Do you know there are dozens of different types of nuts? Nuts are convenient to eat, tasty, full of healthy fats, and also packed with essential vitamins and key minerals. A nut is a seed contained in a hard shell that needs to be cracked open. A seed, on the other hand, is the fertilized ovule of a plant enclosed in the seed shell, which is stored food to nourish the plant as it grows. Some nuts are seeds, but not all seeds are nuts. Here’s your ultimate nut guide to help you understand the different kinds of nuts and seeds, with nutrition facts, health benefits, and more.
Cashews, like many other so-called “nuts,” aren’t a true nut. Instead, they’re a seed that grows at the bottom of the cashew fruit. They’re one of the most delicious types of nuts, with a rich, buttery, and nutty flavor.
Pistachios aren’t only delicious, but they’re also incredibly good for you. They’re high in healthy fats and antioxidants, and they’re low in calories and high in protein.
Due to their rich and buttery flavor, pecans are a common ingredient in desserts and other sweet treats. They’re also packed with essential nutrients, including fiber, copper, thiamine, and zinc.
Almonds are the most popular type of nuts in the United States. They’re a heart-healthy snack that’s high in plant-based protein, fiber, fats, and key nutrients, such as vitamin E and magnesium.
More expensive than other types of nuts, macadamia nuts are creamy and buttery. They’re high in fat with a lower amount of protein than almonds and pistachios, but still contain a good amount of fiber.
6. Brazil Nuts
Among the richest selenium food sources, Brazil nuts also are high in micronutrients such as magnesium, copper, and zinc. They also have an adequate fatty acid profile and a high protein content.
Though universally considered a nut, peanuts are actually a legume. More like soybeans, lentils, and other legumes, peanuts are actually edible seeds. They’re rich in healthy unsaturated fats and fiber, just like tree nuts.
According to scientists, walnuts are actually the healthiest type of nut. In fact, research found that walnuts contain twice as many antioxidants as any other commonly eaten nut, including peanuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios.
One of the most delicious types of nuts, hazelnuts are simply irresistible in a variety of different ways. Roast them add them to chocolate and you have the perfect dessert, or use them in savory dishes.
Roasted chestnuts are a holiday must-have. Chestnuts are best when roasted to the point where they’re super soft and melt in your mouth. Interestingly, chestnuts are closer to a starchy vegetable than a nut when considering their nutrient profile.
11. Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are the seeds of pine trees that you can eat. They’re housed within a pinecone and a second shell that must be removed before eating. Shelled pine nuts are often used in pesto and other savory dishes.
12. Pili Nuts
Pili (pronounced “peeley”) is an oblong nut from Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. When eaten raw, they taste like sunflower seeds. After roasting, they retain a chewy exterior with a melted, buttery interior.
13. Marcona Almond
Marcona almonds are a type of sweet almond from Spain. They’re rounder and plumper than your typical California almonds, but their taste and texture are closer to that of a macadamia nut.
14. Kola Nuts
Kola nuts are about two inches long and green, with a reddish or white center. The nuts contain caffeine and theobromine, just like tea, coffee, and chocolate, which act as a stimulant.
15. Saba Nuts
Originating from northern South America and Central Africa, saba nuts are roughly the size and shape of a hazelnut kernel. Traditionally, the seeds have been eaten raw or roasted, but studies have shown that roasting degrades anti-nutritional factors contained in the nuts.
16. Baru Nuts
Similar to peanuts, Baru nuts are a member of the legume family. They taste like a combination of a cashew and peanut and have a harder texture. They’re also a nutritional powerhouse, packed with fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
17. Hickory Nuts
Hickory nuts are rich, oily, and pecan-flavored, housed in a tough outer shell. They are grown on the trees of the genus Carya that are found throughout North America and Asia.
18. Sacha Inchi
Native to Peru, sacha inchi seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E. When toasted, they have a nutty flavor and can be eaten as a snack or added to savory dishes.
19. Red Bopple Nuts
The red bopple tree is widely found across the rain forests of New Zealand and Australia. The tree produces high quality nuts which contain plenty of quality nutrients.
