How to Blanch Walnuts

Toast walnuts to decrease the bitter flavor.
Toast walnuts to decrease the bitter flavor. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Choosing the right preparation method for shelling walnuts makes the difference between laboring with a nutcracker and removing the skins by hand. Blanching walnuts softens the outer shell so you can peel it off with ease before serving or using them in a recipe. The exposure to heat when using this shelling method also decreases the bitter flavor of the tannins contained in walnuts. You can unveil the sweet and nutty flavor of walnuts to pair with sauces, snack mixes, desserts, salads and wines.

Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan
  • Colander
  • Baking pan

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Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Pour the walnuts into the boiling water, submerging them in the water.

Boil the walnuts for about 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the walnuts into a colander to drain them.

Pour cold water over the walnuts to cool them. Peel the walnut shells off with your fingers. Pour the walnuts in a single layer on a baking pan to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Peel the waxy layer of skin off the walnuts before drying them to decrease the astringent flavor of tannins.
  • Pair walnuts with high-fat, milk-based foods, such as blue cheese and chocolate, or with sweet-flavored ingredients, to tone down the bitterness.
  • Soften shelled walnuts in a heated liquid base, such as milk or water, for about 30 minutes, if you're planning to puree them to create a sauce.


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