Any tips/recipes for eating acorns?

Let me start off by saying that the acorns in question are sawtooth oak acorns, which are not native to North America, where I live. So unlike if I were collecting acorns from a native oak tree, I’m not leaving behind more than I take. In fact I’m trying to collect as many as possible, specifically to prevent them from being buried by squirrels (I’ve yet to see any squirrels near these trees, ever, but still) and escape into the wild to become invasive.

I’ve got a giant box of them at home, and there are still more on the trees that aren’t ready to fall yet. So I’ve got tons of them. Here’s some I collected two days ago. And I just got back from gathering even more today (Haven’t transfered the pictures from my camera and phone to my laptop, though, so the observations haven’t’ been posted yet)

These trees are not native, they produce a ton of very large acorns, and I don’t want them to spread, so I figured, hey, acorns are edible once you remove the bitterness, so why not eat them?

This will be my first year having enough acorns available that I can try doing anything with them, so I’m looking for any tips or recipes I can use them in!

I plan to leech the tannins out of them once I have them out of the shell by keeping them in the fridge in cold water, and changing the water every day or so. And once the water stays clear I figured I’d throw them in the blender (maybe chopping or smashing them up a bit first? Most of them are coming out of the shell completely whole) and then dehydrate the result to get flour.

So! Any tips? Recipes? For now I intend to confine my acorn eating to non-native species, but please do share any information you’ve got about eating other species of oak, too! I heard from one employer that she tried, but could never get the bitterness out, so she gave up. Well, I’m determined to make this work, lol.


I don’t know about sawtooth oaks in particular, but I’ve been told that you can put acorns in a mesh bag or sack that allows water perfusion and set the bag in a cool stream. This will then have cool moving water running over them constantly to leach out the tannins. I was told that this was a technique used by some Native American cultures, but I’ve no idea if this is true. Seems like it would work though! I have boiled acorns multiple times until they were edible, but honestly not very good.

You could also get a food mill (or borrow one) and use it to make flour.


Don’t forget to place them in water. If they float, it’s likely they’ve been hollowed out by bugs. ;)

I’ve never tried cooking with acorns myself, though I’ve seen them in a couple of food blogs and books! Most recipes seem to involve using acorn flour, though. I’ve also read about methods to remove the tannins at home, usually involving soaking them in water multiple times, but I don’t remember the specifics.


Acorn flour is delish, I love using it in baking for a wonderful nutty flavor. Must remember it lacks gluten of wheat flour so use in recipes that do not rely on gluten for raise, or, sub out only part of the flour, etc. Make some brownies or chocolate cookies with it subing in about half the normal flour, yuuuuuum. A bit different texure that will vary on the base recipe but works well in my experience. You could probably also make a lot of different kinds of flatbreads or pancake type things.


Apparently you can roast acorns and make something like coffee. I think I read about it in this book, but I’ve never tried it.

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Our goats love acorns, and can tell with a sniff whether they’re edible or hollow or rotten. It’s impressive.


Unprocessed acorns are unpleasant so you’ll have to leech them. I’m trying out the cold process, where the acorn meat is crushed and soaked in water, shaking it and changing the water every day.

This blog describes a few ways to process the acorn meat, one of which is soaking the acorn meat in a toilet tank (the upper part - away from poop) since this is stream-like.

If available at a local library Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer has 30-40 pages on processing and eating acorns. Definitely worth taking a look at!

I’m planning to add the acorn meat to steel cut oats with a bit of salt when I’m done with the process. Only at day 2 of the process.

Edit: My workplace has a hot water dispenser for tea which works well on steel cut oats in a wide mouth vacuum flask. Ready by lunchtime just soaking for several hours. Steel cut oats are less processed, have a nuttier flavor and texture, and lack the wet paper taste of regular instant oatmeal.


I know that you can make somethig like griddlecakes with them; a bit like the cornmeal variety, but nuttier in flavor. I’ve never made them, but some of my older relatives still did from time to time when I was growing up. (These were rural folks who were adults raising families during the 30s Depression. If you had laying hens and a cow or goat, but couldn’t get cornmeal or flour because you couldn’t afford it, you could still feed the kids something filling.)

Leached acorn flour (they always tossed a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar into he water), egg, milk, and a pinch or three of baking powder. (Not baking soda, unless you’re using buttermilk.) Fry the batter in some kind of fat; bacon grease was the downhome default. Serve hot.


:) I recall a Native American cultural day I attended. After a demonstration of cracking and stone grinding the dried acorns for leaching, one of the Ohlone women making acorn soup said, “Of course, we use food processors now days.”


Turns out there’s research on acorn flour. Relative to wheat it tested high in phenols and comparable in anti-oxidants generally and low in oxalates.

