Skip to Content

Are Peanuts Nuts?

In order to be classified as a true ‘nut’, a peanut would have to grow on a tree.

Well guess what? Peanuts don’t!

Whilst peanut plants flower above ground, the peanuts themselves grow in pods that mature underground. This makes them legumes, just like peas, beans and lentils!

Nutter Butter Cheesecake Photo

Why do people with nut allergies have to avoid peanuts?

Now you know that peanuts are legumes rather than nuts, you may be wondering why people allergic to nuts would still need to avoid them.

Basically, it’s because the protein in tree nuts that people tend to be allergic to has a very similar structure to the protein in peanuts! People who react to peanuts are also likely to react to cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios.

Peanut Butter Toffee Bars Picture

They may not be true nuts – but peanuts are good for us

Legumes are a great source of protein, so this is why peanuts are higher in protein than other ‘nuts’. They’re also packed with lots more nutrients, including iron, calcium, folate and vitamin E.

America loves peanuts – apparently a massive 67% of all nut consumption in the US is either peanuts or peanut butter. What’s more, the average American eats approximately 3 lb of peanuts per year!

Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Image

So which other ‘nuts’ have been deceiving you this whole time?

If you’re still reeling over the peanut revelation, brace yourself, because there are lots more ‘nuts’ that are not true nuts at all!

These include almonds, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamias, Brazil nuts and walnuts, all of which are technically classed as seeds.

Nuts we can trust

There are only a few ‘nuts’ that are true nuts as per their botanical classification.

These are hazelnuts and pecans, plus the type of nuts we think of as ‘squirrel food’, such as sweet chestnut, beech and acorns!

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle Pic

Cooking with peanuts

One of the great things about peanuts is how versatile they are!

They work well in all kinds of recipes – from savory to sweet – and a dollop of peanut butter adds a wonderful richness and depth of flavor to curry sauces (try it and see!)

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Cups Picture

Sweet treats with peanuts

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes – filled with peanut butter and topped with a chocolate

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bread – all your favorite ingredients in every tasty bite

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies – the easiest cookies you will EVER make!

Savory ideas

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken – simple to prepare and totally delicious

Peanut Noodles – just add Asian sauce and shrimp, chicken or beef for a complete meal