If you’re making a recipe that calls for pine nuts but you’re all out, or simply looking for a lower cost alternative, there are a number of great substitutes you can use no matter what you’re making.
And just in case you can’t eat nuts, you will also find great nut free alternatives for pine nuts.
Pine nuts provide a wonderful flavor and crunch that can be used in all sorts of recipes. In fact, pine nuts are called for in savory dinner dishes, sweet desserts, and even breakfast recipes.
But, pine nuts are also one of the most expensive types of nuts around. So if the cost is prohibitive, or you just want something that is easier to find at the grocery store, you have a number of options.
So what are the best substitutes for pine nuts?
The top pine nut alternatives are cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Make sure to read on to learn how to use these alternatives in your particular recipe.
Pine Nut Alternatives
Whether you are making a sweet dessert or savory main dish, pine nuts provide a wonderful, earthy flavor. Pine nuts are an incredibly versatile type of nut and if you are in need of a replacement, it’s important to choose an ingredient that provides a similar flavor and texture.
While it’s possible to simply omit pine nuts from most recipes, you may find that the finished flavor is lacking. And while some of the substitutes below are not quite as decadent as pine nuts, they provide a much better flavor and texture than using no substitute at all.
Cashews are one of my all around favorite culinary nuts. They provide a wonderful earthy and buttery flavor that works in almost any recipe that calls for pine nuts.
Cashews are much more affordable than pine nuts and are stocked at most grocery stores making them a great all around pine nut replacement.
They can be used whole or crushed. Simply use them as your recipe calls for pine nuts.
Related Recipe: Cashew nougat snowball cookies
Equivalent1 cup of cashews equals 1 cup of pine nuts
Another popular nut that you can use instead of pine nuts in any recipe is almonds. They provide a wonderful crunch that works in sweet and savory dishes.
The flavor is less strong, but the earthiness is similar to pine nuts. Almonds work best whole, but can be crushed if your recipe calls for it.
Equivalent1 cup of almonds equals 1 cup of pine nuts
Hazelnuts have a buttery flavor with sweet notes that make it an ideal pine substitute in sweet recipes. But it can also be used in savory recipes.
Hazelnut is one of the most popular flavors for baked goods and they are readily available at most grocery stores.
You can use hazelnuts whole or crushed and no other changes to your recipe are needed.
Related: Hazelnut alternatives
Equivalent1 cup of hazelnuts equals 1 cup of pine nuts
With a subtle flavor, pecans are a versatile option that can be used in any recipe that calls for pine nuts. They taste wonderful in savory dishes while offering a nice earthy flavor that goes great in sweet dishes.
Pecans are also much more affordable than pine nuts, so it’s a great option for those looking to stretch their grocery budget.
Related: Pecan replacements
Equivalent1 cup of pecans equals 1 cup of pine nuts
If you are looking for the most economical substitute for pine nuts, then peanuts are the way to go. They are generally the cheapest nut and they can be used in place of pine nuts in any recipe.
They provide a wonderful crunch while providing a nutty flavor that works in sweet or savory dishes. Use them whole or crushed. No other recipe changes are needed.
Equivalent1 cup of peanuts equals 1 cup of pine nuts
If you are looking for a wonderful flavor alternative for pine nuts then you can’t go wrong with pistachios. These wonderful little nuts provide a flavor that works in all types of recipes.
They provide an earthy flavor with subtle sweet notes that make them quite versatile. While pricier than other options on this list, they are still much more affordable than pine nuts.
Equivalent1 cup of pistachios equals 1 cup of pine nuts
If you need a nut free substitute for pine nuts then pumpkin seeds are a great option. They offer a great earthy flavor and crunch that works in any recipe that calls for pine nuts.
I particularly like using pumpkin seeds in recipes that call for pine nuts to be sprinkled on to finish a dish, but you can use them in just about any type of recipe.
Equivalent2/3 cup of pumpkin seeds equals 1 cup of pine nuts
Another great substitute for pine nuts for those who can’t eat nuts are sunflower seeds. They are quite affordable and can be found at any grocery store.
They have a subtle flavor and nice crunch that works in any type of recipe. Make sure to get unflavored sunflower seeds when replacing pine nuts.
Equivalent1 cup of sunflower seeds equals 1 cup of pine nuts
Pine Nut Replacement FAQ
What is a good substitute for pine nuts in pesto?
When making pesto without pine nuts, good alternatives include cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
These ingredients will provide a similar flavor and texture and can be used at a 1:1 ratio.
What is a good substitute for pine nuts in pasta?
Pasta dishes can be made using walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Use a 1:1 ratio when subbing for pine nuts with these ingredients and make no other changes to your recipe.
What is a good substitute for pine nuts in salad?
Salads can be topped with walnuts, almond slivers, pecans, hazelnuts, or pistachios. If you need a nut free alternative for pine nuts, use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds.
What is a good substitute for pine nuts in meatballs?
When making meatballs without pine nuts you can either leave them out or replace them with pecans, pistachio, almonds or sunflower seeds.