Cashew powder is made from cashews that have been roasted, dried, and finely ground into a powdery consistency. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be used to add richness and texture to various recipes.
However, some people need a substitute for cashew powder due to allergies or not having it on hand. Luckily, there are several suitable alternatives that can take its place.
Almond powder, made from finely ground blanched almonds, is one of the best substitutes for cashew powder. It has a similar sweet and nutty flavor that provides a comparable mouthfeel in recipes.
The fine, powdery texture integrates seamlessly, so you can swap equal amounts of almond powder for cashew powder in baked goods, curries, cream sauces, and more. It also allows you to achieve a creamy off-white color.
Nutritionally, almond powder contains more vitamin E than cashew powder and is lower in carbs. However, it's also lower in some minerals like magnesium and zinc. Overall, it makes an excellent nutritional substitute.
Those with tree nut allergies should avoid almond powder. For nut-free recipes, consider alternative options on this list. But for most, almond powder produces fantastic results as a cashew powder substitute.
Sunflower Seed Powder
Sunflower seed powder is made from roasted, ground sunflower seeds and provides another nutty, mild-flavored alternative to cashew powder. Its light beige color offers a similar appearance to cashew powder in recipes.
The fine powder integrates smoothly into doughs, sauces, soups, and more with a creamy texture. The high oil content also helps mimic the richness of cashew powder.
Sunflower seed powder is lower in carbs like almond powder but significantly higher in vitamin E. It also contains more iron and folate. Use an equal amount of sunflower seed powder in place of cashew powder in recipes.
Those with sunflower allergies should avoid this substitute. But for most, it can perfectly capture the flavor and richness of cashew powder in baked goods and creamy dishes.
Coconut flour is made from dried, defatted coconut meat ground into a fine flour. It has a mild flavor that won't overwhelm recipes, making it a suitable substitute for cashew powder.
However, coconut flour absorbs much more liquid than cashew powder. You'll only need 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount of coconut flour when substituting in recipes. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup cashew powder, use 1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut flour.
Coconut flour also gives recipes a lighter texture versus the richness of cashew powder. But the high fiber content provides other nutritional benefits like improved digestive health. Those with coconut allergies should avoid this substitute.
Cornstarch is a fine, powdery starch made from corn. It has twice the thickening power of cashew powder, so you only need half the amount when substituting.
For example, if a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons cashew powder, use 1 tablespoon cornstarch. It dissolves and blends smoothly into liquids and batters.
However, cornstarch is neutral in flavor and won't provide the sweet nuttiness of cashew powder. Compensate by adding a bit of sugar, honey, or extract to recipes.
It also clumps if not fully incorporated, so be sure to whisk well when using as a substitute. But overall, cornstarch works well as a thickener and texturizer in place of cashew powder for smoothies, sauces, soups, stews, and more.
Ground flaxseed has an earthy, nutty flavor that can stand in for cashew powder's sweet nuttiness in some recipes. Its fine, mealy texture integrates smoothly into batters, doughs, and liquids.
However, flaxseed absorbs liquid very well, so you may need to reduce other wet ingredients slightly. Let batters and dough sit for 10 minutes after mixing to allow the flaxseed to absorb moisture.
Flaxseed adds a brownish hue versus the cream color of cashew powder. But ground flaxseed provides a big nutritional boost thanks to its omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans. Use an equal amount when substituting for cashew powder in recipes.
Finely ground oat flour provides another alternative to cashew powder with its mildly nutty, sweet flavor. The fine powder incorporates smoothly and supplies creaminess to recipes.
However, oat flour absorbs more moisture than cashew powder. You may need to reduce other liquids slightly or increase flour when substituting in baked goods. It also supplies a boost of fiber absent from cashew powder.
Oat flour works well in cookies, muffins, breads, and batters. Use an equal amount when replacing cashew powder in recipes. Those with gluten intolerance should avoid oat flour.
White rice flour offers a finely ground, gluten-free flour that can stand in for cashew powder. It has a mild flavor that won't compete with other ingredients. However, it doesn't supply the richness or sweet nuttiness of cashew powder.
Rice flour blends smoothly into liquids and batters. But you may need to increase liquids slightly since rice flour absorbs more moisture. Expect a slightly grittier, drier texture versus cashew powder in recipes.
Despite this, rice flour serves as an easy, accessible substitute for those that can’t use nut-based powders. Substitute equal amounts when replacing cashew powder.
Can I use almond meal instead of cashew powder?
Yes, almond meal can be used in place of cashew powder, though the texture may be a bit coarser and grittier. To get a finer consistency closer to cashew powder, grind almond meal in a coffee grinder or food processor for a few minutes first. Then use the almond powder in the recipe as directed.
What can I use instead of cashew powder to thicken sauces?
Cornstarch, coconut flour, ground flaxseeds, and oat flour are excellent thickeners that can replace cashew powder in sauces. Use half the amount of cornstarch or 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of coconut flour. For ground flaxseeds and oat flour, use equal amounts to the cashew powder. Whisk the substitutes into the sauce well to prevent clumping.
Is peanut flour a good substitute for cashew powder?
Yes, peanut flour has a similar nutty flavor and powdery texture that works well in place of cashew powder in many recipes. The flavor will be a bit stronger and heartier. But peanut flour makes a great substitution for those without tree nut allergies. Use equal amounts when replacing cashew powder.
Can I replace cashew powder with almond milk?
Almond milk doesn't contain cashew’s powdery texture, so it’s not the best 1:1 substitute. But in smoothies, you can use almond milk with other ingredients like bananas, avocados, or chia seeds to provide creaminess that cashew powder would. For baking, the lack of fat and powdery texture almond milk provides may cause issues.
Is cashew powder the same as cashew butter?
No, cashew powder and cashew butter are made from cashews but have different forms and uses. Cashew powder is made from cashews roasted and ground into a fine powder. Cashew butter is made by roasting and blending cashews into a thick, creamy spread. Cashew butter cannot be used as a 1:1 substitute for cashew powder since the texture and moisture content differ significantly.
Cashew powder is valued for its subtly sweet nuttiness and creamy texture. Luckily, several options like almond powder, sunflower powder, coconut flour, and cornstarch make excellent substitutes when cashew powder is not an option.
Consider the unique flavor, color, and texture each provides to select the right substitute for your needs.