Best Substitutes for Pine Nuts in Homemade Pesto

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

We know that pine nuts are a crucial ingredient in pesto. Without it, the sauce would lack both the structure and the flavor. But it is also a thing that causes most people to skip making pesto at home. Pine nuts are notoriously expensive and aren’t something people usually stash in their pantries. But what if we told you that you could substitute pine nut with some other ingredients that you probably have lying around?

Continue reading to find out the best substitutes for pine nuts in homemade pesto.

Sunflower Seeds

This is the substitute people usually go for when they want to make pesto but lack the pine nut. Sunflower seeds will help you achieve the same consistency without altering the flavor too much. However, note that you might not get the green color you are accustomed to.


The green color of pesto should be even more expressive if you opt to swap pine nuts for pistachios. The only downside is that pistachios can also get pricy.


Cashews have a proven record of being a great pesto ingredient. Their texture, color, and sweetness do well to mimic the pine nut, and you might not even notice the difference.

Unsalted Peanuts

Unsalted peanuts are significantly cheaper and will result in similar consistency and add to the flavor. Just make sure you don’t go overboard, as too many peanuts could overpower other ingredients.