The Best Substitute for Cashews: (NUT & NON NUT OPTIONS)

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Cashews are delicious tree nuts that you will find in various recipes in the culinary world. These nuts are perfect in sweet or savory dishes, such as pasta sauces, soups, and desserts.

Because these little kidney shaped nuts are so unique, you might get worried when you run out.

Well, we are here to tell you not to panic. Even if you are right in the middle of a recipe that calls for cashews and you find the bag empty.

We have a great list of 12 substitutes for cashews that can save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress.

The 12 Best Substitutes For Cashews

Don’t rush off to the store or phone a friend when you find yourself low on cashews. Why? Well, we have a list of 12 food items that can replace cashews with ease in almost any recipe that calls for them.

Take time to check all your options. Choose which ingredient will work best for you and your upcoming culinary creation.

Remember that these items won’t taste identical to cashews but will come very close. Sometimes you have to cut back on measurements or add a bit more.

1. Give Almonds a Try

Almonds make an excellent substitute for cashews. Both nuts are from the tree-nut family. With that said, if you have an allergy to cashews, do not use this option as an alternative.

Almonds taste a bit more bitter and woodsier than cashews and are much harder. The texture of almonds provides more of a crunch than the latter option.

Almonds are nutritious and heart-healthy. You can dip these tear drop shaped nuts in chocolate, chopped into small segments, or enjoy them raw.

Use almonds in place of cashews in

  • Yogurt
  • Cookies
  • Salads

2. Pine Nuts Can be a Great Alternative

Pine nuts are edible seeds that come from many pine trees, 29 to be exact. These nuts are full of nutrients and make a healthy alternative to cashews.

Along with a slew of health benefits, these nuts offer the same rich, buttery, sweet flavor as cashews. Pinenuts also share a similar texture and appearance. This option stores with ease, making them obtainable even during the off season.

Use pine nuts in place of cashews in

  • Toppings
  • Desserts
  • Trail mix

3.  Pull Out a Bag of Walnuts

Walnuts provide a thick, consistent, and crisp texture to any recipe. Although these nuts are milder on the flavor scale, you will still get a nutty, earthy feel.

You can use walnuts in many recipes that call for cashews if you are looking for a buttery base. You can often use these nuts as a base which helps bring out the flavor of other ingredients.

Walnuts taste delicious smothered in chocolate, baked with a coating, or enjoyed fresh. (after you crack them from their hard outer shell, of course.)

Use walnuts in place of cashews in

  • Dessert toppings
  • Pies
  • Bread

4. Brazil Nuts are Buttery and Smooth

Brazil nuts are not as popular as some other options on our list.  On the one hand, some people say they are buttery, smooth, and rich.  But, some say they are bitter and bland too.

Whether you like to eat Brazil nuts on their own or you don’t, they can still make a great alternative to cashews. Because they have a high fat content, they are an excellent base for other ingredients.

The nuts also have a crunchy texture with a creamy finish. These traits make them perfect for sweet and savory dishes of all kinds.

Use Brazil nuts in place of cashews in

  • Trail mix
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Candy

5. Almond Paste Can Work in Many Dishes

Almond paste is perfect for sweet recipes, such as cookies, cakes, and pastries. This product is a mixture of equal parts almond paste and sugar mixed with a binding agent.

Due to the makeup of this option, it is obvious it will be a lot sweeter in recipes compared to cashews. Because of how sweet it is, you always want to use less than what the directions call for.

Use almond paste in place of cashews in

  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Pastries

6. Cashew Paste Will Work Even Better

If you have almond paste in the pantry, chances are good; you might also have cashew paste. If you have this product on hand, you can use it as a cashew substitute in any recipe that doesn’t rely on the nuts texture.

Cashew paste is gluten free, non dairy, and vegan friendly. This product also maintains the same flavor profile as the nut itself.

You can also use almond paste combined with another milder nut. Doing this will help you get a similar texture to cashews with the nut’s original flavor.

Use cashew paste in place of cashews in

  • Drinks
  • Soups
  • Baked goods

7. Sunflower Seeds Make a Great Substitute for Cashews

Sunflower seeds have a similar nutty, buttery, earthy flavor as cashews. This is a perfect substitute for recipes that call for fresh, raw nuts.

Along with matching in taste, sunflower seeds also provide a crunchy texture like the nut.  You can cook and bake with sunflower seeds, but many people prefer to eat them plain.

Use sunflower seeds in place of cashews in

  • Salads
  • Parfaits
  • Granola

8. Hazel Nuts Taste Great

Hazel nuts are another favorite amongst the masses. These nuts are buttery and creamy with a slight, sweet undertone like cashews. These nuts can go in almost any recipe that calls for cashews because they are so close in comparison.

Many people also enjoy the hint of chocolate flavor hazel nuts provide.

The problem with hazel nuts is that they can be a little pricy because they are a “luxury nut” and are high in demand.

Use hazel nuts in place of cashews in

  • Ice cream
  • Cakes and cupcakes
  • Spreads

9. Silken Tofu (Hear us Out)

If you are familiar with silken tofu, you know it does not offer the same taste, texture, or appearance as cashews. So, why is it on our list? The reason we like this alternative is that it can take the place of cashews as sides to a dish or as a garnish.

This particular ingredient can replace cashews in many types of Asian dishes. It is creamy, smooth, and non-porous, making it ideal for many recipes. It makes a great base.

Use silken tofu in place of cashews in

  • Smoothies
  • Sauces
  • Sides

10. Some Dried Fruit is What You Need

Dried fruit is an excellent cashew alternative. Fruit is especially popular for those who have nut allergies. This option is ideal for recipes that need a sweet substitute or something with a bit of texture.

There are many options in the world of dried fruit, including but not limited to,

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Mangos
  • Grapes

You can use this option for all your favorite foods that ask for cashews, as long as they don’t rely on the nutty flavor.

Use dried fruit in place of cashews in

  • Yogurt
  • Salads
  • Baked goods

11. Toss in Some Chocolate Chips

The best thing about chocolate chips is that they are easy to find and pretty cheap. A bag of chocolate chips is often a staple in most household pantries. Their commonality makes them a popular ingredient to have on hand.

It should be obvious you can’t replace cashews with chocolate chips in all recipes. These chips don’t have the same crunchy texture or earthy, nutty flavor. But you can put them in foods that need substance and a sweet taste.

Use Chocolate chips in place of cashews in

  • Bread
  • Trail mixes
  • Cookies

12. Pecans Offer a Buttery Sweet Flavor Profile

Pecans are very much like walnuts and are close relatives of cashews. Due to the relationship between these nuts, you can interchange them in most recipes.

Pecans have a fatty texture with a buttery sweet flavor profile. These nuts give off an earthy, woodsy aroma, and you can put them into almost any dish that calls for cashews.

Use pecans in place of cashews in

  • Baked goods
  • Crusts or breading
  • Garnishes or toppings


Summing Things Up

Never forgo a recipe if you find yourself without a bag of cashews. You can pick a substitute for cashews that is best qualified for the job from our list.

Any of these ingredients will take the place of cashews with ease. We have tried them all, and they do work.

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