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17 Best Pine Nut Substitutes That Will Perfectly Flavor Your Dishes 

Pine nuts are ranked number 2 in the world as the most expensive nuts with number one being macadamia nuts. With the high prices of pine nuts you might want to know the great alternatives that will work perfectly in your recipe.  

First pine nuts are popular because of their rich and buttery texture and their bold flavor. They are wonderful in desserts and work perfectly on savory recipes. Pine nuts are special and when used in any dish they really stand out. 

Most existing nuts and seeds are ideal pine nut substitutes but there are others which work better than others especially when preparing pesto. 

So don’t worry when you find your kitchen  lacking pine nuts because there are amazing substitutes that are probably already available in your kitchen to make your dishes complete  as substitutes. 

Nutritional Table

RecipesCalories Per Serving
Sunflower Seeds584
White Beans67
Brazil Nuts656
Sesame Seeds573
Pumpkin Seeds446
Hemp Seeds166
Nut Mixes607

Best Pine Nut Substitutes

The top pine nut substitutes are as follows: 

1. Cashews 


Cashews look like pine nuts in color, texture and taste. They can be used as a substitute in any  recipe that requires  pine nut substitutes. Consider using unsalted versions whether raw or roasted and if you want that extra flavor depth consider  toasting them. 

How To Substitute

The cashews taste wonderfully in pesto and other sauces and can be used as amazing topping to salads.

When toasting cashew nuts don’t leave them too long on the stove, maximum should be 5 minutes. When the cashews turn brown, get them off the stove and serve them as you wish. When these cashews are toasted you could actually mistake them for pine nuts.

2. Pistachios


Pistachios have a strong flavor and sweet taste making them a great pine nut substitute.  They have this natural green color which is responsible for the special hue of the summery pesto.  

Pistachios are costly but not as costly as some pine substitutes. Their taste is delightful and some might conclude that pistachios taste better than pine nuts in  many recipes. The great thing is that they can be eaten plain as well. 

How To Substitute

Get peeled pistachios to give you an easy time because it can be tricky getting the wood shield off. Remember that pistachios will not have the same taste as pine nuts but they will taste heavenly when in other dishes.

Use your pistachios as substitutes in salads, on pasta, pesto or eat them plain.  However, using them in other dishes that require pine nuts is also advisable.

3. Almonds 


Almonds have a milder flavor than pine nuts, but they work beautifully. They are actually  easier to use than cashews and they don’t need chopping because to remove their skins you only need to soak them overnight.  

They are a great alternative to pine nuts and they are about the same size as pine nuts.  

How To Substitute

First you need to soak the almonds overnight to remove their skins. Toast the almonds to enhance their flavor. You can take the roasted almonds as snacks and  if you love the flavor, your kitchen will never miss almonds.

You will only need to toast your almonds for 3 minutes in a frying pan to avoid them getting burned.  You can use almonds in not just pesto or pasta or salads.

4. Walnuts


The walnuts have this thin brown skin which is bitter in taste. Walnut are great substitutes for pine nuts in most recipes and they are quite affordable.

The Italian walnuts are the commonly preferred nuts as substitutes to walnuts even when their flavor is a bit different from pine nuts. They still work beautifully in most recipes. 

How To Substitute

You can toast  walnuts  then cool them to successfully remove their bitter skins. To achieve that creamier and softer consistency, soak your walnuts overnight before using them. 

Use your ready walnuts in pesto, pasta, salads and even in baked goods like cookies. But if you want to have the best-tasting walnuts consider roasting  them so their peels can be off because if you eat them raw they will taste sour. Chopping your walnuts into smaller pieces is advisable before using them in recipes. 

5. Hazelnuts 


Just like the walnuts, the hazelnuts skins have a bitter taste.  These nuts have a strong  flavor and they are amazing alternatives to pine nuts when used in desserts especially chocolate desserts

Hazelnuts are commonly used in salads; their flavor will be felt  in the entire dish.  You can use them in  cookies and pesto. The nuts are commonly used in Italian and Mediterranean dishes and they have this sweet but earthly taste. 

How To Substitute

When using hazelnuts, you don’t have to toast them, you can take them as they are. But, toasting them makes them tastier but remember to slice them into the right pieces to fit them into your dish. 

6. Pecans 


The pecans are a kind of oily nut that  tastes the same way as pine nuts and it offers a wonderful flavor to various dishes. They are commonly used in North American cuisines. 

This alternative is sweeter than pine nuts and even less costly making them so budget-friendly if you can’t afford pine nuts at the moment but still want to add flavor to your cooking. The pecans are an excellent substitute in most pine nut recipes.  

How To Substitute

They can be toasted to create this robust flavor before being used in any dish as a substitute.

You can use the pecans as part of the crust ingredients for pies or meats, in salads, pesto and many other dishes that require the use of pine nuts.

7. Macadamia


Macadamia nuts are tasty and will make an amazing addition to any of your recipes and pricier than pine nuts. They are a great alternative to pine nuts and one of the tastiest nuts globally. 

So if you have a stash of macadamia in your pantry and happen to have run of pine nuts, don’t sweat it because macadamia nuts will do just fine in bringing out that creamy and battery taste along with the robust nut flavor. 

How To Substitute

You can use macadamia nuts in place of  pine nuts when preparing pesto and especially when using parsley and mint during  the preparations.  The blend of those flavors will simply taste magical.

The buttery and sweet favor of macadamia nuts will never disappoint when used in any dish from the baked dishes to desserts like ice cream.

8. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

These are an inexpensive alternative to pine nuts.  They might dull the general color when making pesto but they will still serve their purpose as substitutes. They are a popular nut-free option that has a great flavor and texture that is actually similar to pine nuts. 

As per nutritional value the sunflower seeds are a great source of  minerals and vitamins such as selenium, vitamin E and magnesium. They are a healthy option and can be used in various dishes. 

How To Substitute

First get the sunflower seeds from their shells before using them in any dishes. You can use these seeds in your pesto, baking and salads. This is the best  choice if you want a nut-free alternative that is also healthy.

9. White Beans 

White Beans

White beans are a fantastic substitute for  pine nuts in various dishes. They have the same creaminess  which makes them perfect for various dishes. 

The white beans might lack that crunch and texture common in pine nuts but they remain the ideal nut-free substitute. If you or any of your guests have nut allergies, then this is a great and inexpensive substitute for  pine nuts that you would have put in your  dish. 

How To Substitute

White bean are perfect for adding into pestos, dips and sauces. When using white beans, begin with a small amount and keep adding gradually until satisfied.  This will ensure that your  dish has just the right texture and creaminess.

Also, you must cook the beans the right way to prevent them from turning mushy.  With your white beans and a little creativity, you can create the most delicious dish but with white beans instead of pine nuts. 

10. Edamame 


If you are looking for a substitute for pine nuts  that offers both nutrition and texture, edamame meets  those requirements. These are green soybeans that are common as a healthy snack and an excellent  substitute for pine nuts in various recipes. 

Edamame  have a different flavor from the pine nuts but they still serve their purpose well. 

They offer a similar consistency and with edamame being a great source of protein, vitamins and fiber it is a healthier option compared to pine nuts.  

Edamame can be cooked or  roasted  and either way it becomes  a great substitute especially when making  presto or salad topping and any other relevant dishes. 

How To Substitute

When using edamame as a substitute, it is advisable to cool them first to help soften the beans. The soft beans make it easier for them to blend well with the other ingredients within the recipe.

11. Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nuts

These are large nuts with  this meaty texture that is similar to a coconut. Brazil nuts are amazing substitutes for pine nuts in any recipe because of their strong and buttery flavor. They are large nuts which are also round and have a flavor and texture that is similar to pine nuts. 

As for their nutritional value these nuts are rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.  They have low calories and carbs.  

How To Substitute

During substitution consider chopping these nuts or grounding them before you use them because they are larger. Thanks to their high-fat content, these nuts could go rancid quickly which is why you must use them no more than a few days after you open them. 

Their strong flavor and buttery texture makes them the ideal substitute for pine nuts in many recipes 

12. Peanuts 

Pine Nut Substitutes

Peanuts usually replace almost every type of nut because they are not only delicious but also very  cheap and always available in most food markets.  It is an easier option to use instead of pine nuts and you will like their strong buttery flavor which automatically enriches the taste of most dishes.  

How To Substitute

When substituting you can use the peanuts either raw or roasted and both options are readily available in most food markets. Peanuts  are usually not the best pine nut substitute especially  when preparing pesto, but because of their strong flavor, consider using them when baking cookies, salad and your stir-fried dishes. 

13. Sesame Seeds 

Pine Nut Substitutes

Sesame seeds are delicious and a versatile ingredient that you can use as a substitute for pine nuts in various dishes.  They have an earthy flavor which blends perfectly with both  sweet and savory flavors and this makes them perfect  for using in salads, stir-fries, pasta and more.  

Apart from their delicious flavor, sesame seeds will also offer you certain health benefits. They have high levels of vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants beneficial in your body. This makes them ideal options. 

Sesame seeds are also beneficial when it comes to improving  body circulation, boosting immunity and lowering cholesterol levels. This is a tasty and nutritious substitute in one. 

How To Substitute

You can use sesame seeds in various ways such as sprinkling it on top of salads, soups or stir-fries. You could toast the sesame seeds and make them crunchier to enhance their flavor.  Use sesame seeds in marinades or salad dressing to add that special and nutty flavor.

You could also add ground sesame seeds into your smoothies or yogurt, add them to your bread, muffins or batter before baking for that rich and nutty flavor in your baked goodies. 

