15 Common Types of Nuts


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Nuts are constantly touted as a healthy snack. However, there are so many different types of nuts, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes time to cook with them.

Common types of nuts.

First thing first: Botanically speaking, nuts are a complicated food group. They don’t always mean what they say or say what they mean. For example, a peanut isn’t a nut at all but rather a legume because it grows in a pod underground versus on a tree. 

Cashews, on the other hand, do grow on trees just as traditional tree nuts do, but they are technically considered a seed. The reason is that cashews, as we know them, grow attached to a fruit that’s called a cashew apple. Think of peaches. The pit is a seed because it’s an accessory to what the tree considers its real prize — the fruit.

Now that we’ve established nuts are tricky little things, here are a few popular varieties.



Almonds are seeds that come from the almond tree. They’re hard but sweet, and they’re used to create almond milk, almond oil, and even almond flour. You might chop them up in salads. Try adding sliced almonds to vegetable sides like this green beans almondine. You can also candy almonds and use them to make crust or breading.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (143 g): 30g protein, 71g fat, 30g carbohydrates, 17g fiber, 6g sugar, 1048mg potassium, and 1mg sodium.

Marcona Almond

Marcona almonds

These look similar to macadamia nuts. You may have eaten them on a cheese and charcuterie board or eaten them roasted with seasoning. Their sweetness makes them a delicious snack.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (144g): 24g protein, 88g fat, 24g carbohydrates, 16g fiber, 12g sugar, 560mg sodium.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts (which are seeds that come from the aptly named Brazil nut tree) originate in the rainforest and have a buttery flavor. They are high in fat, but it’s the good kind. They’re most often blanched or eaten raw.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (120g): 16g protein, 80g fat, 16 g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 4g sugar, and 0mg sodium.



Their buttery and salty taste makes it hard to stop popping cashews. They are often made into cashew milk and nut butter. Beyond snacking, cashews can also be added as a garnish to make a stir-fry, and I like to use them in my baked energy bars.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (112g): 20g protein, 52g fat, 32g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 4g sugar, 344mg sodium.



“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” isn’t just a song lyric. People love to roast and eat them. Just don’t eat the shell or skin. They have a spongy, soft texture once cooked (mostly when you boil them). They taste more grainy than nutty and are often compared to the taste of sweet potatoes. Once cooked, they are also buttery and soft like a potato.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (150g): 2.45g protein, 1.88g fat, 66g carbohydrates, 3mg sodium, 727mg potassium, 45mg magnesium, 60mg vitamin C.


Coconut flesh

Coconuts conjure up images in the summertime, but once the “meat” is dried, there’s so much you can do with coconuts. You can buy coconut in flakes, desiccated, or shredded, and it comes both sweetened and unsweetened. Add it to salads, oatmeal, crusts, and baked goods like my coconut custard pie.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (93g, dried and shredded): 2.68g protein, 33g fat, 44g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 40g sugar, 244mg sodium, 313mg potassium.



Probably best known as a part of the tasty twosome that make Nutella or Gianduja (a type of chocolate) so delicious, hazelnuts are small, round, and sweet. Like almonds and cashews, you can also ground hazelnuts to use in seafood crusts and baked goods. They’re crunchy and have thin brown skin that flakes off when cooked.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (135mg): 20g protein, 82g fat, 22g carbohydrates, 13g fiber, 6g sugar, 0g sodium, 918g potassium.

Macadamia Nuts


Although most known for their role in sugary macadamia nut cookies, brownies, and other desserts, they are high in healthy fat. You can also add them to salads and puree them into soups. Additionally, you can turn them into nut butter, which is a great baking substitute for traditional butter.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (134g): 10g protein, 101g fat, 18g carbohydrates, 11g fiber, 6g sugar, 7mg sodium, 492mg potassium.

Pili Nuts

Pili nuts

As one of the lesser-known types of nuts, you might not recognize them right away. They resemble the teardrop shape of almonds but may be smaller. Taste-wise, they’re most like sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Their lighter notes lend them well to salads and garnishing. Try lightly toasting them and snacking away.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (120g): 12g protein, 95g fat, 4.78g carbohydrates, 4mg sodium, 608mg potassium, 690mg phosphorus.



Despite not being a nut at all, they’re technically a legume. Peanuts are often used in snack mixes with other nuts and, of course, homemade peanut butter. They are also used in Asian cuisine, like Kung Pao chicken, to add crunch and texture. Since they’re sweet, they’re also great in baked goods and peanut butter cookies.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (146g): 37g protein, 71g fat, 6.89g sugar, 26mg sodium, 1029mg potassium, 245mg magnesium.



Pecans are larger and crinkled, funnier-looking than some nuts, but their sweetness makes them a great baking partner (especially on these no-yeast sticky buns). Glaze or toast them as a sweet snack. Add them to leafy greens or a chicken salad sandwich.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (99g, halves): 9g protein, 71g fat, 13g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 4g sugar, 0g sodium, 406mg potassium.

Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts

Possibly the smallest nut on this list, pine nuts are perfect for toasting and adding to salads. It brings out their light, sweet flavor. They are light in color and have a soft, oily texture. And we can’t forget that pine nuts are a vital ingredient when making your homemade pesto.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (135g): 18g protein, 92g fat, 17g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 4.85g sugar, 339mh potassium, 805mg potassium, 3mg sodium, 339mg magnesium.



As one of the more rich-tasting nuts, pistachios make a great crust for seafood but lend themselves equally well to desserts (ehm, pistachio chai popsicles anyone?). They are green underneath their light brown shells, which aren’t meant to be eaten. 

Nutritional profile: Per cup (123g): 24.80g protein, 55g fat, 33g carbohydrates, 13g fiber, 9g sugar, 603mg phosphorus, 1mg sodium, 1261mg potassium.

Tiger Nut

Tiger nut

Here’s another lesser-known type of nut. They are small and wrinkly looking, like a chickpea with more texture. They sometimes look like corn-puffed cereal. They taste earthy with slight sweetness, and they’re chewier than you might expect after snacking on other more well-known nuts. You can eat them straight as a snack or add them to salads and overnight oats.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (159g): 10.61g protein, 37g fat, 100g carbohydrates, 52g fiber, 47g sugar, 0mg sodium, 1140g potassium, 159mg calcium.



At a distance, walnuts look like small pieces of peanut brittle, kind of wild and misshaped. They are soft with some crunch. You can use them to replace pine nuts in pesto, use them in dessert dishes like this pineapple upside cake, or chop them and add them to a beet salad or slaw.

Nutritional profile: Per cup (120g): 20g protein, 80g fat, 16g carbohydrates, 12g fiber, 0g sodium, and 80mg calcium.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store nuts?

Storing nuts in airtight containers is the way to go. Nuts will last about twice as long when stored with shells on (about 6 months versus 3 months in the fridge or 1 month in your pantry). And yes, you read that right. Nuts won’t last as long at room temperature, so many experts suggest storing them in the fridge to limit heat and light exposure. The more oily the nut, the more likely it is to go rancid at room temp. 

How do you cook with nuts?

You can toast nuts to bring out their sweetness before using them in most dishes. You can also process nuts into a fine flour-like substance and bake with it. You can puree nuts into pesto or other sauces and soups.

Are nuts healthy?

When eaten in moderation, there are a few health benefits of nuts. They’re linked not only to a decreased risk of heart disease but to living longer in general.

Raw versus roasted, what’s the difference?

Then comes the issue of raw nuts versus roasted nuts. Both have similar nutrient content. Raw nuts or dry-roasted nuts are generally assumed to be healthier than wet-roasted nuts due to the additional oil. However, some research shows that it minimally impacts the fat content, though you run more risk for oxidation because you’re heating oil.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Aussie Aaron says

    You should try Bunya nuts if you want to try something different. They are a type of pine nut but about 3 times the size of a brazil nut and unlike most nuts are best boiled rather than roasted.

  2. Carol Reilly says

    Great site. I Have a question have you ever heard of Brazil nuts helping with cholesterol?

  3. cynthia says

    Everybody misses out on our rare but delicious oysternut/telfairia pedata. we have it in Uganda and Tanzania. it can be eaten raw, roasted or boiled. it can be added to soups, stews, salads and baked items. it helps improve fertility, is said to be an aphrodisiac and aids mothers to produce breast milk and heal quickly after child birth. it has a shelf life of up to 8 years!!!!

  4. Bart Forbath says

    Other than that I love to eat them, I know little about nuts. I do know hazelnuts are also known as filberts, or at least I think they’re the same. I’d love to find and try the khubaini and chilgoza mentioned above by Shiv Prakash Pandey. Where could one find them in the U.S.?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      It looks like you can find the chilgoza on Amazon, similar to pine nuts. I had a harder time finding khubaini. Let me know if you can find them!

      • Gowri says

        Khubani is actually dried apricot. The small seed inside is also eaten as a nut after breaking it’s small shell open. Many a time the inner seed has a bitter prussic acid taste found in stale almonds n unhealthy.

  5. Bruce Belcher says

    Jessica, thanks for the nut listing. I found your list of rices, and there was a link to the nut listing.

    There are distinct walnut types, and the taste is much different. American (Black) walnuts have a wonderful flavor that’s much different from English walnuts, but one needs a hammer to crack the shell. Butter nuts are another walnut with great flavor, but they are hard to find, and they are also hard to open.

  6. Shiv Prakash Pandey says

    Thanks for the vast and useful information. It was a wonderful encyclopedia of nuts. But in India, we have almonds, cashewnuts, walnuts, peanuts, coconuts, khubaini, chilgoza, pistachio, only. Rest of the nuts like hazelnuts, and pilinuts, pecans, etc. are not available. We consume s the nuts available here as raw or roasted or use them in sweet dish, cakes, biscuits, Halwa and sherbats (cool sweet drinks) and with boiled milk. We eat such nuts with raisins too. It is a pleasure reading your articles with pictures and watching you preparing dishes in yr unique style.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for sharing your culinary experiences with me! I have to try some of the ones you have mentioned, they sound so interesting!