Sweet and Spicy Toasted Cashews

Reader Contribution by Laura Poe
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Toasting soaked cashews

Nuts make a great snack, as they provide fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Along with their nutritional value, nuts give that crunch that we often want in our snack foods, making it a healthy alternative to other snacks. This recipe takes cashews–delicious on their own–and coats them in warming spices to make a flavorful and unique snack. 

Why Soak Your Cashews?

Prior to toasting and spicing the cashews, this recipe has you soak them for about one day in water. For nuts, seeds, grains and beans (all seeds of the plants they come from), soaking prior to cooking helps improve digestibility and nutrient availability in these plant foods by helping to remove anti-nutrients, such as phytates and lectins, that can bind the nutrients in them and cause digestive upset for some. For more on why and how to soak seed foods for digestion and nutrient density, check out my blog post that goes more into depth on this topic. 

Soaked cashews

Once you make your cashews, you can store them at room temperature or keep them in the fridge to extend their shelf-life. Enjoy these to snack on as-is, or add them to a homemade trail mix, mix in with granola, or stir them into oatmeal for a grown-up breakfast treat. 

Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Toasted Cashews

Prep time: 45-60 minutes, plus 24 hours for soaking

Yields: 2 cups


  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews 
  • 3 cups water 
  • Pinch sea salt 
  • Seasonings:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • ? tsp cayenne or black pepper, depending on heat preference 
  • ½ tsp sea salt 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 


1. The day before you want to make the cashews, prepare them by soaking. To soak, place raw cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Let sit at room temperature for about 24 hours. 

2. After about 1 day, drain the cashews and rinse through a strainer.  Let them drain and air dry for an hour or so to remove excess moisture before cooking. 

3. While the cashews drain, preheat the oven to 325 F.

4. Spread the cashews out on a sheet pan or cast iron skillet. 

5. Toss the cashews with coconut oil and spices, then stir to coat. Spread into an even layer for cooking.

6. Bake the cashews for 20 minutes until they start to dry out a bit. Remove from the oven, then add the maple syrup and bake another 30 minutes or so until they are crispy and golden brown. The cashews will harden a bit as they cool, so if they don’t feel super crispy after 50-60 minutes of cooking, they may still be ready to take out. Cooking them too much longer may lead to burning.

7. Remove from the oven and let the cashews cool, then transfer to a glass jar or storage container. These will keep for 1 week at room temperature or 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Laura Poeis a Registered Dietitian and traditional foods instructor. She homesteads in Wisconsin where she regular contributes to Edible Madison. Connect with Laura atLaura Poe, RD, for private practice appointments (distance consults available), upcoming classes, newsletter subscriptions, and more. Her nutrient-dense recipes can be found on Laura’s blog,Brine & Broth, and you can see what she has been cooking and creating on her Instagram @brineandbroth. Read all of Laura’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS postshere.

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