What are Tiger Nuts?

Tiger nuts spilled out onto a wood table with a wooden scoop

Also known as chufa nuts, Earth almonds and earthnuts, tiger nuts are not actually nuts but roots of the African plant yellow nutsedge, or Cyperus esculentus. Popular in Spanish and Mexican cuisine, tiger nuts taste similar to chestnuts and are used to make the creamy drink horchata. Tiger nuts also are used in plant-based beverages, spreads, flours, oils and more. A variety of tiger nut recipes are becoming popular online. Find whole and ground tiger nuts in Latin markets and health food stores. Snack on whole dried nuts or use the meal in baking, smoothies and oatmeal.

Purported to be the next “superfood” in the Western world, one ounce of raw tiger nuts (equivalent to ¼ cup tiger nut meal) contains 2 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrate and 10 grams of dietary fiber and is a good source of iron and zinc. Proponents of tiger nuts cite their resistant starch content as a major selling point. There is a lack of human research exploring the health effects of consuming tiger nuts, but given their nutrient content, taste profile and texture, they may be enjoyed as one would nuts and seeds.


Bamishaiye EI and Bamishaiye OM. Tiger Nut: As A Plant, Its Derivatives And Benefits. Af J Food Agric Nutr Dev. 2011;11(5).
Herbst ST, Herbst R. The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.; 2009.
Michail N. Heard of tiger nuts? They’re the next superfood ingredient for plant milks and gluten-free baking, says Nordic Chufa. Food Navigator website. Published August 27, 2017. Accessed November 20, 2018.
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release, April 2018. United States Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Library website. Accessed November 20, 2018.
Nazish N. What Are Tiger Nuts And Why Should You Eat Them? Forbes website. Published September 22, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.

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Taylor Wolfram
Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN, is a consultant and private practice dietitian based in Chicago. She uses a Health At Every Size framework to provide inclusive nutrition counseling and intuitive eating coaching. Read her blog at taylorwolfram.com.