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The 11 Best Similar Substitutes for Pecans

What happens if you are making a dish with pecans, do not have any on hand, and discover the local supermarket is out? There is no need to worry. There are quite a few good substitutes for pecans that can get you through the day.

The best and most similar substitutes for pecans for your cooking and baking needs are Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Pistachios, and Walnuts. There are also a few good non-nut substitutes, like Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds.

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss how each of these pecan substitutes can be used and how each will affect the recipe in which it is used.

Jelly Grandma Standing Behind a Pecan Pie

1. Almonds

Almonds can be used as a substitute for pecans, but the flavor and texture of almonds are entirely different from pecans. While almonds are often used in cooking and baking and have their own place in many recipes, their use as a pecan substitute will be noticeable. However, roughly chopping the almonds will make the substitution less noticeable.

Almonds are available wherever nuts are sold, and the price you will have to pay for them is comparable to the price of pecans.

Almonds are especially good when used in salads and in roasted vegetables.

Substitution rate: Only use half as many almonds as you would pecans. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of pecans, only use ½ cup of almonds.

2. Brazil Nuts

Another excellent substitute for pecans is the Brazil nut. However, if used whole or coarsely chopped, the Brazil nut will certainly be recognized as different from pecans because they are much larger and have a much firmer texture. But, the difference is not so obvious if the Brazil nuts are chopped more finely before adding them to your recipe. The taste is slightly different, but not so different as to affect the taste of the recipe you have used them in.

Brazil nuts are more expensive than pecans, but they are often available, which makes them a good option as a pecan substitute.

Brazil nuts can be used in any recipe that calls for pecans, and the difference, though probably discernable to pecan lovers, will not make a huge variation in the taste of the dish in which it has been used as a substitute for pecans. They are especially good in salads, cakes, and cookies.

A heap of Fresh Brazil Nuts

Substitution rate: 1:1

3. Cashews

Cashews are one of the more versatile nuts. They have a similar texture to pecans and substitute quite well for pecans in desserts, but they do have a distinctive flavor. Cashews are a favorite snack for many and are available in raw and roasted, salted and unsalted versions. When substituting for pecans, the raw, unsalted version is your best bet.

Cashews are readily available in most stores and are one of the less expensive nuts. They are available in a variety of sizes, from small snack packs to large cans.

There are many recipes that call specifically for cashews, but they can be used successfully in most recipes that call for pecans. Because of their size, if using cashews to make a pecan pie, it would be better to either use the smallest cashews you can find or roughly chop the larger ones. This will make cutting the pie easier and will avoid tearing up the pie while trying to cut neatly through large cashews.

Substitution rate: 1:1

4. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts can be substituted for pecans in most recipes. When the hazelnuts are chopped, their appearance in the food will not make it obvious to most that the pecans have been replaced by hazelnuts. There will, however, be a subtle taste change, but it will be a familiar taste to many since Nutella is made from hazelnuts, and who doesn’t love Nutella?

Hazelnuts are also available at most stores that sell pecans, though they are slightly more expensive than pecans. But, if there are no pecans available and you have found hazelnuts in the store, the price is not significantly higher to the point of being unreasonable.

Hazelnuts can be used in any recipe that calls for pecans, and the taste difference will not be significant. They are particularly good in cookies and candies.

Substitution rate: 1:1

5. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts make an excellent substitute for pecans in sweet and savory dishes. While the nuts will complement any dish in which they are used, they do have a distinctive flavor making it obvious that the dish contains macadamia nuts and not pecans.

Macadamia nuts are readily available at most groceries and supermarkets, but they are significantly more expensive than pecans.

Chopped macadamia nuts are especially good in candies, cookies, and desserts and are often used in coatings for chicken and fish.

Substitution rate: 1:1

6. Peanuts

Peanuts can be used as a substitute for pecans, and while they are legumes and not tree nuts as the other substitutes in this list all are, most people think of them as nuts. Peanuts have a much different flavor and texture than pecans, but they will still make a good substitute. Peanuts are crunchy, while pecans have a chewier texture and a much stronger flavor. 

Although peanuts are not as widely used in baking as pecans, there are many dishes in which peanuts and pecans can be almost interchangeable. Peanuts are often substituted for pecans in making candies and cookies, and they make a great ice cream topping. They are especially good in homemade chocolate fudge candy, and I often make several batches for the holidays with a variety of different nuts, including peanuts.

Peanuts are the most inexpensive and easy to find of all the nuts, and you can find them in almost any store you visit. But, if substituting peanuts for pecans in baking, it is better to get the raw and unsalted version.

Substitution rate: 1:1

PRO TIP: If substituting peanuts for pecans, be sure that everyone who will eat the food you are preparing is aware that you have made those dishes with peanuts because peanuts are highly allergic to many people.