20. Tiger Nuts
Contrary to their name, tiger nuts are not actually a type of nuts. They’re actually tubers with a flavor reminiscent of a cross between a coconut and almond. They get their name from their tiger-striped exterior.
21. Egusi Seeds
Egusi seeds are grown in the egusi gourd, which is identical in look to a watermelon but has a bitter taste. The seeds look similar to pumpkin seeds and have a similar flavor.
Coconuts are technically classified as a dry drupe, but loosely speaking, can be considered a fruit, a nut, and a seed, all at once. Coconuts are highly prized and used for their water, milk, oil, and delicious meat.
23. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are high in healthy fats, beneficial plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals. They have a mild, nutty flavor and a tender texture and can be eaten raw or toasted.
24. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. These nutty-tasting seeds can be eaten on their own or crushed and added to baked goods.
Cacao is the seed from which chocolate is made. On their own, cacao seeds are extremely bitter, but when blended with milk, sugar, and other ingredients, they turn into a delicious treat.
26. Mongongo Nuts
Mongongo nuts are very popular in the Kalahari desert in Africa. Highly nutritious, they can be eaten raw, steamed or roasted, or chopped and used as an ingredient for other recipes.
27. Cedar Nuts
Cedar nuts come from the Siberian pine that grows in Siberia. They have an oblong shape and up to twice the protein content of pine nuts.
28. Bunya Nuts
Bunya nuts were an important food source for Aboriginal people in Queensland. They’re similar to a potato and can be roasted, ground into a paste or flour, cooked up into baked goods, or even eaten raw.
29. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are flat, oblong, and tan in color. Once removed from the pumpkin, the seeds can be rinsed and may be eaten raw, but are especially delicious roasted.
Breadnuts aren’t actually a type of nut, but a fruit. They’re a round, green fruit with short, dull, regular spikes covering the skin. When stewed, it tastes like creamy potatoes.
Acorns aren’t just for squirrels. They’re actually good for human consumption as well. You just need to remove the bitter tannins by leeching them out with boiling water.
In Hawaii, the candlenut is a symbol of enlightenment, protection, and peace. Candlenuts are cream-colored, soft seeds, which must be cooked to avoid toxicity. They taste similar to an almond when roasted.
33. Ginkgo Nuts
People from East Asia eat Ginkgo biloba nuts for both their taste and their nutritional and medicinal properties. The nuts have a soft, dense texture that tastes like a cross between edamame and potato.
34. Karuka Nuts
The pandanas plant is found all over West Africa. The karuka variety of New Guinea produces seeds that are oily, high in protein, and similar to a coconut in their use. They must be heated to break down calcium oxalate crystals that can irritate the mouth.
35. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are often referred to as a superfood because they contain such a desirable nutritional profile. They’re packed with omega-3, fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
36. Paradise Nuts
Paradise nuts come from the ecythis usitata trees found all over the Amazonian forests of Brazil. The fruits grow quite large, about coconut size, and the nuts they produce are rich in antioxidants and other key nutrients.
37. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds come from the poppy plant and are small, round, and bluish, black, or gray, depending on when they’re cultivated. They’re particularly high in manganese, which is important to bone health, and copper, important for the growth of connective tissue.
38. Sesame Seeds
Considered the oldest oilseed crop in the world, sesame seeds have been cultivated for more than 3,500 years. They have a rich, nutty flavor and are commonly added to salads, as a topping for baked goods, and used to make sauces and dressings.
39. Hemp Seeds
Many people consider hemp seeds to be a superfood. The small, brown seeds contain protein, fiber, omega-3s and omega-6s, a variety of antioxidants, and important vitamins and minerals.
40. Watermelon Seeds
Most people tend to avoid watermelon seeds as they enjoy their summertime snack, but watermelon seeds are actually edible and delicious. When roasted, they’re crispy and delicious and high in vitamins and minerals.
Pomegranates have a thick skin that’s not eaten, but within you’ll find hundreds of edible seeds surrounded by a red, juicy, and sweet covering known as an aril. The seed and the aril are either raw or processed into pomegranate juice.
Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it’s actually a seed that comes from a flowering plant. It has a slightly nutty taste and a fluffy and slightly chewy texture like rice, but it has more protein than rice while being lower in carbs and calories.
43. Soy Nuts
Soy nuts aren’t really a type of nuts at all. They’re soybeans that have been water, drained, and baked or roasted. They are rich in fiber, plant protein, isoflavones, and several other nutrients, and have a nuttier texture than other soy products.
44. Jackfruit Seeds
Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world and can grow up to 100 pounds or more. You can eat the fruit inside and also the seeds, which are highly nutritious and similar in taste to a potato when boiled.
45. Lotus Seeds
Dried lotus seeds (also called lotus nuts) are often used in Chinese and Japanese pastries, puddings, and soups. They’re used extensively in Chinese medicine and contain anti-inflammatory agents and enzymes.
46. Nigella Seeds
Native to the Mediterranean region, nigella seeds have an herbal, oregano-like flavor, with a warm, toasted-onion flavor and a hint of bitterness. They’re perfect for adding to salads, sauces, and soups.
The Atherton Oak is found in the North East Queensland rainforest of Australia. It grows an unusual blue fruit that contains a white nut inside. The nuts taste similarly to macadamia nuts and coconut but are delicious all on their own.
48. Beech Nuts
Beech nuts are tasty, and highly nutritious nuts produced by beech trees. They must be cooked before eating because raw they contain the toxin saponin glycoside, which can be irritating to the stomach.
49. Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds are most often used as a spice. They have a sharp aroma with a peppery, earthy, and even citrusy undertone that’s perfect for giving foods like rye bread, pumpernickel, and meat dishes a little extra character.
Butternuts are football-shaped and wrapped in a distinctive, fuzzy green husk. They taste similar to pine nuts but are in the shape of a walnut.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Different Types of Nuts
What are the types of nuts?
There are dozens of different types of nuts in the world. Some are edible, and some are not. The most common types of nuts include:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Kola nuts
- Marcona almonds
Beyond these common types of nuts, there are many other types of nuts found around the world, such as:
- Ginkgo nuts
- Pili nuts
- Candle nuts
- Black walnuts
- Palm nuts
- Tiger nuts
How many types of nuts are there?
There are more than 50 different types of nuts around the world.
What are the types of mixed nuts?
There are endless variations of mixed nuts, as many edible nuts work well with other types of nuts and ingredients such as dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chunks, yogurt drops, granola, and other options. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, a product qualifies as “mixed nuts” only if it contains at least four types of shelled tree nuts. Mixed nuts can also contain shelled peanut ingredients, but peanuts aren’t required to qualify as mixed nuts.
The types of shelled tree nuts that can be used in mixed nuts products include:
- Black walnuts
- Brazil nuts
- Other suitable tree nuts
Peanuts found in mixed nut products include the following varieties:
- Other similar peanut varieties
If a product contains three or fewer types of suitable nuts, it cannot legally be labeled “mixed nuts.” Instead, these products are often labeled “mixes” (such as trail mix).
The nuts included in mixed nuts are typically dry roasted or fried in oil. Mixed nuts come in a wide assortment of flavors and varieties as well, such as barbecue, sriracha, butter toffee, honey, sea salt, hot & spicy, glazed, chipotle, smoked, maple, jalapeno, wasabi & soy sauce, and many others.
How many different types of edible nuts are there?
There are more than 20 different types of edible nuts around the world. These include common, widely known types of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and butternuts, among others. Some lesser-known nuts are also edible, such as saba nuts, paradise nuts, pili nuts, baru nuts, mongongo nuts, and more.
If you haven’t already tried all of these delicious nuts and seeds, give a new one a try. You won’t know how much you like it until you try. Consider our Spiced Nuts & Chocolate-Dipped Treats which includes strawberries, bananas, apples, pretzels, graham crackers, and chocolate-covered sandwich cookies topped in decadent chocolate, along with a bag of candied California pecans.