Pine nuts seem to be a favorite in recipes. They have this sweet flavor that’s subtle but long-lasting. Eating a handful of these nuts will leave you with this distinct aftertaste, which makes the dish memorable. For every 100 grams of pine nuts, you get around 673 calories.
Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most expensive nuts on the market today. If you’re working within a budget or just don’t have any available – there are cheaper options. Here are some of the perfect pine nut substitutes available today.
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pecan Nuts
Fret not if you still cannot find any suitable alternatives, we have the full list below.
But first, let us understand why is pine nuts so expensive.
16 Best Substitute For Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are expensive because it takes time to grow pine nuts for harvest. You’ll need to wait around 18 months for pines to mature for harvest. The species that can be grown and harvested for cooking purposes is also limited.
Currently, one ounce of pine nuts can cost around 1.44 USD. In comparison, one ounce of almonds costs just 42 cents.
Luckily, there are a lot of cheaper alternatives that you can use as pine nuts replacements.
Pine nuts can help increase your energy, thanks to their high iron and protein content. They’re also very good for the skin!
Almonds have a subtler flavor than pine nuts. However, the texture is largely similar, making it perfect when sprinkled on top of desserts.
You can also roast almonds to really bring out the flavor and texture of the nuts. They’re slightly harder than pine nuts so try soaking them overnight. This helps remove the skin and slightly softens the almond for a softer texture.
Of course, if you like the crunch of almonds in your dessert, you can just toast them directly. Compared to pine nuts, almonds have a slightly lower calorie count of just 579 calories per 100 grams. Just stick to a 1:1 ratio.
Brazil nuts have an almost meat-like feel to them. When blended, they get this beautiful buttery texture that’s perfect for baking or cooking savory dishes.
They function much like coconuts but you can also use them as a pine nut substitute.
Do NOT eat too much of Brazil nuts as they contain selenium, which can be harmful when taken in large quantities. You need to limit yourself to just 4 Brazil nuts per day for safety reasons.
Each nut measures around 5 grams so limit your recipes to just 20 grams at a time. For every 20 grams of Brazil Nuts, you get around 130 calories. If the recipe calls for more than 20 grams, you might want to find another substitute!
If you’re after a near-identical replacement for pine nuts, cashew is the way to go. Plus – they’re also inexpensive and easily available in many stores.
Large chunks of cashew are typically more expensive so just get the crushed ones, especially if you plan to crush them in the first place.
When buying cashew, make sure you’re getting the unsalted version. Toast them a little before adding to the dish. Should give your food a stronger and earthier taste. For every 100 grams of cashew, you get 553 calories.
Hazelnuts aren’t as common in the market – but they’re definitely easier to find than pine nuts. They blend well with Mediterranean and Italian cuisines with its slightly sweet and earthy taste.
It has a pretty strong aftertaste and goes well with many dishes – including chocolate!
If you’re baking chocolate cake, hazelnut makes for a perfect topping to help balance out the sweetness and add texture. Use a 1:1 ratio for substitution. Every 100 grams of Hazelnut has 628 calories.
Macadamia nuts are also expensive – but you can find them easily in many grocery stores. They work well with mint and parsley, so they’re best used for pesto sauce.
The flavor is pretty strong with these nuts – much more than pine nut.
When blended, they have this creamy texture that’s perfect for dessert dishes. They’re pretty high on calories, though – every 100 grams has 728 calories. Add them if you’re only using a small amount for the dish. Stick with a 1:1 ratio for substitution.
Another great substitute are pecan nuts! They also have this subtly sweet flavor that makes them similar to pine nuts. The mild sweetness makes them an ideal topping for bread and desserts.
Adding pecan nuts to the dish guarantees they’ll be able to add texture to the food without altering the overall flavor. You can also roast them for a stronger taste and an even more amazing aroma.
Every 100 grams of pecan nuts gives you around 690 calories. It comes with a 1:1 ratio.
If you’re looking for really cheap pine nut substitutes – peanuts are your best bet. They’re available in practically any store and can be bought unsalted and roasted.
You can roast them yourself or if you want added flavor – you can choose honey-roasted peanuts off the shelf.
Since they’re so popular, you can find numerous flavors for peanut. This helps you experiment with the overall taste of the dish you plan to add them on.
Like walnuts, the bitter taste of peanuts come from its brown skin. If you can take those off, you’ll have a richer taste with less bitterness.
One in every 50 kids in the US have a peanut allergy, so keep that in mind when cooking. For every 100 grams of peanuts, you get 567 calories.
