There are so many different types of nuts to taste and enjoy, and all have their own flavors and characteristics!
Nuts are the perfect game-time snack, treat for school, party dish, or addition to a sweet or savory recipe.
The many uses of nuts make them a vital ingredient to understand and keep at home. But, in order to match the types of nuts to different uses, it helps to know what they taste like!
Some nuts are much better suited to some uses than others, some do better in savory dishes and others are ideal for desserts and sweet treats.
On their own, what do nuts taste like? Nuts all have a nutty flavor and taste, but the amount of nuttiness and the other notes and flavors do vary between the different varieties. Cashews and pistachios tend to be sweeter while walnuts and chestnuts are bitter and dry.
In order to understand how to best use nuts, you need to know what they taste like.
To prevent you from having to do a taste test of all the most popular types of nuts, we have gone through and listed what the different nuts taste like, and the unique characteristics each has!
The most popular and widely available type of nut is the humble peanut. Peanuts, while technically a legume, are very widely consumed. Peanuts are affordable and available mostly all year long.
A little known fact is that peanuts are very high in protein, and are considered to be the most protein-rich out of almost all nuts!
Raw, peanuts have a very earthy flavor. They are often roasted and salted, and this brings out their earthy, nutty flavor even more.
Peanuts are a popular snack and are flavored with all types of seasonings, but they are also the main ingredient in peanut butter, which is widely consumed around the world!
Peanuts are affordable and tasty and can be added to so many different meals and recipes to bring a nutty, earthy taste to a dish.
Hazelnuts are a main ingredient in Nutella, giving it a nutty, woody taste that just balances with the chocolate beautifully.
Hazelnuts can be enjoyed raw, and have an earthy, musty flavor almost. Most often, hazelnuts are toasted or roasted, which enhances the flavors and gives them a richer, deeper taste.
Roasted hazelnuts are a very popular snack!
Before eating hazelnuts, or before roasting, it is advised to remove the bitter skin, which can bring down the naturally nutty taste of the nut and leave a bitter aftertaste.
When roasted, hazelnuts also become crunchier, which makes them nice to snack on, and great to add to desserts, treats, and even to top onto salads!
Hazelnuts are a very versatile nut that goes well with many different dishes, but which work as a healthy and nutritious snack too.
Almonds are quite different from other nuts, and they can be prepared and sold in many different ways.
Almonds can be sold with or without their skin, blanched, whole, sliced, chopped, or slivered. They can also be ground down to make almond flour too.
Almond is also a very popular flavoring, and can be used as almond paste, almond extract, or even enjoyed as marzipan. Sweet dishes and almonds go together beautifully!
Overall, the taste of almonds is nutty, woody, earthy, and toasty, and the bitterness can vary, but typically almonds bought in stores have more of a sweet flavor than they are bitter.
Cashews are native to South America and are now popular around the world.
Thanks to the neutral flavor of cashews, they are a great addition to different meals, especially if you are looking for an ingredient to add texture and some crunch.
While fairly neutral, cashews can have a rich nutty flavor, and when toasted, this flavor is very enhanced. It gives a very toasted-nut taste which can then be flavored with some salt or other seasonings.
Cashews are a healthy snack, but they should be enjoyed in moderation, especially if there are extra seasonings and salt added.
Cashews are a popular nut used when making nut butter or puree, and cashews can also be used to make cashew milk, which is a dairy alternative!
Pine nuts are small little nuts that come from pine trees. These small nuts have a very mild pine flavor and are quite soft and chewy. They are best enjoyed toasted or incorporated into a meal.
With their soft nutty flavor and their subtle sweetness, they work well in savory dishes and are a popular addition to pasta dishes.
Possibly the most popular use of pine nuts is their inclusion into pesto – where their natural oils and sweet nuttiness give a very earthy flavor to pesto.
These nuts might be little, but they really do make a difference to any dish they are added to!
Pistachio nuts are often sold still in their shell, and you have to break the shell and peel it off to get to the delicious nut on the inside.
Generally, pistachios have a mild flavor that can have some sweet notes. The taste of pistachio is very unique, and if you have tasted one before, you would be able to pick out the taste straight away!
Very often, pistachios for snacking are sold salted. The saltiness works beautifully with the sweet notes of the nut, making the perfect little bite.
Without flavors or added salt, pistachios can be used in sweet and savory recipes, and they add a very delicate and sophisticated nuttiness to the dish.
Turkish and Persian pistachio varieties are more flavorful than California-grown pistachios, and are worth seeking out if you prefer a stronger flavor with each bite!
Pecans have a high oil content, and because of this, they are wonderfully buttery and have a very sweet and nutty flavor to them. There is often a mild floral flavor with pecan nuts too.
Other than their delicious taste, pecans also have a crispy and crunchy texture, which overall makes it the perfect nut to use in sweet desserts and treats.
The outside of a pecan nut can be a little bitter, but this is rounded with the sweet and buttery flesh underneath. They can be smooth and buttery but also crumbly as well.
The one issue with pecans is that they are rich in fats, and if not stored properly, this can cause them to turn rancid quickly.
