A question we are commonly asked: Is there a difference between almond meal and almond flour?
What is the Difference Between Almond Meal and Almond Flour?
While almond meal is typically made from raw (unpeeled) almonds, almond flour is made from blanched (peeled) almonds.
Compared to almond meal, almond flour has a finer texture and lighter color.
These differences are even more pronounced when comparing almond flour to almond meal made from leftover almond pulp (all three versions pictured below — top: almond meal from pulp, middle: almond meal from raw almonds, bottom: almond flour).
When to Use Almond Meal vs Almond Flour?
Almond meal and almond flour can typically be used interchangeably in quick breads and cookies and they are great gluten-free alternatives to traditional flours.
However, for recipes where a more cake-like consistency and less prominent almond flavor is desired, almond flour is definitely the way to go because of its lighter texture, color, and more neutral flavor.
You can see an example of where we used almond meal in these 5-Ingredient Vegan Gluten Free Cookies and an example of where we used almond flour in this 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten Free Vanilla Cake.
How to Make Almond Meal
Making homemade almond meal is so easy! It requires just 1 ingredient, 1 blender, and 5 minutes.
Simply add raw almonds (with skin on) to a blender and blitz until a fine, powdery flour is achieved. I like to turn the blender on the highest setting for 5-10 seconds, then stop, shake, and hit the sides to see if any clumps have formed. Then blend again until fine and powdery. You’ll know you’ve gone too far if it starts turning to almond butter or clumping up on the sides.
Not only is it simple to make, but homemade almond meal tastes fresher and is usually more cost-effective than buying it at the store.
Almond Meal Recipes
Now that you’ve made almond meal, it’s time to put it to use!
This nutrient-rich flour lends itself well to muffins, cookies, crackers, and so much more! We typically like to use a mix of flours in a recipe in order to achieve the ideal texture and flavor — our favorite being almond meal, oats or oat flour, and our Gluten-Free Flour Blend.
Here are some of our favorite recipes using almond meal as an ingredient:
If you try any of these recipes, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
In this, the second installment of the Paleo Baking Basics series, we’re picking up where we left off last time, and talking more about almond flour, including how to distinguish almond meal vs almond flour, and how to make almond flour at home.
One of the most common ingredient questions I hear is whether you can substitute almond meal and almond flour for one another.
The short answer is yes – but there’s more to the story.
Almond meal and almond flour are two labels for gluten free flours made from finely ground almonds that are often used in paleo and low carb (affiliate link) baked goods.
There is no “official” difference, but in general, you can usually assume:
- A product labeled almond flour will often be more finely ground than a product labeled almond meal.
- A product labeled almond flour will often (but not always) be lighter colored because it is made from blanched (skinned) almonds.
- A product labeled almond meal will sometimes contain brown specks, because it is made with almond skins and meats. This will affect the texture and flavor (slightly) of your baked goods.
- A product labeled blanched almond flour will usually be the most finely ground type of almond flour/almond meal because it does not contain the skins.
That’s because almond meal vs almond flour is an arbitrary distinction.
What you’re really looking for is the finest-ground almond flour that you can find. The more finely-ground your flour, the more it will resemble wheat flour in the final product, meaning a soft consistency and a dense, non-crumbly texture.
Blanched almonds yield a finer flour than unblanched almonds, which is why most of my recipes call specifically for blanched almond flour (which is what’s pictured above . ), and often tells you not to use raw almond flour or unblanched almond flour.
Why does it matter? Blanching means removing the rough skin of the nut to reveal the smoother, more mildly flavored meat inside. The meats alone are easier to grind into a lighter, finer flour that makes for a less nutty flavor and less gritty texture.
Blanched almond flour is better for breads, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. I don’t use raw almond flour often, but when I do (because almond skins have plenty of health benefits), it’s best in meatballs, chicken fingers (as breading), etc.
So don’t worry about whether you need almond flour vs almond meal for your recipe. Instead, think about whether your recipe would benefit from using blanched vs unblanched (raw) almond flour.
