13 Best Water Chestnut Substitutes You Need To Try

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You are searching for the best water chestnut substitutes, which tells me that you are a nerd like me who has a penchant for edible aquatic plants. Give me a high five! Water chestnut is my favorite and is such a versatile, nutritious ingredient. Oh, don’t be fooled by the name. It is definitely not a nut.

Water Chestnut

But what can you do if you are out of water chestnut and your pork fry is hysterical being left alone? Not to worry! Let us talk about water chestnuts and their substitutes in this article today. Some of the best water chestnut substitutes are canned water chestnuts, turnips, Jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, and bamboo shoots.

Water chestnut is a commonly used ingredient in Chinese cuisine. It is an aquatic tuber that grows in marshes, lakes and ponds, and paddy fields. They have been linked to many health benefits, and you will be amazed when you learn about them.

Being aware of the best substitutes for any ingredients saves your time and day without ruining your cherished recipes. Keep reading to know more about water chestnuts.

Quick Peek: Water Chestnut

Water Chestnut

The following scribbles tell you what water chestnut is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Water Chestnut?

Water chestnut is an edible, aquatic tuber that is also known as the Chinese water chestnut that grows on the water’s edge. Although water chestnut refers to the whole plant, its corm or the bulbous part of the plant, is the edible portion.

I believe you have a reason to scratch your heads right now. You must be wondering if chestnuts and water chestnuts mean the same. Of course, no! Chestnuts are basically edible nuts that grow in trees. 

Describing Water Chestnuts: Flavor and Texture

When we talk about water chestnuts, we usually mean their corms. The corms of water chestnuts have a sweet, fruity flavor. They are also nutty in taste with a crunchy texture. 

Uses of Water Chestnut

Water chestnut is mostly used in stir-fry recipes and other veggies in Chinese cuisine. But that’s not it. You can simply roast them in oil for a crispy evening snack. Be it salads, wraps, fries, and casseroles, the addition of Water chestnut makes your recipes mouth-watering and nutritious.

Water Chestnut On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Loaded with vital nutrients, Water chestnut ranks high in its nutritious value. It is low in caloric value and high in beneficial antioxidants. It reduces the risk of cancer and heart diseases and helps lower blood pressure as well. 

Why Should We Substitute Water Chestnuts?

Water chestnuts are not that easy to find. They are highly demanded yet short on demand. If excess rain occurs, water chestnuts grow oversize, and they become unfit for can production. This becomes the primary reason why we have to find the best substitutes for water chestnuts.

Also, if you dislike water chestnuts but don’t mind their flavor, you need the help of the best substitutes. These alternatives for water chestnuts will help you emulate the flavor of water chestnuts without actually using them. So, shall we discuss the best substitutes for water chestnuts right away?

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

13 Best Water Chestnut Substitutes

Now that you know everything you need to know about water chestnuts let us discuss the thirteen best water chestnut substitutes.

1. Canned Water Chestnuts

Canned Chestnut

Canned water chestnuts are practically freshwater chestnuts that are canned and stored. Obviously, this is the closest you can get that is easily available as a substitute for water chestnuts. They have the same earthy, nutty flavor.

Canned water chestnuts are available in two forms – whole and sliced. Even though fresh water chestnuts have more flavor than canned water chestnuts, canned water chestnuts, especially whole, are the best water chestnut substitutes.

2. Turnips


Turnip is a root vegetable with white-colored flesh and a purple top. It has a mildly sweet flavor with slightly bitter notes. It has a crispy texture similar to that of carrots. 

While choosing to replace water chestnut, go for white turnips, which do not have an intense peppery flavor like other varieties. It is best to avoid large turnips since they may taste bitter.

3. Jicama


Jicama is also known as Mexican turnip or Mexican yam bean. It is a root vegetable with brown-colored skin and luscious, crispy flesh. It renders a sweet, nutty flavor to your recipes. 

Using Jicama as a substitute for water chestnut works really well in recipes that call for an exquisite sweet flavor due to the similarities in flavor, texture, and taste. It is best if you simmer Jicama in water before using them to replace water chestnuts. Here is a recipe for Jicama salad for you.

4. Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichoke

Sunroof, sunchoke, wild sunflower, topinambur, and earth apple; the names are many for this root vegetable. Let us fondly call it Jerusalem artichokes. It is a variety of sunflower plants. They have a crunchy texture when raw and turn soft when cooked (Aww!). 

Raw Jerusalem artichokes are good substitutes for water chestnuts due to their similar flavor and texture. These can be sliced or fried, depending on the nature of the recipe.

5. Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo Shoot

Bamboo shoot can be a substitute for Water chestnut considering its crunchy texture. It has a corn-like flavor with a bitter taste. This may not be a great substitute considering the health risks associated with it.

That’s right. If not cooked properly, the toxin present in the Bamboo shoot can produce cyanide in your gut system. Oops! Bamboo shoots work as substitutes for water chestnuts in Asian dishes like Thai green eggplant curry.

6. Daikon Radish

Daikon Radish

Daikon radish is also known as Japanese radish, Chinese radish, and winter radish. It is a major ingredient in Asian cuisine and one of the most consumed vegetables in Japan. It is a type of radish with long roots. Coming to its flavor profile, it has a sweet flavor with a subtle spiciness. 

