Taste, Versatility,
Size & Color

California Walnuts are available in a range of different sizes and colors to fit all recipe and menu needs. Check with your walnut distributor to order a specific or preferred format.

Selecting the Right Walnut Form

Walnut Halves

Use walnut halves in products that best demonstrate its natural shape and visual appearance. Applications include trail mixes, confectionery, garnishing and decorating baked goods, and whole nut snack mixes.

Large Pieces

Use larger walnut pieces in applications where large nut pieces are desired for texture and appearance. Typical applications include trail mixes, energy bars, frozen dairy inclusions and baked good toppings.

Medium Pieces

Use medium walnut pieces in products where equal flavor and texture is needed throughout the product: baking mixes, pizza toppings and chocolate-based candy bars.

Small Pieces

Use small pieces in seasoning blends, baking mixes, breading mixes and frozen dairy toppings. Small pieces work especially well in premixed bakery blends because the small size allows for even distribution throughout the entire mix allowing the nut flavor and texture to come through with every bite.

Walnut Meal

Walnut meal can be used to thicken soups and sauces, replace gluten-containing flour, reduce carbohydrate content, increase fiber and help create richer textures. Meal can also be used in seasoning blends and breading mixes.

Roasted Walnuts

Roasting walnuts heightens the flavor and aroma while increasing the crunchy mouthfeel. Roasted walnuts work well in applications that will not be further baked such as no-bake energy bars and ready-to-eat snack mixes. The roasted nuts will contribute to the final flavor and texture of these items. For items subjected to further heating (like cakes and muffins), roasted nuts can be used but should be limited to the interior of the baked item and not part of the surface area directly exposed to the heat. Roasted walnuts can be used in soup or sauce applications where the moisture in the formula will prevent any subsequent burning from taking place. Roasted nuts are more subject to rancidity and should be packaged in foil (or other thick packaging materials), to minimize oxygen and light exposure. Shelf life studies help determine product quality and expiration dates of finished goods.

Walnuts Light to Dark Colors

California Walnut Colors

California walnut handlers supply both light walnut halves and pieces, or a blend of light to amber walnuts. Check with your handler or supplier for availability. But what about the other options? California walnuts are sold according to size and color, ranging from light to amber, with the lighter walnuts being the most popular for aesthetic reasons. But the difference is more than just color. With each color variation comes a range of flavor components.  These flavor variations can make a difference in your products and are important to understand. Perhaps you already have a chocolate confection that could benefit from a darker walnut? Or maybe you don’t know where to begin incorporating these color variations of California walnuts into your product line. As a starting point, here are a few suggested applications:

Light Walnut Application Ideas

  • Toasted in baked goods and breads
  • Puréed for light-colored dressings and sauces
  • Chopped for crusts and coatings
  • Sprinkled on tarts, confections and as salad toppers
Light Walnuts

Light Walnuts

Earthy notes
Mild flavor
Subtle tannins
Greater availability

Light Amber Walnut Application Ideas

  • Ground/chopped as a component of an authentic-looking plant-based alternative meat
  • Toasted and puréed for hummus, sauces and spreads
  • Complement to rich chocolate desserts
  • Finely chopped for coating/frying
Light Amber Walnuts

Light Amber Walnuts

Robust flavor
Round tannins
Slightly sweet finish
More economical choice

Loose California Walnuts

Size & Color Chart

California walnuts come in all shapes, sizes and colors. See the Size and Color chart to find the right fit for your California walnut needs.

Suggested Walnut Form Applications

Learn more about the walnut form, from halves to meal, that will best meet your needs.

Walnut Fresh Salsa
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