These Roasted Spiced Walnuts are a staple at my house every winter. One of the easiest, tastiest, and most versatile things you could make. Eat them on their own or add them to a dish to give some texture or flavor pop. For me, the key to getting the spice mixture to stick is adding some canola oil to the walnuts beforehand. Toss in a bowl with the spices after. Lay on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Done!

Herb @thesocialpause

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

Have you ever cracked a walnut in the shell? If you have, I bet you didn’t use the tool my family used to use in China. This is going to sound a bit ridiculous to you, but it’s a helluva effective way. However, I don’t recommend you to do so in your own house unless you have a very very strong door.

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

What does a door have anything to do with cracking walnuts?

Well, the tool we used to use for that purpose is a side door gap, where the hinges are.

Here’s how it works. We pick a door in the house and open it a little bit until the side door gap is wide enough to hold a walnut. Once the walnut is trapped in the door gap, we push the door close. As the door gap instantly closes, the walnut is being cracked perfectly. Any effort is barely made.

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

I surely had a lot fun cracking walnuts when I was a kid. The sound of the crack was like a music to my ears. However, I had never actually enjoyed eating them. Because the thin and light brown skin that covers the walnut lobes tastes bitter, which happens to be the first thing that interacts with my taste bud before I get to the buttery and nutty lobes, the part that I actually like.

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

“Why don’t you peel off the skin then?” You asked.

Because mom says, “All the nutrients are in the skin!” 99% of the time, that woman is right, even though she can’t explain why most of the time.

Research says that approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids, which are really good for us.

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

Every time we visit China, before we return to the States, mom will pack a huge bag of shelled walnuts and stuff it into my luggage. That said, the challenge of consuming walnuts has been going on for quite a while.

Although I have learned to put walnuts in my smoothies, mix them into energy bars and make a salad with heavy tasting dressing in the hope of burying the bitterness from the walnut skin, having walnuts in their original form is still not a breeze for me until a dear fellow Instagrammer named Herb posted a photo of these amazing looking roasted walnuts.

Herb’s description about these roasted walnuts and all the spices he arranged around the dish really made the image talk. My mind went through the entire process of cooking them after Herb kindly gave me some more instructions. I secretly thought, “This might be it – the ultimate, easiest recipe of walnuts in their original form that I might enjoy.”

You know what? THIS IS IT!

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

These walnuts are spiced up, generously and roasted to perfection. I followed Herb’s instruction to use fresh thyme and rosemary for the recipe as well as smoked paprika, a good amount of ground cumin, and freshly ground coarse sea salt and black pepper. (Herb suggests Himalayan Pink Salt and Fresh Cracked Tellicherry Pepper).

What I love the most about these roasted walnuts is that the flavor of the spices totally decreased the bitterness from the walnut skin, then the original creamy and buttery taste from the walnuts follows immediately, which make them dangerously addictive!

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

Additionally, you can play around with the spices based on your own liking. Want some heat? Add cayenne pepper. Want some sweetness? Add brown sugar. Want some exotic flavor? How about taco seasoning, Creole seasoning, or cajun seasoning?

Got the idea? Now go roast your own walnuts and let me know how you spice them up in the comments below. I would love to see what you come up with.

Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

P.S. If you want some amazing cooking inspirations like this one, kindly give Herb a follow on Instagram. I always find myself having trouble tapping away from his gorgeous feed. 🙂


Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)

100% vegan and gluten free, these Roasted Spiced Walnuts are one of the easiest, tastiest, and most versatile things you can make at home.

  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Snacks, Gluten Free, Vegan
  • Method: Roast


  • 3 cups raw walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place walnuts in a large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil.
  3. Add all spices in the bowl and toss well.
  4. Lay the spiced walnut on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!


If you want a more intense flavor, feel free to double the spices!


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 291
  • Sugar: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 388mg
  • Fat: 29.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.6g
  • Fiber: 2.9g
  • Protein: 5.3g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

14 thoughts on “Roasted Spiced Walnuts (Vegan & GF)”

  1. I have 2 walnut trees and for the last 20 years given them all away cuz of that bitter taste. Just learned to soak your raw walnuts overnight in water and 1 tbsp of salt. Then you can either use a dehydrated or low oven till dried. OMG so good and buttery. ! Give it a try, you won’t even need to flavour them….

  2. I am going to try your recipe tomorrow and take some hints from the comments I.e. Reduce roasting time and move the rack up.
    To remove bitterness, try boiling them for 3 minutes in water (2 cups water to 1 cup walnuts) and then drain them and proceed with seasoning and roasting. Let me know if it works for you.

  3. intention was to bring these in to work to share for a Valentine’s Day snack, but they did not turn out as expected! I followed the recipe exactly, and mine tasted burned. They didn’t really look burned, but tasted burned. So I’m not sharing them, but will find a way to eat them myself..maybe mix them in a salad or something. Bummer 🙁

    1. Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t turn out well for you. 🙁 You probably don’t want to give it another try. But in case you do, maybe try to toast the walnuts on the higher rack of the oven or do it in less time. The power of each oven is a little different. Still, sorry that it didn’t work out. Those walnuts are great as a salad topping. You can also top pasta with them, adding a little crunchiness.

      1. I’m also wondering if I should have turned them halfway. I actually ended up putting some in oatmeal (go figure!) and it wasn’t half bad, because I certainly didn’t want to waste them..

        1. Ohhhh… putting them in oatmeal is such a good idea! Hmmm… I am gonna make another batch again and see how it turns out. Will keep you posted.

  4. I adore walnuts. They make the best addition to anything especially lentil meatless loafs! I love snacking on them and this sounds divine! Ps moms always have the right answers.



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