People often skip pine nuts in their recipes because they are rare to find and quite expensive. But what if I say that you can enjoy their buttery richness without actually using them? Yes, these substitutes for pine nuts will work magic in your dishes. Read on to find out how.
Extracted from pine trees, pine nuts have a savory, sweet flavor that goes perfectly with hummus and desserts. Besides culinary uses, they have high quantities of protein, serving as a healthy addition to your dish.
However, pine nuts are only available in a particular season and must not be a forever available ingredient in your kitchen cabinet. If this is the case, you can always go for a pine nut alternative.
We have curated a list of 15 substitutes for pine nuts that will efficiently replace them in any recipe.
15 Best Pine Nut Substitutes for cooking
A staple in almost all households, almonds are one of the most versatile ingredients. Whether you are craving some quick delicious snacks or wish to enhance the flavor of your dish, almonds work just fine.
Having the same size as pine nuts and a similar flavor profile, almonds can be satisfactorily used to replace them in any recipe. You can either soak them overnight to provide a smooth texture or roast them to give a crunchy flavor to your dish.
Almonds work wonders when used in salads, pesto, and pasta.
How to substitute: Use an equal quantity of almonds to replace pine nuts in any recipe.
The smooth and creamy texture of cashews in a dish is loved by everyone. Having the same flavor, hue, and texture as pine nuts, cashews are one of its best alternatives.
You can either grind them in their raw form or roast them to enhance the flavor. Both versions work perfectly well. Salads, pesto, and sauces taste great with the addition of cashews.
Besides their diverse culinary uses, cashews are rich in minerals and protein, making them a deliciously healthy alternative.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing pine nuts with cashews.
The cheapest and the most easily available substitute for pine nuts is peanuts. They have a neutral buttery texture that compliments the flavor of your recipes, replacing almost any type of nut.
If you are high on the idea of preparing a protein-rich diet for your family, peanuts might be your ideal ingredient. You can include them in salads, stir-fries, cookies, and pesto. They work well in both roasted and raw forms.
How to substitute: An equal quantity of peanuts can satisfactorily replace pine nuts in any recipe.
Despite a slight variation in their flavor to pine nuts, walnuts can serve as its fantastic substitute. They are cheap and easily available in any nearby supermarket.
Though having a similar texture, the dark brown skin of walnuts is a little bitter. Because of this reason, you must only use roasted walnuts to achieve a flavor similar to pine nuts.
Roasting walnuts will make it easier to remove their skin. You can then soak them overnight to attain a creamy, smooth consistency. Try using walnuts in cookies, pesto, or pasta, and we are sure you will not be disappointed.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace walnuts for pine nuts.
Claimed to be much more delicious than pine nuts, pistachios are another ingredient that can be used as a pine nut alternative.
Though they are a bit expensive in comparison to other substitutes, their flavor will make the purchase worth it. Buying peeled pistachios is the best option as it will save you both time and effort.
The luscious green color and creamy texture of pistachios in your dish satisfy your taste buds like no other ingredient. You can use them in pasta, salad, or pesto in a pinch.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace pistachios for pine nuts. However, adding some extra pistachios according to your taste is of no harm.
The hazelnuts you love in your chocolates work wonders as a pine nuts substitute in various dishes. Popular in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines they have a sugary and nutty flavor.
Hazelnuts can be satisfactorily used in cakes, cookies, salads, or pesto. Consider using peeled roasted hazelnuts, as their skin has bitter undertones. These nuts have a powerful flavor, hence their quantity used must be accordingly adjusted.
How to substitute: Begin by adding half the quantity of hazelnuts called for in your recipe. Further, increase the amount according to your taste and preference.
7. Macadamia Nuts
The lip-smacking taste of macadamia nuts makes them the most craved ingredient all over the world. Though they are not an ideal alternative to be found in your kitchen, you must try them if you are lucky enough to have them in your hand.
Macadamia nuts have a rich, creamy, and sugary flavor that goes well with mint, cookies, parsley, salad dressings, ice cream, and baked goods. Besides, they contain antioxidants and good fat, making them a healthy alternative.
