12 of The Best Pecan Substitutes (INCLUDING NUT FREE)

image of nut tastes most like pecans

Pecans have a distinct flavor profile and unique texture and look. But that doesn’t mean you can find a substitute for them if you are in a bind. Whether you are cooking up a savory dish or baking some delicious desserts, we’ve got your back. Here are twelve pecan substitutes to try when you have nowhere else to turn.

Read on!

About Pecans: Tastes, Uses and Where they Come From!

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Pecans are a popular ingredient used in everyday recipes and dishes. They are delicious alone, dipped in chocolate, or used in a savory dinner. But do you know what they actually are?

Pecans, like walnuts, are tender, edible kernels in a brown, smooth shell. These are a  species of tree nuts in the hickory family that have a sweet, earthy taste.

Pecans are unique in the culinary “nut” world because of their sugary, creamy makeup. While they are often famous as the main ingredient in pecan pies, you can use them in many other recipes.

Even though pecans are a delight, there are many alternatives to pick from to take their place in a pinch.

Heath benefits of pecans include:

  • Cuts down on heart attack and stroke
  • Full of antioxidants and boosts immunity
  • Relieves arthritis
  • Chock-full of vitamins and minerals
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Anti-aging support

The Best Pecan Substitutes

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If you are not a fan of pecans or you don’t have any on hand, below is a list of 6 nut substitutes you can use instead.

1. Hazel Nuts are Full of Nutrients

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If you enjoy Nutella’s creamy, chocolatey flavor, you will more than likely be a fan of hazel nuts. Hazel nuts are the edible fruit inside hard brown shells that grow from the hazel tree. The hazel tree is another type of hickory nut and is full of nutrients. (*)

Hazel nuts are one of the most popular pecan substitutes for desserts. This fame is because of how sweet and creamy they get, especially when paired with chocolate and sugar.

Nutritional facts ( serving size- 1 oz.)

  • Total Fat 21g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 0mg
  • Potassium 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 4g
  • Dietary Fiber 3g
  • Sugar 1g
  • Protein 3g

2. Walnuts are the Best Substitute

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If you find yourself low on pecans in a sweet or savory dish, consider using a walnut. These nuts are actually seeds found inside a hardshell, enclosed in green fruit.

Even though this item isn’t a nut, you can use it as one in the culinary world, and it makes for an excellent pecan replacement.

You should use this option in dishes that are milder and do not need the intense pecan flavor.

Walnuts Nutritional facts ( serving size- 1 oz.)

  • Calories: 185
  • Protein: 4.3 grams
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Sugar: 0.7 grams
  • Fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Fat: 18.5 grams
  • Vitamin A 20 IU
  • Thiamine (B1)0.341 mg
  • Vitamin B 0.537 mg

3. Cashews are Sweet and Savory

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Cashews are kidney-shaped nuts that hang from the tip of a bushy tropical American tree. You have to roast or bake them before eating them, and they are an excellent option for pecan substitutes.

Cashews are a mix of sweet and salty flavors and offer a smooth texture similar to pecan. Unlike pecans, cashews have the buttery flavor you should keep in mind when adding them to any dish.

Cashews Nutritional facts ( serving size- 1 oz.)

  • Total Fat · 12.4 g
  • Saturated fat · 2.2 g
  • Polyunsaturated fat · 2.2 g
  • Monounsaturated fat · 6.7 g
  • Total Carbohydrate · 9 g
  • Dietary fiber · 0.9 g
  • Sugar · 2 g
  • Protein · 5.2 g
  • Magnesium · 82.8 mg
  • Iron · 1.9 mg
  • Vitamin B-6 · 0.1 mg
  • Potassium · 187 mg
  • Calcium · 10.5 mg

4. Macadamian Nuts are Buttery and Tropical


Macadamian nuts are native to Australia and are very popular in Hawaii. People harvest these nuts year round on the tropical island. These nuts have a buttery aroma with the familiar nutty and earthy taste of other nuts in the same family.

If you eat this food raw, you will taste a sweet, buttery flavor. This flavor becomes enhanced as it heats up, making it ideal for cooking and baking.

