Pistachios Vs Almonds – What’s The Difference?

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Have you ever found yourself wondering about all of the different edible nuts out there? If you love nuts and nut mixes, or maybe you’re looking to try more varieties, you can quickly be overwhelmed with all of the options out there.

Think about it. You can go to your local grocery store and probably find a minimum of 5 options like walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and more. 

This is just the surface. There are many different types of nuts out there.

Some of the most popular nut options when it comes to looking for healthy snacks are the pistachio and the almond. These nuts are both really great for your health and they taste pretty great too. 

But what exactly is the difference between the pistachio and the almond? In terms of their nutritional content, pistachios have slightly lower calories, a slightly lower fat content, slightly less dietary fiber, and slightly less protein, though not by a significant amount. Almonds and pistachios also have fairly similar flavors, with pistachios being a bit more earthy and buttery in their flavor and texture.

In this guide, we will do a full comparison of pistachios and almonds. We will talk about just what these nuts are and where they come from.

We will talk about flavors and textures and even the nutritional values of each of these so we can fully understand just how they compare and how they are different. 

Keep reading to learn all the details of pistachios, almonds, and more! 


Pistachios grow from trees, much like any other nut you can think of. Pistachio trees are native to Central Asia and the Middle East but there are pistachio trees in plenty of other places such as the U.S., India, and China as well.

In the United States, pistachios are often grown in areas like California, Arizona, and New Mexico

The pistachio tree grows best in hot and dry areas but they also need cold when they are dormant so that they bloom again in the following season.

The cold has to do with pollination but these areas we listed tend to have the best climates and likelihood of success for pistachio trees. 

Plant, Grow, Harvest

As mentioned earlier, pistachios need heat to thrive but they also need cold winters when they are dormant so that they can pollinate and prepare for the next season. 

Initially, it can take up to 5 years for a newly planted pistachio tree to start producing. However, when they start producing, they have a lifetime of sometimes well over 100 years.

Typically, pistachios are harvested from August to September each year, when their hulls begin to change from red to green. 

If you’ve ever had or purchased pistachios in their shells, the split shell is actually how the pistachios are harvested. They come off the tree like that.

When pistachios are harvested, they are handled very carefully so as not to taint the exposed nut within the split shell. 

Pistachios are hulled and dried after they are harvested and then they are packaged and sent out for distribution

Taste & Texture

So what exactly do pistachios taste like? The flavor is very subtle and delicate. Their flavor is often described as light and buttery. If you purchased them seasoned with salt, that will serve to amplify all of those nutty flavors. 

This is a nice, sturdy, crunchy nut. You almost always get that satisfying crunch when you enjoy a handful of pistachios. You can purchase them in the shell or you can purchase them without, whatever you prefer. 

Health & Nutrition

Probably one of the biggest things people really want to know about pistachios vs. almonds is how they compare when it comes to health and nutritional values.

Is one healthier than the other, does one have more health benefits associated with it? 

So, here are some of the basic nutritional details. This information is based on a single serving, which is approximately 100 grams of pistachios

  • 557 calories
  • 27g carbohydrates
  • 20.6g protein
  • 44g fat
  • 10.3g dietary fiber
  • 107mg calcium
  • 4.15mg iron
  • 1025mg potassium
  • 1mg sodium
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E
  • Beta carotene 332mg 

We will share a similar list of the nutritional value of almonds when we get to them.

Ultimately, you will find that pistachios have slightly lower calories, slightly lower fat content, slightly lower dietary fiber, and slightly lower protein.

However, pistachios are slightly higher in carbohydrates and most of the vitamins and much higher in beta carotene

Ultimately, both the pistachio and the almond are considered powerhouse nuts. They both are considered to be healthy. 

When it comes to the health benefits, pistachios are said to be helpful for reducing bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.

They are also thought to be good for preventing or reducing inflammation thanks to some of the vitamin content in them. 

Pistachios have phosphorous in them, which is beneficial in protecting against diabetes. They also contain B6, which can be valuable for your immune system and your brain. They are high in fiber and high in protein

What you will find is that the health benefits of the two are pretty similar and pistachios and almonds both are recommended for healthy diets.

You don’t necessarily need to eat both but you could switch them up or choose one or the other with similar benefits. 


