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How To Toast Pecans in a Microwave (also Almonds, Seeds, and Coconut)

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Preview: Learn how to toast pecans in the microwave along with other types of nuts, seeds (like sunflower and pumpkin seed), raw old-fashioned oatmeal, and coconut. You’ll be amazed at how fast and easy it is.

When a recipe calls for toasted pecans, almonds, or walnuts, are you ever tempted to skip the toasting step and dump them straight into your cake or cookie dough?

I confess that I used to ignore the toasting step when in a hurry (always?). 

But it makes a huge difference in the taste of your finished product. Because it’s so easy to toast them in a microwave, the only time I don’t do it is when they are part of a topping that will eventually be baked (like a coffee cake or pecan-topped pie)

I’m a microwave girl from way back. Microwave cooking schools were my extra money when my kids were small. For a long time, I’ve been using the microwave to toast nuts, seeds, coconut, and anything else I can think of.

A microwave always works best for smaller amounts. If you have more than a cup or two to toast, I would consider the stove top or your oven.

Note: My microwave is 1100 watts. If yours is higher, reduce the cooking time between stirring. If lower, you may have to repeat the heat-and-stir routine several times. More on this in a minute.

sliced. almonds toasted in a microwave

What can I toast in a microwave?

  • pecans (chopped or whole)
  • sliced almonds
  • walnuts
  • cashews (chopped will brown more evenly)
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • coconut
  • oatmeal

How to toast pecans in the microwave:

 untoasted  vs. toasted pecans from microwave
LEFT: raw chopped pecans RIGHT: toasted chopped pecans
  1. Place 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or chopped cashews onto a microwave-safe plate or a paper plate.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir.
  3. Cook on HIGH for an additional minute and stir.
  4. If you are toasting more than 1 cup or your oven is small or slow, repeat this process cooking for 30 seconds instead of a minute until your nuts are toasted to your satisfaction.
  5. Toasted pecans give off a wonderful toasted aroma you will learn to recognize when they are done.

How to toast sliced almonds:

raw and microwave-toasted almonds on the right
LEFT: Raw sliced almonds RIGHT: Toasted sliced almonds
  1. Place 1/2 cup of almonds onto a microwave-safe plate or a paper plate.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir.
  3. Cook on HIGH for an additional minute and stir.
  4. If not brown enough, cook for 30 seconds and stir again. Repeat until they are perfectly toasted.
  5. If you are toasting more than 1 cup or your oven is small or slow, repeat this process until your nuts are toasted to your satisfaction.

How to toast coconut in the microwave:

untoasted coconut flakes compared to microwave toasted coconut flakes
LEFT: Untoasted coconut flakes; RIGHT: Toasted coconut flakes
  1. Place 1/2 cup of flaked coconut onto a microwave-safe plate or a paper plate.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 30-45 seconds. Stir.
  3. Cook on HIGH for an additional 30-45 seconds and stir.
  4. If you are toasting more than 1 cup or your oven is small or slow, repeat step 3 until your nuts or coconut are toasted to your satisfaction.

CONSUMER TIP: If you want to test how evenly your microwave oven cooks, sprinkle untoasted flaked coconut evenly on the glass plate inside your microwave. Use a large microwave-safe dinner plate if you don’t have a rotating plate inside your microwave.

Turn the oven on HIGH and watch how evenly the coconut browns. This will reveal the hot spots quickly.


How to toast oatmeal:

raw and microwave-toasted oatmeal
LEFT: Untoasted old-fashioned oats RIGHT: Toasted old-fashioned oats
  1. Place 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats onto a microwave-safe plate or a paper plate.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir.
  3. Cook on HIGH for an additional minute and stir.
  4. If you are toasting more than 1 cup or your oven is small or slow, repeat this process until your oatmeal is toasted to your satisfaction.

Toasting imparts a delicious flavor to raw oatmeal. I’m going to experiment with using this in bread.


How to toast raw seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds:

raw vs toasted (with oil and salt) pumpkin seeds using the microwave
LEFT: Raw pumpkin seeds. RIGHT: Toasted pumpkin seeds with a spritz of olive oil and salt
  1. Place 1/2 cup of raw seeds onto a microwave-safe plate or a paper plate.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir.
  3. Cook on HIGH for an additional minute and stir.
  4. If you are toasting more than 1 cup or your oven is small or slow, repeat this process until your seeds are toasted to your satisfaction.
  5. OPTIONAL: Spray the seeds lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before toasting. Makes a tasty snack when they cool.
raw vs. toasted sunflower seeds done in the microwave
LEFT: Raw sunflower seeds. RIGHT: Toasted sunflower seeds

Why is it difficult to specify exact times for microwave directions?

Microwaves are not standardized. Consequently, it’s impossible to give definitive times and levels that apply to everybody’s oven.

Newer microwaves are more powerful, and therefore, faster. You will need less time. Older microwaves may need more time because they have less power. Smaller microwaves usually have less power, even if they are brand new.

For this reason, I can only suggest times. Watch carefully until you know approximately how fast the nuts will cook in your specific microwave oven.

One more variable to consider: If what you are toasting has been in the freezer or refrigerator, it might need slightly longer to toast.

It won’t be long before you can follow your nose as the best guide. When I can smell that toasty flavor, it’s probably time to stir or pull those nuts out of the oven.

Voice of Experience: If you accidentally burn any of these things, it’s like burning popcorn. Get it out of your house as fast as possible because it will smoke and smell for quite a while.


Bonus: My insanely effective method for storing nuts, seeds, oatmeal, or coconut–raw or toasted:

Use a vacuum-pack system along with an every-day Mason jar and a two-part metal lid. If you have a full-size vacuum-pack machine, you only need a large mouth adapter like the white one seen below. In the absence of a full-size machine, a hand-held machine will work perfectly and doesn’t take up room on your kitchen counter.



Pin the picture below to save for later.

Using a Microwave to Toast Nuts or Coconut

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating inside the recipe below. No comments required.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Yield: 1/2 cup

How To Toast Pecans, Almonds, Seeds, Oatmeal, or Coconut in a Microwave

How to Use a Microwave to Toast Nuts or Coconut

Instructions for quickly toasting pecans, almonds, seeds, oatmeal, or coconut in a microwave to be used in baking or salads

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1. 1/2 cup of pecans, almonds, walnuts, seeds (like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds),
  • 2. OR 1/2 cup oatmeal, or coconut

Instructions

  1. Evenly distribute pecans, almonds, walnuts, seeds (like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds), oatmeal, or coconut on a paper plate or micro-wave safe dinner plate
  2. Cook on HIGH in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir.
  3. Repeat step #2 until nuts, seeds, oatmeal or coconut are nicely toasted.

Notes

Watch carefully as every microwave cooks a little bit differently. Nuts can go from perfect to burned in a few seconds. Pick out any burned pieces. There are usually very few.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 32mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

The numbers will vary according to which ingredient you are toasting.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

This post was originally posted in 2009. Pictures and instructions have been updated.

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