7. Pine Nuts

Pine nuts can be substituted for pecans, but they are significantly different in taste and texture from other nuts, including pecans. Even though pine nuts are very good in desserts, they are primarily used in savory dishes. They are delicious in fish and chicken dishes and when used in making pesto sauce and hummus. But they will be very good if used in quick breads and cookies as a substitute for pecans.

Pine nuts can be found in most supermarkets, but they are quite expensive when compared to the other nuts mentioned here.

Substitution rate: Because pine nuts are much smaller than most nuts,  the amount that should be used if substituted for pecans is approximately ¾ cup for every cup of pecans called for in the recipe.

Pine nuts on a cutting board with a knife nearby

8. Pistachios

Pistachios can be substituted for pecans in some dishes, especially salads and in vegetable dishes, and stir-frys. But, because of the pistachios’ rich and buttery flavor and texture, the substitution will be quite noticeable.

Pistachios are normally found in most groceries and supermarkets but are more expensive than pecans and most of the other substitutes mentioned here.

Substitution rate: 1:1

9. Walnuts

The walnut is the absolute best and most similar substitute for the pecan in flavor and in texture. Walnuts have a slightly milder taste than pecans, while pecans are slightly sweeter, but the two nuts can be substituted for each other in any recipe, and the differences will not be noticed.

Walnuts are readily available in most groceries and supermarkets and are usually a little more affordable than pecans.

Walnuts can be used whole, chopped, or ground in any recipe that calls for pecans. Even the most devoted pecan fan will more than likely be unable to tell the difference between a pie made with walnuts and labeled pecan pie. In fact, many of my “pecan” pies were actually walnut pies because it is walnuts that I normally keep on hand instead of pecans.

Substitution rate: 1:1

Nut-free Options For Those With Nut Allergies

10. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are the best nut-free substitute for recipes calling for pecans. They can be used instead of pecans in any dish, but the substitution will be obvious. 

Sunflower seeds can be found in almost any store and are quite inexpensive. They are a favorite snack food and can be purchased in snack-size packs or large containers.

Substitution rate: Because of their size, use ¾ cup of sunflower seeds for every 1 cup of pecans being substituted.

11. Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds is another nut-free option that can be used as a substitute for pecans. If using pumpkin seeds instead of pecans, it would be better to chop them rather than adding them whole to your recipes as some pumpkin seeds are quite large.

Not only are pumpkin seeds available for purchase in snack packs, but they are also available in large containers. They are approximately the same price as pecans.

And for those who are into carving pumpkins and making pumpkin pies for the holidays, you can also make your own roasted pumpkin seeds to use for snacking or to substitute for pecans if the need arises. Just in case you would like to see how easy it is, take a look at my video on the quick and easy process of roasting pumpkin seeds.

Two pumpkins and roasted pumpkin seeds in a bowl

Substitution rate: I recommend using ½ cup of chopped pumpkin seeds for each cup of pecans called for in the recipe.

Which Nuts Are Most Closely Related to Pecans?

Pecans belong to the Juglandaceae family of nuts. The other members of the same family include the hickory nut, the English walnut, and the black walnut, which would be the most closely related to pecans. In fact, the trees that produce both pecans and walnuts are the source of the hardest domestic woods for hardwood floors. 

But we are talking about nuts here, not hardwood flooring. This relationship between the two types of nuts, however, explains why the walnut makes the best substitute for pecans by being so closely related. The hickory nut also makes the ideal substitute for pecans, but they are not as easy to find and are very expensive. They can most often be found in farmers’ markets.

Making Nut-Free Pecan Pie

Here is a recipe that I often refer to as a “nut-free pecan pie.” It is actually called chess pie but it reminds me of pecan pie without the nuts. This would be a great dessert to serve to anyone with nut allergies.


  • ½ cup Butter
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon white Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 unbaked (9-inch) Pie Shell


  1. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. Prebake the pie shell for approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time while mixing.
  4. Add evaporated milk, cornmeal, & vinegar, stir until smooth, add vanilla extract, & mix well.
  5. Pour filling into the prebaked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes at 425℉.
  6. Reduce heat to 300℉ and continue baking for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool before cutting.

Final Thoughts

Pecans are a big part of cooking and baking in my kitchen, especially during the holidays. Many of my favorite and most frequently used recipes call for pecans. I put them in candy, cookies, quick breads like banana, zucchini, and persimmon bread, in toppings for cakes and sweet potato casseroles, in salads, and in roasted vegetables.

No matter what kind of nuts you use in your cooking and baking, whether it is pecans or one of the possible substitutes mentioned here, they all have one thing in common: they are very nutritious. Some have a higher fat content than others, but they are healthy fats, and all are loaded with fiber, calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

And while eating too many nuts and seeds will add extra calories, eaten in moderation, nuts and seeds are good for you, so go ahead and try those recipes that include nuts and seeds as an ingredient and use them as a healthy snack. There are many to choose from, and most can be used interchangeably for each other in all your recipes.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss How To Fix A Runny Pecan Pie (And Prevent It).