Macadamia nuts are a creamy buttery nut used in baking and cooking, and are very tasty! But what if you need some macadamia nut substitutes?
I have the best eight alternatives to macadamia nuts here, and all are easy to find in the store. So let's talk about macadamia nut substitutes, and how to use them!
This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or dietetic advice in any way.
What are Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts are rich and buttery in taste, and have a softer 'bite' than some other tree nuts. Native to Australia, macadamia nuts have a hard dark brown outer shell with a creamy nut inside. You buy the nuts already shelled, as it is impossible to crack the shells yourself!
In their overview of the benefits of macadamia nuts, Healthline describes that they are 'rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, yet low in carbs and sugar. What's more, they boast healthy monounsaturated fats'.
Macadamia nuts are suitable as a low histamine food per the SIGHI list, and suitable for for a low fodmap diet (Monash University). They are not suitable to consume if you have a tree nut allergy.
Why May We Wish to Substitute Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts can easily be kept in a sealed container in the pantry to use for meals and snacks. But we may want to use a macadamia nut substitute for a few reasons, including that we head to the pantry and discover that we are out of them! Or perhaps we can't find them at a smaller store or they don't turn up in our food delivery.
Macadamia nuts are also the most expensive nut to buy. They are rather eye-wateringly expensive due to the long time it takes for trees to produce the nuts, so not so good if you are on a budget. So let's talk about some easy (and cheaper) alternatives!
How Can We Use Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including as a roasted snack by themselves!
As they suit both sweet and savory recipes, they work for desserts as well as they do for main meals, salads and snacks.
- Use chopped macadamia nuts on breakfast items such as oatmeal, chia pudding or to top smoothie bowls.
- Make some macadamia nut cookies for a sweet treat!
- Use as the base of a vegan pasta sauce in place of cashews.
- Blend up some macadamia nut pesto for a pesto pasta dinner.
- Make your own macadamia nut butter to spread on toast or rice cakes.
8 Best Macadamia Nut Substitutes
Whether you are baking cookies, looking to sprinkle some nuts on a salad, or perhaps on a chia pudding or oatmeal, these macadamia nut substitutes should have you covered!
Brazil nuts are a good alternative to macadamia nuts as they have a similar creamy and buttery flavor. They are also high in fat, as macadamia nuts are.
Brazil nuts work well as a substitute for macadamia nuts in baking, and to make cookies. You can also used chopped Brazil nuts for breakfast recipes such as for topping oatmeal or in desserts.
Almonds are also a high fat nut, giving them that creamy taste similar to macadamia nuts. I would suggest using skinned almonds as an alternative to macadamia nuts to get a similar taste and texture. Almond skins are rather dry in taste.
You can use almonds in desserts, baking and to make pesto. They are very widely available in supermarkets and health food stores and one of the cheaper nuts to purchase.
Cashews have a similar buttery taste to macadamia nuts, making them a good alternative for your recipes.
As well as being a good replacement for macadamias in baking and cookies, you can also use cashews as a base to make vegan pasta sauces to add some protein.
My low histamine readers will likely want to avoid cashews as they are considered higher histamine on the SIGHI list.
Pine nuts are another creamy, buttery nut and so work well as a substitute for macadamia nuts. Although much smaller in size, they do have a similar taste and texture. Unfortunately, they are one of the more expensive nuts to purchase though.
The most common way that pine nuts can be used is to make pesto for a tasty dinner.
Have a read of my pine nut substitutes for pesto if you're thinking to make this sauce but want some new ideas!
Pistachios have a rather different appearance to macadamia nuts, but have a mild and slightly sweet taste. They give a good crunch too!
You can replace macadamia nuts with pistachios in both sweet and savory dishes, including cookies, baking, to make pistachio pesto, to top salads and to make pasta sauces such as in my vegan pumpkin alfredo.
Pistachios are a high fodmap food, for those with this dietary requirement.
Pecans look very different to macadamia nuts, but have a similar sweetness. You can easily use chopped pecans in desserts and baking.
As an alternative to macadamias, pecans are a good swap as they are also a higher fat nut. Pecans can also be seen to have a similar caloric value and level of protein as macadamia nuts, as BBC Good Food describes in their overview of the healthiest nuts.
It is unclear whether pecans are suitable for a low histamine diet. They are not rated on the SIGHI list.
Walnuts have a similar creaminess to macadamia nuts, but do have a more earthy and less buttery taste. Chopped walnuts are often used to top ice cream, or added to salads.
Interestingly, walnuts have a similar caloric value as macadamia nuts, but actually have more protein and less fat (BBC Good Food).
My low histamine readers will likely wish to avoid walnuts as they are rated as high histamine on the SIGHI list.
Coconut isn't a nut at all, but the fruit of the coconut palm (botanically a drupe). It shares a similar taste to macadamia nuts with its creamy taste and texture.
If you were using small pieces of macadamia nuts to top a chia pudding, oatmeal or to blend into smoothies, using coconut flakes or desiccated coconut would be a good swap.
Please note that the FDA classifies coconut as a tree nut and so a major food allergen.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are making savory meals, pistachios, cashews and pine nuts are good alternatives to macadamia nuts.
Pecans, Brazil nuts and almonds all work well in sweet dishes as a swap for macadamia nuts, such as in baking and desserts. If you don't need the 'crunch' of nuts, you can also use coconut flakes or desiccated coconut to give a similar creaminess to macadamia nuts.
You can use another nut or seed butter such as almond butter, pumpkin seed butter or tahini in place of macadamia nut butter.
More Substitute Posts
Find lots of ways to make your meals and snacks when you're out of an ingredient with my easy substitutes. Check out my 10 best bean substitutes, my 9 best tomato substitutes, my 6 flaxseed substitutes and my 9 best broccoli rabe substitutes as well as they recent posts:
I'm always in the kitchen, so come join me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to be the first to hear of new recipes and resources!
Don't forget to pin the post!
A note for my low histamine readers - this is a broad informational post on macadamia nut substitutes and refers to some foods that are considered to be higher histamine and best avoided on a low histamine diet.
Leave a Reply