How To Make Almond Flour at Home
Let me preface this by saying again that, for baking, I recommend store bought almond flour – which you can easily find on Amazon, or at Costco or Whole Foods.
But for using almond flour as a binding agent (like in meatballs) or as a replacement for bread crumbs, you can use homemade almond flour in a pinch.
The process of making your own almond flour/meal is exceptionally easy: simply pulse whole, raw almonds (with or without skins) in a high powered blender (like a Vitamix (affiliate link) ) or food processor (affiliate link) (like a Cuisinart) until it reaches a uniform, fine power.
Note: I’ve also heard of people using a coffee grinder, but then you have to worry about your almond flour tasting like coffee, and you have to make tiny batches at a time, so it seems like that might not be the best way.
As tedious as the pulsing can be, resist the temptation to leave the machine running to get your almonds to a flour consistency more quickly, because chances are that you’ll end up with almond butter instead.
With some patience and a close eye on your machine, you’ll have homemade almond meal in no time!
Store your homemade almond flour in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 2 months. If you’re trying to make a particular amount for a recipe, 2:1 yield is a good (approximate) assumption – i.e. 2 cups of almonds makes around 1 cup almond flour.
Almond flour is a great alternative flour for a gluten free diet, but it cannot be substituted 1:1 for coconut flour, rice flour, tapioca flour (affiliate link) , cassava flour, all purpose flour, or any other kind of grain flour (I get this question all the time). If you’re looking for a substitution, the only flour that may work – and I say “may” because it may not hold for every recipe – is cashew flour (affiliate link) , which you can get online.
But don’t worry, because no matter what you’re in the mood for, I have plenty of almond flour recipes for you to choose from! Here are a few favorites:
Plus, check out this post to read more about using almond flour in your kitchen!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that A Clean Bake receives a small commission from your purchase at no additional cost to you. All proceeds are used to continue to bring you delicious, healthy recipes. Thanks for supporting A Clean Bake!
Almonds are a type of tree nut that is known for being produced in the largest quantities and it is the most concentrated with nutrients. It is a great source of vitamin E, calcium, protein, fiber, and healthy fats and it does not contain any cholesterol. There are two varieties of the almond tree – one produces bitter almonds that are inedible, the other sweet almonds which are generally consumed.
An almond coated with sugar, made around 1200, was the first apparent record of confection that was made for nonmedical consumption. Lately almonds have been applied to many different uses, including almond butter, almond milk, almond flour and almond meal. This has proven a good substitute for wheat in low-carbohydrate diets or an alternative for cooking or baking for those who gluten-intolerant.
What is Almond Flour?
The use of almond flour has increased greatly, especially to replace conventional processed flours. It is more nutritious, since it contains the same nutrients as whole almonds. It is a great source of vitamin B and vitamin E, up to 40% of the daily requirement in a quarter cup. It also provides a good source of calcium and iron. Almond flour is often erroneously referred to as almond meal, although this actually refers to ground almonds.
Almond flour has a smooth texture and light colour, similar to regular flour, since it is made from finely ground blanched almonds. These are almonds of which the skin or husk has been removed.
The health benefits of almond flour have meant it can be used a good replacement for processed flour in baking and it is considered a heart-healthy alternative. It is also a suitable alternative for gluten-sensitive digestive systems. It is great for baking bread, muffins, snack bars and cookies due to the protein and fat it contains. These contents allow for increased satiety, which minimizes snacking and can help with weight control plans. It is also low in carbohydrate, which means it’s a much healthier substitute for wheat. The properties of almond flour often in baked goods with more flavor and moisture.
What is Ground Almonds?
Ground almonds are made of whole almonds with the skin intact, which are ground to form a coarse meal. It is also known as almond meal and has a more granular texture. It has been used in confection and baking since the 13 th century.
Homemade almond meal is made from ground whole nuts, while commercial almond meal is often made up of the residual grains after almond oil residues have been extracted to create almond essence. This may also result in a grind that is drier and even coarser. This drier consistency makes it the perfect component to bake macaroons.
