Hazelnuts lend their rich, sweet flavor to biscotti, candies, and coffee as well as savory salads and main entrées.
These slightly sweet nuts grow in clusters on the hazel tree (genus Corylus). As the nuts ripen, the fuzzy outer husks open to reveal hard, smooth shells. Hazelnuts are round, with a blunt point and rich brown color.

Depending on the region, hazelnuts also called filberts and cobnuts. They can be eaten on their own or chopped or ground into a number of sweet desserts as well as savory salads and main dishes.


Hazelnuts are usually sold shelled, though inshell nuts may also be available. Natural hazelnuts have their brown skins intact and are available whole, diced, sliced or ground (meal). With roasted hazelnuts, the skins are loose or removed. They come whole, diced or ground, as well as flavored (hickory-smoked, jalapeno, salted).

Other products include hazelnut paste and hazelnut butter, which are employed in making candy, bakery fillings, icings and sauces. Hazelnut oil, a fragrant oil made from pressed hazelnuts, adds roasted nut flavor to dressings, sauces, baked goods and main dishes.

Buying Tips

Buy nuts in small amounts from stores that have rapid turnover. When buying in bulk, choose nuts that are heavy for their size and free of cracks or holes. Cellophane-packaged nuts are harder to test, but they should appear plump, crisp and uniform in size and color. Avoid any packages with nuts that look shriveled or discolored.

Hazelnuts are usually sold whole, but some markets and specialty stores also carry packages of chopped, sliced, diced or ground hazelnuts that will save you the trouble of peeling (see usage tips below).

Storage Tips

Because nuts are high in fat (unsaturated), they must be stored properly to keep them from turning rancid. Store shelled hazelnuts in an airtight bag or container in the freezer and they'll stay fresh and flavorful for up to one year. The refrigerator is the next best place.

Usage Tips

Natural hazelnuts have bitter brown skins that should be removed before using. For easy peeling, bake the nuts in a preheated 350ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the skins begin to flake. Then place the nuts (a handful at a time) in a dish towel, fold over and rub vigorously until most of the skin is removed.


• To roast natural hazelnuts, place the shelled nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast in a 275ºF oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the skins crack and the nuts turn a light golden color.

• Let frozen, refrigerated or toasted nuts come to room temperature before adding to recipes.

• Rancid nuts will ruin any food they flavor. Give them a taste-test before using.

• Toss chopped hazelnuts with romaine, spinach, tuna or chicken salads.

• Shape soft, spreadable cheeses into logs or balls and roll in chopped hazelnuts.

• Add chopped hazelnuts to stuffed mushrooms.

• Process hazelnuts into your homemade