Hazelnuts are crunchy, delicious, and have a great nutritional value. From baking chocolate biscuits to using them in savory dishes, hazelnuts are the perfect ingredient to have at hand. But what if you have run out of hazelnuts or simply want to change things up?
What can you use instead of hazelnuts? Hazelnuts are easy to substitute with all kinds of nuts. The best substitutes for hazelnuts are almonds, macadamia nuts, and cashews. If you want the crunch of hazelnuts, almonds are the closest pick. If you want the substitute closest to hazelnuts as far as the appearance is concerned, macadamia nuts will be perfect. And cashews work great as a hazelnut substitute when you want an option with similar nutritional value and a delicate flavor.
Continue reading to learn how to use these nuts instead of hazelnuts and in which cases each of these options will perform best.
Hazelnuts – Taste, Texture, and Uses
Nuts are popular for their high nutritional value. Hazelnuts, among other types of nuts, are a good source of healthy fats. But what makes hazelnuts even better is that they taste delicious and eating these crunchy nuts is pure pleasure.
The flavor profile of hazelnuts can be described as sweet, toasted, and earthy. Hazelnuts are also very buttery, which contrasts with their crunchy texture in the most extraordinary way.
The flavor of hazelnuts is distinctive enough to be detected in any dish it is used in but also subdued enough to make it one of the most versatile nuts.
You can eat hazelnuts as the ultimate healthy snack. If integrated into the diet right, these nuts will not only contribute to a balanced meal plan but also provide a range of health benefits.
Being rich in fiber, protein, vitamin E, and containing thiamine and magnesium, hazelnuts will improve your digestive system. A handful of these nuts will also reduce inflammation in the body, improve your heart health, and contribute to lowering cholesterol levels.
Hazelnuts have a range of uses in cooking.
- Hazelnuts are used in baking. One of the first things associated with hazelnuts is a delicious chocolate dessert with big chunks of these nuts in it. Hazelnuts are used in a variety of desserts. Chopped or whole hazelnut can be used in pies, cookies, and other baked goods.
Ground hazelnuts, i.e. hazelnut flour, is a popular ingredient for gluten-free desserts.
- Hazelnuts are used to make flavored drinks. You have probably tried a hazelnut-flavored coffee. But hazelnut liqueur may be a novelty for you if you are not much into alcoholic drinks. The latter is widely used in baking as well as making various cocktails.
- Hazelnuts are used in savory dishes. These nuts add the perfect texture to salads and pasta dishes. They also pair well with seafood.
Hazelnut butter, which is widely used in baking, is also used to make sauces and salad dressings.
The Best Substitutes for Hazelnuts
While hazelnuts stand out with their unique flavor among all nuts, you can choose from a range of other nut varieties to substitute them.
When choosing a substitute for hazelnuts, the primary thing to consider is what you are going to use the nuts for. The texture and taste of the substitute should also be taken into account if they play an important role in the recipe.
If you are particular about the nutrition and calories of your food, you can also choose an option that has a nutritional value closest to hazelnuts.
Here are the top 3 best substitutes for hazelnuts.
The winning point of almonds as a substitute for hazelnuts is the texture. Almonds are very crunchy unless you haven’t soaked them.
Almonds contain fewer calories than hazelnuts. Thus, they can be a good option if you are trying to keep your calorie intake at bay. The fat content is also lower. Almonds, however, are higher in protein and carbs.
What makes almonds and hazelnuts different is the taste. While hazelnuts are on the sweeter side, almonds have a slight bitterness. The astringency of almonds may be off-putting for some people. But this problem is easy to solve.
Blanch almonds to get rid of the bitterness and you will have a perfect substitute for hazelnuts.
Keeping almonds in boiling water for about a minute will help you easily remove their skin. The latter is what provides the bitter, tannic flavor of almonds. The skin is also what causes these nuts to feel dry in the mouth.
Here is how you can use almonds instead of hazelnuts.
- Eat almonds as a snack instead of hazelnuts for a lower-calorie diet.
- Toss crushed almonds over fresh salads for some crunch.
- Use almonds in baking.
- Substitute hazelnut crust for fish with almond crust.
- Use almonds in pasta dishes instead of hazelnut.
2. Macadamia Nuts
If you are looking for a substitute that will have the look and feel of hazelnuts, then macadamia nuts are an option for you.
While macadamia nuts are technically seeds and hazelnuts are a true nut variety, these two look quite similar. Macadamia nuts also come in a shell. However, their shells are a lot harder and thicker than hazelnut shells.
Hazelnuts are distinguished for their buttery feel. In this respect, macadamia nuts are a good substitute option as they have a similar buttery characteristic.
Macadamia nuts are sweet, and perhaps slightly sweeter than hazelnuts. The flavor of hazelnuts in comparison to macadamia nuts can be described as something in-between almonds and macadamia nuts. Thus, when using macadamia nuts instead of hazelnuts, take into account that they are slightly sweeter.
As for the nutritional value, macadamia nuts are slightly higher in calories and saturated fats. But the important thing is that both macadamia and hazelnuts are rich in vitamins and minerals and have similar positive effects on the overall health of the body.
If you are wondering in what cases you can substitute hazelnuts with macadamia nuts, here are a few options.
- Use macadamia nuts to bake cookies, biscuits, pies, etc.
- Make chocolate desserts with macadamia nuts.
- Make a creamy macadamia nut hummus instead of hazelnut hummus.
- Toss macadamia nuts on green salads for a good source of fats.
Cashews are another versatile nut variety. The nutty flavor in cashews is very distinct and similar to that of almonds.
Cashews are a favorite for many as they taste quite sweet. The high carbohydrate content of cashews is what makes them so pleasant to eat.
The texture of cashews is quite unique. They are creamy and crunchy at the same time.
Replacing hazelnuts with cashews will lead to a different result as far as the flavor goes. But if you are looking for a substitute with a similar nutritional value, cashews are a great option.
The fat content of cashews is high. They also contain a high amount of protein and a range of healthy minerals. Thus, substituting cashews with hazelnuts is a good choice for those trying to shed some pounds.
Here are popular uses of cashews in cooking.
- Cashews are used in baking cookies, cakes, shortbread, etc.
- Cashews are great in stir-fries, paired with chicken and vegetables.
- A creamy cashew sauce goes well with pasta dishes.
- Cashews add a nice crunch and nutty flavor to vegetable salads.
- Cashews pair well with seafood. Hazelnut crust for salmon can be easily substituted with cashew crust.
How to Substitute Hazelnuts with Other Nuts?
Substituting hazelnuts with other nuts is super easy. No matter what nuts you choose to use instead of hazelnuts, the substitution is measure for measure.
Substitute one cup of hazelnuts with one cup of almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, or other nuts of your choice.