Pecan vs. Walnut – What’s The Difference?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.

Nuts are delicious; we all love to eat nuts whenever we get a chance to (Unless you’re allergic, which is a bummer). But for those of us who have been consuming nuts from an early age, we know the earthy and creamy flavor, along with a feeling of fullness that persists after eating a handful of nuts. In addition to having a great flavor, Nuts are packed with essential nutrients necessary for the growth, development, and maintenance of our bodies.

The nut is rich in essential fatty acids like omega-3s and Omega-6, Anti-oxidants, and other Biologically active compounds. This is one of the reasons why we feel so good after eating them. Furthermore, Nuts are available in different varieties; these include walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, and the list goes on. Even though we have a vague idea about the differences between these different varieties of nuts, we don’t know their differences at a deeper level.

This article will talk about two nuts; Pecan and Walnut. How does each one look, their popularity, status as nuts, and other differences? So, please keep reading to find out all you need to know about these delicious and healthy nuts.


Walnuts are nuts that are harvested from walnut trees. They are one of the most popular nuts available in the market. One of the reasons for this popularity is their versatility; you can consume them raw, bake them, and use them in various dishes to increase their flavor and texture. Additionally, Walnut has become popular among dieticians and nutritionists because of their high levels of healthy fatty acids.

Before we go any further, let’s clarify if Walnuts are real nuts or not. The short answer is no, and they’re not nuts. The long answer is that they are nut-like foods, but they are closer to dupes in reality. But they are not dupes either. Walnuts can be best described as nut-like and dupe-like food.

Walnuts grow on trees, and in their initial phase of growth, they have a greenish outer covering called the husk. This covering encases a hard shell to protect the edible portion of the nut. In the last phase of its growth, the husk becomes harder and cracks open to reveal its shell.

Now let’s talk about its appearance, which many of us would be familiar with. But for those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief description. Walnut is a bit rounder than Pecan, and it’s also bumpier. The nut has a prominent ridge that separates the two halves of Walnut from each other.

The shell appears to have a lot of wrinkles; it feels as though you are looking at the skin of a very old man. When we open the Walnut, we get to its flesh, or its edible portion, which resembles the human brain with many folds. The flesh is very delicate and light and can break when opening the nut using force.


Like Walnut, Pecan is an edible nut that grows abundantly on Pecan trees across the globe. Pecans are consumed in almost every part of the world, but the most frequent consumers have to be South Korea, Australia, and China. According to the survey, more than 309 thousand metric tons of Pecans were imported from Australia in 2018.

Another survey revealed the per capita consumption of Pecans in South Korea in 2019, which was estimated to be 773 Metric Tons. These numbers show us how popular these incredible, tasty, and healthy nuts are. They are grown natively in Central or North America, consumed abundantly and exported.

So, Are They Considered Real Nuts?

Like Walnuts, Pecans are considered Culinary nuts. Culinary nuts can be described as dry and edible fruits or seeds that usually have high fat (not always, but generally). Culinary nuts are used for various purposes like in baking, as snacks (baked or raw), or as flavoring foods. Now back to Pecans.

The nut must not contain anything more than an outer covering and an internal edible portion to be considered real nuts. But Pecans have additional things like pits at their core, making them closer to being a fruit than a nut. The central pit is also seen in fruits like dates and peaches; the difference between other fruits and Pecans lies in their flesh; Pecans have dry and fatty flesh, while other fruits with pits usually have juicy flesh.


If you place cracked Walnuts and Pecans side by side, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. But if both of them are in the nut form, there are certain differences. Pecan Nuts are usually smoother with an oblong shape and a light brown color, for starters. Pecan nuts have a rounded bottom and a prolonged top connected to the stem.

And just like Walnuts, the flesh of Pecan appears similar to the human brain, with lots of folds. But there is a slight difference in these folds or wrinkles if we observe them. Pecans have more uniform and orderly wrinkles, while these wrinkles appear to be more random in walnuts.

 Pecans have a lot of different types (more than 500), so not all pecan nuts will have the same orderly wrinkles. But almost all of these types will have a sweet flavor and chewy texture, unlike Walnuts which are more bitter with a buttery texture.

So What’s the Difference Between Pecan and Walnut?

To sum up, the differences, here is a shortlist:

  • Pecans have more uniform and orderly wrinkles, while these wrinkles appear to be more random in walnuts.
  • Pecan is usually smoother with an oblong shape and a light brown color; it has a rounded bottom and a prolonged top that is connected to the stem.
  • Walnut is rounder than Pecan, and it’s also bumpier. The nut has a prominent ridge that separates the two halves of the Walnut from each other.