7 Ingredients You Can Use as a Nut Substitute

Granola Oats and Chocolate

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Nuts lend a nice texture to baked goods, but they also add to the cost of baking, and they aren't an option if you're allergic to nuts or baking for someone who is. So, what do you do when you're working on a recipe that calls for them? Just replace the nuts that are called for with one of these cheap substitutes, and you should get good results.

nut substitutes
The Spruce Eats / Jaime Knoth 

Good Nut Substitutes for Baked Goods

  • Oatmeal or Rolled Oats: These will add texture, taste and nutritional value to your recipe. If you want to replace some of that roasted nut flavor, brown the oats in a bit of butter before adding them to your recipe.
  • Granola: Swap in a bit of granola for the nuts that are called for in your recipe. A one-for-one replacement should work fine.
  • Crisp Rice Cereal: This will give you all of the texture and crunch that you'd get from nuts. Start with half as much as the recipe calls for. Then, eyeball it from there.
  • Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds: Unsalted seeds are a nice substitute in nut muffin recipes, and they can be roasted for more flavor. Pumpkin and squash seeds also work well and add a seasonal flair to recipes. If you're using small seeds, consider reducing the amount you use. If you only have salted seeds on hand, reduce or eliminate the salt called for in the recipe, so the final product doesn't turn out too salty.
  • Raisins: These are a perfect substitute in cookie recipes because they add extra texture, visual appeal, and nutrition. Replace the nuts called for measure for measure.
  • Dried Cranberries: Similar to raisins, dried cranberries add a nice touch to muffin and cookie recipes. They're the perfect addition to holiday recipes and often go on sale during the holiday season, so they'll help you cut your holiday baking costs.
  • Chocolate Chips: When in doubt, add chocolate chips, right? Every baker should have a bag or two of chips in their stash, and this is the perfect time to put them to use. White chocolate chips don't melt as easily as regular chocolate chips, so they also add a nice texture to any recipe that they're added to. Before using chocolate chips as a substitute, consider how the added sweetness will work in the recipe. If the recipe already calls for chocolate chips, choose another alternative for the nuts. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
  • Other Nuts: If you're looking for a nut substitute because you're out of the particular nut that your recipe calls for, use whatever nut you happen to have on hand. For the best results, try to use a nut with a similar size and flavor. Need chopped nuts and only have whole nuts? Just pulse your nuts in a food processor, until you reach the right consistency.

How to Choose The Right Nut Substitute for Your Recipe

To choose the right substitute for the job, it's important to consider what the nuts are adding to the finished baked good. Are they contributing texture? Flavor? Visual appeal?

For example, pecans are rich and buttery, while almonds are crunchy and have a more delicate flavor. See if you can find a substitute on the list that matches these qualities.

As you consider your options, also consider the size of the nuts that you're replacing. Chopped or sliced nuts have a similar density and volume as oats and rice cereal, so they're an obvious replacement choice. Replace them measure for measure, and you should have good results.

If you're looking for a replacement for whole nuts, consider larger substitutes, like raisins, cranberries or chocolate chips. They'll help to maintain the bulk that the nuts were contributing to the recipe.

Can I Leave the Nuts out?

If your recipe only calls for a small number of nuts, it probably isn't vital to the success of your recipe. Go ahead and leave them out, if none of these substitutes appeal to you. You may lose a bit of crunch, texture, and flavor, but you should still get good results.