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Using a Microwave to Toast Pecans and Other Nuts

Using a Microwave to Toast Pecans and Other Nuts a how-to guide for toasting nuts such as almonds and pecans (and coconut, too) in a microwave oven. It’s so easy and quick!

Using a Microwave to Toast Nuts or Coconut


When a recipe calls for toasted nuts, it’s easy to be tempted to skip the toasting and just dump them straight into your cake or cookie dough. But it turns out that using the microwave to toast nuts or coconut is quick and easy, especially when you only need a small amount. The flavor difference is worth the trouble.

I confess that I used to ignore the toasting step when in a hurry.  But it makes a huge difference in taste if the nuts are toasted. The only time I don’t toast is when they are part of a topping that will eventually be baked.


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 will need more time because they have less power. Smaller microwaves usually have less power, even if they are brand new.

For this reason, don’t take the suggested times literally. Watch carefully until you know approximately how fast the nuts will cook in your specific microwave oven.

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 them out.


I’m showing you almonds here but the same process works with pecan and cashews. Cashews work better when they are coarsely chopped because of their irregular shape.

You can do the same thing the same way with coconut. The time needed in the microwave will depend on how the coconut is cut, the amount of coconut, and the power of your microwave.


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.

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Using a Microwave to Toast Nuts or Coconut

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    Yield: 1 cup

    Using a Microwave to Toast Pecans and Other Nuts

    How to Use a Microwave to Toast Nuts or Coconut

    Instructions for quickly toasting nuts or coconut to be used in baking or salads

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


    • 1 cup of nuts or
    • 1 cup of coconut


    1. Evenly distribute nuts 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 or coconut are nicely toasted.


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

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:

    1 tablespoon

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 38mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

    Did you make this recipe?

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

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    Bonnie Smith

    Friday 24th of April 2020

    Thanks for the good advice, Paula. That worked well for me. Though I will admit it took a whole lot longer when the almond slivers were frozen.


    Monday 12th of November 2018

    This makes life so much easier—and tastier! Thanks, Paula!


    Tuesday 14th of March 2017

    The almonds pictured are not slivered as stated; they are sliced which makes a difference in time cooked. I have a high-powered microwave, and it took 4 minutes for my slivered; might could even use a little more. But now I'll know about the sliced and am tickled to know about the coconut, thanks for posting. :-)

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