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Shelled vs Unshelled Nuts: Which are a Better Deal?

Have you ever wondered if it’s a better deal to buy shelled versus unshelled nuts?  Of course it depends on the weight of the shells, and I wasn’t about to figure that out by buying and shelling them.

Then I found this table at  MegaHeart.com:

almonds 1 lb unshelled
1 lb shelled
1 to 1 3/4 cups nutmeats
3 1/2 cups nutmeats
peanuts 1 lb unshelled
1 lb shelled
2 1/4 cups nutmeats
3 cups nutmeats
 pecans 1 lb unshelled
1 lb shelled
2 1/4 cups nutmeats
4 cups
walnuts 1 lb unshelled
1 lb shelled
1 2/3 cups nutmeats
4 cups nutmeats

Using it, I made this price relationship table:  

almonds $1/lb unshelled equals $2 to $3.5/lb shelled
peanuts $1/lb unshelled equals $1.30/lb shelled
pecans $1/lb unshelled equals $1.80/lb shelled
walnuts $1/lb unshelled equals $2.40/lb shelled

For example, yesterday I saw unshelled walnuts for $4/lb, and I know that the shelled ones are $12/lb.  (Note that these are Canadian prices; that’s why they are so high!)

Which is the best deal?  Well, from the table, every dollar of unshelled walnuts equals $2.40 of shelled walnuts, pound for pound.  So to match that $4/lb price on the unshelled nuts, the cost for shelled ones will be 4x$2.40= $9.60/lb.

Thus the unshelled ones were the better deal by far, easily worth the extra hassle of shelling them.   I think I need a copy of this chart in my purse!

For more great tips, see Works For Me Wednesday , Healthy 2Day, Raising Homemakers, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, and Frugal Friday.


  1. JoAnn says:

    Wow, when you really want to check something out, you do your homework, don’t you? 🙂 I keep thinking I want to buy more peanuts to make my own peanut butter. A friend of mine does that. She buys shelled peanuts then sits and unshells them while watching a movie. Seems like a bit too much work for me, but maybe someday I’ll try it. 🙂

    1. Annie Kate says:

      🙂 I suppose I did learn something from The Tightwad Gazette and the author’s love of such calculations! LOL

      I’ve never made my own peanut butter. I think it would wreck my little food processor!

      Annie Kate

  2. Annie Kate!! I am impressed that you took the time to do this 🙂 It had never occurred to me to do the math (since I am not really gifted in that area LOL), but you make it pretty easy to understand. My daughter just told me that she thinks this is pretty neat to know! I am always blessed by you contributions. Thank you for taking the time to share these tips on being a frugal (and WISE) homemaker!! Bless you this week!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Thank you so much!

  3. simply heidi says:

    This is excellent. I’m emailing it to my church group.
    I never thought about doing the math either. Thanks!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You’re welcome and I hope they enjoy it! 🙂

  4. Very Cool. I didn’t think about that!

  5. Shyla says:

    Don’t seem to save with peanuts.



    Please do a calculation for me. Thanks. It seems you break even pretty much, except extra personal labour is required for de-shelling so seems better to buy de-shelled.

  6. Thank you for giving information about Nuts.Its very helpful for me and I Appreciate it.

  7. Douglas Gray says:

    Also, shelled nuts sit around for a long time, and the oil can become rancid, whereas the unshelled are protected. That is why they taste better.

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