These oven-baked chile peanuts taste just like the kind you find in Mexican restaurants.
It’s impossible to imagine the bar at any Rosa Mexicano restaurant without a huge glass container of these peanuts — or to imagine anybody resisting them. Bags of peanuts like these (not as good, of course) are sold everywhere in Mexico.
Although home cooks prepare these in a pan on the stovetop, I’ve found that the spice mixture can rub off and the nuts require constant attention if they’re not to burn; our oven method is much easier. The oven is set to such a low temperature because the peanuts are already roasted, so the idea is to simply crisp them and roast the spice mixture. Baking them at a higher temperature would make them bitter.–Roberto Santibañez
- 4 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
- Toss the peanuts with the remaining ingredients in a bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet until the nuts are evenly coated. The peanuts may look wet at this point — that’s just fine.
- Spread the peanuts in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the coating is dry and the spices are lightly toasted, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the peanuts to a plate and let them cool completely. (The peanuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. If they lose their crispness, reheat them on a baking sheet in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes before serving.)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
To my taste, these were nicely balanced in their spiciness, and saltiness as well — neither too spicy nor too salty. I found them completely addictive and could eat them by the handful. They’ll be a great alternative to the tamari nuts I more often toast. Although I did not try it, since I was following the recipe exactly, I also think this would work well with almonds or even cashews.
Very good, with complexity that grows as the nuts age a day or two. When immediately out of the oven, the nuts were spicy and good, but not better than commercially packaged ones. On the second and later days, however, they acquired delicious undertones. Excellent for accompanying margaritas, beer, or any drink that can stand up to them.
I was excited to see this chile peanuts recipe, as I love Rosa Mexicano and was delighted that these do indeed taste like the peanuts in the bar. Just the right combination of spicy, tart, salty, and crunchy. Very easy to prepare and they didn’t stick around very long. “Addictive” is the one word that comes to mind to describe these. A definite make-again recipe.
This recipe sure came at a good time: I was invited to a birthday/memorial party, and this was just perfect. It was not only a snap to fix, but everyone loved them. I got a lot of requests for the recipe. They really loved the lime flavor. You can also play with the degree of heat. Even though we’re from Cajun country, some of us can’t tolerate all that cayenne. These are nice to nibble on with some wine or a beer.
Originally published April 16, 2007