11 Best Substitutes For Pecans (Alternatives To Pecans)

substitute for pecans
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substitute for pecans

There are all sorts of nuts out there, one of which is the pecan. Pecans are nuts produced by a specific species of hickory trees. These tasty nuts are found in just about any part of the world.

You’ll find them readily available in most local stores. As key ingredients in all sorts of recipes, they’re common but in high demand.

If you can’t get your hands on any or want to put a spin on a classic recipe, we’ve got the best substitutes for pecans coming up.

Why Use Pecans?

Pecans deliver a balance of flavor that’s midway between intense nuttiness and mild creaminess.

They’re one of the most versatile varieties around and ideal to eat as-is, roasted, or added to all types of desserts and other meals.

You’ll also find that pecans are high in nutrients supplying a healthy dose of healthy fats, protein, and dietary fiber while being low in sugar and containing no cholesterol at all.

Here’s a breakdown of pecan nut nutritional information:

1 Ounce of Pecans (19 Halves) Provides:

  • Calories – 196
  • Fat – 20g
  • Sodium – 0g
  • Potassium – 116.2mg
  • Sugar – 1.1g
  • Fiber – 2.7g
  • Protein – 2.6g 
  • Iron – 3% RDI
  • Calcium – 1% RDI

Some Substitutes for Pecans

As we touched on briefly, pecans are a key component in quite a few recipes. However, there may be many reasons why you need an alternative for pecans.

Either your store is out for the moment, or perhaps you just don’t like the taste. Regardless, there are multiple substitutes for pecans available.

Each will impart a unique flavor to your meals. Now, let’s take a look at the best-suited nuts around. 

1. Hazelnuts

hazelnuts pecan
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1 Ounce of Hazelnuts Provides:

Calories – 178

Potassium – 192.8mg

Fiber – 1.2g

Sugar – 1.2g

Protein – 4.2g

Vitamin C – 3% RDI

Iron – 7% RDI

Vitamin B6 – 10% RDI

Magnesium – 11% RDI

Calcium – 3% RDI

Hazelnuts are one of the most popular types of nuts. This is primarily because of how well they pair with chocolate. Add hazelnuts to chocolate pudding and other desserts.

This being said, they’re a fantastic substitute for pecans in most desserts. For example, pecan cookies come out tasting great when made with hazelnut instead.

The taste of hazelnuts and pecans are very similar, making this the safest alternative around.

2. Pecan Oil

pecan oil
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1 Teaspoon Of Pecan Oil Provides:

Calories – 126

Saturated Fat – 8.37%

Omega 9 – 58.25%

Omega 3- &-6 – 32.94% 

Vitamin E – 31.03mg (163% RDI)

Pecan oil is the best substitute for pecans for those who don’t like the texture. If you have trouble chewing nuts but have to have the flavor, pecan oil should be your go-to choice.

You can use pecan oil in any recipe that calls for pecans just keep in mind the difference to consistency. Depending on the recipe, you may need to add additional thickener or fiber source if you opt for adding oil over nuts.

If you do end up trying pecan oil, why not try pecan flour as well? Together, a distinctive nuttiness that’d be hard to obtain elsewhere is reached.

3. Unsalted Peanuts

unsalted peanuts
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1 Ounce of Peanuts Provides:

Calories – 161

Fat – 14g

Sodium – 5.1g

Potassium – 199.9mg

Sugar – 1.1g

Fiber – 2.4g

Protein – 7g 

Iron – 7% RDI

Calcium – 2% RDI

Magnesium – 11% RDI

Vitamin B6 – 5%

Peanuts are an excellent general all-around favorite that’ll work in almost every recipe. Unsalted peanuts are a delicious substitute for pecan, imparting a similar texture to whatever you’re cooking or baking.

The flavor of peanuts is a far sweeter contrast to pecans. They’re an excellent substitution for people who aren’t particularly fond of pecans.

Whether added to salads or baked into cookies, cakes, and deserts – peanuts are a tasty substitute for pecans that you’ll end up turning to over and over again.

4. Walnuts

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1 Ounce of Walnuts Provides:

Calories – 185

Fat – 18g

Sodium – 0.6mg

Potassium – 125mg

Sugar – 0.7g

Fiber – 1.9g

Protein – 4.3g 

Iron – 4% RDI

Calcium – 2% RDI

Magnesium – 11% RDI

Vitamin B6 – 10%

Walnuts are a wonderful mild substitute for pecans that’ll work in most recipes. They’re not as distinct as pecans, but the taste is similar enough to make it one of the best alternatives available.

One can best describe walnuts as a woody, nutty taste that’s midway between the intensity of pecans and the mild, creaminess of cashews.

Devoted nut lovers are often fans of either the mild flavor of walnuts or the bold taste of pecans individually. However, both are equally versatile.

5. Macadamia Nuts

macadamia nuts
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1 Ounce of Macadamia Nuts Provides:

Calories – 204

Fat – 21g

Sodium – 1.4mg

Potassium – 104.3mg

Sugar – 1.3g

Fiber – 2.4g

Protein – 2.2g 

Iron – 5% RDI

Calcium – 2% RDI

Magnesium – 9% RDI

Vitamin B6 – 5%

Macadamia nuts are accepted by most to be the quintessential dessert nut. Their creamy texture and buttery nut taste make them one of the very substitutes for pecans available in any and all desserts.

