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Nuts vs. Peanuts: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 27, 2023
Nuts are a diverse group of hard-shelled fruits, while peanuts are legumes that grow underground.

Key Differences

Nuts are botanically defined as a hard-shelled fruit of some plants with a seed that is not attached to the shell. Peanuts, on the other hand, are legumes, akin to beans and lentils, growing underground.
In culinary terms, nuts like almonds and walnuts are often used in baking and cooking due to their crunchy texture and rich flavor. Peanuts, while also used in cooking, are unique for their use in peanut butter and various Asian dishes.
Most nuts are high in healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Peanuts share a similar nutritional profile but are distinctive for their high protein content, making them a popular plant-based protein source.
Nut allergies are common and can be severe, encompassing a wide range of tree nuts. Peanut allergies are also widespread and can be extremely severe, often requiring strict avoidance of peanuts.
Nuts have been a part of human diets for millennia, revered in various cultures for their nutritional and medicinal properties. Peanuts, while also culturally significant, gained popularity more recently and are a staple in American cuisine, especially in the form of peanut butter.

Comparison Chart

Botanical Category

Diverse group of fruits
Legumes (similar to beans)

Growth Pattern

Grow on trees/bushes
Grow underground

Shell Attachment

Seed not attached to the shell
Seed attached to the shell


Common allergens
Highly allergenic

Popular Culinary Uses

Snacks, baking, salads
Peanut butter, Asian cuisines

Nuts and Peanuts Definitions


A hardware component used to fasten bolts.
We need a wrench to tighten these nuts on the machine.


Insignificant or unimportant things.
They spent the meeting discussing peanuts instead of the major issues.


A hard-shelled fruit of certain plants.
The walnut tree in my backyard produces lots of nuts every year.


A famous comic strip by Charles M. Schulz.
I grew up reading Peanuts; Charlie Brown is my favorite character.


Informally, someone very enthusiastic about something.
She's nuts about classical music.


Informally, a very small or insignificant amount.
He bought that car for peanuts compared to its actual value.


Slang for someone acting crazy or foolish.
He's absolutely nuts for trying to skateboard down those stairs.


An edible legume grown in pods.
Peanuts are essential in making peanut butter.


Crazy or foolish.


A very small amount of salary.
She complains that she's working hard but earning peanuts.


Extremely enthusiastic
I'm nuts about opera.


A prostrate southern Brazilian plant (Arachis hypogaea) widely cultivated in tropical and warm temperate regions, having yellow flowers on stalks that bend over so that the seed pods ripen underground.


The edible, nutlike, oily seed of this plant, used for food and as a source of oil. Also called regionally goober, goober pea.


A peanut-shaped piece of polystyrene, used in cushioning items during shipment.


A small child. Often used as a term of affection.


A person who is regarded as insignificant.


Peanuts(Informal) A very small amount of money; a trifling sum.


Plural of peanut


A very small or insufficient amount (especially of a salary).
It's a fun job, but it pays peanuts.


An insignificant sum of money; a trifling amount;
Her salary is peanuts compared to his


Can people with nut allergies eat peanuts?

It depends on the individual; some can, some cannot.

Are nuts healthy?

Yes, they are high in healthy fats and nutrients.

Are peanuts considered true nuts?

No, they are legumes.

What are peanuts?

Legumes that grow in pods underground.

What are nuts?

Hard-shelled fruits of certain plants.

Are peanuts cheaper than tree nuts?

Generally, peanuts are more affordable than most tree nuts.

Can nuts be eaten raw?

Yes, many nuts are edible and nutritious when raw.

Are peanuts used in cooking?

Yes, especially in peanut butter and Asian cuisines.

Do peanuts have a shell?

Yes, peanuts have a thin, papery shell.

Can nuts be used in baking?

Yes, they are commonly used in various baked goods.

Do nuts contain protein?

Yes, they are a good source of plant-based protein.

Are almonds considered nuts?

Yes, in culinary terms, though botanically they are seeds.

Are peanuts good for heart health?

Yes, when eaten in moderation, they can be heart-healthy.

What is the main difference between nuts and peanuts?

Nuts are hard-shelled fruits, while peanuts are legumes.

Is it common to have a peanut allergy?

Yes, peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies.

Are nuts used in vegetarian diets?

Yes, they are a popular protein source in vegetarian diets.

Do peanuts grow on trees?

No, they grow underground.

Is peanut butter made from real peanuts?

Yes, it's primarily made from ground peanuts.

What is a nut allergy?

An allergic reaction to proteins found in certain nuts.

How are nuts harvested?

They are usually harvested from trees or bushes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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