Grocery Guides

13 Types of Nuts Explained [Guide + Recipe Ideas]



Last Updated: Feb 14, 2024

Nuts aren’t just a tasty snack — these nutrient-rich ingredients can transform almost any culinary dish or baked good. From cashew chicken to peanut brittle, each type of nut offers a different flavor and texture. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or someone looking to improve your cooking skills, nuts are a great place to start. 

Embrace the crunch, and let’s take a crack at the different types of nuts, dishes they’re best for and some recipe ideas.

illustration of common types of nuts

1. Almonds

flavor profile of almonds

Best for: Snacking or making into milk or butter 

Flavor: Sweet

Almonds are oval-shaped nuts with a hard shell. They have a slightly sweet taste and are commonly eaten raw, roasted or in various recipes. You can purchase almonds whole or sliced. Some folks even use this type of nut to make almond butter or almond milk, a great dairy-free option.

Marcona almonds

Marcona almonds are a sweeter version of traditional almonds. These round, flat nuts are derived from Spain and can be used in various ways — they make a delicious snack or a great addition to any baked good or charcuterie board.

2. Cashews

flavor profile of cashews

Best for: Snacking or cooking, especially Thai and Indian cuisine

Flavor: Rich, buttery

Cashews are crescent-shaped nuts that derive from South America. This type of nut has a rich, buttery flavor that is excellent for a quick snack or cooking. Some folks transform cashews into cashew butter, which is similar to peanut butter, or cashew milk, similar to almond milk. You can also use cashews to add some crunch and extra flavor to traditional Thai and Indian dishes.

3. Hazelnuts

flavor profile of hazelnuts

Best for: Snacking, desserts or transforming into a spread

Flavor: Sweet

Hazelnuts, or filberts, are round or oval-shaped hard-shell nuts known for their sweet flavor. You can enjoy this type of nut as a snack or use them in desserts — it’s best to roast them to enhance their natural flavor. Nutella, the hazelnut spread, is made from chocolate and hazelnuts. You can also use hazelnuts for a bit of sweetness in salads or on top of chicken.

4. Macadamias

flavor profile of macadamias

Best for: Desserts

Flavor: Buttery

Macadamias are smooth, hard-shell nuts with a distinctive buttery flavor and texture. This is one of the types of nuts derived from Australia, but they can be found throughout the United States. People often use macadamias for desserts, including cookies and cakes. You can also roast these nuts and add them to savory dishes.

5. Pistachios

pistachio flavor profile

Best for: Snacking or desserts

Flavor: Slightly sweet

Pistachios are a different type of nut known for their hard shell and green exterior. They have a slightly sweet taste and are frequently used in baking — we’re talking ice cream, pudding and tarts. You can also eat pistachios by themselves for an easy on-the-go snack.

6. Walnuts

walnut flavor profile

Best for: Salads or baked goods

Flavor: Sweet

Walnuts are one of the most distinctive types of nuts because of their wrinkled, hard shells. Their rich, sweet flavors are one of the reasons many people use them as salad toppings and in baked goods. You can even grind up seasoned and roasted walnuts and use them as a meat alternative in tacos or stuffed peppers.

7. Pecans

flavor profile of pecans

Best for: Snacking or desserts

Flavor: Sweet, buttery

Pecans are notorious for their sweet, buttery flavor that pairs well with any baked good — it’s no wonder pecan pie is so famous! You can consume these oval-shaped nuts raw or roast them for an easy snack or as a key ingredient in your favorite sweet or savory dishes.

8. Brazil nuts

brazil nuts flavor profile

Best for: Desserts or other culinary dishes

Flavor: Rich, creamy

Brazil nuts are large, triangular nuts that derive from South America. This rich, creamy nut is commonly used in desserts or other culinary dishes or eaten by themselves. You can also use Brazil nut oil for cooking.

9. Chestnuts

chestnut flavor profile

Best for: Sweet or savory dishes

Flavor: Sweet

Chestnuts are one of the larger types of nuts with a distinctive round shape. They have a sweet flavor with a rougher texture. You can roast, steam or boil chestnuts to mix into sweet or savory dishes. Or you might eat them by themselves for a tasty snack.

10. Peanuts

flavor profile of peanuts

Best for: Snacking or mixing into desserts

Flavor: Earthy

Despite their name, peanuts are actually legumes — but we still believe they fall under the different types of nuts category. Peanuts have an earthy flavor and hard shell. You can eat peanuts raw, blend them to make peanut butter or mix them into brownie batter.

11. Kola nuts

kola nut flavor profile

Best for: Soda or soups

Flavor: Bitter

Kola nuts are a favorite ingredient due to their natural source of caffeine. These bitter nuts are traditionally used to make sodas, but you can also use them in soups, stews and other classic dishes.

12. Pili nuts

flavor profile of pili nuts

Best for: Baked goods

Flavor: Sweet

Pili nuts are sweet nuts with a crispy exterior. These nuts are a delicious snack by themselves, or you can add them to any baked good. While pili nuts are native to Southeast Asia, you can find them in grocery stores across the country.

13. Pine nuts

flavor profile of pine nuts

Best for: Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes

Flavor: Sweet, buttery

Pine nuts are on the smaller side when it comes to different types of nuts, but their flavor packs a punch. These sweet, buttery nuts are popular in a variety of cuisines, particularly Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. Pine nuts are also a key ingredient in pesto!

Nut recipe ideas

Not sure how to use the different types of nuts? Here are a few nut recipe ideas to get inspired.

Cracking the code on types of nuts

Now that you’re more familiar with the different types of nuts, it’s time to get to snacking. Start slowly with almonds or peanuts, then work your way up to cashew chicken or pesto made from pine nuts. Remember, there’s a nut made for all taste buds.
Not sure where to find the different nuts? Shop all types of nuts with the Instacart website and mobile app. Place an online order today and receive your new favorites right to your door. You’ve now cracked the code to find your favorite type of nut!



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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