Cooking up something sweet and need a nut? Macadamia nuts will take the place of just about anything that your recipe could call for.

These nutrient-dense delicacies come at a higher cost than our other suggestions, but to anyone who cherishes the taste of nuts, there’s often nothing better.

Be sure to give this pecan substitute a try. You may just find your new favorite.

6. Cashews

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1 Ounce of Cashews Provides:

Calories – 157

Fat – 12g

Sodium – 3.4mg

Potassium – 187.1mg

Sugar – 1.7g

Fiber – 0.9g

Protein – 5g 

Iron – 10% RDI

Calcium – 1% RDI

Magnesium – 20% RDI

Vitamin B6 – 5%

Soft, sweet cashews are excellent substitutes for pecans in most desserts. Raw, roasted, salted, or unsalted, cashews are mild enough to well alongside almost any other flavor.

Cashews are a pecan alternative that works equally well in savory meals and sweet treats. Give cashews a try in stir-fries to unlock dimensions of flavor that you never knew were there.

Roasting cashews intensifies their flavor, adding a woodier profile to the flavor, but it also destroys a lot of their nutrients. We suggest substituting pecans with unsalted cashews for the best results.

7. Brazil Nuts

brazil nuts
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1 Ounce of Brazil Nuts Provides:

Calories – 186

Fat – 19g

Sodium – 0.9mg

Potassium – 186.8mg

Sugar – 0.7g

Fiber – 2.1g

Protein – 4.1g 

Iron – 3% RDI

Calcium – 4% RDI

Magnesium – 26% RDI

As the name suggests, Brazillian Brazil Nuts are packed with flavor and surprisingly versatile. Use brazil nuts in desserts or savory dishes like salads and stir-fries. You can even bake them into cookies.

The great thing about Brazil nuts is that they’re intensely nutty. They can, however, be a little too crunchy, so we recommend blanching them before baking, frying, or roasting.

8. Pili Nuts

Pili Nuts
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1 Ounce of Pili Nuts Provides:

Calories – 190

Fat – 20g

Sodium – 0g

Potassium – 199.9mg

Sugar – 0g

Fiber – 1g

Protein – 3g 

Iron – 10% RDI

Calcium – 2% RDI

Magnesium – 19% RDI

Vitamin E – 70% RDI

Copper – 30% RDI

Pili nuts may be hard to source depending on your locality, but they’re a substitute for pecans that you can’t go wrong with.

Pili nuts aren’t actually nuts but instead a seed that’ll work in just about any recipe that calls for pecans.

In the Philippines, every last part of the pili nut is used, but we suggest you remove the skin and roast your nuts to use them as a substitute for pecans.

When swapping out pecans for pili nuts, you get a lighter flavor that’s closer to sunflower seeds. Instead of having a crunch, pili nuts melt away to a decadently soft buttery texture.

9. Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts
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1 Ounce of Pine Nuts Provides:

Calories – 191

Fat – 19g

Sodium – 0.6mg

Potassium – 169.2mg

Sugar – 1g

Fiber – 1g

Protein – 7g 

Iron – 8% RDI

Magnesium – 17% RDI

Soft, sweet, and butter, pine nuts are the perfect pecan substitute for baking and cooking. They’re very versatile but a little bit more expensive than most other alternatives.

This is mainly due to the cost of processing due to the difficulty of cultivation and how hard it is to reach the edible seed.

Pine nuts are a great supplement to any diet, delivering a subdued flavor that pairs well with sweet and savory meals.

10. Pistachios

pistachios pecans
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1 Ounce of Pistachios Provides:

Calories – 159

Fat – 13g

Sodium – 0.3mg

Potassium – 290.6mg

Sugar – 2.2g

Fiber – 2.9g

Protein – 6g 

Iron – 6% RDI

Calcium – 2% RDI

Magnesium – 8% RDI

Vitamin B6 – 25% RD

As a salty substitute for pecans, give pistachios a try. They won’t work in all desserts, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by certain sweet-salty pairings.

After all, caramel and salt together are to die for. When you add pistachios to savory goods and the right pairing, tastes are lifted out of this world.

Unfortunately, pistachios are a complete no-go in pies, cooking, and most sweet recipes until you’re purposefully looking for a salty twist.

11. Using No Substitutes in General

From time to time, it may be better to avoid using a pecan substitute altogether. Omitting nuts will change the flavor of your recipe, but the exclusion can often grant an unexpectedly pleasant flavor twist.

Without nuts, the taste of your other ingredients will come through more prominently.

Which Substitute for Pecans Is Best If You Have Nut Allergies?

If you’ve got nut allergies but are looking for a baking ingredient that’ll add a similar texture to your dessert or baked goods, give seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax, or chia a try.

Alternatively, chopped-up baked pie crust will give your desserts or cakes a very close consistency to pecan or other nuts, but there’s no risk of triggering an allergy.


As you can see from the above-mentioned list, there are actually quite a few different great alternatives to pecans. We recommend that you carefully weigh your options relative to whatever you’re cooking.

Each pecan substitute will suit a particular type of recipe better than the rest. Within time, you’re sure to discover the perfect nuts to suit each meal based on your own personal taste. 


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