10 Best Substitutes for Walnuts with Ratios & How to Use the Alternatives

Walnuts are a tasty and nutritious addition to many recipes. Their earthy flavor and crunch make them a popular ingredient in baked goods, salads, and snack mixes.

However, if you’re allergic to nuts or simply don’t like the taste of walnuts, you might be wondering what alternatives you can use instead.

Don’t worry- there are plenty of substitutes you can use! In this post, I’ll share 10 of the best substitutes for walnuts, along with ratios and tips on how to use them.

In short, " What can I use instead of walnuts?"

Pecans, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Cashews, Coconut flakes, Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts, Pine nuts.

What are walnuts, and what do walnuts taste like?

Walnuts are a type of tree nut that is increased in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants. They have a distinct flavor and crunchy texture.

The taste of walnuts can be described as earthy, creamy, sweet, and nutty, with an occasional hint of bitterness. 

They make great additions to salads, oatmeal, or desserts for added flavor and nutrition.

Uses of walnuts

Walnuts have been a popular choice for inclusion in many recipes, both sweet and savory.

In baking, walnuts can be used as a crunchy topping on muffins or bread, as well as an ingredient in cakes and cookies. 

They are also often added to pancakes and waffles for a nutty flavor. Walnuts can also be incorporated into salads, either by using chopped walnuts or by creating a walnut-based dressing.

Other savory dishes that contain walnuts include pasta primavera, roasted vegetable dishes, and stuffed mushrooms.

Walnuts are an extraordinary source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which makes them beneficial to your health.

Eating just 1/4 cup of walnuts each day provides you with approximately 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and over 20 vitamins and minerals like Vitamin E, B6 and magnesium.

Walnuts are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, cardiovascular disease and even cancer prevention. 

Studies have also indicated that eating walnuts can improve blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides which is important for maintaining heart health.

Where to buy walnuts?

If you are looking for where to buy walnuts, there are a few different places you can go. Many specialty food stores carry it, as do some international grocery stores

You can also order online from many retailers that provide a variety of diverse flavors and types of walnuts.

Best substitutes for walnuts with a ratio

1. Pecans – A good substitute for walnuts

pecans are good substitutes for walnuts

Pecans have a similar flavor and texture to walnuts, making them a perfect substitute in recipes like carrot cake or brownies. 

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace walnuts.

2. Almonds

Almonds are a versatile nut that can use in both sweet and savory recipes.

Ratio or measurement: If you're using almonds as a substitute for walnuts, chop them into small pieces to mimic the size of the walnuts. Use a 1:1 ratio.

Discover more: Best Almond butter substitutes

3. Try Hazelnuts in place walnuts

hazelnuts are nice alternates for walnuts

If you’re looking for a nut with a rich, buttery flavor, try hazelnuts. They’re especially delicious in chocolate recipes and add a nice crunch to salads.

Ratio or measurement: Swap walnuts for hazelnuts using a 1:1 ratio.

4. Sunflower seeds 

Sunflower seeds are a terrific nut-free substitute for walnuts. They’re also cheaper and easier to find in most grocery stores.

Ratio or measurement: Roast them for added flavor, then replace walnuts with sunflower seeds using a 1:1 ratio.

5. Pumpkin seeds – a great alternative to walnuts

pampkin seeds are great replacements for walnuts

Like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds are a great nut-free option. They have a little sweet, nutty flavor that works nicely in both sweet and savory recipes.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace walnuts.

6. Cashews

Cashews are another versatile nut that can be used in a variety of recipes. They have a buttery, creamy flavor that makes them a great addition to salads or as a topping for oatmeal.

Ratio or measurement: Replace walnuts with cashews using a 1:1 ratio.

7. Use Coconut flakes instead of walnuts

coconut flakes are nice walnuts substitutes

Toasted coconut flakes are a great substitute for walnuts in recipes like granola, snack mix, and oatmeal cookies. They add a sweet, nutty flavor and a nice crunch.

