Best Substitutes For Pine Nuts

Pine nuts have a sweet yet subtle taste and are said to be the fanciest of all nuts. The reason for this is due to their higher price tag. Fortunately, you can find cheaper alternatives that aren’t nearly as expensive as pine nuts.


As such, you can enjoy your most-loved recipes without breaking the bank. To help you with this, we compiled our top picks for pine nut substitutes. So instead of scouring the internet to find a suitable replacement, you can find them all right here.

Feel free to use these substitutes in your recipes that call for pine nuts. Not only will you get similar results, but you will save money, too.

What Are Pine Nuts?

Today, pine nuts are an essential ingredient in the culinary arts because they may be used in everything from appetizers to desserts. Moreover, pine nuts taste great, with flavors ranging from sour to sweet. These crunchy and buttery nuts are harvested from the female cones that grow on pine trees.

There are two types of pine nuts on the market: Chinese and Italian. But because so much work is involved in harvesting these two varieties, the price of just a pound of pine nuts runs between $60 and $120.

Interestingly, pine nuts produce an odd sensation among many people who eat them. Known as Pine Nut Syndrome, people can experience taste disorders after consuming pine nuts. It is believed that the metallic and bitter taste can last anywhere from just a couple of days to several weeks. Thankfully, this effect isn’t permanent.

Since there is no known remedy for this anomaly, most people prefer to use substitutes. So whether it’s to avoid paying the high price of pine nuts or experiencing Pine Nut Syndrome, we have the best substitutes for your consideration.

Best Pine Nut Substitutes


Often considered a good alternative to pine nuts, almonds have a similar texture that will serve you well on your cooking efforts. The taste of almonds, however, is much more subtle compared to pine nuts. This rich texture and flavor work well in many desserts. Roasted almonds tend to enhance the flavor.


Although they may have a slightly bitter taste compared to almonds, walnuts may be a viable alternative to replacing pine nuts in dishes. Roasting walnuts and removing their skin serves to reduce the bitter taste. Chop, crush, or pound walnuts and put them in your favorite recipes instead of pine nuts and enjoy an excellent substitute that is far more affordable.


When you prepare pesto, pistachios are easily the most suitable alternative to pine nuts. Moreover, pistachios highlight the green in pesto while giving it a sweeter flavor. If you want to balance the sweetness of pistachios, add a little parsley to your recipe. Plus, this sweet green nut can definitely beautify your dishes, as they help add color and appeal thanks to their green characteristics.


Pecans are sweeter and milder than walnuts, so they are favored by many people. They can also replace pine nuts in different types of breads and various desserts. Baking them according to your needs will ensure that your dishes are more enjoyable.


Although not as common as walnuts or pistachios, hazelnuts work well in replacing pine nuts. Trying hazelnuts in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines will bring you great rewards.

What’s more, hazelnuts blend in nicely with chocolate. And to give your salads a tasty sweet crunch, simply top them with chopped hazelnuts.


Perhaps the cheapest alternatives to pine nuts, peanuts are definitely more affordable. Feel free to use honey-roasted or unsalted peanuts to inject a pleasant flavor to recipes and dishes. However, if you have a peanut allergy, it is best to avoid them and opt for something else.

We recommend trying almonds, as you can make many recipes with them, and you don’t have to worry about the consequences that peanuts would present.


Macadamias are another good choice. However, it’s worth pointing out that they might not be a whole lot cheaper compared to the cost of pine nuts. If you’re making pesto with macadamias, adding parsley and mint will do wonders for your recipe. Macadamia has a stronger flavor compared to pine nuts. Macadamias are easy to add to desserts and candies.


Cashews are considered a close substitute for pine nuts. What’s more, if you purchase cashew pieces, it’s cheaper than if you were to buy whole cashews. Also, roasting cashews nuts will increase their flavor. You can try mixing cashew nuts with raisins and lemon zest to get a unique sweet and salty taste in various dishes.

Sunflower Seeds

If you need a nut-free alternative, sunflower seeds make a great choice. Thanks to these seeds, you can easily add crunchiness to your salads, sauces, and many other dishes. Keep in mind, however, that sunflower seeds may also make food appear gray. In pesto, for example, these seeds may water down the green expected in the preparation of pesto.

Sesame Seeds

Although rarely used, sesame seeds are sometimes used as a substitute for pine nuts. You may use them in desserts, sauces, and salads. The crispness of roasted or fried sesame seeds complements the food perfectly.

Pumpkin Seeds

There are many recipes that can use these seeds in place of pine nuts. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of minerals and protein. So if you are allergic to nuts, pumpkin seeds will serve you well as a viable replacement.

Are Pine Nuts a Good Choice for Vegans?

Absolutely. Unfortunately, Pine Nut Syndrome is a very real thing that you should be aware of before using them in your recipes. For this reason alone, many people turn to alternatives. Not only will you avoid the risk of having a metallic taste in your mouth, but you will also save money when you opt for a substitute.

We have many other tasty substitutes to share with you, so be sure to check out the rest of our suggestions here.

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