How to substitute: Half the amount of Macadamia nuts can satisfactorily substitute pine nuts in any recipe.
8. Pecan Nuts
Native to North America, pecan nuts are another efficient ingredient on the list of substitutes for pine nuts.
Though having a similar flavor and texture to pine nuts, it is an oily alternative. You must be cautious with the amount of oil used in your recipe when using pecans as a pine nut substitute.
The raw form of pecans goes perfectly well with ice creams and cookies. However, roasting them will further enhance their flavors.
How to substitute: Use an equal quantity of pecan nuts to replace pine nuts in any recipe.
9. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are the best if you wish to add a healthy twist to your dish. These large, round-shaped nuts with a creamy texture and rich flavors, serve as a great substitute for pine nuts.
However, chopping them before adding them to your recipe is mandatory since they have large sizes. Also, their high-fat content can easily turn them rancid. Hence, once the seal is open, it must be utilized as soon as possible.
How to substitute: Use an equal quantity of Brazil nuts to replace pine nuts in any recipe.
10. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are the first name that comes to mind when looking for a non-nut alternative to pine nuts. They are cheap and easily available substitutes that provide a similar flavor and texture to your dish.
However, you must be cautious while using them in pesto as their gray color might alter the appearance of your sauce. They can be efficiently used in baking and salads.
Also, sunflower seeds are rich in minerals and vitamins like vitamin E and magnesium. Though they do not contain as many nutrients as pine nuts, they remain a good choice.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace sunflower seeds for pine nuts.
11. Pumpkin Seeds
If you are looking for a cheaper substitute for pine nuts, consider using pumpkin seeds. These seeds have a high oil quantity that provides your dish with a similar texture as pine nuts, making them an ideal substitute.
You can use pumpkin seeds in both roasted and raw form. Their nutty texture satisfies your palate when consumed in desserts or salads. Rich in nutrients, they can work best for people with nut allergies.
How to substitute: Begin by adding half the quantity of pumpkin seeds called for in your recipe. Further, increase the amount according to your taste and preference.
12. Apricot Seeds
If you are looking for a pine nut substitute to be used in your desserts, apricot seeds might be your ideal ingredient. Though less commonly found in local supermarkets, they are famous for their lip-smacking flavors.
They have an almond shape with a rich sugary taste that works well with ice cream and desserts. You must avoid using them in pesto as they might leave your sauce with an excessively sweet flavor.
One of the added advantages of using apricot seeds is that they do not require any roasting and work best in raw form.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace Apricot seeds for pine nuts.
13. Sesame Seeds
If you are in a hurry and cannot afford to spend more time roasting a substitute that has to be added to the main dish, try using sesame seeds.
They are the most versatile alternative for pine nuts that can be best utilized in their raw form. Sesame seeds are a great addition to pasta, salads, and stir-fries.
They have an earthy flavor that goes well with both salty and sweet ingredients. Being an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, they also provide several health advantages.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace sesame seeds for pine nuts. However, adding some extra sesame seeds according to your taste is of no harm.
14. Hemp Seeds
Derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp seeds are another ingredient that can be used as a substitute for pine nuts.
Their nutty flavor gives your dish the perfect crunch, making you fall in love with them. If your recipe only demands the flavors of pine nut and not its crunchy and creamy texture, you can consider using hemp powder.
With a high quantity of nutrients and vital fatty acids, hemp seeds serve as a healthier alternative to pine nuts. They work well in various foods, including pasta, salads, and pesto.
How to substitute: Use an equal quantity of Hemp seeds to replace pine nuts in any recipe.
15. Edamame Beans
Though edamame might sound like a distant alternative to pine nuts, it works fairly well. It has a crunchy and sugary taste that resembles the rich flavors of pine nuts, making it a fantastic substitute.
Also known as green soybeans, edamame tastes best when roasted. They can be used in salads, pasta, and baked dishes. However, it is not the ideal replacement for desserts and sauces.
How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace edamame beans for pine nuts.
For all the people struggling to complete their recipe that calls for pine nuts, here you have your best alternatives. These substitutes for pine nuts will not let you compromise on the creamy richness that your palate has been craving.