2 August 2022

The 10 best substitutes for chestnuts for your recipes

By Killian

Thanks to rich chestnut flavorthey can work very well both in savory and sweet recipes. Chestnuts can be a snack, added to a salad, mixed with other ingredients in a turkey stuffing, added to a vegetable casserole, or baked to serve alongside your steak.

Chestnuts used to be more popular than they are today, but there are still plenty of delicious recipes that call for chestnuts. So if you are looking for a delicious substitute for chestnuts, You have come to the right place. Just check our list, and you will find several options to explore.

The best substitutes for chestnuts

Chestnuts are not only consumed during the holidays. These tasty nuts are part of several recipes that are prepared with different cooking methods.

The crackling sound of chestnuts roasting probably reminds you of a warm campfire. They are quite buttery and bring a lot of sweetness to all recipes. Chestnuts are packed with vitamin C, potassium, copper, and manganese, and are also rich in antioxidants.

This nut grows on the chestnut tree and has a large but smooth bark, covered with dark veins. When you crack open a chestnut, the nut inside is rich in fiber and fat to provide a delicious, creamy flavor.

Thanks to its rather neutral aroma, chestnuts can be used in various sweet dishes such as cakes, brownies and mousses. At the same time, they serve as a great savory flavor enhancer in a soup, salad, pasta sauce, or garnish.

If you are looking for a rich and creamy puree, the chestnuts can be boiled or roasted. If roasted, their crunchy texture will immediately elevate the flavor when you add them to your favorite pasta or salad.

However, chestnuts may not always be so easy to find. Also, some people may not like the taste of it.

Therefore, finding a substitute for chestnuts will save the day. You can experiment with various options if you don’t like chestnuts or can’t find them.

Choosing the right chestnut substitute depends on the cooking method and how you want to incorporate them into a dish.

From an expert point of view, you have to understand that a chestnut is not like a water chestnut, which is a green aquatic vegetable and is quite popular in Asian recipes.

A water chestnut substitute can provide the texture of an Asian pear, with a flavor that is a cross between an apple and a coconut. Turnips, almond flour, and Jerusalem artichokes will work if you’re looking for a substitute for water chestnuts.

But these options won’t work if you’re trying to find a substitute for chestnuts in your recipe. The options we chose to replace chestnuts provide a buttery texture and a rather sweet flavor that combines with many other ingredients to complement your recipes.

1. Jackfruit

When boiled or roasted, jackfruits taste the same as chestnuts. Jackfruit nuts are commonly used in Asian cuisine and are suitable for people following a vegan or vegetarian diet due to their meaty texture.

You can use jackfruit nuts as a substitute for chestnuts in desserts, because they are quite sweet. They can also be used in soups, sauces and turkey stuffing. However, they are also not that easy to find and can be a bit more expensive than the other chestnut alternatives.

2. Hazelnuts

Because they impart a nutty, earthy flavor, hazelnuts will be the perfect substitute for roasted chestnuts in a filling or any other dish you want to add a little crunch to. Also, they are affordable.

Many people choose to substitute hazelnuts for chestnuts because they are easier to come by. They are also packed with antioxidants and fatty acids.

However, hazelnuts lack the meaty, creamy texture of chestnuts, so they cannot be used as a substitute in a chestnut puree. For the same reason, you cannot use hazelnut as a substitute for water chestnut.

3. Pistachio nut

The pistachio can be eaten raw or cooked in various recipes because it is so versatile. This type of dried fruit has a mild flavor and ends with a sweet note.

Thanks to their earthy flavor, pistachios will work as a substitute for chestnuts if you are going to stuff a turkey or prepare a puree. The pistachio spread will be a perfect substitute for chestnuts in a cake or bread.

4. Sweet potatoes

Japanese and purple sweet potatoes can substitute for chestnuts in a stuffing or puree recipe. When boiled and cooked, sweet potatoes taste just like chestnuts, especially when you add the other ingredients that make turkey stuffing tasty.

Slice and roast sweet potatoes, and they will add much-needed sweetness and richness to your recipe. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber and vitamins, making them a great healthy addition to your plate, especially if you have a nut allergy.

If you’re making a baked dish that needs some creaminess or thickness, sweet potatoes will do the trick. They will work both in savory dishes and in desserts, since they can replace canned chestnuts, which are rather creamy.

5. Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are crunchy, so they will substitute for chestnuts in various recipes. Plus, these nuts have a rich, meaty, and creamy texture, so they’ll add a buttery flavor to your purees, baked dishes, and soups.

You can use macadamia nuts in your desserts or cookies because they add the richness of chestnuts with a little crunch. You can even sprinkle them over your salad after dry roasting, bringing out their subtle flavor.

Most macadamia nuts are sold dry roasted, so they’ll do the trick if you’re in a hurry.

6. Pecans

Pecans can bring a rich, nutty flavor to any recipe. Compared to chestnuts, pecans have a slightly floral aroma, so they’ll work for you if you’re not so into the chestnut flavor.

You can use pecans in any recipe that calls for the use of chestnuts to add some crunch and creaminess. They add more texture to your recipes, so you can add them to a soup, pie, or filling.

Nuts are rich in antioxidants and fiber, and they taste amazing when pureed. Whether you use them raw or roasted, walnuts will make your dish more flavorful.

7. Tiger nuts

Although they are called nuts, tiger nuts are actually tubers that can be used to replace chestnuts in various recipes. They are not easy to find, but they will work perfectly as a substitute for chestnuts if you have a nut allergy.

Tiger nuts have a nice earthy, buttery flavor and will substitute for chestnuts if you make a soup or puree. Its slightly different flavor can help you if you don’t like the taste of chestnuts.

They resemble dried chickpeas and provide a nutty flavor that resembles that of macadamia nuts.

8. Almonds

Almonds are healthy and tasty, but that is not why they are on our list. Almonds have a nutty and crunchy flavor, so they will work perfectly as a substitute for chestnuts in a recipe that calls for some creaminess with some crunch.

This is another substitute that works well for those who don’t enjoy the typical chestnut flavor, as almonds have a slightly different flavor and aroma. They also have a somewhat woody taste, but can be used in various types of savory and sweet dishes.

9. Pumpkin seeds

If you need a crunchy, nutty flavor, pumpkin seeds can do the trick. Because of their subtle warm flavor, pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, just like roasted chestnuts.

Pumpkin seeds can substitute for chestnuts if you are allergic to nuts. You can also sprinkle them over your salads, or mix them into pasta sauce to add a grainy texture.

10. Chestnut flour

If you can’t find fresh or canned chestnuts to enhance the flavor of your recipe, you can use chestnut flour instead.

Dried chestnuts are ground to a smooth texture to make chestnut flour. It is suitable for those who want to enhance the flavor of their dishes because it has a stronger and richer profile and aroma than raw chestnuts.

You can use chestnut flour to bake bread or cakes because it intensifies the flavor. You can also add it to your savory soup or puree because it thickens the recipe while adding the necessary creaminess.

How to choose a chestnut substitute

Chestnuts are very versatile, but finding them is not always the easiest task. This won’t be a problem because our list of chestnut substitutes offers different options that you can choose from.

If you are looking for an alternative that provides the same nutty flavor or even enhances it, we recommend you try jackfruit or chestnut flour.

The tiger nuts and sweet potatoes are suitable for those with nut allergies and provide the same rich, creamy texture.

Macadamia nuts, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds work too, but give your recipes more crunch.

If you want to substitute the flavor of the chestnuts for something different, you can substitute them with hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds. They’re also crunchier, so they’ll work on top of salads and dips that call for some crunch to the texture.