Many recipes call for pine nuts, but since they are often hard to find and relatively expensive, know some substitute for pine nuts Save time and money.
This article covers 12 of the best substitutes for pine nuts, whether you prefer nut-containing or nut-free options.
Pine nuts are buttery due to their high oil content and have a soft, nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness. These nuts are popular in Italian cuisine and they are very versatile as they go with many foods: pesto and other sauces, hummus and other dips, salads, soups, butter, granola Nola cereal, chicken stew, fish, shortbread, vegetables, bread, pizza, pasta, rice, coffee, cookies, cakes, shortbread, cheesecake, pies, cookies, snack bars, brownies and other desserts . A pine nut substitute should mimic at least some of these qualities.
There are two types of pine nut substitutes: nutty and nut-free. The difference between the two is that the nut-free alternative is for people with nut allergies. The best nut substitutes for pine nuts are cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and peanuts. Meanwhile, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, apricots, and edamame are some of the best nut-free alternatives to pine nuts. See details for each ingredient:
1. Cashew nuts
Cashews are the next best food after pine nuts as both share key qualities。 First, cashews are similar in texture and color to pine nuts. Second, cashews, like pine nuts, add a subtle sweetness to recipes.
Use cashews instead of pine nuts in pasta, salads, chicken, vegetables, cheesecakes, cookies and shortbread.
To enhance the mild flavor of cashews, chop and roast them before using. The size of the chopped cashews depends on the meal you are preparing. For example, when making pasta or salads, chop cashews into half-inch pieces.
When substituting cashews for pine nuts, use a 3:2 ratio. For example, use 1.5 tbsp of cashew nuts instead of 1 tbsp of pine nuts.
Almonds are a good substitute for pine nuts, thanks to their buttery texture and sweetness.
Raw or roasted almonds can be used in place of pine nuts, although there are some differences between the two. For example, raw almonds are not as flavorful as pine nuts, so the roasting process can enhance their taste. However, roasted almonds are not as healthy as raw almonds because roasting reduces the nutritional content and causes acrylamide to form at high temperatures (over 265°F or 130°C). Acrylamide is a probable human carcinogen.
To use raw almonds instead of pine nuts, soak them overnight and peel off the outer skins. Soaking softens the almonds, bringing their texture closer to pine nuts and making them more buttery and easier to digest.
Use almonds for pesto or crunchy toppings for salads and pasta, shortbread, butter, crackers, crackers, granola, dips, cakes, quiches, salads, snack bars, ice cream and Brownies.
When substituting almonds for pine nuts, apply a 1:1 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with 1 tablespoon of almonds.
Hazelnuts are a great substitute for pine nuts because of their sweet taste。 Hazelnuts pack a stronger punch compared to pine nuts.
Hazelnuts are common in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. Use hazelnuts in place of pine nuts in cheesecake, pasta, shortbread, cakes, brownies, cookies, shortbread, quiches, pies, soups, pesto, fillings and butter.
Hazelnuts can be eaten raw or roasted for a nutty aroma.
When substituting hazelnuts for pine nuts, apply 1:2 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with ½ tablespoon of hazelnuts.
Walnuts are a good substitute for pine nuts, although they are more bitter。 The bitterness is due to the brown skin, which contains tannins, a naturally bitter compound. Plus, walnuts have a tangy, sharp flavor that pine nuts don’t.
Because of the difference in taste, walnuts are best used in dishes that do not use pine nuts as a main ingredient. For example, substitute walnuts for pine nuts in desserts, pastas, and salads.
Walnuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Soak raw walnuts overnight to peel off their outer skins, bringing them closer in flavor and texture to pine nuts.
When substituting walnuts for pine nuts, apply 1:2 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with ½ tablespoon of walnuts.
Pecans are a great substitute for pine nuts, thanks to their buttery consistency and sweetness.
Use pecans in place of pine nuts in cookies, cakes, ice cream, shortbread, tarts, bread, snack bars, granola, pies, brownies, and cheesecake. Pecans are more oily than other nuts, so adjust the amount of olive oil to your recipe.
Raw or toasted pecans can be used. Roasting brings out the pecan flavor, which works well in many recipes that call for pine nuts. For example, to make a creamy ice cream topping, toast pecans in honey and then grind them up.
When substituting pecans for pine nuts, apply a 3:4 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon pine nuts with ¾ tablespoon pecans.
Peanuts are a good substitute for pine nuts, thanks to their smooth, buttery flavor.
Peanuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Use peanuts instead of pine nuts in salads, stir-fries, and baked goods like cakes and cookies. To make pesto, it’s best to use another pine nut substitute, such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews.
