How to Dry Acorns?

Several acorns drying under the sun

If you want to keep your acorns to consume later, drying them first is one of the most important steps. Drying acorns is fairly simple, and there’s more than one way of doing it.

This post will teach you some common ways of drying acorns. We will also get creative and explore unconventional methods for getting the same results.

When Should You Dry Acorns?

You should dry acorns when you are about to store them for later consumption. For example, if you plan to cook with acorns in the future, you should dry them before storing them away. Or if you want to use them as a staple food, they should be dried in advance.

The drying process is unnecessary if you want to use them immediately to prepare acorn-based foods and recipes, like acorn flour or coffee. In that case, leaching the acorns is what you should do, not drying them.

Drying acorns under the sun

The sun is the most straightforward way to dry acorns and can be done outdoors or indoors. After gathering your acorns:

  1. Place them in a sunny spot on a flat surface.
  2. Let them dry in direct sunlight in their shells for three to five days.
  3. Inspect the acorns after drying to make sure they feel “bone dry.” 

If possible, try to sun-dry your acorns indoors

Acorns drying indoors next to a window

Drying acorns indoors is better for people who don’t have an outdoor space, and it’s also a good way of protecting the nuts from external dangers. Letting them dry outside may be effective, but it will expose acorns to squirrels, birds, insects, and other wildlife.

On top of that, they will be exposed to the high levels of humidity that autumn nights bring, which will delay the drying process.

Set an indoor drying station near a sunny window to dry acorns indoors. Place the acorns on a flat surface, and position them so that it is directly facing the sun.

Original Ways to Dry Acorns

Even though the previous methods are the most popular, there are other ways of drying acorns. If you live in a cold area with little sunlight or if you don’t have an oven, you can get creative with your drying setup. These are a few suggestions:

The front of your car

Some people use the front of their cars to dry acorns. Even if the temperature is low outside, you only need a bit of sun and a vehicle. If there is some sun, the acorns can be directly under it, and the car will retain a bit of the heat and help speed up the drying process.

Upstairs attic (if it has a high temperature)

The typical attic is excellent at retaining heat, and it can be used to dry acorns. You can use it if your attic stays warm during the day and evening. Just make sure it’s not too humid, as too much moisture will keep the acorns from drying properly.

Warm floor

If you have a floor that gets warm, either a heated floor or a naturally warm one, you can take advantage of it to dry your acorns. Obviously, it will take more time than drying them under the sun, but a few days should do the trick.

Acorns on a warm floor

Racks above the wood stove

You can suspend racks above your wood stove. The heat going up should help dry out the acorns quickly, and you won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on them. Just be sure you keep the acorns from overheating by putting them too close to the stove. As discussed in another post, acorns will eventually burn when they are too close to the fire.

Close to a heater

It’s autumn, and it’s pretty cold already. That means there is a chance you have a heater warming your home. If that’s the case, you can place the acorns close to it, where you can feel the warmth, but far enough that they won’t burn. The heat will help dry them faster, and you won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on them.

How to Tell when The Acorns Are Dry?

Shaking an acorn is a little hack for knowing it is properly dried. If it sounds like a coffee bean is rattling inside, it means that the acorn is fully dry. 

Another indicator is to check that the acorns are no longer soft or pliable. A dry acorn will feel sturdier and will not give when you squeeze it. 

The weight will change over time, as a dried acorn will be noticeably lighter than a fresh one. It won’t change drastically, but the nut will have a light and hollow feel.

If you are still trying to determine whether the acorns are dry, you can also look at the color of the acorn shell. A thoroughly dried acorn will be darker than a freshly picked one.

Acorn Drying times

Unfortunately, there is no exact drying time for acorns. Drying times depend on many factors, such as your method and specific climate conditions. Generally speaking, acorns can take a few days to a couple of weeks to fully dry.

On top of that, not all acorns take the same time to dry. Different species of acorns will dry at different rates. For example, a few varieties of the white oak acorn family never fully dry.

Can You use an Oven to dry your acorns?

Some people like to speed up the process by using an oven. The standard method seems to be to place the acorns on a baking sheet in the oven at 175°F (80°C) degrees for 20 minutes.

This is my least favorite method because only a few of them opened. I have tried different approaches, such as lower temperature, less time, leaving the oven door open for moisture to go out, and even trying heat from above only. Two things always happened:

  • Only a small number of them rattled. That means only those were properly dried.
  • Some of them opened. If you want to store your acorns properly, it’s best if they are closed. The outer shell is a great protector for the nut, so you want to maintain that natural barrier.
Using the oven to dry acorns

I guess it works better when using more natural techniques; at least, it does for me.

Final Tips on Drying Acorns

Regardless of your chosen method, remember to spread the acorns out on a flat surface with a bit of space between them. This will allow air to circulate between the nuts and result in an even drying process. A pile of acorns would take much longer to dry, and some would be ready much sooner than others.

You should also check on your acorns regularly, as some dry faster than others. You can separate them and avoid mixing moist and dry nuts.

Move them around while they are drying, at least a couple of times. This will guarantee that every nut is dried evenly.


Drying acorns is not hard; you just need a heat source and a bit of patience. It doesn’t always have to be the sun, as you can use a heater or even a warm floor. Remember that different species of acorns will dry at different rates, so don’t be surprised if sometimes it takes you a bit more than you expected.

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