Whether you need a peanut substitute due to an allergy or you’ve run out and need a quick alternative, there are some options available. Finding out which other tree nuts can be used to replace peanuts and what other nut-free alternatives won’t negatively impact your recipe is key to cooking without peanuts.
What Are Peanuts?
Peanuts are legumes and originated in South America. Even though they aren’t true nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, they still cause a lot of allergic reactions, especially in children.
Health Drawbacks of Peanuts
- High in fat – peanuts have a high-fat content ranging from 44% to 56%. Too much fat in your diet can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular issues.
- Allergens – peanuts are known to cause allergic reactions in people, ranging from mild to anaphylactic shock.
- Saturated fats – while peanuts contain some healthy fats, they are high in saturated fats known to cause heart, kidney, and digestive issues.
- Inhibits blood clotting – peanuts contain resveratrol, which inhibits blood clotting. While rare, this can lead to easy bruising, nose bleeds, and even excessive menstrual cycles in sensitive individuals.
Common Uses for Peanuts
- Snacks – peanuts are enjoyed as is, raw, roasted, or salted as a snack, and are often included in trial mixes.
- Sauces – peanuts can be found in sauces such as satay sauce and are often used in Thai cuisine.
- Pastries and baked goods – peanuts are included in pastries and baked goods to add a rich taste and/or crunch.
- Oils and butter – peanut oil and peanut butter are common products that are made mainly from pressed or ground-up peanuts and can be used in a large variety of ways and recipes.
10 Best Peanut Substitute Options
Tree Nut Peanut Substitutes
Almonds are one of the most commonly available tree nuts, and they make for an excellent replacement for peanuts in many recipes where you need peanuts, whether it is savory or sweet. Livestrong notes they are almost similar in nutrition, but almonds have a higher vitamin E content.
Cashews are another versatile tree nut since they can be used as the base of savory sauces or added to sweeter recipes. It has a mild, creamy flavor, so it won’t add the same potency as peanuts would, but try making Nutrition in the Kitch’s crockpot cashew chicken for a new flavor experience.
Hazelnuts are a great alternative to peanuts in sweet recipes, especially when paired with chocolate. They add a full nutty flavor with some earthy notes that make your baked goods extra luxurious. Lively Table uses hazelnuts in their chocolate bark
4. Pine Nuts
Although pine nuts aren’t true nuts, some people classify them as tree nuts since they may cause allergies in people who are allergic to tree nuts. Try making Lively Table’s quinoa salad with eggplant and pine nuts.
Pistachios are a great earthy and salty alternative to peanuts, and they work well in ice cream, baked goods, and even Nutrition in the Kitch’s pistachio frozen yogurt.
Substitutes for Peanuts That Are Nut-Free
6. Roasted Edamame
Edamame beans are crunchy when raw, but they have a peanut-like crunch when they are salted and roasted, making them a very healthy and nut-free alternative to peanuts. If you can only find fresh edamame, Pick Up Limes shows you two ways to roast your own.
7. Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas have a mild but nutty flavor, which makes them a healthy and tasty snack to enjoy as is, in salads or in trial mixes. Lively Table makes and uses roasted chickpeas in their Moroccan salad.
8. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are an easy swap for peanuts in cookies, trail mixes, and even salads. They have a nutty but mild flavor and will add some crunch to your dish. Soupersage compares the nutritional information of sunflower seeds to peanuts.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
Foodstruct compares pumpkin seeds’ nutritional information to peanuts, and it shows that they are lower in saturated fats, much higher in zinc, and higher in potassium than peanuts, making them an easy swap in most recipes.
Crunchy, salty pretzels are nothing like peanuts, except they bring some salty goodness and crunch to your dish. Pretzels broken into pieces and added as a topping are a great nut and seed-free alternative to peanuts. Food Network uses pretzel pieces in a cheese topping for veggies.
How to Choose a Peanut Substitute
- Whole or chopped – if you are using whole or chopped peanuts in a dish, it is likely to add a little bit of taste but overall used for the crunch. So choose another crunchy alternative to yield the same result.
- Peanut sauce, oil, or butter – if you need a substitute for peanuts for a recipe where you need to use it in butter, sauce, or to make an oil, choosing a tasty, fatty alternative is essential.
- Snacks or baked goods – if you need to replace peanuts in snack mixes or baked goods, try opting for a healthy, crunchy alternative.
The Closest Nut to a Peanut
Pili nuts are tree nuts that closest resemble the taste of peanuts, although they might be difficult to find if you don’t live where they grow.