Whole almonds can be crushed in a food processor until it yields ground almonds. If processed further, the ground almonds would result in almond butter due to the fats and oils it contains naturally.
The ideal way to store ground almonds is in an airtight container in the freezer to keep it fresh for up to three months.
Differences Between Almond Flour and Ground Almonds
When the almonds skins are removed and finely ground, it results in almond flour with a smooth consistency. Ground almonds, however, are prepared with the skin on, yielding a coarser texture.
To make almond flour, the almonds are blanched to remove the skins, and ground to a fine consistency. On the other hand, almond meal is made from whole raw almonds that are ground to form a granular meal.
3. Texture and Colour
Almond flour has a fine texture similar to regular flour. It is light with a cream colour. Baked goods containing almond flour are usually moister than when almond meal was used. The consistency of ground almonds is also much rougher and denser. It is usually somewhat drier and coarser due to its preparation.
The light texture of almond flour means it is ideal for baking good with fluffier consistencies, for example for baking cookies, treats, muffins and cakes. The heavier ground almonds lend itself more to recipes that require less than half a cup thereof. This include denser breads, muffins, wafers or pancakes with a coarser texture.
Both almond flour and ground almonds contain the beneficial nutrients found in raw almonds, although the presence of the skin in ground almonds means it contains more flavonoids and nutrients. If commercially prepared, the ground almonds are pressed to remove oils and create almond essence. In this case it would be drier and contain less of the healthy fats and oils found in almond flour and raw almonds.
The finely ground almond flour can be store-bought, even though blanched almonds can be ground at home, it might not reach the same smooth consistency. Ground almonds can be ground at home more readily to yield a coarse meal. The more commercial almond meal is drier and can only be bought in a store after commercial removal of oils to create almond essence.
Almond Flour VS Ground Almonds
Summary of Almond Flour VS Ground Almonds
The use of alternatives to wheat flour in baking and cooking has increased immensely in the last decade, the foremost being either almond flour or ground almonds. Both almond flour and ground almonds contain the nutrients and health benefits of raw almonds, as this is the origin for both. Due to the removal of skins before the almonds are ground, almond flour have a somewhat lower fiber and flavonoid content, although it is still considered a healthy baking alternative to wheat flour. In general almond flour and ground almonds can be used interchangeably. If specific textures are required it is necessary to be more selective according to the different properties of the two. Almond flour is ideal for baking lighter treats, cookies and cakes, while the coarser ground almonds are more suited for baking denser breads, muffins and cakes with a grainier texture. Both need to be stored carefully in an airtight container and preferably frozen. It offers interesting alternatives to supplement a gluten-free of low-carbohydrate diet.
- How to Grind Almonds for Baking
- How to Grind Almonds for Baking
- What Are Blanched Vs. Unblanched Almonds?
- Can I Use Rolled Oats in Place of Millet Flour in Bread?
- How to Cook With Almond Milk
Of the many substitutes for wheat flour, ground almonds are among the easiest to use. Ground almonds make almond meal and almond flour, which are both easily substituted for flour in cookies. By making almond meal and flour at home, you can look forward to delicious flour-free cookies that are simple to make.
Making Almond Meal From Ground Almonds
Both almond meal and almond flour are made from ground almonds. You can make either in your kitchen. To make almond meal, grind almonds in your food processor until it resembles wheat flour. Carefully sift the almond meal two or three times to remove the any larger almond chunks that the processor may have missed. Use 1/4 pound of whole nuts to make 1 cup of almond meal.
Homemade Fine-Grain Almond Flour
Some recipes work better when you use almond flour rather than almond meal because it is a lighter product. To make almond flour, blanch your almonds before grinding them in the food processor. Blanching the almonds will allow you to remove the skins, making the end result a finely ground powder. Boil the almonds for no longer than 60 seconds, rinse, and then squeeze each almond so the meat slides out of the skin. About 1/4 pound of whole nuts makes 1 cup of almond flour.