Ratio or measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing walnuts with coconut flakes.

8. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are another great substitute for walnuts. They have a rich, buttery flavor that’s quite unique.

Ratio or measurement: Use Brazil nuts in a 1:1 ratio, and chop them before adding them to your recipe.

They’re particularly great in savory dishes like salads and stir-fries.

9. Macadamia nuts – an ideal replacement for walnuts

macadamia nuts are good walnuts alternates

Macadamia nuts have a rich, buttery flavor that’s quite different from walnuts, but they’re still a good option.

Ratio or measurement: Use macadamia nuts in a 1:1 ratio, and chop them before adding them to your recipe.

They’re particularly great in baked goods like cookies and cakes.

10. Pine nuts

Pine nuts are another great substitute for walnuts. They have a mild, nutty flavor and a delicate texture that makes them perfect for pesto and other sauces.

Ratio or measurement: Use pine nuts in a 1:1 ratio, and toast them lightly before utilizing them in your recipe to bring out their flavor.

Explore more: Ideal Substitutes for Schmaltz

Tips on How to Choose the Most Suitable Substitution Option for Walnuts

When choosing a suitable substitution for melon seeds in cooking, consider the following factors:

1. Flavor Profile: Melon seeds have a subtle nutty flavor. Look for a substitute that can provide a similar taste, such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.

2. Texture: Melon seeds have a crunchy texture. Choose a substitute that can offer a similar crunchiness, like toasted or roasted nuts or seeds.

3. Size: Consider the size of the melon seeds in your recipe. If the seeds are used as a garnish or topping, choose a substitute with a similar size and appearance, such as sesame seeds or chopped nuts.

4. Allergies or Dietary Restrictions: Take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions. If you or someone you’re cooking for has a nut allergy, choose a seed-based substitute instead.

5. Nutritional Value: Melon seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Select a substitute that can provide similar nutritional benefits, such as other seeds or nuts.

6. Recipe Adaptation: Keep in mind that while a substitute may work well in some recipes, it might alter the flavor and outcome in others.

Consider how the substitute will interact with other ingredients in the recipe and be prepared to adjust or modify the recipe accordingly.

Ultimately, the best substitution for melon seeds will depend on the exact recipe and your personal preferences.

Feel free to experiment and adapt the recipe to suit your needs and desired flavor and texture.

Walnuts substitute in carrot cakes

Carrot cakes are typically made with walnuts, which provide a tasty crunch and nutty flavor.

However, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, there are plenty of other nuts you can substitute in your carrot cake recipe. 

Pecans are an excellent choice as they have similar tastes and textures to walnuts but contain more healthy fats.

Almonds and hazelnuts also work well in carrot cakes, bringing in different flavors and additional nutrients like protein and fiber.

Additionally, seeds like pumpkin or sunflower can be used to add texture and nutrition to the cake without the added fat from nuts.

Substitute for walnuts in pesto

Pine nuts are a popular substitute for walnuts in pesto. A favorite of Italian cuisine, pine nuts are small and have a delicate flavor that complements the basil and garlic nicely. 

Pine nuts are an extraordinary source of plant-based protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

They contain valuable antioxidants and fiber to help promote heart health and may even be beneficial to mental health.

Additionally, they provide a creamy texture to the pesto without overwhelming the other flavors.

alternatives to walnuts in a salad

One popular alternative to walnuts in salads is almonds. Almonds are a nutrient-dense snack that can provide many essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

They are increased in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus. Almonds also have a crunchy texture which makes them a great addition to salads.

Pecans are another nutritious nut that is often used as an alternative to walnuts in salads. Pecans are similar to walnuts in terms of their nutrient content but are slightly higher in fiber, copper, iron, and zinc.

Pecans also have a sweeter flavor than walnuts, which can bring an extra layer of flavor to salads.

Another great choice for adding crunch and nutrition to your salad is pumpkin seeds. These tiny seeds contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and omega-6s.