14. Pumpkin Seeds 

Pine Nut Substitutes

Pumpkins are an affordable option if you need a great pine nut replacement. Just like pine nuts, the pumpkin seeds are known for their high oil content that gives them a similar texture.

Nutritionwise, pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals  which also makes them a healthy option. Many dishes can use pumpkin seeds in place of pine nuts and the result is always  delicious. 

How To Substitute

When using pumpkin seeds in place of pine nuts, you can not only use them in making pesto but you could use them as a crust for meat or fish.

The crushed pumpkin seeds have this crunchy and strong flavor that does absolutely marvelous things to your meats. You can also add it to your baked goods or  garnish your soups with it. 

15. Hemp Seeds

Pine Nut Substitutes

The cannabis sativa plant is the source of hemp seeds but they will not get you high because they don’t have THC. These nutty-tasting seeds are a wonderful substitute for pine nuts in various recipes. 

They are a rich source of protein and essential fatty acids. They  not only make that wonderful crunch but are a source of essential nutrients. 

When you replace them with pine nuts in your recipes, you will still get that nutty flavor in your dishes  without having to spend  as much as you would when buying  pine nuts. 

It is always important to remember that  hemp seeds are not perfect  when preparing pesto because they fail to break down when they are blended. However, you can use them in many other dishes in place of pine nuts  because they still pack a strong  nutty flavor that enhances the taste of most dishes. 

How To Substitute

You can consider sprinkling the hemp seeds into smoothies, cereal, yogurts or salads. Hemp seeds don’t need any advance preparation and their flavor alone is milder than pine nuts but works perfectly in savory foods.

You can also use them in any baked goods like banana bread, pumpkin bread, oatmeal cookies and many others.

16. Nut Mixes 

Pine Nut Substitutes

Most food markets will have all kinds of nut mixes. Some of these mixes feature pine nuts in them as well which makes them ideal for cookies, salads and ice cream. 

They are a rich source of nutrients because the different types of nuts have various minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential to the body. 

How To Substitute

Even when your  nut mixes don’t contain pine nuts they can still be perfect when used on your cookies, ice cream and salads. These mixes are usually already prepared and ready for consumption so no need for cooking them. 

You can add them to your savory dishes  as they are or ground them when required.But, don’t use the nut mixes for pesto because the result will be too many flavors which might not exactly  be impressive. 

17. Apricots  

Pine Nut Substitutes

Apricot seeds are  not common but when you find them and use them as substitutes for pine nuts, they are very tasty and will never disappoint.  

They have a strong resemblance to almonds but they are not the same.  Apricots have this sweet and delicious taste that doesn’t require roasting because they taste better when used raw. 

They are a delicious fruit with nutritional content like fiber, vitamins and antioxidants which are all essential in improved eye, gut and skin health. 

How To Substitute

Apricots can be used in  various types of recipes except pesto because their flavor  has this too-sweet taste in the end. Apricot seeds taste great when added to ice cream, salads and various desserts because of their earthly and sweet flavor.

You can also add them to main meals to enhance the taste. You can either use them when they are fresh and dried because they will never disappoint.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why Are Pine Nuts Expensive? 

First extracting the nuts from their plant is labor-intensive and this automatically makes them pricey. 

Pine nuts also have this unique flavor that is not present in most nuts which is why it features heavily in various traditional recipes.  The health benefits of pine nuts also make them costly with one kg  going up to and beyond $117 

Which Is The Best Pine Nuts Substitute? 

The best pine nut substitute whose flavor comes close is cashews.  Cashews have this soft texture and sweet and strong flavor that comes close to pine nuts.  

For best use, chop your cashews into the size of pine nuts to make it easier to add them to your savory meals or baked goods. 

Do The Best Pine Nut Substitutes Always Have To Be Nuts? 

There are pine nut substitutes that are not nuts. There are seeds like sesame and hemp and fruits like apricots which will work wonderfully as substitutes for pine nuts. This is why the replacements are not limited to nuts. 

17 Best Pine Nut Substitutes That Will Perfectly Flavor Your Dishes 

Pine nut substitutes are a great way to enjoy the flavors of pine nuts without the hassle of cracking open a pine nut. Perfect to enjoy!


  • Cashews

  • Pistachios

  • Almonds

  • Walnuts

  • Pecans

  • Macadamia

  • Sunflower Seeds

  • White Beans

  • Edamame

  • Brazil Nuts

  • Peanuts

  • Sesame Seeds

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Hemp Seeds

  • Nut Mixes


  • Pick any substitute you prefer from the lists above.
  • Follow the recipe instructions for your preferred substitute and use the proper ratio required while cooking.

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

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Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

Your article helped me a lot, is there any more related content? Thanks!


Tuesday 1st of August 2023

Your article helped me a lot, is there any more related content? Thanks!