Nuts With The Most Iron | 11 Varieties Ranked

Nuts with the most iron

This article was verified for accuracy by Stephanie Wells, MS, RD, ACSM-CPT on March 20th, 2023

Nuts are not just a tasty and convenient snack, they can also be a reliable source of plant-based protein, fiber and minerals as well. One such mineral that is commonly found in nuts is iron, and in this article we’ll be ranking 11 different nut varieties to determine the nuts with the most iron.



As it turns out, the nuts with the most iron are cashews, which contain 1.9 mg of iron per 1 ounce serving. This represents 11% of the Daily Value for a 2,000-calorie per day diet.

That said, if cashews aren’t your preference then there are various alternatives to choose from. Let’s have a closer look at where the rest lie in our rankings.

Nuts & Iron

The National Institutes of Health describes iron as a mineral needed for growth and development. Without it, iron levels in the body can become depleted, leading to iron deficiency— a condition characterized by symptoms such as GI discomfort, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, and more.

Furthermore, those following a vegetarian diet — or a diet that does not include meat, poultry or seafood — require twice as much iron, says NIH. This is because the body does not absorb the non-heme iron in plant foods as well as the heme iron in animal-based foods.

That said, the true iron needs of vegetarians is unclear as the RDA recommendation is based on limited data that doesn’t adequately represent how vegetarians in Western countries typically eat. It also doesn’t consider the effect of dietary inhibitors and enhancers (like vitamin C) of iron absorption.

By Rank: Nuts Highest In Iron

This is where nuts come into the picture. Although they may not be the most plentiful source of plant-based iron, nuts can certainly help you reach your goals.

The table below compares the iron content of 11 different types of nuts– all of which are ranked in order from the highest iron content to the lowest:

RankType Of NutServing SizeIron (mg)Daily Value (%)
1 oz (28g)1.9 mg11% DV
2Pine nuts
Pine Nuts
1 oz (28g)1.6 mg9% DV
1 oz (28g)1.3 mg7% DV
1 oz (28g)1.3 mg7% DV
1 oz (28g)1.1 mg6% DV
1 oz (28g)1.1 mg6% DV
1 oz (28g)1.1 mg6% DV
1 oz (28g)0.8 mg4% DV
9Brazil nuts
Brazil Nuts
1 oz (28g)0.7 mg4% DV
1 oz (28g)0.7 mg4% DV
1 oz (28g)0.3 mg2% DV
Sources linked in item names. Daily Value is based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet.

Cashews: The Nuts With The Most Iron

As indicated in the table, cashews are the nuts with the most iron, clocking in at 1.9 milligrams per 1-ounce serving, which is 11% of the Daily Value.

Not only do they contain the most iron, but they also come with various other health benefits. According to WebMD, cashews can help with:

  • Cholesterol reduction
  • Heart disease and stroke prevention
  • Diabetes management
  • And more

Cashews come in raw and roasted varieties. Roasted nuts are typically more flavorful, although some nutrition (such as vitamin E) may be lost when roasted.

The ways in which cashews can be enjoyed are countless. They include:

  • Eaten out-of-hand as a snack
  • Chopped and sprinkled into oatmeal and parfaits
  • As a topping for salads
  • Churned into cashew butter
  • Used to make cashew milk
  • And more

The Runner-Ups

If you don’t like cashews then you may be pleased to see that the alternatives do not lag too far behind.

For example, a 1-ounce serving size of pine nuts contains 1.6 milligrams of iron per serving, which is only a smidge less than cashews.

Not much further down the list will you find peanuts and hazelnuts, each of which contain 1.3 milligrams or iron per 1-ounce serving, which is 7% of the Daily Value.

The Bottom Line

Although you’d have to eat a lot of them to fulfill your iron needs, nuts are still a convenient snack that can help inch you closer to your daily goals.

If maximizing iron intake is a top priority when choosing a nut to snack on then cashews are the clear winner as they are the nuts with the most iron. Pine nuts and peanuts are not too far behind though.

This post was contributed by a member of the PBF writing staff. is an online publication for learning about plant-based food and nutrition.

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