Walnut Recipes

The earthy, tannic nut that goes in everything from Waldorf salad to carrot cake

Rich, tannic, and mildly earthy, walnuts add a soft crunch to all sorts of sweet and savory dishes. From herbaceous pestos and fresh salads to gooey cinnamon rolls and fluffy cakes, these are our best walnut recipes.

Start at the basic level—sauces and spreads. Though pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, try replacing them with walnuts for an unconventional yet delicious variation. For a light, refreshing burger spread, try our walnut pesto with pea shoots and mint. Or make badrizhani nigvsit, a Georgian dish of fried eggplant served with a pesto-like sauce of walnuts, parsley, basil, cilantro, and fenugreek. A creamy walnut pesto tops our Neapolitan pizza with golden pan-fried zucchini and smoked mozzarella.

With their earthy flavor, walnuts can also lend richness to winter salads. Use whole walnuts to add crunch to an arugula, radicchio, and fennel salad with shaved parmesan, and an escarole salad with duck confit and comté. Or, chop them up and use them as a garnish, like we do on Waldorf-style Brussels sprouts with guanciale.

And just walnuts give richness and crunch to savory foods, they do the same for desserts. Putting them in chewy chocolate brownies is a classic, and our adaptation of an old recipe from actress Katharine Hepburn does just that; you can also layer them atop brownies in our recipe inspired by rocky road ice cream. If you're looking to stray away from brownies, fold walnuts into carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, or make walnut spice cake—a treat dedicated entirely to the nut.

In the gallery above, find all of these dishes and more in our collection of walnut recipes. Sweet or savory, chopped or whole, walnuts deserve a place on your plate.

