Substitute for Pine Nuts

Best Substitues For Pine Nuts

Did you know that pine nuts are the second most expensive kind of nuts in the world? 

It’s true. Just a few ounces of pine nuts can make your irresistible dish of summer pesto mighty expensive. 

If you’re looking for the perfect substitute for pine nuts, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll take a look at three alternatives that work just as well in pesto, crostini, and other popular recipes.

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What Do Pine Nuts Taste Like?

Pine nuts are harvested from pine trees. There are roughly 20 different types of pine trees that can give us pine nuts. 

Across all varieties, pine nuts are nutty and carry a hint of sweetness. They’re also slightly bitter if left out for too long. This is due to the high content of natural oils in the seeds.

You can obtain a milder resinous flavor by storing the nuts in the freezer. This will prevent the natural oils from turning rancid.

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Other words that are used to describe the taste of pines are

  • nutty flavor
  • sweet flavor
  • buttery flavor
  • richer flavor than ordinary nuts
Pistachios are an extremely good alternative for Pine nuts
Pistachios are an extremely good alternative for Pine nuts

Best 14 Substitutes for Pine Nuts in 2024

If you’re looking for an exciting substitute for pine nuts, there’s a long list of nuts and seeds that can do the trick. However, we’ve handpicked three types of nuts that fit perfectly in most Italian and Mediterranean recipes.


Pistachios are an extremely popular substitute for pine nuts. The flavors are somewhat different, but they’re both considered ambidextrous nuts. 

This means that pistachios are suitable for sweet dishes and savory preparations. They’re a bit sweeter than pine nuts and stronger in flavor; ideal for pesto, salad, and pasta. 


Walnuts might not work for some sweet dishes, but it’s perfect for pesto and other savory recipes. 

Even a bitter pine nut will taste nice compared to a walnut. Fortunately, the bitterness is balanced out by a soft and creamy consistency. All you need to do is toast the walnuts, soak them in water for 24 hours, and peel their skins.

If you’re looking for a more intense flavor in the savory dishes, walnuts will surprise you with the results. Walnuts can’t pull off a lot of sweet dishes. However, candied walnuts take about five minutes to prepare, and they taste absolutely delicious!


Hazelnuts are more balanced, subtle nuts. They can be just bitter as walnuts, but thankfully, the bitterness is mostly in the skins. Peel off the skin and you’ll get a smooth, subtle flavor.

You can use hazelnuts in sweet and sour preparations. Similar to walnuts, you should toast them, soak them in water, and peel off the skin. 

Roasted hazelnuts are more aromatic, making them a mouth-watering substitute in most sweet recipes.

Can  I use Hazelnuts as a Substitute for Pine Nuts
Can I use Hazelnuts as a Substitute for Pine Nuts


Furthermore, cashews are one of the best substitutes for pine nuts. Cashews have a similar texture and aroma to pine nuts, which makes them perfect for pesto and other savory dishes.

In fact, cashews are often used in Asian cuisines because of their unique flavor. If you want to try something new, add a handful of cashews into your favorite recipe. You won’t regret it!


Moreover, almonds are another great alternative for pine nuts. Almond kernels are smaller than pine nuts, so you’ll need less of them to achieve the same effect.

The almond kernel is also softer and creamier than pine nuts. It’s easier to digest and has a much better flavor.

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden brown. Then, remove the skins and grind them up.

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Other alternatives to Pine nuts you can consider are

  • Macadamia
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Macadamia
  • Brazil Nut
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds

What can you use instead of pine nuts in pesto?

Pine nuts are delicious, but Instead of pine nuts, try using sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, or pumpkin seeds. These types of seeds provide healthy fats and protein for your pesto recipe.

Wrapping Up

Pine nuts are renowned for their buttery flavor with a touch of sweetness. However, they’re not for everyone.

If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative or simply dislike the flavor, consider pistachios, walnuts, or hazelnuts.

These substitutes offer the same nutty flavor with rich undertones. They’ll also cost you considerably less and work just as well in pesto, salads, and much more!