6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

Sunflower seeds are some of the most versatile foodstuffs that you can get. They are an incredibly crunchy and nutty snack that can certainly fill that hole in your stomach.

They are brimming with delicious omega-3 oils and are also a good source of protein.

You can also use them for baking and cooking. You can get sunflower seed cakes and sunflower seed soups. They make for a great binding agent in vegans baking too.

But what if you go to the store and they are all out of sunflower seeds? What is like this delicious snack?

Well, we have scoured the internet to find any sunflower seed substitute that we can. There are pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and sesame seeds, all of which provide the same flavor and texture. So why not look at our list of fabulous sunflower seed substitutes?

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

Why Are Sunflower Seeds So Great?

Sunflower seeds are great for many reasons, least of all because they are so tasty and packed full of good nutrients. You can put them in with yogurt, porridge or even a smoothie and they will add body and flavor.

You can also have these things all by themselves. Having them handy in a bowl just on the side is a great method of soothing the Monday hungries or just filling your belly on the way to work.

One of our favorite methods of preparing sunflower seeds is to roast them. This is very easy to do. All you must do is place them on a baking tray, making sure they are not touching each other.

Sprinkle on a little bit of olive oil and some salt and then throw them in the oven for a few minutes or until they are brown.

Make sure that you keep checking on them, as they have a propensity for drying out very quickly. You won’t want to lose all of the moisture, you’ll simply want to bring out the flavor. You’ll also need to make sure that they don’t burn.

But sometimes there just aren’t any sunflower seeds left at the store. So, what can you use instead of these? Well, here we have some of the best sunflower seed substitutes that we could think of.

6 Great Sunflower Seed Substitutes

1.  Pumpkin Seeds

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

This is a seed that is slightly smaller than the sunflower seed but still makes for a wonderful scrumptious snack when exposed to the right temperatures. You can salt them or roast them in the oven.

One of the neat things about the pumpkin seed is that they are very high in protein, more so than the sunflower seed. If you are a vegan and you are looking to bulk up on your protein quota, then this is the one for you.

On their own, these have a very earthy taste and texture. Some people have likened them to mushrooms, as they are very chewy and have that natural flavoring.

You can also use these as a substitute for nuts, as they have a similar crunchy texture. Pumpkin seeds are actually a great addition to a salad, giving it that much-needed body that can only really be achieved with peppers or fruit.

2.  Chia Seeds

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

Chia seeds are one of the most versatile seeds that you can find at the supermarket. They are very absorbent and are used in a lot of vegan baking techniques, as they are a good binding agent that can be used instead of eggs.

These seeds are full of protein and contain lots of dietary fiber, which is fantastic for building muscle and maintaining a healthy digestive system. They also contain a lot of antioxidants and omega-3, which are good for fighting diseases and keeping your brain healthy.

You can also find chia seeds in a lot of tracker bars, again, because it is a great source of protein and will keep your stomach full between one meal and another.

You can also make jelly from these seeds. All you have to do is soak them overnight so that they expand in size. Then blend them up until it thickens into a paste.

3.  Sesame Seeds

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

This next seed is simply delicious and very rich in so many things including iron, antioxidants, fiber and calcium. If you want to gain a more balanced diet, then sesame seeds will be a great addition to your palate.

You can use sesame seeds in both sweet and savory items, as they provide a nutty flavor to both. You can find sesame seeds in foods as broad as peanut butter, soy milk and hummus.

Again, one of the great things about sesame seeds is the omega-3 that you can find in them. This should not be a substitute for omega-6 oils, but the omega-3’s are still a crucial part of a very rich diet and will contribute toward your brain health.

You can also use these seeds as a garnish, or you can even have them as they are. They are very flavorful, and you can roast them to really bring out some of that smokiness. Sesame seeds are a common ingredient in both Asian and Indian cuisine.

4.  Flax Seeds

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

This next seed is another one that you can use in most styles of baking. It is a dark seed that can be mixed into a paste or simply enjoyed by itself. They can be used as a garnish on a salad or can be eaten from a bowl as they are.

As with all our other seeds, these ones are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty oils and iron. If you are looking to really round out your diet, but perhaps you are vegetarian or vegan, then this might be the seed for you.

This type of seed is mainly used in flaxseed oil, which has a very dark coloring and a distinctive smoky taste to it. You’ll notice the difference between cooking using flaxseed oil to cooking using sunflower or cashew oil.

Some people just have a large tablespoon of flax seeds every day to keep them healthy. They can be found in a lot of cereals and bread, which are great sources of dietary fiber.

5.  Pecan Nuts

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

When it comes to having that rich aroma and an earthy flavor, then you can’t go wrong with pecan nuts. You can cook these into pie crusts or you can toss a few into your salad.

They are very high in fat, so if you are looking to increase your fat content, then this is a great way to do it. However, this also means that if you are roasting pecans, then you will have to watch for them burning quickly.

You will also have to watch when you are storing them, as the fat in a pecan can actually go sour and become rancid a lot quicker. We would recommend that you keep them in the fridge to preserve them a lot longer.

You can buy pecans in or out of the shells. Eating them in the shells is a great snack for when you are on your way to work.

They have very high levels of antioxidants, which means that they help you to fight diseases and keep you healthier for longer.

6.  Pine Nuts

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

These nuts are great for use in toppings on your salads or as the final sprinkle on a lot of your baked goods, such as bread and certain cakes. Pine nuts are also one of the key ingredients of pesto.

However, if you do not have pine nuts when you are making pesto, then you can always use sunflower seeds.

These pine nuts are very oily and, once again, come very high in omega-3 fatty oils. Even if you are comparing the pine nuts with the sunflower seed, you will see that the two are very similar in shape and size.

You can include pine nuts in your salad, which will give the whole meal that additional nutty texture. You could even add pine nuts with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds to your salad in a kind of nut medley that will result in some amazing flavor combinations.

You can crush pine nuts into a paste, which is very delicious to eat. You can also buy them whole and eat them as they come naturally. We would recommend against roasting these nuts, as they will burn a lot quicker because of their small size.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Would I Want To Replace Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are very popular and they often sell out at the store quickly. You might have all the other ingredients that you need for your cake or bread and find that there are no sunflower seeds left. This is where you can swap it out for one of the seeds or nuts we’ve listed above.

What Makes A Good Sunflower Seed Replacement?

You’ll want to make sure that it has the same soft crunch as the sunflower seed. The texture is also quite sinewy, so a seed like a pumpkin seed would be a great replacement, as it comes with the same texture.

What Other Seeds Can I Use To Replace Sunflower Seeds?

You can also try hemp seeds to replace your sunflower seeds. They are smaller than sunflower seeds, but they do have a similar taste and texture.


We hope that our list of sunflower seed replacements has helped you to decide which is going to be the best one for your baking or cooking project. Make sure that you choose carefully, as it could affect the final flavor of your meal.

6 Amazing Sunflower Seed Substitutes – Get Cooking Right Now

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Sesame Seeds

  • Flax Seeds

  • Pecan Nuts

  • Pine Nuts


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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