Replacing Peanuts & Nuts
The following is a general guide to using ingredient substitutions for peanut allergy and tree nut allergy. Please verify the ingredients and safety of any products named to make sure that it is safe for your child.
Basic Ingredient Substitutions for Food Allergies
Many common allergens are also common ingredients in your favorite recipes. There are some ingredients which can be easily substituted. There are others that may be more challenging.
Whether or not a “safe” version of a recipe can be successfully made often depends on two important factors. First: what is the role of the ingredient in the recipe? Second: how many of the recipe’s ingredients require substitutions? If the recipe only has 5 ingredients and you need to swap out 4 of them, the end result might bear little resemblance to the original dish. The bottom line: sometimes you can create a “safe” version of a recipe, and sometimes you are better off finding a different recipe altogether.
There are many ways to substitute peanuts or nuts in a recipe!
Replace nuts and peanuts with:
- Seeds – a nut-free source of roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds makes a great replacement for nuts in granola bars, breads, and “butters”. There are commercially made sunflower seed butters, pumpkin seed butters, flax seed butters, and hemp seed butters.
- Beans – specifically roasted soy beans, peas or chickpeas (garbanzo beans). You can roast beans in your oven very easily to make a crunchy, protein-filled snack. Roasted beans are a nice replacement for nuts in salads. Spiced and roasted chickpeas are a great “nut bowl” snack.
- Pretzels – Yes, pretzels. KFA member Kathryn shared with us, “I like to use pretzels in place of nuts in recipes, like pie crusts and chicken coatings. I’ve also crushed them on top of desserts and ice creams where chopped nuts would go.” Did you know that you can also use pretzels to make a faux pecan pie? Pretzels normally contain wheat and/or sesame. There are gluten-free brands of pretzels available if you need to avoid wheat or gluten.
If you need additional help in finding product suggestions or where to find ingredients, post a message in the KFA Food and Cooking Support Forum to get suggestions from other parents who are also managing the same food allergies.
Updated December 2022.