Are Pine Cones Edible?

Are Pine Cones Edible? Generally, NO!

Pine cones are the seeds of the pine tree and also referred to as ‘conifer cones’. The ones that appear hard and scaly are the female ones, whereas the male ones are sheathed in smaller cones which make it less noticeable in the eyes. In this quick post, we will cover why pine cones are generally not edible. Unless it’s a particularly dire survival situation..

There are certain parts of the pine cones that are edible and considered as somewhat safe for people to munch and gobble up. In contrast to general knowledge, you do not really eat the pine cone itself or the shell as it comes thick and hard unless it is the younger cones in which their sharp scales haven’t opened up and hardened yet or boiled.


The part you can safely eat is within the rough outer shell of the pine cones which you can extract by hand are the seeds or the pine nuts and they can be eaten raw giving off that mild nutty flavor to your taste buds. As for the pine tree itself, you can eat the pine needles, pine barks and pine pollen (which are produced by male pine cones).

Common Pine Tree Species With Pine Cones:

  •         Sugar Pine


  •         Western White Pine


  •         Eastern White Pine


  •         Jack Pine


  •         Red Pine

Can I Obtain Nutrients From Eating Pine Cones?

Even though it is advised not eat, they are actually a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and other nutrients such as:

  •         Phosphorus
  •         Vitamin K
  •         Dietary fiber
  •         Vitamin E
  •         Calcium
  •         Manganese

Are Pine Cones Poisonous?

Yes, some are. Generally, people deem a tree a pine tree based on its needled-looks but keep in mind that not all conifers are pine trees.

Here are the poisonous species of pine trees that you must avoid:

  •         Lodgepole Pine
  •         Norfolk Island Pine
  •         Ponderosa Pine
  •         Jeffrey Pine

The Verdict

The jury is still out on this one.


It pretty much bounces between safe and NOT SAFE as pine cones are not really meant for human consumption. Regardless of the nutrients you can obtain, it is NOT generally recommended to eat. It may only become a viable option by means in a serious survival situation,