Best chestnut flour recipes


Every autumn I see chestnut flour recipes popping up on my social media feeds. I love the hot floury taste of toasted chestnuts, sold by street vendors in Austrian Christmas markets. So this year, I finally decided to find out more about this seasonal flour and started to experiment with different chestnut flour bread recipes.

Sweet Chestnuts
Sweet Chestnuts (Braunauer Wochenmarkt, Austria)

What is chestnut flour?

Chestnut flour is made from ground sweet chestnuts. I’ve come across some lovely references for sweet chestnuts in my research including ‘nature’s little breads’ and ‘the grain that grows on trees’. I guess it’s a reflection of the significance sweet chestnuts had in some countries’ diets. These days, sweet chestnut trees can be found primarily in Italy and other smaller pockets across Southern Europe. Known as Farina di Castagne in Italy, chestnut flour is still considered a staple food particularly in and around Tuscany.

In their raw state sweet chestnuts taste bitter but when roasted and cooked they turn into soft, floury, tasty spuds. Chestnut flour is uniquely sweet, mellow and nutty. As chestnuts do not contain the fat content regular nuts have, and are instead largely composed of easily digestible carbohydrates, chestnut flour has many of the same properties as regular flour.

Where to buy chestnut flour UK / chestnut flour suppliers UK

Here are some chestnut flour suppliers which make the flour available in the UK:

How to make chestnut flour at home

Beware not to pick up horse chestnuts which are not edible! The chestnuts you need come from the sweet chestnut tree. If you have access to a mill, you can produce your own chestnut flour. If you can, grind the sweet flour with a stone mill. This is to preserve the flour’s natural flavouring and texture, ensuring there is no heat damage during processing in knife-based mills.

Here’s how to prepare the chestnuts for milling. Remove the outer shell with a knife. Place the chestnut fruits into hot (not boiling) water. After a short while, the inner skin can be peeled of. Wash with cold water and dry. Grind into flour.

How to bake with chestnut flour

Chestnut flour is gluten-free, making it a good cooking option for people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances or allergies. However, for the same reason it can be a challenge to bake with. Use on its own or mixed with grain flour but beware that a 100% chestnut flour bake is likely to be quite dense and break up easily due to the lack of gluten. For inspiration take a look at the chestnut flour recipes below. Chestnut flour breads have a pleasant smell and taste slightly sweet. It pairs well with ingredients such as almonds, chocolate, honey, and hazelnuts.

How to store chestnut flour

You can store the chestnut flour in a tightly lidded plastic container or in a sealed bag in the freezer. It will keep the floury texture without turning into a frozen brick.

Chestnut flour recipes & ideas

There is lots you can do with chestnuts and chestnut flour. Hope you’ll find something suitable in the list below.

Easy & authentic Lebkuchen recipe


Lebkuchen are traditional German Christmas treats which are also popular in Austria and other European countries. Lebkuchen are sweet spiced biscuits made from ground nuts and/or flour depending on the recipe you use, honey and spices. Water or butter are used sparingly if at all. Due to the high sugar content in Lebkuchen, they keep well so you can make them in November and enjoy them all the way through December. Honey is the key element which binds the other ingredients in the dough together. Some Lebkuchen recipes call for up to 85% honey and sugar when compared to flour and ground nuts contents. There are lots of regional variations and some specialty Lebkuchen (Elisenlebkuchen from Nuremberg) are made entirely without flour, using only ground almonds and hazelnuts.


This post features a Lebkuchen recipe made primarily with rye flour. The recipe is quick, straightforward and authentic. The dough is beautifully versatile. You can use different cookie cutters for different shapes and decorate with nuts, white icing or a dark glossy chocolate sauce.

Authentic Lebkuchen

Before I jump into the Lebkuchen recipe, I put together a few essential Lebkuchen need-to-knows.

The Lebkuchen spices

Lebkuchengewürz is the Lebkuchen spice mix which typically includes ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, cardamom and other ground spices. Make your own spice blend and adjust the spices you use to suit your taste. Here is my favourite spice combination.

Lebkuchen spice mix ingredients

  • 30g ground cinnamon
  • 9g ground cloves
  • 2g ground allspice
  • 2g ground ginger
  • 2g ground cardamom
  • 2g ground coriander
  • 1g ground anise
  • 1g ground nutmeg
  • 1g ground mace

The Lebkuchen shape

Traditionally, Lebkuchen are large rounds of about 11 cm in diameter. There are also Lebkuchen hearts which are common at Christmas markets and fairs around the year are often inscribed with icing. Use whatever cookie cutters you have, but adjust the baking time accordingly as smaller biscuits will bake through more quickly.

The Lebkuchen tin

Once the Lebkuchen biscuits are baked, it’s best to store them in a tin. I really like the Garden Trading biscuit tins but there are plenty of options available. You can add a piece of apple into the tin to store and keep the biscuits moist.

Authentic Lebkuchen recipe

This is a typical Lebkuchen recipe as we would make in Austria. Lebkuchen are also called Lebzelten in Austria. The key ingredients in this Lebkuchen recipe are rye flour, honey, ground almonds and the spice mix.

This is an authentic recipe for Lebkuchen, translated from German. My mum uses the recipe when she does our family’s Christmas baking. The rye-based Lebkuchen recipe is super delicious and the Lebkuchen biscuits are wonderfully moist with a beautiful crumb.

German Lebkuchen
German Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen ingredients

Main dough

  • 400g white rye flour
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 250g honey
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 30g Lebkuchen spices

Lebkuchen topping

  • 1 egg for brushing
  • Almond slices for decorating

Lebkuchen icing (optional)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 7g cornflour

Combine the above icing ingredients and whisk until creamy.

How to make Lebkuchen

Day 1

  1. Combine the honey, sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk vigorously.
  2. Sieve the rye flour, ground almonds, bicarb of soda and spices into a bowl and whisk to mix well.
  3. Add the honey, sugar and egg mixture to the dry ingredients to make a dough. It’ll be sticky but shouldn’t be too wet to handle.
  4. Shape into a ball, place back into the bowl, cover and rest in the fridge overnight.

Day 2

  1. On a floured work surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to 5mm thickness. Make sure you are able to move the dough at all times so it doesn’t stick when you cut out the cookies.
  2. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Use your cookie cutters to cut out the biscuits and place on the baking tray. Make sure to leave a little space in between as they will expand in the oven. Repeat the process until you have no dough left.
  4. Brush the dough shapes with egg wash and decorate with almonds slices.
  5. Bake for 10 – 15 mins (depending on size) at 180°C.
  6. Cool on a wire rack

Enjoy the Lebkuchen straight away or store in a tin. Serve with Glühwein, coffee or tea.