Can you boil acorns

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you boil acorns?” We will also discuss What acorns are, whether acorns are edible, and can they be safely consumed.

Can you boil acorns?

Yes, you can boil acorns or the seeds of an oak tree easily and eat them whole as a delicious snack, grind them up into flour, or use them as a healthy addition to any recipe. 

But boiling acorns and eating them directly is harmful due to the presence of a toxic substance tannin. There are certain safety measures and precautions that should be taken into consideration when you decide to boil acorns related to the extraction of their tannin content to make them edible and safe.

So if next you pass by an oak tree and see those acorns spreading everywhere and decide to collect them not for decoration this time but rather to eat them, then this article is a must-read for you.

We have done a lot of research to save you effort and time and guide you on how to safely boil acorns as a pro and get the perfect boiled delicious crunchy acorns every time so that you can benefit from their nutrients so read carefully this article till the end.

What are acorns?

Acorns refer to nuts that are derived from oak trees, mainly in the fall season, they are known for being easily harvested, stored, and processed. They are super healthy and extremely nutritious nuts that our mother nature makes. 

 Acorns are similar to chestnuts and are known to be a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, antioxidants as well as some vitamins such as Vitamins A and C.

All these features made the acorn a staple of diets all over the world in different cultures and an essential food source for millennia.

Are acorns edible and can they be safely consumed?

Acorns or oak tree seeds are very popular in almost all countries and are characterised by their extremely bitter taste that is caused by a substance called tannin or tannic acid. 

This substance is a water-soluble polyphenol that can be toxic for humans when consumed in high concentrations.

The presence of tannins in acorns limits their ability to absorb nutrients and is often referred to as “anti-nutrient”. Besides, the consumption of raw untreated acorns was found to induce certain types of cancers and liver damage in humans.

Tannin levels vary between different species of acorns, where it is found that red oaks have more tannins and a bitter taste compared to white oaks which are typically mild and slightly sweet.

However, the good news is that acorns are edible and can be consumed safely only under one condition, that is once tannins are properly and effectively removed from acorns.

Tannin extraction or removal from an acorn is not complicated as it sounds but rather can be accomplished easily in a simple process and just a few steps, so if you are interested to learn how then all you have to do is read the following section.

How can you extract tannins from acorns by boiling?

If you are planning to consume acorns and introduce them into your healthy diet either as a snack or as an ingredient in your cooking recipes, then you have to leach or extract tannins out from your acorns and render them safe food.

So in this section, we will exhibit how to make tannin-free edible acorns by simply boiling them several times, where the brown water caused by tannins is thrown away each time and replaced with new water until they become clear with no brown discoloration.

Here are step by step instructions that you can follow to properly boil acorns and get that toxic tannin out, so read carefully.

  • Pour enough water into a large boiling pot and heat at high temperature until they start boiling
  • Add the acorns you prepare into the boiling water to loosen the shells, but do not try to put them into cold water and then boil because this will block tannins inside your acorns instead of releasing them
  • Let your acorns cool down until they can be handled then crack their shell to open and use your hands to peel the remaining shell and put the kernels aside.
  • Again boil water this time in two large boiling pots then place your shelled acorns in the boiling water of the first pot and boil for about 5 minutes until the water changes in colour and turns dark brown
  •  Use a large colander to drain your boiled acorns then put them into the other clean water pot for the second round of boiling
  •  Repeat this process 2-4 times depending on the species of acorn until the water becomes clear and the acorns are less astringent

For more detailed guidance, please click the link here

What can you do with the boiled acorns? 

After you have prepared your acorns and leached tannins out of them, now it’s time to either cook them or roast them to reduce their bitter taste and bring out their rich sweetness and enjoy eating them as a healthy snack.

Boiled acorns can be directly added whole or chopped into a coarse meal or they can be stored in the fridge to prolong their shelf life.

You can store boiled acorns in the refrigerator for about 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month 


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you boil acorns?” We have also discussed What are acorns, whether acorns are edible, and can they be safely consumed.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.