Guide to Roasting Acorns Over a Campfire

A man roasting acorns over a campfire

Preparing acorns over the campfire can be very fun and tasty. And they will probably be available to you if you are camping in the fall. On top of that, you can have some fun with your family or friends foraging acorns in the wild.

Important Things to Consider Before Roasting Acorns Over a Fire

You should never forget that acorns are high in tannins, which can cause harm to humans. And roasting does not remove the tannins in acorns. The acorns should still be leached to make them completely safe to consume.

Unfortunately, removing the tannins in the wild is not practical, as the leaching process requires some work and tools. With that in mind, here are some suggestions you should keep in mind when roasting acorns over a campfire:

Leach the acorns at home

If you have acorns at hand before going camping, you can remove the tannins at home and take the acorns with you. The downside is that you won’t have the fun of picking them before roasting them, which is a fun group activity. Our acorn leaching tutorial gives you detailed instructions on how to do it at home.

Don’t overindulge

If you don’t have the means to leach them or don’t want to go through this process, eat only a few bits to have a taste. Tannins are harmful in large quantities, so you don’t want to exaggerate, especially in the wild, far away from a hospital.

Know your species

Knowing the variety of acorns you are about to roast over the fire makes it easy to check if it’s high or low in tannins. That way, you could avoid some species with a high level of this compound and roast only those with low levels. Not only will it be less harmful to your body, but it will also taste better, as high tannin levels contribute to a bitter taste.

This does not mean you can eat as many as you wish, but at least you can eat a few without worrying too much.

Learning how to distinguish the two main families of acorns (red and white) is already useful, as the white family typically has lower levels. Make sure you read our post about the best acorn varieties to eat, to know which ones to look for.

Do not roast acorns directly over the fire

Finally, many people try to roast acorns directly over the fire, as with marshmallows. This will burn the acorn quickly and not roast in on the inside.

Things You Will Need to Roast Acorns in the Wild:

Before we start, let’s have a look at things you will need.

  • Acorns
  • A sharp knife or hammer
  • A skillet or frying pan
  • A base for the skillet (optional)
  • A spatula or wooden spoon
  • Spices and seasonings (optional)

How to Roast Acorns Over a Fire

These are the steps to roast acorns over a fire. If you are bringing leached acorns from home, you can jump directly to step 2.

1. Shell and break the acorns into chunks or halves

The first thing you will need to do is to remove the shells and break the acorns into smaller pieces. You can do this with a knife or hammer. Check our guide on how to shell acorns to learn more.

2. Grease the frying pan and put it on the base

Put a bit of oil on a camping frying pan, just enough to gently grease the surface, and let it warm. A bit of olive oil will do fine. A base for the frying pan is optional, but it’s convenient because you won’t have to hold it the whole time.

3. Place the acorns in the skillet

Transfer the acorns to the skillet, ensuring they are spread out and not overlapping.

4. Stir the acorns regularly

While the acorns are cooking, stir them several times to ensure even browning and avoid burning them.

Typically, you should roast them until they are golden brown and have a nice crunchy texture. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to several, depending on the number of acorns and their size. It’s best to start by checking on them every few minutes and adjust according to your preferences.

5. Take them out of the skillet

Remove the acorns from the pan when they are a nice golden brown. Let them cool down a little bit and enjoy.


Roasting acorns over a campfire can be a fun and delicious way to enjoy the fall camping season. However, you should always be cautious when eating acorns, as they contain a compound known as tannins that can be harmful in large amounts. To avoid health risks, you should leach the acorns before roasting them. If you can’t do that, choose varieties low in tannins and make sure you don’t overeat.

Have fun roasting acorns with the sound of a guitar and the warmth of a fire in the wild.

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