Using Ground Almonds in Baking
Almond meal is coarser than almond flour, so take that into consideration when deciding which to use for cookies. Almond meal should be used for heartier cookies, such as oatmeal raisin cookies. Lighter, more delicate cookies, like sugar cookies, should be made using almond flour. Because almond flour is made from blanched almonds, it has a finer grain that is more consistent with wheat flour. When substituting almond flour or meal for wheat flour, do so at a 1-to-1 ratio.
Proceed With Caution
Ground almonds, when used as almond meal or almond flour in baking, are highly versatile. Although you may think you can use ground almonds in every cookie recipe, this is not the case. If your recipe calls for baking powder or baking soda, then a substitute of ground almonds for flour is a seamless switch. Although yeast cookies aren’t as common, pay careful attention to your recipe. If your cookies call for yeast as leavening, don’t use ground almonds.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 18g||23%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||20%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
When it comes to baking, it can be challenging to find gluten-free alternatives for your favorite recipes. This almond flour pie crust is an excellent choice when you need a gluten-free option when making pies. The recipe is entirely grain-free because almond flour isn’t a type of milled flour, rather it is simply finely ground almonds.
Since an almond flour pie crust doesn’t contain any gluten, it cannot be rolled and shaped in the same ways as a traditional flour-based pastry crust. This crust is simply pressed into the pan, similar to a graham cracker crust. If you want to decorate the rim of the pie crust, using a fork and pressing it into the top edge works best.
2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour with the salt.
Add the melted coconut oil and egg. Stir to combine.
Spoon the pie crust dough into a 9-inch pie pan.
Evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Using a fork, press indentations into the top edge of the pie crust for decoration.
Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Cool completely before adding any pie filling of your choice.
How to Use
This almond pie crust can be used in place of any pie crust that is baked before filling, for both bake and no-bake pie recipes. Choose pies that don’t call for a top crust, like a streusel-topped apple pie, peach pie, and chocolate cream pie.
Almond Flour vs. Almond Meal
Both almond flour and almond meal are made from ground almonds, but there are two subtle differences of note. Almond flour is made from blanched almonds (where the skins have been removed) while almond meal includes almonds with skin, leaving dark flecks. Almond flour is also ground more finely than products labeled almond meal.
Almond flour is readily available in grocery stores in the baking aisle or gluten-free sections. However, it can sometimes be pricey, and making your own almond flour at home is easy. Place whole blanched almonds, about 1/4 cup at a time, in the food processor. Pulse until a flour-like consistency is achieved. Use a sifter to separate any larger pieces that remain and repeat until all of the almonds are transformed into flour. Whether store-bought or homemade, almond flour should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
by Sarah Pope MGA / Affiliate Links вњ”
The increasing prevalence of grain allergies has many people baking with almond flour.
It is also very popular to use in keto or otherwise low carb recipes.
The downside is that buying it is not such a great idea. Let’s explore the reasons why and discuss how to make the different types of almond flour quickly and easily instead.
Issues with Store Bought Almond Flour or Meal
The fatty acids in almonds are mostly oleic (60%), which are resistant to rancidity. However, about 25% of the fat is polyunsaturated, which goes rancid quickly upon exposure to air and light.
When these delicate fats are contained within a whole almond, they are protected. Once ground they quickly go rancid especially when packed in clear plastic bags, which lets in light completely unobstructed.
Think about the length of time it takes for the following steps to occur.
- Grinding almonds into flour at the factory.
- Shipping to the company warehouse.
- Trucking to individual stores.
- Sitting on a store shelf.
- You buy it and it place it in your pantry.
This can be weeks or even months long!
There is little doubt that almond flour from the store is either partially or completely rancid by the time you use it.
Rancid flour is loaded with free radicals – you don’t want this in your body as it can exacerbate health problems!
Another issue is that almonds are quite high in anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and oxalates.
Simply grinding them up to use in baking recipes is not sufficient to neutralize these substances.
Almonds need to be soaked/dehydrated OR sprouted before grinding into flour to minimize these gut irritating substances.
Homemade Almond Flour Tips
Once you realize how easy it is to make fantastic quality almond flour, you will never go back to buying it!
Here are a couple of tips I’ve learned along the way.
