Cashews are tiny bundles of energy, perfect for a snack at any time of day, and you can easily roast them at home. Since cashews are high in healthy fats, why use any additional oil? In this recipe, I’ll share some tips for How to Roast Cashews Without Oil using a conventional home oven. They come out savoury and delicious every time. I’ll also show you a little energy-saving hack for roasting cashews after the oven is turned off. This technique is a great way to use the residual heat from baking if you happen to be using the oven for other things, like baking Whole Wheat Soda Bread, roasting Shichimi Togarashi Potatoes, or reheating Vegan Chicken Nuggets.
Why This Recipe Works
- Healthy: Roasting cashews without oil reduces the overall fat content of the dish, leaving only the healthy natural fats in the cashews themselves. Because nuts are high in fat and protein, they also keep you satiated. On our recent trip to Niagara Falls, a small container of roast cashews went a long way in keeping us full for a long, busy day of walking and driving.
- Flavourful: Roasting causes nuts to release their natural flavourful oils. That’s why you roast peanuts before grinding Homemade Peanut Butter, and why you roast these cashews to bring out their natural nutty flavor and delicious crunchy texture. The only thing you need to watch out for is how addictive they are!
- Customizable: You can mix and match with your favourite spices and herbs to develop the perfect seasoning blend that is unique to your cashews.
Where to Find “Raw” Cashews
To make this recipe, all you need are raw cashews and your favourite spice mix. (Side tangent: So-labelled “raw cashews” are actually steamed or parboiled because truly raw cashews are poisonous!!) But raw cashews are a bit more uncommon and harder to find than roasted cashews.
Two reliable places where you can find raw cashews, at least here in Canada, are:
- Bulk Barn
We used to buy Kirkland Signature roasted cashews from Costco, but then we found that the Yupik brand of raw cashews is cheaper by weight, and the home-roasted cashews taste fresher. And that’s why I developed this recipe to roast cashews at home instead of buying them pre-roasted.
Raw cashews are versatile—they add richness to sauces, desserts, and for vegan cheese-making, where they are preferred over roasted nuts for their more neutral flavour profile, and they are also used in many traditional Indian curry recipes.
And, of course, you can make these home-roasted cashews with them! I’ve stopped buying the pre-roasted ones now. “Raw” is the way to go!
Here’s are a couple of other recipes using raw cashews if you’re looking for interesting ways to use up your bag:
Oil or Water?
Most recipes call for a splash of oil to help salt and seasoning adhere to the cashews. However, nuts are already so high in fat there’s no nutritional benefit to adding more oil. To roast cashews without oil, I found that adding a spoonful of water is just as effective for getting spices to stick, and the result is as yummy as always.
The cashews may stick a little if you are using aluminum foil or roasting directly on the bare sheet pan, but just run a spatula underneath them and they lift easily. Parchment paper, though, is the easiest and the cleanest.
Seasoning Mix Suggestions
Oil-free roasted cashews taste pretty good just with plain old salt, but it’s fun to make your own flavour combinations. I’ve tried the following spices:
- 1 tsp Goya adobo seasoning (omit salt because the adobo seasoning already contains salt)
- 2 tsp shichimi togarashi + 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika + 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper + 1/2 tsp salt
Residual Oven Heat Method
The method I explain in the Recipe Card is the most straightforward way to roast cashews. However, here is another method that can come in handy if you’re baking something else at a higher heat (375 °F or above) and would like to take advantage of the residual heat trapped inside after turning the oven off.
Basically, when you turn the oven off, immediately slide in your pan of prepped cashews. Let them sit in the cooling oven until they’re toasted to your liking.
(Caveat: There’s a lot of variability between ovens, and if yours cools off quickly then this method may not work for you. However, I’ve noticed that both the oven in my parents’ home and my apartment retain heat for a good while after they’ve been turned off, provided the oven door is kept closed.)
I recently did a little experiment where I was baking something at 400 °F. After I took out the cooked food, I quickly slid in a tray of raw cashews, shut the door, and turned off the oven. After 30 minutes, I took them out and they were pretty much roasted perfectly! At this point, according to my oven thermometer, the temperature in there was 250 °F.
So if your oven also tends to stay hot for a while, give this a go. It may require some experimentation to see how long to keep yours in for.
More Oil-Free Snack Ideas
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Oil-Free Roasted Cashews
Use Imperial/Metric buttons below to toggle between volume vs weight measurements. I recommend weighing out your ingredients for best results.
- Medium bowl
- Quarter sheet baking pan ((see Note 1))
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 tsp spices and seasoning optional; see
Seasoning Mix Suggestionsfor ideas
- ½ tsp fine salt or 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tsp water
- Mix salt, spices, and 1 tsp water together in a bowl.
- Add cashews and toss to coat. If the spices are clumping together, add more water 1 tsp at a time.
- Spread the cashews on a baking pan, taking care not to crowd the pan (see Note 2).
- Roast in the oven at 350 °F for 10–12 minutes, shaking halfway to turn (see Note 3).
- A quarter sheet pan is just the right size for one batch of this recipe, fitting all the cashews on one pan without overcrowding them. You can use pans of other sizes, but be aware that the closer together your cashews are, they longer they will take to cook. And vice versa, the further apart they are spaced, the quicker they will burn. So it’s especially important to check on the cashews frequently if you’re using a different-sized pan.
- I recommend lining your sheet pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Be careful to check the cashews frequently towards the end of the baking time. I find that anything less than 350 °F and 10 minutes leaves a lingering raw taste, but anything past 12 minutes starts to taste burnt. And this really depends on your oven as well. You may want to start checking on them at 8 minutes to make sure you don’t over-brown them, especially if your oven temperature is unreliable. (I used an oven thermometer to double-check that it was 350 °F.)