Peanuts are a healthy snack with many nutritional benefits, including high protein and fiber. Properly roasted, they should have a satisfying crunch to them. However, you may find that you’re following the cooking directions perfectly and discovering that your peanuts are still soft and mushy on the inside.
Your roasted peanuts may be soft after cooking if you didn’t drain them correctly, used the wrong peanut type, or used spoiled peanuts. Other signs of spoilage include a shriveled-looking kernel, mold on the shell, bitter taste, or a sour smell.
So, let’s get into the details and figure out why your roasted peanuts are still soft. I’ll give you some tips on achieving the perfect, crunchy texture every time you roast peanuts and walk you through the best way to roast them.
Reasons Your Roasted Peanuts Are Soft
The main reasons why your peanuts may still be soft after roasting are:
- Using Processed Peanuts: It’s always best to use raw peanuts as pre-processed peanuts have often been boiled or roasted before packaging. Cooking them again may cause them to become softer than if you started with raw peanuts.
- Spoilage: If your peanuts are outdated or spoiled, they won’t roast correctly and will still be soft after cooking them. Check the kernels and shells for other signs of spoilage, such as a shriveled kernel or discoloration around the nut’s shell. Spoiled peanuts will also have an unpleasant sour taste.
- Heat: Before they cool, roasted peanuts will be soft and chewy. It will usually take around five minutes for your roasted peanuts to cool down and become crisp and crunchy. Always leave them out to cool for at least five minutes before eating.
- Moisture: If your peanuts haven’t dried correctly before roasting, they may maintain this moisture, leading to a softer texture. Always drain your peanuts completely and pat them down with a paper towel to ensure they’re dehydrated before applying any heat. You can also avoid too much moisture getting into your peanuts by storing them in an air-tight container.
Choosing the Right Peanut Type
When roasting your peanuts at home, always choose raw and not pre-packaged peanuts.
Although this isn’t always the case, raw peanuts will still be in the shell and will likely be green in color. These should also be crisp and firm, not soft, before you start roasting them. Pre-packaged peanuts will have already been processed and are not suitable for home-roasting.
In addition, using peanuts that are already soiling won’t give you good results. Only purchase fresh peanuts and store them properly to prevent mold and bacterial growth.
You can avoid spoilage by storing your peanuts in the fridge rather than in the pantry or cupboard, as this will increase their shelf life. If you’re going to keep your peanuts in the refrigerator, seal them in an air-tight container to prevent moisture from getting into them.
Did you know that there are four types of peanut, and each one has a different flavor and consistency when cooked?
Runners are the most common type of peanut, making up over 80% of the peanuts grown in the United States. They have a hard, reddish outer shell, and the kernels are similar in size and shape. Their size, flavor, and oil content are perfect for making peanut butter.
Spanish peanuts are smaller with a more rounded, brown shell. They have a higher oil content than runner peanuts and a sweeter flavor, making them ideal for candies and sweets.
Virginia peanuts have a larger kernel and a brown shell. These peanuts are the ones most frequently sold as snacks. However, it’s common to roast Virginia peanuts as part of their packaging process, so these may make softer peanuts than other varieties.
Valencia peanuts have three kernels in the shell and are the largest and sweetest variety. Boiled Valencia peanuts are a popular snack due to their consistency. However, when roasted, Valencia peanuts tend to be softer and chewier than other types, so they’re not particularly good for home-roasting.
How To Cook Roasted Peanuts
Once you’ve selected your raw peanuts, you’ll need to prepare them before roasting.
- Put your peanuts in a bowl and soak them in fresh water. Soaking the nuts will allow them to absorb salt once you roast them.
- Drain the water and add a pinch or two of salt to taste. Be careful about over-salting, as too much salt can overpower the natural flavor of the peanut.
- Ensure that you drain the peanuts entirely before placing them in a dry pan. Pat the peanuts dry after draining to make sure they’re dry before going in the oven.
- To roast your peanuts in the oven, preheat the oven to 300º F (148º C), then place your peanuts on a baking sheet.
- Cook the peanuts for forty-five minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.
- You can tell when the peanuts have cooked as there will be a warm, toasty smell coming from them. The outside of the shell will also have a darker crust than when you started.
If you choose to roast your peanuts on your stovetop, roast them at low heat in a dry pan for five to twelve minutes, stirring or tossing regularly to make sure they cook evenly without sticking.
Once you remove your peanuts from the stovetop or oven, they may still be soft and chewy. They will continue to cook in the shell for around five minutes afterward, during which time they should harden to a crunchy consistency and be ready to eat.
When roasting peanuts, you must always make sure to prepare them correctly. Choose raw nuts with your preferred oil content, ensure they’ve cooled entirely after taking them out of the oven or off the stove and keep them dry after soaking them.
If they’re still soft after this process, there’s a chance they could be spoiled or rotten. Check the kernels to ensure they’re not shriveled and that there’s no mold on the shell.
Follow this guide, and you will have perfectly crunchy and delicious peanuts every time!