You can use Daikon to replace water chestnuts in wraps, stir-fries, and salads, as it is a healthy water chestnut substitute. You can also use Daikon as a low-calorie food.

7. Pecan

Pecan is a type of tree nut packed with several important nutrients. It has a rich, densely sweet, nutty, buttery flavor with floral undertones. It is rich in more than 19 vitamins and minerals and comprises healthy fat called monounsaturated fat. 

Pecan has a stronger texture than water chestnut and can be a good substitute in recipes. To ensure the recipe goes smooth with this substitute, toast pecans before using them in the recipe. You can also try to make sweet buttermilk pecan pie at home.

8. Celery

Chopped Celery

Celery is a leafy, green vegetable with a long, fibrous stalk. Its leaves, seeds, stalks, and roots are all fit for consumption. It is very popular in North American, European, Asian, and African cuisines. It is a low-calorie vegetable rich in fiber and vitamins.

Celery can be your last resort as an alternative for water chestnuts as there is no similarity to the flavor profiles they share. However, this readily available ingredient can be used as a substitute if crispiness is what you desire in your recipe.

9. Crosnes


Crosnes are also known as Chinese artichokes, Japanese artichokes, or knot roots. They belong to the mint family and have a crunchy tuber. They have an earthy flavor akin to Jerusalem artichokes.

Crosnes are worthy water chestnut substitutes due to the earthy flavor they both share. They can be substituted on an equal ratio. It is difficult to peel the skin – try peeling after soaking or while running them underwater.

10. Almonds 


Almonds are the fruits of the almond trees but are considered nuts. We all adore almonds for their flavor, uses, health benefits, and versatility. They have a distinctive nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.

Almonds and water chestnuts are texturally similar, making almonds a considerable substitute for water chestnuts. Almonds have a mildly salty, bitter flavor, while water chestnuts have a sweet flavor. Try the recipe for fuss-free sugared almonds at home.

11. Hazelnuts


Hazelnuts are the nuts obtained from the hazel tree. These are enclosed in a hard shell. They have a nutty and earthy flavor with undertones of sweetness as well. The presence of healthy fat called monounsaturated fat in hazelnuts make them super healthy.

Hazelnuts can be used to substitute for water chestnuts in soups and sauces due to their nutty, sweet flavor. Also, hazelnut flour can be used to substitute for water chestnut flour.

12. Cassava Flour

Cassava Flour

Coming from South America, cassava is a root vegetable or tuber with a starchy content. Cassava root looks similar to sweet potatoes. It has a sweet and nutty flavor and has a firm texture.

While cassava root is the last of the substitutes to try and replace water chestnuts, its flour can be used in lieu of water chestnut flour due to the sweet flavor. In case of baking recipes, cassava flour should be mixed with any other additional flour for best results.

13. Fresh Ginger

Fresh Ginger

Ginger is a well-known spice when it comes to flavoring in many cuisines. It has a pepper, sweet flavor, and a characteristic pungent aroma. It is also utilized as a folk medicine due to its incredible health benefits.

Fresh ginger is one of the least considerable water chestnut substitutes considering the differences in flavor profile and culinary uses. Ginger gives a mild spicy kick to your recipes which can be utilized to replace water chestnut, depending on the recipe. It might not be a suitable fit for every recipe that calls for water chestnuts.

Short Recap For Best Water Chestnut Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best water chestnut substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Flavor: The best water chestnut substitutes for flavor are canned water chestnuts, turnips, Jicama, and Jerusalem artichokes.

Texture: The best water chestnut substitutes for texture are turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, bamboo shoots, and Jicama.

How To Use Water Chestnut Substitutes In A Recipe

Water Chestnut

Water Chestnut Substitutes

Water chestnut is a commonly used ingredient in Chinese cuisine. It is an aquatic tuber that grows in marshes, lakes and ponds, and paddy fields. They have been linked to many health benefits and that is why it's important for you to substitute them if you don't have any on hand!
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  • Canned Water Chestnuts
  • Turnips
  • Jicama
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Daikon Radish
  • Pecan
  • Celery
  • Crosnes
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cassava Flour
  • Fresh Ginger


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Musings

There you go! You now have the list of best substitutes for water chestnuts. Don’t let its non-availability or your laziness to go to the store hamper your recipes. Do share your experiences and what you deem to be the best alternative. See you then! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are jicama and water chestnuts the same thing?

Jicama and water chestnuts are not the same. They can be substituted with each other in recipes.

What can I substitute for water chestnuts in spinach dip?

Diced celery or bell peppers are good substitutes for water in spinach dip.

What are the low carb substitutes for water chestnuts?

Jicama. Daikon radish and bamboo shoots are some of the low carb substitutes for water chestnuts.

What are the substitutes for water chestnuts in lettuce wraps?

White turnips, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, or celery are some of the substitutes for water chestnuts in lettuce wraps.

What are some of the best water chestnut flour substitutes?

Cornstarch, almond flour, hazelnut flour and cassava flour are some of the best water chestnut flour substitutes.

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