What is Hazelnut?

Hazelnut is the hard-shelled nut of the hazelnut tree (Corylus avellana). The nuts, which are also known as filberts or cobnuts, are thought to have originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. Today, Turkey, Italy, and the US are the main countries where hazelnuts are farmed.

Hazelnuts are versatile nut that may be consumed raw and is used in both savoury and sweet dishes. Other hazelnut products, such as hazelnut oil, are also commonly accessible. These nuts are a wise addition to your diet because they have positive effects on nutrition and health.

What is Hazelnut?

Hazelnut is a type of nut that grows on the hazel tree (Corylus avellana). It is also known as the cobnut or filbert nut. Hazelnuts have a hard shell that encases the edible kernel or nutmeat inside. They are typically small to medium in size and have a round or oval shape.

Hazelnuts have a distinct flavour that is nutty, slightly sweet, and buttery. They are often consumed raw, roasted, or ground into a paste known as hazelnut butter. Hazelnuts are commonly used in both sweet and savoury dishes, adding a rich and flavorful element to various recipes.

Hazelnuts are not only delicious but also offer several health benefits. They are a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can contribute to heart health. Hazelnuts are also a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins (such as vitamin E), minerals (including magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium), and antioxidants.

In culinary applications, hazelnuts are commonly used in baking, confections, desserts, and as a topping for salads or roasted vegetables. They are also a key ingredient in popular products like Nutella, a hazelnut-chocolate spread, and Praline, a sweet confection made with caramelized hazelnuts.

Overall, hazelnuts are versatile and flavorful nut that adds a delightful taste and texture to a wide range of dishes. They are enjoyed both as a standalone snack and as an ingredient in various culinary creations.

What Does Hazelnut Taste Like?

Hazelnuts have a distinct and rich flavour that is often described as nutty, slightly sweet, and buttery. The taste of hazelnuts can vary slightly depending on the variety and freshness. When eaten raw, hazelnuts have a subtle sweetness and a creamy texture. Roasting hazelnuts intensifies their flavour, giving them a more pronounced nuttiness and a slightly toasted and caramelized taste.

The natural oils present in hazelnuts contribute to their unique flavor profile. These oils give hazelnuts a rich buttery quality that adds depth to their taste. The combination of sweetness, nuttiness, and buttery notes makes hazelnuts a popular choice for both sweet and savory dishes.

The flavor of hazelnuts pairs well with chocolate, and the combination of hazelnut and chocolate is classic and beloved in various desserts and confections. Hazelnuts are also commonly used in baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pastries, where they add a delightful flavor and a satisfying crunch.

Whether enjoyed on their own as a snack, incorporated into recipes, or used as an ingredient in spreads and confections, the taste of hazelnuts is highly appreciated for its distinctive nuttiness and pleasant sweetness.

Are Hazelnuts Healthy?

Hazelnuts offer several health benefits due to their nutrient composition. Here are some of the potential benefits of hazelnuts:

  1. Nutrient-rich: Hazelnuts are packed with essential nutrients. They are a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can support heart health. Hazelnuts also provide dietary fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin E), minerals (such as magnesium and potassium), and antioxidants.
  2. Heart Health: The healthy fats found in hazelnuts, particularly monounsaturated fats, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. These fats can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improve overall cholesterol profiles.
  3. Antioxidant Protection: Hazelnuts are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.
  4. Improved Brain Function: The high vitamin E content in hazelnuts has been linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties and its potential role in supporting brain health.
  5. Digestive Health: Hazelnuts are a good source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Adequate fiber intake can support regular bowel movements, promote gut health, and help prevent constipation.
  6. Nutrient Absorption: The vitamin E in hazelnuts may enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and K. Consuming hazelnuts alongside foods rich in these vitamins can potentially improve their absorption and utilization in the body.
  7. Weight Management: Despite being relatively high in calories, the fiber and healthy fats in hazelnuts can promote satiety and help control appetite, potentially aiding in weight management when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

What are the Uses of Hazelnut?

