5 Best Macadamia Nut Substitute

Title Page about Macadamia Nut Substitute, recipes, weight in grams

Are you baking or cooking a recipe that calls for macadamia nuts but don’t have any? If your local grocery store doesn’t always have them in stock, or if you are simply saving some dollars (Macadamia is the most expensive nut in the world – more on that below.) you need a reliable macadamia nut substitute.

Title Page about Macadamia Nut Substitute, recipes, weight in grams

The best alternatives for macadamia nuts are cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, and pecans.

You can substitute them in equal amounts, so if you need 200 grams of macadamia nuts, you can replace with, let’s say, 200 grams of cashews.

In this article, we’re going to consider different aspects of choosing a substitute for Macadamia nuts so that it will be easy to know which substitute is best for whatever you are baking.

But first, what is a macadamia nut?

macadamia nuts in 3 bowls

Macadamia Nuts are small, round, fatty nuts that originated from Australia.

Interestingly, a lot of people think that this nut is from Hawaii since Hawaii made a major commercial crop of macadamia nuts. Ninety percent of the world’s cultivated macadamias are grown in Hawaii.

They are light in color and are encased in a hard but smooth, glossy, dark brown shell. Their shells are notoriously tough to crack that machinery is used to break open the shells.

Describing the macadamia nut – taste and texture

Macadamia nuts have a rich, buttery flavor. Roasting or salting the nuts draws out their natural, subtle sweetness and creamy texture. They also go well with other tropical flavors such as coconut as well as chocolate and coffee.

They can be purchased roasted in oil, dry roasted or dipped in chocolate.  Some of the nuts are processed into oil and nut butter.

Now that we know the flavor and texture of  Macadamia nut, let’s talk about how it compares to its best substitutes.

Best macadamia nut substitute

How you plan to use your substitute determines which nut you should choose. Depending on what you are making and what is accessible to you, any of these replacements will offer similar results.

1. Cashews

raw cashews - a great substitute for macadamia nuts

If you are looking for a nut to match the flavor and texture of macadamia, then cashews are your best bet. Though a bit smaller in terms of size, cashews, like macadamia, have a buttery and creamy texture. The flavor is very light and subtly sweet. Roast the cashews to bring out the natural sweetness.

Cashews are great substitute for macadamia in cookies.

2. Pecans

a close-up photo of pecans, a great substitute for macadamia nuts

Pecans are also a great choice if you are looking to match the flavor of Macadamia nuts. They both have a subtle sweetness, but in terms of texture Pecans are chewier and more crumbly. 

Pecans also have similar fat content with Macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts have 76 grams of fat per 100 grams, while Pecans have 72 grams of fat per 100 grams.

If you’re looking specifically for a substitute that closely match macadamia nut’s fat content, choose pecans.

3. Walnuts

close-up photo of walnuts, a great substitute for macadamia nuts

Walnuts are a great macadamia nut substitute when you want to add something crunch to your recipe. Like Macadamia nuts, they are high in fat, crunchy and creamy at the same time. They hold up well to baking temperatures and can be used in cakes, cookies, and pies. However, note that when it comes to flavor, walnuts do have a hint of earthy taste

4. Almonds

brown almonds on white table

Almonds are a more budget-friendly substitute for macadamia nuts. They’re more widely available and tend to be less expensive. 

5. Brazil Nuts

a close-up photo of brazil nuts - a great substitute for macadamia nuts

Brazil nuts are actually from the same family as macadamia nuts.  They are known for their smooth texture, and creamy nutty taste. Although they are a great alternative for macadamias when it comes to taste, they are  pricier compared to other macadamia nut substitutes like cashews, walnuts, and almonds.

How to substitute 1 cup macadamia nuts?

To replace macadamia with any of these five substitutes, use them in equal amounts.

So, if you need 1 cup of macadamia nuts you can replace with, let’s say, 1 cup of almonds. If you need 200 grams of macadamia nuts, you can replace with 200 grams of cashews.

How to Toast Macadamia Nuts

Like many other nuts, toasting macadamia nuts before using them is a great way to enhance their flavor.

To toast macadamia nuts using oven:

  1. Heat your oven to 350F / 176C.
  2. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes.
  3. You would know it’s done when they are light golden brown and aromatic.
  4. Transfer in a container and let them cool before using.

Alternatively, you can also toast macadamia nuts using a stovetop. The process is very similar.

  1. Set a frying pan on your stovetop over medium heat.
  2. Spread the nuts in a single layer on your pan. Do not add any oil.
  3. Stir frequently with a spatula until the nuts turn light golden brown and aromatic.
  4. Transfer in a container and let them cool before using.

Measurements and Equivalents

1 cup of whole macadamia nuts is about 125 grams by weight.

Need more weight measurements for common baking ingredients? Head on to Baking Measurements and Ingredient Conversion Chart

The world’s most expensive nut

Macadamia nuts are the most expensive nuts in the world. As of this writing, one pound bag can cost around $25, almost twice as much as other nuts like almonds. 

Wondering why is it so expensive? The main reasons are  the slow harvesting process and the amount of manual labor required to harvest these nuts.

In addition to these, while there are ten species of macadamia trees, only two of them are used for production. It takes 5 to 7 years for the trees to even begin producing nuts.

chocolate bar studded with macadamia nuts

Nutritional value

Macadamia nuts have the highest fat content of any tree nuts. While they are a great source of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats,they are also high in calories. 

One ounce of macadamia nuts is equal to about 10 to 12 nuts, which is definitely less than the average person is likely to eat in one sitting. One cup of macadamia nuts contains about 950 calories – that’s around half of the average person’s daily calorie needs!

Delicious Macadamia nut recipes

Craving for some baked goods with macadamia nuts? Here are some great ones from around the web! The third one is my favorite!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Macadamia Nut Banana Bread

Macadamia Nuts Mini Loaves

Macadamia Nut, Coconut and White Chocolate Blondies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bars

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