How to Salt Nuts – Adding Salt to Different Nuts

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It may seem relatively easy to throw a little salt on some unsalted nuts when you’re in the mood for it, but actually, salting nuts is a little trickier than you might think. In this article, we will explore how to salt nuts in ways that will guarantee that the salt sticks whilst also ensuring that your nuts stay nice and crispy. Eager to learn more? Join us as we dive into the many ways to salt unsalted nuts. 

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How Do You Salt Unsalted Nuts?

Salting unsalted nuts can be a real pain if you’re not sure what you’re doing. That’s because salting nuts isn’t as simple as throwing salt on them fresh out of the container. Rather, you’ll need to somehow get your nuts coated with a sticky coating to get the salt to adhere, and even then, you have to ensure that your nuts don’t get soggy in the process. 

So, how can you do this and still preserve the original flavor and crispy essence of your beloved nuts? Thankfully, there are several ways that you can go about salting your unsalted nuts. Just be advised that some processes are longer than others, and if you want to salt your nuts while they are still shelled, you will only have one option. 

So, what are those options? Keep reading! 

brown and white nuts on white ceramic bowls

How Much Salt Do I Add to Unsalted Nuts?

Before getting started with the processes involved in salting nuts, it is important to know how much salt you can expect to apply to your nuts to get them tasting great without being over or under-salted. 

We like to apply one-half of a teaspoon of salt per every 3 cups of unsalted nuts, however, this may differ for you according to your preference. 

Moreover, there are some ways of salting nuts that will add a saltier taste than others. For example, using oil while heating your nuts to salt them will add a saltier dimension to the nut rather than heating the nuts without oil.

The bottom line is that you’ll want to add the amount of salt to your nuts that fits your personal preference. One half of a teaspoon per 3 cups is a good starting point, however, you’ll want to do what suits you. 

Note: Different salting methods may require different amounts of salt. When breaking down each salting process, we will do our best to notate the appropriate amount of salt to use. Bear in mind that if you have sensitivities to sodium or need to be on a low-sodium diet, it may be best to forgo salting your nuts or give your nuts a light coating of salt to avoid potential health complications. As always, speak with your doctor for questions regarding your health.

How Do You Salt Nuts After Roasting?

Because you don’t want to roast nuts that are already roasted a second time, you’ll likely do best using a gentle stovetop heating method to get your nuts nicely salted. Other methods, such as boiling, will require you to “dry out” the nuts afterward. As you might imagine, if your nuts were already “cooked’, or roasted, in the first place, additional baking would only dry them out worse or cause your nuts to burn.

We don’t want that!

In order to salt unsalted roasted nuts, try the following: 

  1. Gently heat a skillet large enough to hold the amount of nuts you wish to salt over medium heat. 
  2. Add oil, if you choose to use any, to the pan, and then add your nuts. Be careful not to use too much oil as this will cause your nuts to become soggy and greasy. Rather, only add enough oil to the pan to coat your nuts with a thin layer of oil. Note: If you choose not to use oil, you’ll still get salty nuts as the heat from the pan will cause the nuts to excrete enough of their own oils to get the salt to adhere to the nut. However, these unoiled nuts will render a less salty flavor than oiled nuts might. 
  3. Put your stovetop temperature on low. Add your salt and stir the nuts in the pan for about 1-2 minutes, then let cool. For salting, we recommend only adding half of a teaspoon of salt to every 3 cups of nuts used, and then adding more salt to that amount if you find they aren’t salty enough. 
  4. After 1-2 minutes, remove the nuts from the pan and allow them to cool completely. This will allow some of the oil to reabsorb into the nut. 
  5. Serve! 

How to Salt Unsalted Peanuts

How Do You Salt Unsalted Peanuts in the Shell?

Because shelled peanuts are, well, shelled, they aren’t able to be salted using certain methods such as oven-roasting or heating over stovetop. Because of the shell, you are limited to brining, or soaking, your peanuts. 

Is it important to note that brining peanuts is a very familiar and popular way of salting any nut, not just peanuts. And thankfully, the brining method works great for salting any of the nuts, whether they be unshelled or shelled. 

Brining Shelled Peanut Method:

In order to brine shelled peanuts (or any nuts for that matter) do the following:

  1. Place your nuts in a container, preferably a bowl, and add enough water so that your shelled peanuts are submerged.
  2. Salt the water generously. For reference, try using 5 tablespoons of salt in 2 ¾ cups of water for 1 lb (2 cups) of nuts.
  3. Leave to soak anywhere from a few hours to overnight. 
  4. Drain the water from the bowl.
  5. Pop your nuts in the oven at a very low temperature to gently dry out the nuts. You are looking for the nuts to become about two shades darker than they were previously. 

Note: As you experiment with cooking nuts, pay attention to how salty the nuts end up, and feel free to tinker with the ratio of salt to water, as well as the amount of time you choose to soak your nuts. Nuts like almonds tend to take longer for the salt to permeate while nuts like cashews may only need to soak for 2-4 hours. Experiment and see what works best for you. 

brown peanuts in brown opened paper bag

How to Apply Salt to Nuts

As mentioned previously, adding salt to nuts isn’t exactly as easy as sprinkling a little bit of salt over unsalted nuts. Rather, the process of adding salt to nuts can be a bit involved, albeit still quite easy. 

So, why can’t you simply pour salt over top of unsalted nuts to enjoy a flavorful crunchy salted snack? Because nuts aren’t typically purchased already warm and they are typically dry once placed in a canister to sell. 

Because of this, any salt you pour over the nuts is simply going to drop off as there isn’t any layer of water or oil on the nuts to help the salt to stick. The result? Nuts that are still unsalted and a very salty bottom of your bowl! 

We’ve set out to find the easiest ways to salt some of the most popular nuts. We’ve already covered how to salt peanuts in a shell, but what about other nut varieties? Is there a difference? Read on to find out!

How to Salt Macadamia Nuts

Unshelled, macadamia nuts can be salted using any method you choose. To be clear, there are four total methods: stovetop, brine, oven-roasted, and steamed.

Macadamia nuts are native to Latin America and are a fan favorite among nut-lovers everywhere. Their mild yet flavorful profile makes them perfect for baking, adding to savory dishes, and yes, even eating plain! 

Try the following method to get wonderfully crisp and salty macadamia nuts: 

  1. Start with unsalted raw macadamia nuts. Heat your oven to a medium-low temperature. Then, spread your macadamia notes atop parchment paper on a baking sheet in an even layer.
  2. Once you’ve got your macadamia nuts spread in an even layer, spray the nuts with cooking spray. You may also choose to toss the nuts in regular oil beforehand, however, you may find the salt has a more difficult time sticking to the nut when using the oven-roasted method. 
  3. Pop the nuts in the oven for 5 minutes. 
  4. Remove the macadamia nuts from the oven after 5 minutes and salt the nuts to taste. Then, place the nuts back in the oven until they are 1-2 shades darker than they were to begin with.
  5. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy your wonderfully crispy (and tasty) macadamia nuts!
Macadamia nuts

How to Salt Pecan Nuts

Who doesn’t love pecans? We certainly do! With their sweet and warm flavor, adding salt to pecans can really bring out a dimension to the already wonderful pecan flavor that is like no other. 

When salting pecans, you may try roasting them using the method detailed above for macadamia nuts, or you may choose to heat them in a pan. Of course, if your nuts are already roasted, you may decide to try brining or using the steaming method instead. 

To steam pecan nuts, simply:

  1. Boil a pot of water.

2. Place a strainer above the boiling pot and add your desired amount of pecans to the strainer. 

3. Keep the pecans there until pecans form a layer of water on them.

4. Salt nuts immediately whilst the pecans are still wet to ensure that the salt adheres. 

5. gAllow the nuts to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: Some nuts get soggy when using the steaming method mentioned above. If this happens to you, you may consider popping your nuts into the oven for a few minutes at a low temperature to dehydrate the nuts. Allow them to cool before serving. This should help firm up your nuts and make them crispy once again. Just be careful not to burn! If your pecans were already roasted to begin with, you’ll need to be especially careful to watch them to ensure that they don’t get too brown.

cooked pecans beside brown wooden ladle

How to Salt Raw Brazil Nuts

Raw brazil nuts are incredibly healthy and are used for a variety of purposes. These nuts include antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and selenium. Some use brazil nuts whilst baking while others love brazil nuts enough to make nut butter out of them. 

