Food Facts

Nuts & Baking

With the holidays fast approaching, nuts take a large role in a lot of our favorite baking recipes. Every nut has a different flavor based on where its grown and the type of tree/plant it comes from. And of course these different flavors can make a difference in those delicious baked treats. Below I have scoped out some of the most popular nuts, their flavors, and what other flavors they best pair with.


Almonds have a slightly sweet, mild flavor and are high in protein and fiber. Because they are such hard nuts, they can be ground into flour for use in french macarons. These nuts pair nicely with flavors of maple syrup, honey and cinnamon.


Hazelnuts are small, sweet nuts. Their flavor is brought out through roasting. They pair well with chocolate and coffee and are most commonly used in granola and pastries.


Walnuts are relatively mild and work well in a variety of desserts, but work especially well in cakes like carrot cake and German chocolate cake. These nuts have a stronger flavor when roasted. These nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids so can go bad easier than other nuts.


While technically a legume, and not a nut, peanuts have a distinct buttery taste and are used often in baking. Peanuts are great candied (like a brittle) and of course made into peanut butter, which is great in cookies.


Cashews are a rich, creamy flavored nut due to their high fat content. They pair very well with chocolate and are good in cookies.


Pecans have the highest fat content of any nut. They are a versatile nut because they aren’t sweet, so pair well with the sweetness of desserts. They are found in recipes varying from sticky buns, brownies, granola, candied nuts and pie (pecan pie of course!)

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are rich and sweet in flavor. Used mostly in cookies, these nuts also pair well with chocolate. These nuts can be expensive but do pair well with a lot of other nuts.


Pistachios are a mild, slightly sweet nut. Like almonds, they are sometimes ground into flour for things like pie crust. While typically just eaten on their own, they have gained popularity in granola, chocolate bark, baklava, and go well in cookies with dried fruit like cranberries.

Of course, some of these nuts can be switched out for others with similar flavors and textures. Betty Crocker had some great swaps to attempt but feel free to try your own, or mix and match:

  • Almonds and pistachios
  • Almonds and hazelnuts
  • Pecans and walnuts
  • Peanuts, macadamia nuts, and cashews

Of course the biggest thing to remember is if you are buying nuts for baking make sure you buy the unsalted kind!

Happy Baking!

Until next time!


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