Regular nut consumption is associated with reduced CVD risk. Insight into nut consumption patterns provides important information to help design strategies to encourage intake. The present study aimed to describe nut consumption in terms of the percentage of consumers, mean grams eaten among the population and nut consumers, and to identify the predictors of nut consumption. Data from the 24 h dietary recalls of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey (n 4721) were used to measure nut consumption. On the recall day, the percentages of consumers of whole nuts, nut butters and nuts from hidden sources were 6·9 % (n 240), 7·2 % (n 346) and 19·2 % (n 732), respectively (28·9 % (n 1167) combined (total)). The mean grams consumed by the population were relatively low for whole nuts (2·8 g/d), nut butters (0·9 g/d), nuts from hidden sources (1·5 g/d) and total nuts (5·2 g/d). Among consumers, the mean daily grams of whole nuts, nut butters, nuts from hidden sources and total nuts eaten were 40·3, 12·9, 7·8 and 17·9 g/d, respectively. Those aged 15–18 years had the lowest whole nut consumption, but had the highest nut butter consumption. The consumption of total nuts was positively associated with education and socio-economic status, while whole nut consumption was inversely associated with BMI. In conclusion, the low percentage of nut consumers is of concern and new strategies to increase nut consumption are required. Future public health initiatives should be mindful of these patterns and predictors. In particular, different forms of nuts may appeal to different age and socio-economic groups.