The oxalates are great news foe people like me who contend with chronic kidney stones. Most nuts are high in oxalates. I think I’m going to try out acorn flour.


Yep, that’s the first thing I do once I get them back to the house!

I’ve cracked a few dozen of them so far (using a normal nutcracker, and then putting them in an old gatorade bottle with water lol), and only three have been bad so far! I think because they aren’t native, there aren’t any insects that have adapted to eating them yet!


i think the float test is supposed to happen first, before you crack them. Throw away any that float


Sawtooth oaks are red oaks, so they’re more bitter than white. That bitterness is notoriously hard to remove. Try chewing on a raw one, just for funsies. Don’t swallow it.

Cracking, leaching, grinding… Seems like a lot of work.

I’d personally either feed them to livestock or compost them in your situation.

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Do you have any ways of becoming a squirrel? I hear that helps when it comes to eating acorns


For cracking en masse, you could try putting a bunch in a big bag and backing a truck over them. What we used to do for hickories.

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Dang, I never knew you could eat acorns. Can you eat them roasted like chestnuts?

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This is certainly the traditional method, but personally I prefer to do a hot-leeching method.

Fill a giant pot of water, rough-chop the acorn meat, toss it in, and boil it for a while. (If the acorn meats are too hard to chop easily, you can boil them whole for a bit first, then chop when they’ve softened).

When the water turns dark (usually within about 20 mins for the first couple of batches) drain it and repeat. Bring it to a boil whenever you’re passing through the kitchen, and you can just leave it turned off and sitting in water when you’re away.

I usually do this off and on over the course of a weekend - it’s minimal effort, even though it takes a while to complete the process.

I’ve never gotten the water to actually run clear, but when takes a while to turn dark, sample an acorn bit - it’ll probably be a little astringent, but if you don’t wanna spit it out immediately, that’s when it’s about done.

Drain it, toss the acorn bits in a blender, (you might have to add a bit of fresh water to keep them from gumming up your blender, depending on how powerful yours is), and then you can use the acorn mush for whatever.

I usually dehydrate some of it to turn into acorn flour, and use some fresh for acorn bread.

Here’s my acorn bread recipe, which has always gotten excellent reviews from tasters:

Acorn Bread

2 cups prepared acorns (chopped, leached and drained)

2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast

1 cup milk

3 cups wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

½ stick butter

⅔ cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon each cloves and Nutmeg.


chopped nuts

1 egg

Heat milk until warm, but not hot, and stir in yeast. Let sit ten minutes.

Put acorns in blender with the milk until you have a smooth, creamy paste.

Stir with wheat flour, sugar, salt and oil. Add sugar and spices. Knead on lightly floured worktop for about 10 mins, adding raisins and nuts as you go.

Let rise until it has doubled in volume, then form into a round loaf and place on a baking sheet. Let it rise again for a bit, then brush with beaten egg and bake at 350F for about 45mins to 1 hour.

The wheat flour is important to hold the bread together, I find if you go more than 50/50 acorn to wheat it starts to fall apart. And if you use dried acorn flour for this recipe you’ll need to add more liquid or it’ll turn out too dry.

I finally got a little oil press this year, and I’m going to try pressing some acorns for oil. I hear it’s delicious, and that the tannins aren’t oil-soluble, so you don’t have to leech them first. If your acorns turn out to be excessively bitter, you might give that a try.

There are a lot of “coffee substitutes” like that out there, but they’re all the result of desperate coffee addicts craving their next fix and trying to use every nasty bitter thing they find to mimic the taste. Most of them were invented by pioneers or prospectors who ran out of coffee supplies, and they are NOT good lol.


Not unless you leach the bitterness out of them first. Otherwise, the tannins will just about peel the tastebuds off of your tongue. *

If you leave the acorns in the shell while leaching them (difficult, but can be done), you can probably roast them like chestnuts, which are traditionally roasted in-shell. Seems risky to me, though; and they’ll never be as sweet as chestnuts.

*(The only thing that I can compare them to is an estate reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that my dad really liked; really dry and oaky. I thought that it tasted like licking sawdust off of a belt sander. Give m a nice full-bodied Merlot any day.)

(Added mid-composition) Okay; I got curious about prep methods. I found three webpages with credible information, one of which is the UK’s Woodland Trust.

Are Acorns Edible? | The Woodland Trust

Eating Acorns | The Oak Spring Garden Foundation

This one even goes into the chemistry involved:
How to Debitter Acorns for Eating | Mighty Wild


If you have lots and get tired of eating them, they can be used for natural dyes. One of my summer projects has been trying out different natural dyes on smallish samples of cloth (cotton/linen). I also used acorns for a variety of items when making small flower fairy dolls! :-)


I don’t mind hard work, I think it’s fun making something out of pretty much nothing :)