Pea Shoot and Mint Pesto
Pea Shoot and Mint Pesto
This nontraditional pesto is one of the best ways to use up an overload of pea shoots. Packed with mint and spread atop toast or beneath a burger, it will make anything you pair it with taste fresher and greener.Matt Taylor-Gross
Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts
Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts
A mix of sautéed mushrooms, toasted walnuts, ricotta, thyme, honey, and pappardelle, this pasta dish needs only a green salad on the side.Farideh Sadeghin
Avocado and Apple "Tartare" with Fried Walnut Dumplings and Chive Cream
Avocado and Apple "Tartare" with Fried Walnut Dumplings and Chive Cream
Tart apple and cold avocado balance hot, crisp walnut dumplings and creamy chive sauce in this refreshing vegan dish from chef Josita Hartanto of Berlin's Lucky Leek. You can make the walnut dumplings a day ahead, but make sure to prepare the tartare within two hours of serving, so the apples and avocados don't brown. Get the recipe for Avocado and Apple "Tartare" with Fried Walnut Dumplings and Chive Cream »Matt Taylor-Gross
Roast Beef Sandwich with Walnut Romesco
Roast Beef Sandwich with Walnut Romesco
"I like to toast the inside of the bread to ensure it doesn't get soggy, even with a spread on it."—Philip Pretty, Fundamental LA, Los Angeles, CaliforniaJoseph De Leo
Arugula, Radicchio, and Fennel Salad
Arugula, Radicchio, and Fennel Salad
Walnuts and parmesan add richness to this crunchy salad from The Yellow Table's Anna Watson Carl.Matt Taylor-Gross
Roasted Carrot Salad with Burrata
Roasted Carrot Salad with Burrata
April Bloomfield offers her crazy-good recipe for pan-roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto, shaved carrot salad, and creamy burrata. Get the recipe for Roasted Carrot Salad with Burrata »Ingalls Photography
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
These vibrant, mildly sweet gnocchi were developed by stylist Judy Haubert as a gluten-free option to accompany Portland chef Jenn Louis' rich Gorgonzola cream sauce.Farideh Sadeghin
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Yeasty, sticky, moist cinnamon rolls are even more decadent after the addition of cream cheese into the dough.André Baranowski
Huckleberry Crisps
Huckleberry Crisps
This dessert can be made with either fresh or frozen huckleberries or blueberries.André Baranowski
Gluten-Free Cinnamon Crumb Cake
Gluten-Free Cinnamon Crumb Cake
Sorghum flour and almond meal give this cake from Gluten-Free Baking (Weldon Owen 2014) a soft, fine crumb; tangy yogurt balances its subtle sweetness. A dense brown sugar and walnut crumble tops the cinnamon-and-vanilla-scented base, making for a satisfying breakfast or snack.Farideh Sadeghin
Cranberry-Walnut Relish
Cranberry-Walnut Relish
Raw cranberries and earthy walnuts are transformed into a tart, fresh condiment for turkey.Farideh Sadeghin
Walnut Spice Cake
Walnut Spice Cake
Alternating layers of white and brown spiced cake are delicious sandwiched with a rich, chocolate fudge icing.Todd Coleman
Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza (Pizza Noci e Zucchini)
Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza (Pizza Noci e Zucchini)
Creamy walnut sauce is paired with golden pan-fried zucchini and smoked mozzarella on this Neapolitan-style pizza.Todd Coleman
Croatian Walnut Swirl Bread (Povitica)
Croatian Walnut Swirl Bread (Povitica)
Sweet walnut paste is rolled into yeast dough in this recipe, adapted from Toni's Country Kitchen in Laurium, Michigan. Get the recipe for Croatian Walnut Swirl Bread (Povitica) »Penny De Los Santos
Sherry Season Punch
Sherry Season Punch
This flavorful punch balances the bite of sherry and corn whiskey with nutty homemade walnut orgeat syrup and fresh citrus juice.Maxime Iattoni
Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze
Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze
It's rare that we encounter spaghetti squash not shredded into its eponymous noodle-like threads. But kept intact, it reveals a beautifully yielding texture and a savory, subtle flavor that's perfectly offset by a rich walnut-miso glaze.Maxime Iattoni
Fried Eggplant with Walnut Sauce (Badridzhani Nigvsit)
Fried Eggplant with Walnut Sauce (Badridzhani Nigvsit)
Tender fried eggplant sandwiches pesto-like walnut sauce in this appetizer recipe.Landon Nordeman
Romanian Walnut Panettone (Chec Cu Nucă)
Romanian Walnut Panettone (Chec Cu Nucă)
This traditional Romanian sweet bread studded with rum-laced candied walnuts, makes a delicious dessert, breakfast bread, or teatime snack.Landon Nordeman
Chicken with Walnut Sauce (Katmis Satsivi)
Chicken with Walnut Sauce (Katmis Satsivi)
A thick, aromatic walnut sauce adds luscious body and earthy flavor to this spiced chicken dish.Landon Nordeman
Spinach and Walnut Salad (Pkhali)
Spinach and Walnut Salad (Pkhali)
Almost any vegetable can be substituted for spinach in this vegetarian appetizer sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. In Georgia, roasted beet and green bean versions are common.Landon Nordeman
Brown Butter Walnut Pie with Sour Whipped Cream
Brown Butter Walnut Pie with Sour Whipped Cream
Browned butter accentuates the flavor of earthy walnuts and a sour cream topping offsets the richness of the filling for a balanced, delectable dessert.Andrew Ingalls
Walnut Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Walnut Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Surprisingly airy and light, this cake could have been a soufflé in a previous life. Naturally gluten-free, the batter gets its lift from egg whites, its rich stability from walnut flour, and its moistness from grated carrot and pineapple.Todd Coleman
Black Pepper Walnut Rye Boule
Black Pepper Walnut Rye Boule
Using instant yeast and a bread cloche helps simplify this rustic bread recipe from baker Priscilla Martel. If you don’t have a bread cloche, bake this bread on a pizza stone.Romulo Yanes
Chicken and Walnut Stew (Khoresht-e Fesenjan)
Chicken and Walnut Stew (Khoresht-e Fesenjan)
Pomegranate molasses and walnuts bring sweet, sour, and bitter notes to this classic stew.Todd Coleman
Orange, Pineapple, and Walnut Fruitcake
Orange, Pineapple, and Walnut Fruitcake
Sweet, spiced, and dense, with a bright rum glaze, a sophisticated take on classic Christmas fruitcake is a perfect holiday treat for giving as a gift—or for keeping to yourself.Helen Rosner
Pappardelle with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Baby Kale
Pappardelle with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Baby Kale
Toasted walnuts, roasted butternut squash, baby kale, and a rich brown butter sauce combine over broad pappardelle noodles for a dish that perfectly captures fall's best flavors.Helen Rosner
Plum Strudel
Plum Strudel
This satisfying pastry layers plum preserves and walnuts for a gooey, crumbly cake.Todd Coleman
Swedish Heirloom Cookies
Swedish Heirloom Cookies
We got this recipe from Amanda Hesser, cofounder of Food 52, who says: "This is a pretty common cookie recipe—my mother made them with walnuts, and when she had them, black walnuts, which were insanely good. They last for months and are hard to screw up—the two prerequisites for holiday cookies."Noah Fecks
Waldorf-Style Brussels Sprout Salad with Guanciale
Waldorf-Style Brussels Sprout Salad with Guanciale
Raw Brussels sprouts put a unique spin on the classic Waldorf salad.André Baranowski
Escarole with Confit Duck Gizzards, Comté, and Walnuts
Escarole with Confit Duck Gizzards, Comté, and Walnuts
Winemakers Alice and Olivier de Moor use confit duck gizzards in this simple winter salad, but confit duck legs make a fine substitute.William Hereford
Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies
Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies
A version of this recipe accompanied an interview with the actress Katharine Hepburn in the August 1975 issue of The Ladies' Home Journal. This brownie recipe, which calls for the smallest amount of flour, produces incredibly chewy bars with a full but mellow chocolate flavor.Helen Rosner
Rocky Road Brownies
Rocky Road Brownies
These cakey brownies are loaded with gooey caramels and marshmallows, crunchy nuts, and melty shards of chocolate.Noah Fecks
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Rum and gingersnaps add a spicy, warming flavor to this rich fall dessert.Beth Rooney
Classic Carrot Cake
Classic Carrot Cake
This version of the cake is a potluck and bake sale favorite; the addition of crushed pineapple helps to keep it sweet and moist.Todd Coleman
Roasted Vegetable Terrine
Roasted Vegetable Terrine
Our colorful vegetarian take on terrine features smoky roasted vegetables, tangy goat cheese, and a sun-dried tomato pesto.Helen Rosner
Cherry & Herb Salad
Cherry & Herb Salad
This sweet-tart cherry, cilantro, and walnut salad is delicious on its own or as a relish for grilled meats or fish.Eilon Paz