Exploring Top Alternatives: The Ultimate Guide to Hazelnut Substitutes

The best hazelnut substitutes

Hazelnuts are a popular ingredient known for their creamy, nutty flavor. However, there are times when hazelnuts may not be readily available or suitable due to allergies or personal preferences. In such cases, it’s helpful to know the best hazelnut substitutes that can be used in various recipes. This article will explore these substitutes and provide insight into their flavors, textures and uses.

Understanding Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts, also known in Europe as hazelnuts, cobnuts, or filberts, are the seeds of the hazel tree. They have a high oil content and a sweet, nutty flavor. Hazelnuts are commonly used to make hazelnut oil, which is prized for its flavor and is often incorporated into sweet baked goods. They pair exceptionally well with chocolate and vanilla flavors. In addition, hazelnuts can enhance the texture and flavor of savory dishes such as salads, pastas, and curries. They can be enjoyed raw or roasted as a delicious and satisfying snack.

Choosing the right substitute

When it comes to substituting hazelnuts, the choice of substitute depends on the reason for the substitution and the specific recipe being prepared. Whether it’s for flavor, allergies, or texture, there are several viable alternatives to consider. Here are some of the best hazelnut substitutes and how to use them effectively:

1. Hazelnut oil or extract

If you’re looking to replicate the flavor of hazelnuts without the texture or bulk, hazelnut oil or extract is an excellent option. Hazelnut oil, especially the toasted variety, offers a rich and distinct nutty flavor. It can be used in a variety of recipes that call for hazelnuts, adding a delightful sweetness. Alternatively, hazelnut extract provides concentrated flavor and aroma without the added calories or nutrients. It works well in baking cakes, making ice cream, or adding to frostings.

2. Hazelnut Butter

For those looking for an exact taste and nutritional match, Hazelnut Butter is a great substitute for hazelnuts. It offers the same flavor and aroma, but with a different texture. When using hazelnut butter as a substitute, it’s important to check the ingredients list, as some brands may contain additional ingredients such as sugar or oil. However, if you’re looking for a quick and convenient substitute, hazelnut butter can be an excellent choice.

3. Nutella

While not an exact match, Nutella can be a suitable substitute for hazelnuts, especially in sweet recipes. Nutella is a hazelnut-chocolate spread that adds a pronounced chocolate flavor to your dishes. It can be used in baking or as a topping for desserts. However, it’s important to note that Nutella contains additional ingredients, such as sugar, which can affect the overall sweetness and consistency of your recipe.

4. Seeds, candy chips or oats

For those with allergies or seeking alternative textures, seeds, candy chips or oats can be viable substitutes for hazelnuts. The choice of substitute depends on the specific recipe and desired result. Seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds can add a crunchy texture and unique flavor profile to your dishes. Candy chips, such as chocolate or caramel chips, can add a touch of sweetness and complement other ingredients. Oats, whether whole or crushed, can add a hearty and chewy element to your recipes.

5. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are an excellent substitute for hazelnuts, especially when it comes to texture. They have a buttery and crunchy texture similar to roasted hazelnuts. With their high fat content, macadamia nuts impart a creamy and smooth flavor that can satisfy your hazelnut cravings. It’s worth noting, however, that macadamia nuts can be more exclusive and come with a higher price tag compared to hazelnuts.

6. Almonds

Almonds are a versatile nut that can be used as a substitute for both raw and roasted hazelnuts. They have a similar texture and offer a satisfying crunch followed by a chewy bite. Raw almonds have a comparable sweetness and a fresh, nutty flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts. When using almonds as a substitute, it’s important to consider whether the recipe calls for the nuts to be raw or roasted, as this can affect the overall flavor and texture.

Consider nutrition

When choosing a hazelnut substitute, it can be beneficial to consider the nutritional content of the alternatives. Hazelnuts are a nutritious snack, packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you’re looking for a substitute that closely matches hazelnuts in terms of nutritional qualities, almonds are an excellent choice. Almonds have similar calorie, carbohydrate, and fiber content to hazelnuts. They also contain vitamin E, which is beneficial for skin health and acts as an antioxidant.

In summary

When hazelnuts are unavailable or inappropriate for a recipe, there are several substitutes that can replicate their flavor, texture, or nutritional qualities. Hazelnut oil or extract can provide the distinct nutty flavor without the bulk. Hazelnut butter offers an exact flavor match, while Nutella adds a chocolatey twist. Seeds, candy chips or oats can be used for alternative textures, while macadamia nuts and almonds are suitable substitutes for the texture and flavor of hazelnuts.
It’s important to consider the specific requirements of your recipe and the reason for the substitution when choosing the best hazelnut substitute. By using these alternatives, you can still enjoy the delicious flavors and textures that hazelnuts bring to various dishes.

FAQS

Can I replace hazelnuts with hazelnut oil or extract?

Yes, hazelnut oil or extract can be used as a substitute for hazelnuts. While they provide the distinct flavor of hazelnuts, they lack the texture and bulk. Hazelnut oil or extract is especially useful when you want to add a nutty flavor to a recipe without using actual nuts.

Is hazelnut butter a good substitute for hazelnuts?

Yes, hazelnut butter is an excellent substitute for hazelnuts. It has the same flavor and nutritional profile as hazelnuts, although the texture may be slightly different. When using hazelnut butter, check the ingredients list to make sure it doesn’t contain any additional additives or sweeteners.

Can Nutella be used as a hazelnut substitute?

Yes, Nutella can be used as a hazelnut substitute, especially in recipes that call for a chocolate-hazelnut flavor combination. However, it’s important to note that Nutella contains additional ingredients such as sugar, which can affect the overall sweetness and consistency of your dish.

What are some alternatives to hazelnuts for people with allergies?

For those with hazelnut allergies, there are several alternatives to consider. Seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds can provide a similar crunch and unique flavor. Candy chips, such as chocolate or caramel chips, can add sweetness to your recipes. Oats, whether whole or crushed, provide a hearty and chewy element.

Are macadamia nuts a good substitute for hazelnuts?

Yes, macadamia nuts can be a good substitute for hazelnuts, especially when it comes to texture. They have a buttery and crunchy texture similar to toasted hazelnuts. However, it’s worth noting that macadamia nuts can be more expensive than hazelnuts.

Can almonds be used as a hazelnut substitute?

Yes, almonds are a versatile substitute for both raw and roasted hazelnuts. They have a similar texture and offer a satisfying crunch followed by a chewy bite. Raw almonds have a comparable sweetness and a fresh, nutty flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts.