Virgie Larosa

Written by Virgie Larosa

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Candle nut, also known as kukui nut or Indian walnut, is a fascinating ingredient that is commonly used in various cuisines around the world. With its unique taste and numerous health benefits, candle nut has gained popularity not only in culinary applications but also in traditional medicine.

Derived from the Aleurites moluccanus tree, which is native to Southeast Asia, candle nut is widely used as a cooking oil, condiment, and even as a natural remedy for various ailments. Its rich, buttery flavor adds depth to dishes, making it a versatile ingredient in both savory and sweet recipes.

In this article, we will uncover 16 interesting facts about candle nut, from its nutritional value to its cultural significance. Whether you are a food enthusiast or simply curious about different ingredients, you will find this exploration of candle nut’s qualities informative and captivating.

Key Takeaways:

  • Candle nuts are small nuts native to Southeast Asia, rich in essential fatty acids and nutrients. They are used in cooking, skincare, and traditional medicine, making them a versatile and valuable ingredient.
  • Candle nuts have a long history of cultural significance, from being used in religious ceremonies to symbolizing prosperity. However, they can also cause allergic reactions in some individuals, so caution is advised.
Table of Contents

What are Candle Nuts?

Candle nuts, also known as kukui nuts or Indian walnuts, are small, round nuts that are native to Southeast Asia. They are primarily used for their oil, which is extracted from their seeds.

Historical Significance

Candle nuts have a long history of use in various cultures. They were once considered a symbol of enlightenment and were used in religious ceremonies in Hawaii and other Pacific islands.

Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Candle nuts are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These healthy fats are beneficial for brain health, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being.

Culinary Applications

Candle nuts are widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Indonesian and Malaysian dishes. They are often ground into a paste and added to curries, stir-fries, and sauces for added flavor and richness.

Nutrient Dense

Candle nuts are packed with essential nutrients including calcium, iron, and vitamin A. Incorporating them into your diet can help boost your nutrient intake and support overall health.

Traditional Medicine

In traditional medicine practices, candle nuts have been used to treat various ailments, including skin conditions, digestive issues, and respiratory problems.

Natural Emollient

The oil extracted from candle nuts is highly moisturizing and is often used in skincare products as a natural emollient. It helps nourish and hydrate the skin, leaving it soft and supple.

Sustainable Crop

Candle nut trees are highly sustainable and can thrive in various environments. They require minimal water and have a low environmental impact, making them an eco-friendly crop.

Symbol of Prosperity

Candle nuts are sometimes used in Southeast Asian traditions as a symbol of prosperity and good luck. They are often placed in homes or workplaces to attract abundance and positive energy.

Natural Pesticide

The oil extracted from candle nuts has insecticidal properties and can be used as a natural alternative to chemical pesticides. It is effective in repelling pests without harming the environment.

Art and Craft

In certain cultures, candle nuts are used in creating beautiful handicrafts. The shells of the nuts are often cleaned, polished, and strung together to make necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories.

Traditional Dye

Candle nuts have been used as a natural dye for textiles in some cultures. The oil extracted from the nuts can produce a dark brown or black dye, which is used to color fabrics and other materials.

Nutritional Supplement

Candle nut oil is sometimes consumed as a nutritional supplement due to its high nutrient content. It can be taken in capsule form or added to smoothies and other food preparations.

Medicinal Properties

Studies have shown that candle nuts possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They may help reduce inflammation, fight oxidative stress, and support overall immune function.

Allergen Alert

It’s important to note that candle nuts can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. If you have a nut allergy, it’s best to avoid candle nuts and products containing candle nut oil.

Versatile Ingredient

From culinary uses to medicinal properties and cultural significance, candle nuts are a versatile ingredient that has been cherished for generations. Incorporating them into your lifestyle can add a unique touch to your culinary creations and enrich your overall well-being.

So, the next time you come across candle nuts, don’t forget the 16 fascinating facts about these remarkable nuts!


In conclusion, candle nut is a versatile and fascinating ingredient that has a rich history and numerous health benefits. From traditional culinary uses to skincare remedies, candle nut has proven to be a valuable resource throughout Southeast Asia. Its nutty flavor and high oil content make it a sought-after ingredient in many dishes, providing not only taste but also added nutritional value. Moreover, candle nut oil has been praised for its moisturizing and nourishing properties, making it a popular choice in natural skincare products.Whether you’re a food enthusiast looking to explore new flavors or someone interested in natural remedies, candle nut is definitely worth incorporating into your life. Its unique taste and extensive health benefits make it a wonderful addition to any kitchen or beauty routine. So, next time you come across candle nut, don’t hesitate to give it a try and unlock its amazing potential.


Q: What is a candle nut?

A: Candle nut, also known as kukui nut or Indian walnut, is a large nut native to Malaysia and Indonesia. It has a high oil content and is often used in cooking and traditional medicine.

Q: How is candle nut used in cooking?

A: Candle nut is often ground into a paste and used as a base for sauces and curries. It adds a unique nutty flavor and helps thicken the dish. Additionally, candle nut oil can be used for frying or as a dressing in salads.

Q: Are candle nuts good for your health?

A: Yes, candle nuts are packed with nutrients and offer numerous health benefits. They are a good source of fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants. However, they should be consumed in moderation due to their high oil content.

Q: Can candle nut oil be used for skincare?

A: Yes, candle nut oil is known for its moisturizing and nourishing properties. It can be used topically as a natural remedy for dry skin, eczema, and other skin conditions.

Q: Are there any side effects of consuming candle nuts?

A: While candle nuts are generally safe to consume, some individuals may be allergic to them. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or experience any adverse reactions.

Q: Where can I find candle nuts?

A: Candle nuts can be found in specialty grocery stores, Asian markets, or purchased online. They are typically sold in their whole form or as a paste or oil.

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