We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Hickory Nut?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A hickory nut is a nut from a tree in the Carya genus, which encompasses almost 20 species, most of which are native to North America. The nuts have long been used as a source of food, and the trees have also been bred to produce specific economically viable hybrids. It can be difficult to find true hickory nuts for sale, as the trees are not ideally suited to widespread commercial cultivation. When they are available, the nuts vary in quality, shape, and size, depending on the species.

The hickory tree is in the walnut family, and the trees do look like walnuts at a glance. They are densely branched, with pinnately compound leaves. The leaves are very mildly serrated, and trees produce catkins in the spring. Some of these catkins will mature into hickory nuts if they are properly fertilized. Like other nuts in the walnut family, the hickory nut is hard shelled and covered in a woody outer layer. The trees are also cultivated for their highly commercially useful wood, which is often used in smoking and furniture making.

One popular hickory nut hybrid is the pecan, a widely cultivated nut with a rich flavor and a high fat content. Some varieties of hickory nut strongly resemble pecans, with the same ovoid shells and lightly ridged nuts. Others look more like hazelnuts or filberts, in almost spherical shells which produce smoothly textured nuts. Hickory nuts tend to have relatively high levels of fat, making them an excellent food source for wild animals.

Humans are also fond of some species of hickory nut, as the nuts are often quite flavorful. Native Americans have harvested and used the nuts for centuries, and early explorers were quickly introduced to them, along with an assortment of other New World foods. The nuts can be eaten out of hand as a snack or integrated into dishes such as stuffings and desserts.

Like other nuts, hickory nuts can be stored for several months in a cool dry place as long as they are handled and harvested properly. It is important to avoid exposing stored nuts to excessive moisture, heat, and light, as the nuts can rot or the fats in the nuts can go rancid, resulting in a very unpleasant flavor. Hickory nuts intended for storage can either be shelled or left whole, depending on personal taste. Whole nuts tend to retain moisture and flavor better, although they can be a nuisance to store and deal with since they require more space.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By WaterHopper — On Aug 23, 2010

@snowywinter: I have used that very recipe. It is outstanding! There is a frosting called Penuche that goes great on the hickory nut cake. It is very easy to make.

You need 1 cup packed brown sugar, ½ cup butter, ¼ cup milk 2 cups powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix very well and spread on the cake.

By SnowyWinter — On Aug 23, 2010

@cellmania: This is a recipe that I got out of a magazine and I have made it twice. It is absolutely delicious! The cake calls for 2 cups sugar, 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2/3 cups butter, 3 eggs, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1 cup hickory nuts (chopped).

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and beat well. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with a fork. Add them to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract and the nuts.

Pour the mixture into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch cake pan. Bake at 325 for around 45 minutes. You can use round cake pans if you prefer.

By CellMania — On Aug 23, 2010

I am looking for a recipe for a hickory nut cake. My mom had a great recipe but I can't find it anywhere. Does anyone have one that you wouldn't mind sharing?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.