For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you want to enjoy your brazil nuts on their own. To do this, use any of the aforementioned recipes to add salt to your nuts, or consider tossing your brazil nuts in a bit of olive oil, salt, black pepper, and rosemary before popping the nuts into the oven over low heat. This is an out-of-this-world flair combination that will likely have you going back for seconds! 

How to Salt Pistachio Nuts

Similar to the method we mentioned for adding salt to shelled peanuts, you’ll want to brine your pistachios if they’re still in the shell. This can be done by simply letting the pistachios sit in salty water and drying them in the oven until they’re warmly browned and crisp. 

Though brining nuts to make them salty typically takes anywhere from 4 hours to overnight, you may be able to speed up the process if you allow your pistachios to sit in boiling hot that has been salted. This method is comparable to the method of how to quickly soak beans.

Got pistachios that are unshelled? Feel free to use any of the methods we’ve talked about prior to this article. Some have even gotten results by simply placing their unshelled pistachios in a brown paper bag, salting the nuts in the bag, closing the bag, and shaking the nuts vigorously for 30 seconds. Though they attest that not all of the salt actually adheres to the nut, some of the salt does manage to cling, and thus, this is a good way to salt pistachios if in a bind. 

Healthy Pistachio Snack

How to Salt Cashew Nuts

Cashew nuts are delicious, nutritious, and wildly popular. Thankfully, when choosing the brining method for cashews, these nuts only tend to take 2-4 hours before they become salty enough to enjoy. Don’t want to wait that long? Pop your cashews in the oven once you’ve lightly oiled and salted them, or throw them in a skillet with a little oil and salt and heat them gently. There are plenty of ways to enjoy salted cashews. 

roasted cashews

How to Salt Fresh Nuts

How to Salt Nuts in a Shell 

Remember, whether you plan to salt nuts shelled or unshelled will determine the best salting method for your favorite snack. 

Salting nuts that are shelled requires you to brine the nuts; there is no way around this. However, salting nuts that are unshelled means that you can brine, cook over stovetop, oven-roast, or even steam your nuts to yield a crispy and irresistibly salty result. 

Note: Be sure to follow the protocol we’ve laid out for you when using water and oil methods. Neglecting to do so may yield a greasy or soggy result! 

FAQs:

How do you get seasoning to stick to nuts?

Getting seasoning of any sort to stick to nuts is best done using a method that involves oil such as oven-roasting or cooking over stovetop. 
When simply adding salt to nuts, soaking and steaming methods work great. However, if you are trying to get coarser seasonings such as rosemary and other herbs to stick to your nuts, you’ll need to heat your nuts using oil over the stove, or using oil and an oven to get your seasoning to stick.

Are salted nuts bad?

Salted nuts, in and of themselves, aren’t bad. In fact, salting your nuts are a great and delicious way to reap the benefits that nuts have to offer. On the other hand, for individuals struggling with high blood pressure or who may already be eating a high-sodium diet, eating salted nuts isn’t advisable. Doing so may negatively affect your health, especially if you consume salted nuts on a regular basis. 

What is better for you salted or unsalted nuts?

Unsalted nuts are better for you because too much sodium in your diet can have negative impacts on your health. With that in mind, however, eating salted nuts on occasion shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact on your health– and they sure beat eating fried potato chips! 

Salting Nuts May Not Be as Easy As You Might Think

Adding salt to nuts may not be as simple as you think, but it isn’t difficult either. You can add salt to your nuts by roasting them in the oven, brining them, steaming them, or by gently warming them over the stovetop.

Feeling adventurous? Feel free to add spices to your nuts, but reserve this for when you are oven-roasting or stovetop warming them. Not only will the seasoning stick better, but it will allow our spices to “bloom” yielding a more robust and delicious flavor profile in the end. 

Enjoy!

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By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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