Almonds grow on trees and those trees can get incredibly tall, up to 35 feet when they are fully grown. These trees are generally located in Southern Asia and the Middle East, similar climates to that of the pistachio.

With that being said, there are almonds produced in the United States as well, primarily in California. When almonds are harvested, we eat the kernel from deep inside the hull and the shell

Plant, Grow, Harvest

As we mentioned, almonds are raised in primarily hot and dry locations. You will find their temperature needs and their harvesting time is again very similar to that of the pistachio.

The almond thrives in Mediterranean climates, which is why the countries we mentioned earlier and the California region really make the best climates for them. 

When an almond tree is planted, it takes approximately 3 years for the tree to start producing. It may take less at times but this is the average amount of time overall. This is slightly faster than pistachios but there’s a catch. 

Almond trees reach their peak at about year 6 after planting. This is when they produce the best and they will continue to produce well after that time for the life of the tree.

On the downside, almond trees only live for about 20-25 years as opposed to the 100+ years of pistachio trees. 

This requires some careful planning with planting and harvesting and creating a rotation that will continue to supply a crop.

You will also find that almond trees alternate their crops as far as the quality of the harvest. For example, you might have a stellar crop one year but the next year will probably be a lighter crop. 

When almonds grow, they grow inside of a full husk as well as a shell. By the time we see them, we only have the kernel from inside, which is the edible portion.

While you might be able to buy almonds in their shells, you are far more likely to find them already de-shelled, dried, roasted, and ready to enjoy. 

In fact, when you go to the store, you can usually find a multitude of almond flavors to choose from too. From spicy habanero to honey roasted to dark chocolate, the options seem to be endless for this very popular nut option. 

Much like the pistachio, almonds are also harvested in the August to September timeframe. When the hulls start to split open, this is when almonds are harvested.

Most of the time, almonds are not plucked one by one from the tree. Instead, a machine shakes the tree, dropping the ready almonds to the ground and they are gathered from there. 

After harvesting, the husks are removed so the almonds can dry. After that they can be shipped out in their shells or they may get shelled and roasted and flavored or whatever the distributor decides to do with them. 

Taste & Texture

We mentioned that you can find almonds in a lot of flavors now. You can find just about any flavor and you can find them roasted, salted, or unsalted.

Almonds don’t really need this flavor boost but it’s a good way to mix them up. They also are not commonly salted but it doesn’t mean you won’t find them salted, either. 

The almond has a very woody, toasty flavor. It definitely has that nutty flavor, blended with a robust earthiness. They taste a tad bit smoky when you pop them in your mouth. 

Almonds are incredibly popular and people love them in their original flavor. They also enjoy the myriad of flavor options out there on the market. Almonds can be dry as far as texture and even flavor are concerned.

If you’re curious about different flavors, you can always flavor almonds on your own with your choice of seasoning or spice or you can pick up your favorite flavor at the grocery store as well. 

Health & Nutrition

Here is a list of the basic nutritional content details based on a serving of approximately 100 grams

  • 579 calories
  • 21g carbohydrates
  • 21g protein
  • 50g fat
  • 12.5g dietary fiber
  • 269mg calcium
  • 4mg iron
  • 733mg potassium
  • 1mg sodium
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E
  • Beta carotene 332mg 

Almonds do have slightly more calories than pistachios. They also are slightly higher in fat content, protein, and dietary fiber. They are significantly higher in calcium as well.

On the same note, they are slightly lower in carbs and iron content and they tend to be lower on most of the vitamins, although they do still contain them

What you will find is that while they do have some differences in values, both of these nuts are still considered powerhouse nuts and both are incredibly healthy for you. 

They do also have plenty of fiber and protein. Both of these make them a recommended snack or food for healthy diets as well as diets geared towards weight loss. 

Pistachio Vs. Almond Overview

Finally, when you compare almonds to pistachios, you’ll find that they are both a healthy nut option.

They both contain varying vitamins and nutrients and while they may have some differing levels, they have similar benefits and nutrients in them. 

Almonds and pistachios do have different flavors when you crunch into them. Pistachios have more of a crisp crunch and a very light flavor while almonds tend to have a harder crunch and smokier flavor. 

These nuts are both awesome choices so you can’t go wrong either way! 

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