Home Substitutes 10 Best Substitutes for Pine Nuts (+ Nut-Free Options)

10 Best Substitutes for Pine Nuts (+ Nut-Free Options)

Craving pesto but you’re all out of pine nuts? No worries, I’ve collected a list of the best substitutes for pine nuts.

That way, you don’t have to run to the store mid-recipe.

Organic Pine Nuts in a Wooden Spoon
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Pine nuts are seeds that come from the cones of Pinyon pine trees.

They have a mild, nutty flavor that’s quite delectable. And they’re most often used in making pesto

But you can use them in a myriad of ways. For example, they’re a great addition to salads, yogurt, meats, veggies, and hummus.  

Unfortunately, pine nuts can be hard to find, and they’re pretty pricey.

That’s where these substitutes come in!   

What Are the Best Substitutes for Pine Nuts?

The best substitutes for pine nuts depend on how the pine nut is used. And whether or not you have a nut allergy, of course.

With that in mind, I’ve got a few options, from nuts to seeds. 

Some of these pine nut substitutes are better for foods like parfaits or smoothies.

And some are better for pesto, pasta, meat, and sauces. I’ll let you know below. 

A Bowl of Raw Organic Pumpkin Seeds in a White Bowl

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are the second-best non-nut choice for substitution.

They’re incredibly versatile and taste great raw, roasted, and salted. 

Truly, you can use pepitas in any form to replace pine nuts.

However, I like them best roasted. I think they taste the most like pine nuts when they’re nice and toasty.

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Note: If you are using pumpkin seeds, they have a fairly high oil content.

So, if you want to use them in pesto, you need to pay attention to consistency. 

And you may need to reduce your olive oil. 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute pumpkin seeds for pine nuts in a 1:2 ratio. For example, 1/2 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Heap of Almond Nuts on a Wooden Spoon

2. Almonds

Did you know almonds are actually a type of seed? I’ll be honest, I just learned myself.

But now, we both have a fun new trivia fact! 

And toasted almonds are a very good replacement for pine nuts, especially if they’re slivered or sliced. 

Since almonds have a buttery, sweet taste, they can mimic the taste of pine nuts.

Almonds work pretty well in pesto and they’re great on salads, yogurt, and smoothie bowls

Substitution Ratio: Substitute almonds for pine nuts in a 1:1 ratio. For example, 1 tablespoon of almonds= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

A Heap of Pistachios on a Wooden Bowl

3. Pistachios

With their slightly sweet and piney flavor, pistachios are a great substitute for pine nuts!

Pistachios are great for numerous reasons. Obviously, they taste great, as mentioned. 

But also, they are much more budget-friendly than pine nuts. You can get them at stores throughout the United States. 

And they are also very creamy, which makes them ideal for pesto and other sauces.

And we all know that pistachios are amazing in desserts and with breakfast. 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute pistachios for pine nuts in a 1:1 ratio. For example, 1 tablespoon of pistachios = 1 tablespoon of pine nuts. 

Walnuts in a Wooden Bowl

4. Walnuts

Walnuts are a wonderful option! They’re already used in many of the same ways as pine nuts.

So it’s not a big stretch to use them as a substitute. 

Flavorwise, walnuts are earthy and rich. But they have a hint of bitterness that pine nuts do not have.

This should not stop you from using them, but it’s good to be aware. 

Your dish will still taste great, just not exactly the same. And that’s okay!

Walnuts are best in dishes where pine nuts are the accompaniment. They’re great in salads, pasta, desserts, and parfaits.

Though, they do also make pretty yummy pesto! 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute walnuts for pine nuts in a 1:2 ratio. For example, 1/2 tablespoon of walnuts= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Bunch of Hazelnuts on a Wooden Table

5. Hazelnuts

Obviously, hazelnuts lean to the sweet side of things, and that’s why they’re a great choice to replace pine nuts. 

Pine nuts also have a slightly sweet flavor.

However, hazelnuts have a much stronger flavor. You want to use them in smaller quantities.

Hazelnuts can make a really tasty pesto. But they work best in bread, yogurts, smoothies, and desserts. 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute hazelnuts for pine nuts in a 1:2 ratio. For example, 1/2 tablespoon of hazelnuts= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Heap of Cashews in a Wooden Bowl

6. Cashews

Chopped and toasted cashews are the best substitute for pine nuts.

That’s because they share many of the same qualities. 

They both have a mild, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor.

And they have a high oil and fat content, so they’re super creamy, which makes them ideal for pesto. 

But they are also fantastic with chicken, granola, yogurt, and in smoothies.

Anywhere you use a pine nut, you can use cashews. 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute cashews for pine nuts in a 3:2 ratio. For example, 1 1/2 tablespoons of cashews = 1 tablespoon of pine nuts. 

pecans

7. Pecans

A Southern favorite, pecans make one tasty pine nut substitute.

Pecans are slightly sweet with a cream consistency, similar to pine nuts. And that’s why they work!

They’re great whether they’re roasted or raw. Because of their consistency, pecans make delectable pesto.

And you can’t argue that they’re delicious in desserts! 

Pecans are surprisingly delicious with meat, You can use pecans in pretty much any dish you’d use pine nuts. 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute pecans for pine nuts in a 3:3 ratio. For example, 3/4 tablespoons of pecans= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Bunch of Sunflower Seeds on a Wooden  Spoon

8. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are an outstanding substitute for pine nuts.

Honestly, they’re the best choice. They pretty much match pine nuts in both flavor and texture. 

You can use them in all of the same dishes.

Just note that if you use them in pesto, it might not be as vibrantly hued. 

Substitution Ratio: Substitute sunflower seeds for pine nuts in a 1:1 ratio. For example, 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Heap of Salted Macadamia Nuts on a Wooden Spoon

9. Macadamia Nuts

Tropical macadamia nuts are an excellent choice to replace pine nuts in pesto.

They’re wonderfully creamy, so your pesto will be extra creamy. But their sweet, buttery flavor also works in many other dishes you’d use pine nuts.

Use macadamia nuts to make a crust for fish or chicken. Or add them to a salad for a wonderful crunch.

Macadamia nuts also taste amazing in most desserts – like my famous white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Substitution Ratio: Substitute macadamia nuts for pine nuts in a 1:1 ratio. For example, 1 tablespoon of macadamia nuts= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

Sesame Seeds in a Wooden Scooper

10. Sesame Seeds

This is the only substitution that won’t really work for pesto.

But sesame seeds have a really nutty flavor that will enhance many dishes! 

Sesame seeds are delicious in salads and sauces. They work well with meat, and they’re even quite yummy in desserts!

Substitution Ratio: Substitute sesame seeds for pine nuts in a 2:1 ratio. For example, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds= 1 tablespoon of pine nuts.

10 Best Substitutes for Pine Nuts (+ Nut-Free Options)

Let’s take a look at the best substitutes for pine nuts around! From pumpkin seeds to walnuts to cashews, each one will work in a pinch.

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Almonds

  • Pistachios

  • Walnuts

  • Hazelnuts

  • Cashews

  • Pecans

  • Sunflower Seeds

  • Macadamia Nuts

  • Sesame Seeds

Instructions

  • Select your favorite pine nut substitute.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Substitutes for Pine Nuts

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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