First, be sure to avoid grinding almonds in a grain grinder. Nuts are too oily for most grain grinders to handle. It gunks up the mechanism and otherwise makes a mess.
Second, if you try using a food processor (unless you have a Vita-Mix), that doesn’t work so well either. Most models don’t grind the nuts finely enough to make a good baking flour.
The solution? Use a good quality electric spice and coffee grinder that easily disassembles for easy cleaning.
This is the spice/coffee grinder I use. It has two attachments. One for coarse and the other for fine grinds. It makes fantastic homemade almond flour or meal. It is also very inexpensive.
Once you have the right equipment on hand, you are ready to make your own almond flours.
Soaked or Sprouted?
Almond flour from either soaked or sprouted nuts is fine. They are both very easy to digest and extremely nutritious.
Soaking and dehydrating nuts before grinding into flour is a time consuming process. If you go with this approach, I suggest making large batches and then refrigerating. Be sure to use raw, unpasteurized almonds if possible.
If you wish to make fresh almond flour for each recipe, I would recommend using sprouted almonds (this is where I buy mine).
Sprouted almonds can be made into flour immediately with no special preparation. It is the best type of almond to use for making homemade almond flour in my opinion.
Blanched Almond Flour
Blanched almond flour is simply flour from nuts with the skins removed.
I don’t recommend baking with it because much of the nutrition has been stripped away.
That said, if you must use it due to sensitivity or another reason, you will have to soak raw almonds overnight and then remove the loosened skins before dehydrating.
At that point, you can grind the dried, skinless almonds into blanched flour using the same process as whole nuts below.
Although almond meal and almond flour are made from ground almonds, there is a difference in the texture and sometimes color, and they are used to make different things.
Almond meal isn’t the same as almond flour. Almond meal can be made from almonds with or without the brown skin removed and has a rough texture when ground. It’s used for example, for making marzipan or almond paste.
Almond flour is made from almonds that have the brown skins removed and is ground to a much finer texture than almond meal and is usually used in baked goods.
The terms Almond meal, ground almonds, and almond flour are often confused with one another. Almond meal is another name for ground almonds, but almond flour is different.
They are all made from raw almonds, but you can make almond meal from nuts peeled from their brown skins and sometimes without peeling off the brown skins.
The brown skins are always peeled from the nuts to make almond flour.
What distinguishes almond meal from almond flour is that almond meal has a rougher texture, and almond flour has a much finer texture.
Because it’s gluten-free, it’s often used to replace wheat flour, especially when people follow specific diets from a health point of view or by choice that doesn’t allow the consumption of wheat flour.
If almonds have the skins left on before grinding into an almond meal, it will have a speckled appearance from the bits of almond skin.
When the skin has been removed from the almonds, then the almond meal and almond flour are a creamy beige color.
Now you know what it is, do you know what it’s used for?
Almond flour has increased in popularity dramatically in recent years as an excellent substitute for regular flour. However, due to its relative newness, a lot of us don’t really know anything about it in terms of nutritional values and how to best store it. One could easily be led to believe that it would behave in the same manner as regular flour, but that sadly isn’t the case. In fact, it doesn’t really behave in the same way as whole almonds when it comes to storage either. Simply put, this is because it is ground, and as a result, a large portion of its surface area is exposed to the elements at any given point.
Almond flour is made by grinding up almonds to a very fine consistency which feels like a slightly coarse powder. As we know, most nuts possess a high oil content, which means that nut products are susceptible to go rancid relatively quickly. Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks which will avoid this happening. In general, if you are familiar with storing coconut flour, none of this will appear unfamiliar to you. But, there are some key differences between how to store wheat flour and how to store almond flour that are worth taking note of if this is new territory for you. After all, almond oil isn’t exactly cheap, so it would be a shame to see it go to waste. Fortunately, there are some methods of storing almond flour which can see your product surviving years past its sell-by date. These techniques are revealed below.
