How To Skin Hazelnuts EASILY
If you've been frustrated trying to roast and skin hazelnuts in the past, this technique is a total game changer. It is by far the easiest, most thorough method I have found so far. I'm told that some specialty stores sell hazelnuts already roasted and skinned, but seeing as I have yet to find one that does, this is the next best thing!
  • Hazelnuts (as many as you like -- if you're doing a very large amount, you may have to do two batches)
  • 3 TBSP baking soda
  • water
  1. Fill a medium-large saucepan about ½ full with water. Do not over-fill, or it may boil over when you add the baking soda and hazelnuts.
  2. Bring water to a boil, then add the baking soda (the water will froth rapidly), then add the hazelnuts. Let cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to submerge any hazelnuts near the surface. The water will turn inky black, and a red-ish foam will rise to the surface. To test if the hazelnuts are done, use a slotted spoon to remove on and drop it in a bowl of cold water. Pinch or rub the nut with your fingers. If the skin slips off easily, the nuts are done. If not, continue to boil for another 30 seconds and test again.
  3. Once the nuts are done, pour them into a colander set in the sink, and rinse well with cold water. Use your fingers to pinch/rub the skin off the nuts, one at a time. If you're doing a particularly large batch, this can take some time, but it couldn't be easier to do.
  4. To toast the nuts: preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the skinned hazelnuts on a clean dish towel and blot off any excess water. Dump the nuts onto a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 15-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Once cool, the nuts should be crunchy and flavorful. If, once they are completely cool, the nuts are not crunchy all the way through, return them to the oven for an additional 5 or so minutes.
Note: Don't boil the hazelnuts any longer than necessary to loosen their skins, as they will soak up more and more water, and the flesh of the nuts will start to darken. This makes them take a lot longer to toast, and the dark color makes it difficult to tell when they are done. I also feel like if they boil too long, they start to absorb some of the black water in the pot, and pick up some of the bitterness you're trying to get rid of. I find that boiling them for about 3½ - 4 minutes works perfectly, so keep a close eye on them and drain them immediately once a test nut peels easily.

This method comes from Alice Medrich, a cookbook auther, chocolatier, and guest on "Baking with Julia". You can watch the original clip, here: hazelnut biscotti with Alice Medrich.
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at