When substituting peanuts for pine nuts, a 1:2 ratio applies. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with ½ tablespoon of peanuts.
7. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are the best nut-free alternative to pine nuts, thanks to their versatility。 Use raw, roasted, pickled or unsalted pumpkin seeds in any recipe that calls for pine nuts, including pesto. Raw pumpkin seeds have a very mild flavor and a very chewy texture. Roasting pumpkin seeds imparts a warm, nutty, salty flavor and crunchy texture.
When making pesto with pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts, pay attention to the consistency of the sauce. Pumpkin seeds are naturally high in oil, so reduce the amount of olive oil called for in your pesto recipe.
When substituting pumpkin seeds for pine nuts, apply a 1:2 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with ½ tablespoon of pumpkin seeds.
Sesame is a great substitute for pine nuts, thanks to the mild, sweet and nutty flavor in its raw form。 You can roast or toast sesame seeds to enhance the almond-like aroma and make it stand out in dishes.
Grinding sesame seeds makes a nice paste that you can use as a flavor enhancer in desserts, salads, and sauces. Since tahini is grainy, you shouldn’t use it in pesto as it can drastically change the texture and flavor of the sauce.
When using sesame seeds instead of pine nuts, add 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for every tablespoon pine nuts.
9. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great nut-free alternative to pine nuts, thanks to their subtly nutty flavor.
Replace pine nuts in baked goods like salads and bread with sunflower seeds. When making pesto, use hemp or apricot seeds, as the gray color of the sunflower seeds will change the bright green color of the sauce.
When substituting sunflower seeds for pine nuts, use a 1:1 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds.
10. Hemp Seeds
Due to their nutty flavor, hemp seeds are a great nut-free alternative to pine nuts。 Compared to pine nuts, hemp seeds are not buttery but crunchy. If the crunchy texture ruins a recipe, hemp powder is a great substitute for hemp seeds.
Replace pine nuts in salads, pasta, granola, baked goods and pesto with hemp seeds. It is not necessary to prepare hemp seeds by roasting or roasting.
When substituting hemp seeds for pine nuts, apply a 1:1 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds.
Apricots are a great nut-free alternative to pine nuts because they are quite sweet.
Use almonds in many recipes that call for pine nuts, such as salads, pesto, and ice cream. The challenge with using apricots is that unless you save the seeds of the apricots you eat, they can be hard to come by.
When substituting apricots for pine nuts, use a 1:1 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with 1 tablespoon of almonds.
Edamame is a good substitute for pine nuts, thanks to their nutty and sweet taste.
Edamame are green soybeans that can be roasted and served as a snack or side dish. Use edamame as a pine nut substitute in baked goods and salads.
When substituting edamame for pine nuts, use a 1:1 ratio. For example, replace 1 tablespoon of pine nuts with 1 tablespoon of edamame.
Learn more about pine nuts:
What are pine nuts?
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine cones, which only grow on certain pine tree species。 These nuts are a key ingredient in classic Italian basil pesto and pignoli biscuits. Pine nuts are usually more expensive than other types of nuts, which is why some people look for pine nut substitutes.
What do pine nuts taste like?
Pine nuts have a soft, nutty flavor and creamy texture, like macadamias or cashews。 Blending pine nuts into sauces, dips, or pesto adds smooth, gooey texture better than nuts. You can increase the flavor of pine nuts by toasting them. Some pine nuts can become bitter when the natural oils in the nut go rancid, usually from improper storage conditions.
How to store pine nuts?
You can store pine nuts by putting them in an airtight container and moving them to the refrigerator.Alternatively, you can place the pine nuts in a heavy-duty freezer bag and transfer them to the freezer. In this way, pine nuts can be stored for up to six months.
What recipes call for pine nuts?
There are many sweet and savory recipes that call for pine nuts for their nutty flavor and crunchy texture. Examples include pesto, salads, dips, desserts, and coffee.
Do pesto have to contain pine nuts?
No。 While pine nuts are a classic ingredient in pesto, you can use substitutes that have the same flavor and texture as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews.
What’s the Best Pine Nut Substitute?
Cashews are a great substitute for pine nuts, thanks to their subtly sweet flavor and soft texture.
Pine nuts are difficult to obtain on a regular basis. So when you want to make a dish that calls for pine nuts, you may not always have them. Or maybe your recipe calls for a nut-free pine nut substitute.
Fortunately, plenty of nuts and seeds make a good substitute. Some, like cashews, have a similar flavor and texture to pine nuts. Others like pecans require you to adjust other ingredients like olive oil.
What’s your favorite pine nut substitute? Share your thoughts in the comments below!