Hazelnuts are a versatile ingredient that can be used in various ways in cooking and baking. Here are some popular ways to use hazelnuts:

  1. Snacking: Enjoy hazelnuts as a simple and nutritious snack on their own. Roasted hazelnuts can be eaten as is or combined with other nuts, dried fruits, or dark chocolate for a homemade trail mix.
  2. Baking: Add hazelnuts to your baked goods for a delightful crunch and flavor. They can be chopped or ground and used in cookies, cakes, muffins, bread, and pie crusts. Hazelnuts pair particularly well with chocolate, so consider incorporating them into chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or Nutella-inspired treats.
  3. Nut Butter and Spreads: Blend roasted hazelnuts in a food processor or blender until they turn into smooth and creamy hazelnut butter. This homemade spread can be enjoyed on toast, used as a dip for fruits, or added to smoothies. You can also combine hazelnut butter with chocolate for a homemade Nutella-like spread.
  4. Salads and Roasted Vegetables: Sprinkle chopped or crushed hazelnuts over salads for added texture and flavour. They work particularly well with greens, roasted vegetables, and grain-based salads. You can also toast hazelnuts and crush them to use as a flavorful topping for roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts or asparagus.
  5. Desserts: Hazelnuts are a classic ingredient in many desserts. They can be used in pralines, chocolate truffles, hazelnut tortes, pies, and ice cream. Hazelnut flavor can also be infused into custards, creams, and sauces to add depth and nuttiness.
  6. Savory Dishes: Crushed or ground hazelnuts can be used as a coating for meats or fish, adding a delicious crust and flavor. They can also be used in stuffings, sauces, or as a crunchy topping for savory dishes like pasta, roasted meats, or sautéed vegetables.

Are Hazelnuts Safe for Pregnant Women?

Hazelnuts are generally considered safe for consumption during pregnancy when eaten in moderate amounts. They can provide important nutrients, including healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, that can contribute to a healthy diet during pregnancy.

However, it’s important to note that some individuals may have specific allergies or sensitivities to nuts, including hazelnuts. If you have a known allergy or sensitivity to nuts, it is best to avoid hazelnuts and other nut products during pregnancy to prevent any potential adverse reactions.

Additionally, while hazelnuts are a nutritious food, they are also relatively high in calories. It’s important to consume them in moderation and incorporate them into a balanced diet that meets the specific nutritional needs of pregnancy.

As with any dietary considerations during pregnancy, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice based on your individual health status and any specific dietary restrictions or considerations you may have. They can provide guidance on including hazelnuts and other foods in your pregnancy diet safely.

How to Store Hazelnuts?

To properly store hazelnuts and maintain their freshness, follow these guidelines:

Keep them in a cool, dry place

Store hazelnuts in an airtight container or resealable bag in a cool and dry pantry or cupboard. Exposure to heat and moisture can lead to rancidity or mold growth, so it’s important to protect them from these elements.

Avoid exposure to light

Light can also degrade the quality of hazelnuts. Keep them in a dark place or store them in an opaque container to prevent light exposure.

Refrigeration option

If you live in a warm and humid climate or if you have a large number of hazelnuts, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator. Place the hazelnuts in an airtight container or resealable bag to prevent moisture absorption and the transfer of odors from other foods.

Freezing for long-term storage

If you want to store hazelnuts for an extended period, consider freezing them. Place the nuts in an airtight container or freezer bag and ensure they are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn and moisture absorption. Properly frozen hazelnuts can retain their quality for up to a year.

Check for freshness

Hazelnuts can turn rancid over time, so it’s essential to check for signs of spoilage before consuming. Rancid hazelnuts may have an off smell or taste. If they appear discolored or have a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s best to discard them.


In conclusion, hazelnuts are a flavorful and nutritious nut that can be enjoyed in various ways. They offer a distinctive nutty and slightly sweet taste, with a satisfying crunch. Hazelnuts are packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a beneficial addition to a balanced diet.

Incorporating hazelnuts into your meals and snacks can provide potential health benefits such as improved heart health, antioxidant protection, and enhanced brain function. Whether eaten as a snack, used in baking, or added to savory dishes, hazelnuts offer a delightful flavor and texture that can enhance a wide range of culinary creations.