3mg
About the Author


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I'm Alex – a passionate foodie and writer. I love sharing delicious and simple recipes to inspire you in the kitchen. Try a recipe? I'd love to see your creations! #itsnotcomplicatedrecipes

100 Comments on “Salt and Pepper Roasted Walnuts”

  1. I am having a party at home tonight and think these will make a great addition to the fun. Will definitely try this salt and pepper roasted walnut recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband makes some super yummy honey roasted nuts and it’s one of my favourite… so I definitely need to try your version asap! Love it as a healthy and super easy to make snack!!

  3. I’ve tasted roasted walnuts, those I bought from the grocery and they tasted off. Maybe I’ll get something better if I roast them myself. I’ll use your recipe.

  4. I have to get a bag of walnuts this weekend and will try this. I have tried roasting almonds and I still have some at home. 🙂

    1. Roasting nuts certainly brings out their flavour Agnes. And I love that you can customise them by adding herbs and spices of your choice. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Walnut is the best of all nuts. Just a little bit pricey but definitely worth it. I would really love to try this sometimes.

  6. They look absolutely delicious! I love salt and pepper anything, so these are right up my street!

  7. I need to try this, we love walnuts at home, but normally get them at the store, need to try something homemade

  8. This recipe does look so simple. I have heard that walnuts go off quickly but always bought bags of shelled walnuts and kept them in an airtight glass jar. You have made me rethink this and will now consider buying walnuts in the shell or smaller bags of shelled walnuts.

  9. 5 stars
    I tend not to roast walnuts but I have learnt something new from your blog on why we need to roast it. Loving your photos and step-by-step instructions. Book marking this for tomorrow where I am going to roast my walnuts

  10. 5 stars
    I have never tasted roasted salted walnuts before. I can imagine that they are delicious, especially that walnuts are originally a bit sweet.

  11. Alex, this is such a fabulous idea, I am actually salivating reading the recipe which is not like me. ? I cannot wait to give it a try. I hope it is okay to use coarse sea salt because Maldron Sea Salt flakes are very expensive in the local shops.

    1. Hi Alvern, thank you so much for the lovely comments, I do appreciate them. Yes, coarse sea salt is fine. I do hope that you enjoy the walnuts. 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    Wow!This is a healthy snack for anytime.Glad you have described everything in the same post including how to buy walnut.I like to try this recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    I have walnuts for my breakfast together with the oats so making the salt & pepper walnut seems like no trouble to me as I already have the walnuts at home now. This will go well with wine and beer! Like to have this when I am watching my tv at night.

  14. 5 stars
    I could snack on these all day long!! Love any type of nut for when the hunger bug strikes and these sound delicious! Bet they would be so good on a salad too for some added texture 🙂 Big time YUM!

  15. 5 stars
    I love learning new tips and tricks about food. I had no idea about how quickly walnuts go rancid. I usually put my nuts in the freezer anyway but now I know why.

  16. 5 stars
    Walnuts are really a seed!? Well I learned something today for sure. They even have nut in the name! I love walnuts, though…they really do add so much flavor to recipes. We can only find whole walnuts around here during the holidays. I’ll have to try roasting some whole ones once they come around this year. Sounds delicious!

    1. David, it’s a little like the peanut, isn’t it? That’s a legume! Oh well, by any name, I agree that walnuts add great flavour and roasting them further boosts it. I do hope that you enjoy them. 🙂

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