Pecan pie is one of the most popular ways that pecans are used – and it is the perfect example of how the sweet, creamy, and buttery taste of pecans go so well in sweet desserts and sweet treats!
Brazil nuts are large nuts, and as the name suggests, are native to Brazil. They are so highly packed with nutrients that only two Brazil nuts a day will provide you with your daily dose and requirement of antioxidant selenium and vitamin E.
Brazil nuts have a very smooth, buttery texture which is rounded off with a nutty taste. These nuts can be enjoyed raw or blanched, but they can be roasted and seasoned as well.
Taking a bite of a Brazil nut, you can taste the high oil content, which gives the nut its smooth, buttery texture.
The one issue with Brazil nuts is that they are quite calorie-dense, so it is advised to have two a day and to try not to have more than this!
Macadamia nuts are known for their rich, buttery flavor. To enhance this flavor even more, they can be roasted, which helps to add to the sweetness and creamy texture that people love about them!
These nuts grow best in tropical climates, and this makes them a good pairing with coffee, coconut, and even citrus – which can be great in sweet and savory meals.
The great thing about macadamia nuts (other than their buttery taste) is that they are low in carbohydrates and sugar and contain some great essential nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants, so they make for a really healthy snack.
They are also a great source of protein!
Walnuts can popularly be found in many baked recipes, and they work so well with many different sweet and savory meals.
You can often find walnuts still in their shell, but it can be quite difficult to break open these shells, so most people choose to buy their walnuts already shelled.
Walnut flesh is quite high in tannins (the same found in red wine) which is why they often have a dry and bitter taste.
However, this dry and bitter taste does complement sweet flavors well and is a good topping for some pasta and salads too.
Walnuts also have a fairly high oil content, which you can taste when taking a bite. This oil content also means that they can become rancid if not stored properly – so you need to follow proper storage advice!
You might not have heard of Marcona almonds before, but they can be a very valued ingredient to add to your itinerary in the kitchen!
Marcona almonds come from Spain and are most commonly sold already roasted or fried and salted. They are mostly used for snacking and are a healthy snack to enjoy during the day.
These almonds are sweeter than usual almonds and are flatter in shape too. They have a little less nuttiness and are milder in flavor.
When using Marcona almonds in a recipe, it is best to use them raw instead of roasted and salted, unless the recipe necessarily calls for this!
Pili nuts are not a very popular type of nut and can be hard to come by. Their shape is similar to that of almonds, but they look similar to peanuts as well.
Their taste is quite unique for a nut, tasting similar to sunflower seeds and sometimes pine nuts. They have very light notes which makes them a good garnishing option.
Their flavor is brought out best when they are toasted, and this can make them great to snack on too.
Pili nuts are great toasted and topped onto salads or pasta, so if you do find some in your local store, they are definitely worth trying out!
Chestnuts are aquatic tubers, but they are considered to be tree nuts. Chestnuts have a very mild taste, which makes them adaptable to both sweet and savory flavors.
When raw, they are slightly bitter and crunchy.
For this reason, they are most often toasted or roasted and cooked, and when done so, they are sweet and wonderfully buttery—almost similar to the taste of a sweet potato!
Chestnuts are common around the holidays and wintertime and are often sold roasted from vendors on the side of the road.
They are low in calories and fat and contain a good amount of dietary fiber, protein, and vitamin E – so they are a considerably healthy snack!
Chestnuts do happen to be more perishable than most other nuts, and it is best to store them in the fridge!
Other than roasting chestnuts and enjoying them as a snack, they can be added to different dishes such as pies or ravioli!
Are Nuts Healthy?
Nuts can be used in a variety of ways, they can be added to sweet dishes or cooked into a meal. However, on their own, nuts are really quite healthy.
They contain monounsaturated fats as well as omega-3s, which are known to be beneficial to heart health.
Nuts also contain a good amount of vitamin E and fiber, which help to make up a good part of many diets.
As with all things, nuts should be consumed in moderation, but on their own or in nut butter, nut flours, and some meals, they are a great addition to most diets.
Different nuts have different nutritional profiles, so it is worth looking at the different nutritional benefits and contents of a nut before deciding to make them your daily snack!
Now that we’ve gone over what nuts taste like, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
What is the most popular type of nut?
Undoubtedly the most popular type of nut is the peanut. It is the most consumed worldwide and is used in so many different ways.
It is served as a simple snack, used to make peanut butter, or added to sweet and savory dishes for an earthy, nutty flavor and some crunch!
Which are the most expensive nuts?
Macadamia nuts are possibly the most expensive nut. This is because the macadamia tree can take up to 10 years to begin producing nuts, which is a long waiting time to start harvesting and selling the nuts!
Can you eat raw walnuts?
Walnuts can be eaten raw and are often sold raw. To make walnuts more enjoyable and to bring out more of their flavor, they can be roasted.
You can roast walnuts at home by placing them on a baking tray in a single layer and roasting them on medium heat for around 10 minutes, or until they turn a beautiful golden color and smell toasted.
Up Next: Can You Eat Imitation Crab Raw?