They are also loaded with dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and zinc, as well as other vitamins and minerals. The subtle nutty flavor of the pumpkin seed pairs well with many salad ingredients.

Finally, sunflower seeds make a great substitute for walnuts in salads too! Sunflower seeds have a slightly sweet taste that is perfect for brightening up any salad dish.

They are loaded with Vitamin E and B Vitamins, which can help support immunity while providing essential minerals like Zinc and Iron for overall health and well-being.

substitute walnuts in banana bread

Banana bread is a mouthwatering treat that can be enjoyed with breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or after dinner.

It has a sweet, comforting flavor and can be customized with your favorite ingredients.

 One great way to switch up the classic recipe is to substitute walnuts for traditional nuts like pecans or almonds. 

Not only does this give the banana bread an earthier taste, but it also brings some added nutritional benefits.

Walnuts are packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals – all can help you feel fuller for extended and provide sustained energy throughout the day.

Additionally, walnuts contain antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and may help reduce inflammation.

So not only will your banana bread taste amazing with this substitution, but it’ll provide your body with plenty of nutrients as well!

Substitute walnuts in zucchini bread

For those looking for an alternative to walnuts in zucchini bread, one popular option is to use sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorous, and more.

They also provide a subtle flavor that blends well with the spices in zucchini bread. 

Additionally, sunflower seeds add a crunchy texture to the bread without any of the nutty flavors associated with walnuts.

Substitute for walnuts in Muhammara 

In place of walnuts, alternative ingredients can be used to make Muhammara. Almonds, pecans, and cashews are all suitable substitutes for walnuts and can provide a similarly crunchy texture.

Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds could provide a nuttier flavor in place of walnuts. 

For those looking for a vegan option, roasted red bell peppers are a delicious and nutritious substitute that will still give the dip its classic smoky taste.

If desired, olive oil may be added to help create a creamy consistency. Ultimately, any one of these nut-free options can easily be incorporated into the traditional Muhammara recipe to create an equally flavorful dip.

Substitute for walnuts in brownies

Pecans make a great substitute for walnuts in brownies. Pecans have a similar nutty flavor but are slightly sweeter than walnuts. They also contain more antioxidants, healthy fats and dietary fiber.

When substituting pecans for walnuts, you may want to use slightly less than the amount of walnuts called for in a recipe. 

Additionally, you can finely chop the pecans before adding them to your batter or on top of your mix for a consistent texture throughout each bite.

NUT free replacement for walnuts

A great nut-free alternative to walnuts is pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds are a nutrient-dense snack that is high in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron and zinc, as well as containing high levels of fiber and heart-healthy fats.

They can be eaten raw or roasted for an extra crunch. Pumpkin seeds are also a convenient source of antioxidants, which can help guard cells from damage.

Furthermore, their mild, nutty flavor makes them a pleasant addition to salads, cereal or yogurt.

Conclusion on substitute for walnuts

In conclusion, there are many substitutes for walnuts that you can use in your cooking or baking.

Whether you have a walnut allergy or you’re just looking for something different, these alternatives can add variety to your dishes.

Just remember to use them in the right ratios, and you’ll be able to enjoy the same great taste and texture in your recipes. 

So go ahead, experiment with these substitutes and let your taste buds be the judge!

FAQs on substitute for walnuts

Q1. What is similar to walnuts?

Other nuts that are similar to walnuts in terms of taste, texture, and nutrition profile include almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, and pistachios.

Additionally, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds contain similar flavors and nutrients as walnuts.

Q2. What nut is closest to walnut?

The nut that is closest to a walnut, in both flavor and appearance, is the pecan. Pecans have a similar flavor profile as walnuts, with an earthy sweetness and savoriness that can pair well with a variety of dishes.

The shape of the shells is also quite similar, although the inner nutmeat itself appears lighter in color than a walnut.

Nutritionally speaking, pecans contain slightly more fat than walnuts but have comparable amounts of protein and other micronutrients such as calcium.

They are also a good source of fiber, which may help aid digestion and maintain blood sugar levels.

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