CategoryNuts and seeds

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The candlenut is a waxy nut from trees grown in the tropics around the world. Other names for it include candleberry, Indian walnut, kemiri, and kuku'i nut.



With its very high fat content, the candlenut has a creamy texture and flavor similar to the macadamia, though more bitter.[1][2] It is, however, toxic when raw and must be cooked before eating to reduce its toxicity.[2][3][4]

Selection and storage


Because of their high fat content, candlenuts are prone to spoilage by rancidity. As such, they should be kept in an airtight container in a cool location, away from light and heat.[1][3]



Candlenuts must be cooked prior to consumption in order to reduce their toxicity.[2] This can be done in a variety of ways. One such way is to roast them in the oven at around 350°F (180°C) until lightly browned. If cooking them in a dish such as a stew, this can also suffice if the heating is long enough.

The nuts are typically powdered or ground to a paste before eating or using in cooking.[2]

Candlenuts feature in the cuisines of Hawaii, Indonesia, and Malaysia.[2][3] A popular use is as a sauce or thickening agent,[1] where candelnuts are crushed to a paste in a mortar and pestle, often with garlic and either ginger or galangal, then simmered gently for up to an hour with coconut milk and spices. It can also be used to make the Hawaiian seasoning called inamona, which is often eaten with poke.[3]



If candlenuts are unavailable, macadamia nuts can be used as an approximate substitute, though the flavor will not be the same.[3]




  1. a b c Picincu, Andra (2023-02-03). "What Are Candlenuts Best Used For?". The Daily Meal. Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  2. a b c d e "Candlenut". The Epicentre. Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  3. a b c d e Bloor, Azlin (2021-04-18). "What are Candlenuts? (aka Kukui Nuts)". Singaporean and Malaysian Recipes. Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  4. Bilang, Mariyati; Mamang, Mamang; Salengke, Salengke; Putra, Reski Praja; Reta, Reta (2018-12-31). "Elimination of toxalbumin in candlenut seed (Aleurites moluccana (L.) Willd) using wet heating at high temperature and identification of compounds in the candlenut glycoprotein". International Journal of Agriculture System. 6 (2): 89–100. doi:10.20956/ijas.v6i2.649. ISSN 2580-6815.