The objective of this study was to test the effect of linseed oil and nitrate fed alone or in combination on methane (CH4) emissions and diet digestibility in cows. The experiment was conducted as a 2 × 2 factorial design using 4 multiparous nonlactating Holstein cows (initial BW 656 ± 31 kg). Each experimental period lasted 5 wk, with measures performed in the final 3 wk (wk 3 to 5). Diets given on a DM basis were 1) control (CON; 50% natural grassland hay and 50% concentrate), 2) CON with 4% linseed oil (LIN), 3) CON with 3% calcium nitrate (NIT), and 4) CON with 4% linseed oil plus 3% calcium nitrate (LIN+NIT). Diets were offered twice daily and were formulated to deliver similar amounts (DM basis) of CP (12.2%), starch (25.5%), and NDF (39.5%). Feed offer was restricted to 90% of voluntary intake (12.4 kg DMI/d). Total tract digestibility and N balance were determined from total feces and urine collected separately for 6 d during wk 4. Daily CH4 emissions were quantified using open chambers for 4 d during wk 5. Rumen fermentation and microbial parameters were analyzed from samples taken before and 3 h after the morning feeding. Rumen concentrations of dissolved hydrogen (H2) were measured continuously up to 6 h after feeding using a H2 sensor. Compared with the CON diet linseed oil and nitrate decreased (P < 0.01) CH4 emissions (g/kg DMI) by 17 and 22%, respectively, when fed alone and by 32% when combined. The LIN diet reduced CH4 production throughout the day, increased (P = 0.02) propionate proportion, and decreased (P = 0.03) ruminal protozoa concentration compared with CON diet. The NIT diet strongly reduced CH4 production 3 h after feeding, with a simultaneous increase in rumen dissolved H2 concentration, suggesting that nitrate does not act only as an electron acceptor. As a combined effect, linseed plus nitrate also increased H2 concentrations in the rumen. Diets had no effect (P > 0.05) on total tract digestibility of nutrients, except linseed oil, which tended to reduce (P < 0.10) fiber digestibility. Nitrogen balance (% of N intake) was positive for all diets but retention was less (P = 0.03) with linseed oil. This study demonstrates an additive effect between nitrate and linseed oil for reducing methanogenesis in cows without altering diet digestibility.