Table of Contents
The Best Way to Store Almond Flour
Almond flour is by its nature incredibly sensitive to moisture, to the point where if even one drop of liquid gets in there, the whole bag may as well be considered waste. With almond flour in tis unopened condition, you don’t have much to worry about when it comes to storage. Most peoples’ natural instinct here would be to place it on a shelf in the pantry – and this would be 100% correct. So long as the area where an unopened bag is kept cool, dry, and dark, your almond flour will be totally fine.
However, everything becomes quite a bit more complicated the second the bag is opened. You see, almond flour really does not enjoy being exposed to the elements and will make its protests known very quickly. Normally, if we were dealing with wheat flour we would be transferring it into an airtight container and placing it back into the pantry. This is not what we’re going to recommend here. The first reason for this is that almond flour is notorious for its ability to attract all sorts of wildlife. You leave this unattended and it’s having a party! The second reason is that due to its oil content, it actually preserves much better in the fridge. Because fridges can tend to be a moisture-rich environment, which your almond flour won’t care for, it is best to first transfer it into an airtight container. Beyond this, there aren’t really any tricks of the trade, but what we can tell you is how long it will last and how to tell if it has gone off.
How Long Does Almond Flour Last?
Pantry or fridge
Almond flour, if stored correctly, can far surpass the sell-by date that is printed on it. In the case of an unopened bag of flour in the pantry or in a cupboard, you can expect that it may last for up to 3 months beyond its printed date. This same unopened bag could last for nearly a year past that date in the fridge. In the case of a bag that has been opened and then transferred into an airtight container in the fridge – somewhere in the region of 4 months beyond the sell-by date is the sweet spot.
As we have previously mentioned, almond flour can store pretty much indefinitely in the freezer. Well, this is true but after a certain amount of time, it will begin to diminish in quality and lose its flavor. At this point, though it will be safe to consume, it won’t be particularly enjoyable. Because of this, we have decided to put some definite use-by dates on frozen almond flour rather than just claiming it will last forever. In the case of an unopened and frozen bag of almond flour, you can expect that it will still be worth using up to two years after it has gone past its sell-by. For opened and repackaged almond flour this time doesn’t decrease too dramatically. In this case, the flour will still be viable up to one year beyond the indicated expiry date.
Signs That Your Almond Flour May Have Gone Off
Almond flour is one of the easiest products out there to tell if something has gone bad with the signs ranging from subtle, to disgustingly dramatic. Let’s start with the more dramatic side of things then. Almond flour, and indeed most other flours, have a tendency to attract a broad range of insect life. To check, pour some of the flour into a sieve. If there are any signs of any insect life or flour worms, don’t even try to save the remaining flour and just toss the lot of it out.
Mostly though, what you will be looking for is a flour which still has the texture of flour and smells like almonds. If it has gone bad, the nutty aroma will take on a more pungent and bitter smell which should let you know that it has expired. Apart from that, if you see that the flour has gone clumpy, this means that it has been exposed to moisture at some point and should also be discarded. At the later stages of exposure to moisture, the flour may begin to develop mold cultures.
Should Almond Flour be Refrigerated?
Once opened, almond flour is best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. However, what might come as a surprise is that it also does incredibly well in the freezer. In fact, by doing so it can keep for pretty much forever. The best way to go about this is to chuck it into the freezer either unopened or in airtight freezer bags for use as you see fit. To protect against the dreaded freezer burn, we would advise double bagging it for peace of mind. Then, when it comes time to use the frozen product, simply leave it out for a while first to return it to room temperature. By doing so, you will avoid having to work with a flour that is clumpy.
Almond Storage, Sell-by Dates, and Other Related Questions
Can I make almond flour at home?
Making homemade almond flour is mind-blowingly simple. All you will need is one ingredient (you guessed it) and a blender. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes and if you use high-quality almonds, it can end up tasting even better than the store-bought version.
Is almond flour healthier than wheat flour?
For those of us who are aiming to have a keto diet or simply trying to lose a little weight, you can’t go wrong with almond flour. Though it is high in fat, it is remarkably low on carbs, possessing only 6 grams per quarter-cup serving – far less than coconut flour!