Pistachios are a good pine nut substitute for pesto sauces. The green coloring really makes your pesto sauce stand out and look more delicious than ever. Pistachio also carries a sweet and nutty taste that balances out well with the parsley.
You can find pistachio easily in most grocery stores, and the price is more reasonable than pine nuts. Just follow a 1:1 ratio for the substitution. At 100 grams, you can get around 562 calories.
Walnuts have a slight bitter taste to them. Preparation is the key – you want to remove the skin and roast them for a nuttier and less-bitter flavor. It’s also a good idea to chop or crush the walnuts to spread out the flavor.
They’re perfect for bread or other recipes with a strong flavor. This way, any leftover bitterness can be quickly masked. Every cup of walnut has around 654 calories. Follow a 1:1 ratio.
Pine nuts don’t always need a nut substitute. The truth is that you can find non-nut substitutes for the ingredient. This is ideal for people who suffer from nut allergies or those who maybe just want to cook something that everyone can safely eat. Apricot seeds are a good example – but they’re not exactly abundant.
If you manage to find them, apricot seeds can be added in almost any dish. Try not to add them to pesto, however as the resulting sweetness doesn’t blend well with the pasta.
One upside of apricot seeds is that they taste best when raw – no need to roast them beforehand. Add them in dessert and ice cream dishes where their sweetness will blend well. Note that they’re very heavy on calories. 100 grams of apricot seeds contains around 884 calories.
Edamame also known as vegetarian soy bean is a popular ingredient taken from immature soybean pods. They’re good for making pesto sauces as the natural green color helps add vitality to your pasta.
They can also be roasted and lightly salted for that perfect crunch.You can put them as toppings on baked goods, added in salad, or used with savory dishes. It only has 122 calories for every 100 grams.
However, don’t eat too much of it as excessive edamame can actually compromise your ability to absorb nutrients.
Hemp seeds are a great substitute, thanks to their high nutrition. Their naturally nutty taste means you won’t completely alter the overall flavor of whatever you’re cooking.
Even better – there’s hemp powder available in many stores. This means that if you’re using pine nuts for the flavor, you can just add hemp powder and save yourself the trouble of crushing or blending the seeds.
If you’re after the crunchy texture – toast the hemp seeds and you’ll get that satisfying bite. Do not use hemp seeds for pesto sauces – but they’re a good choice for practically everything else.
Around 30 grams of hemp seeds will give you 166 calories.
Pumpkin seeds are a great substitute if you have a nut allergy. They have a slightly nutty taste with that added crunch that’s satisfying in many baked recipes.
The flavor comes out better when roasted. Make sure to buy the unsalted version when using this as a substitute. They’re definitely cheaper and easier to find in many stores.
Compared to others in this list, pumpkin seeds have a lower calorie count of just 446 calories for every 100 grams.
Sesame seeds are a good substitute if you’re making salads, sauces, or desserts. They can be roasted or fried in the same way as nuts. Doing so helps enhance the flavor and create a crispy consistency similar to pine nuts.
They also have this slightly sweet flavor. Use the 1:1 substitution ratio for substitution. Every 100 grams of sesame seeds gives you 573 calories.
Sunflower seeds help add texture to your food with their distinctive crunch. They’re great when added in salads, cakes, and other desserts. You can also blend it up for sauces.
Note that the grayish hue of sunflower seeds can subtly alter the color of your final product. On the plus side – they’re easy enough to find in many stores! For every 100 grams, you get 584 calories.
White beans are a good substitute if you’re making pesto. Their texture after being blended is very similar to pine nuts.
They also have this nutty and earthy flavor that helps you maintain the overall taste of any dish. They don’t offer the nutty crunch, so you can’t drizzle them raw over the food.
White beans can be added to any dish if the goal is achieving a creamy texture without triggering any nut allergies. It’s also a good low-calorie substitute since 100 grams of white beans contains only 67 calories.
Pine Nuts Substitute Related FAQs
Can people have pine nut allergy?
Pine nut allergy isn’t quite as common although it can definitely happen. Estimates suggest less than 5% of the total population is allergic to pine nuts.
Can pine nuts be toxic?
The Food and Drug Administration agrees that there is no lasting negative effect to eating pine nuts. However, those who eat pine nuts have reported a slightly bitter and metallic taste after eating the nuts.
This usually lasts up to 48 hours and is called “pine nut syndrome”. There is no life threatening effect to the bitter taste.