You can use macadamia nuts instead of pecans in desserts, as crusts on chicken and fish, or as salad toppings.

Macadamian Nut Nutritional facts (serving size- 1 oz.)

  • Calories 203
  • Total Fat 22g
  • Saturated Fat 3.4g
  • Sodium 100mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 3.6g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.3g
  • Sugar 1.2g
  • Protein 2.2g
  • Calcium 20mg
  • Iron 0.8mg
  • Potassium 103 mg

5. Unsalted Peanuts are a Favorite

Peanuts are one of the most common nuts used when cooking. These nuts are much sweeter than pecans. They make a fantastic option for those who need something that tastes sugary.

Peanuts are more affordable than pecans. You can use these items in desserts, savory dishes, or as toppings and garnishes.

Unsalted Peanuts Nutritional facts (serving size- 1 oz.)

  • Calories 181
  • Total Fat 14.2g
  • Saturated fat 2.3g
  • Sodium 0mg 0%
  • Carbohydrates 6.2g
  • Net carbs 4g
  • Fiber 2.3g
  • Sugar 1.1g
  • Protein 6.8g
  • Calcium 11.3mg
  • Iron 0.3mg

6. Don’t Forget About Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are larger than pecans and should never get used in large amounts. With that said, these are a good substitute for many recipes. This is especially true when you don’t have any pecans on hand or don’t like their taste.

Brazil nuts are smooth with an earthy, buttery, mild taste. These nuts are not quite as sweet as pecans, so you shouldn’t use them in dishes looking for a more nutty flavor.

You can also coat these nuts in sugar and other sweet ingredients to give them a richer taste.

Brazil Nuts Nutritional Facts (serving size- 1 oz.)

  • Calories 187
  • Total Fat · 19 g
  • Saturated fat · 4.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated fat · 6.9 g
  • Monounsaturated fat · 6.8 g
  • Total Carbohydrate · 3 g
  • Dietary fiber · 2.1 g
  • Sugar · 1 g
  • Protein · 4.1 g
  • Magnesium · 106.6 mg
  • Potassium · 187 mg
  • Calcium · 45.4 mg
  • Iron · 0.7 mg

6 Nut Allergy Substitutes for Pecans

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If you have nut allergies, don’t like the taste of pecans, or don’t have any on hand, here are other options to try.

Each ingredient listed below is a non nut substitute for pecans. They are perfect for everyday recipes.

1. Pecan Oil is a Great Option

Pecan oil is extracted from the pecan nut and has a mild, almost neutral flavor. This product is ideal for recipes that call for pecan but is not reliant on the texture.

Pecan oil is also often used for frying foods and is much healthier than peanut oil, olive oil, and corn oils.

2. Pumpkin Seeds Offer a Similiar Texture

If you are looking to replace pecans in a coating recipe or as an ingredient in a salad or trail mix, try pumpkin seeds. While the flavor is not the same, it does have an earthy, mild nutty flavor and similar texture.

3. Sunflower Seeds Have a Great Nutty Taste

Sunflower seeds are another fantastic way to substitute pecans when you need to do so. These seeds have a nutty taste like pecans and a firm yet delicate texture. These seeds can replace pecans in almost any recipe.

4. Granola Makes a Tasty Treat

Granola can’t replace pecans in every recipe but is ideal in many, especially desserts. Granola is very sweet and tastes great, added to yogurt, trail mixes, and baked goods.

5. Another Great Idea is Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is another option for pecan alternatives. When it comes to adding bold flavors to delicious treats or even on top of salads or in oatmeal and cereal, try a fruit.

6. Give Chai Seeds a Try

Fresh chia seeds are a healthy option full of benefits and offer a mild and nutty flavor. These seeds are great in sweet and savory dishes and provide a taste close to that of pecans.

Summing Things Up

If you find yourself without pecans, but the recipe in front of you calls for them, don’t panic. Try using one of the 12 ingredients listed above to substitute the pecans in your dish.

You will get the same fantastic flavor without having to rush off to the store.


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