Are you on the prowl for a keto-friendly, gluten-free flour substitute? Look no further. The humble almond can transform into a fabulous base for beaucoup baked goods. It also makes a 10/10 addition to tons of savory dishes.
But you might be wondering, what’s the difference between almond flour and almond meal? Here are the deets on how to use each ingredient. We also have the scoop on how to make homemade almond flour and meal at home.
In theory, almond meal and almond flour are super similar. They’re both made of ground almonds and have very similar nutritional benefits. While you can use them interchangeably in most recipes, there are some minor differences to keep in mind.
- Almond meal is made from almonds that still have their skins. It has a coarse texture and slightly bitter taste. It’s very versatile, but tends to taste best in savory dishes.
- Almond flour is made from almonds that have been peeled (aka blanched). It’s sweeter and finer than almond meal. It has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, which makes it great for baking.
BTW, almond flour and almond meal are both very easy to make from scratch at home. (More on that in a minute.)
Even though almond flour and almond meal have a lot in common, there are some minor nutritional differences. Here’s a chart to show you what’s in a 100-gram (g) serving of each.
|Almond meal||Almond flour|
|energy||600 kcal||667 kcal|
|protein||20 g||20 g|
|fat||53.3 g||53.3 g|
|carbs||20 g||20 g|
|fiber||10 g||6.7 g|
|sugar||3.33 g||6.67 g|
|calcium||267 milligrams (mg)||267 mg|
|iron||3.6 mg||2.4 mg|
As you can see, the blanching process costs you a bit of fiber and iron. That skin is also a solid source of antioxidants like tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids. These antioxidants help your body reduce free radicals and might improve your overall health.
Just keep in mind that the nutritional differences are pretty insignificant. So, picking one over the other prob won’t make a major difference.
Almond meal and almond flour are both low carb, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly. Their versatility and similarities mean you can confidently swap them in for any recipe that calls for flour. Here’s how you can add each ingredient to your fave foods.
How to cook with almond meal
Almond meal’s thicker texture works well in hearty baked goods like:
You can also use it in lieu of breadcrumbs when coating meats. Oh, and it tastes great as a topping on soups, salads, and casseroles.
How to cook with almond flour
Almond flour is great for lighter baked treats such as:
Almond meal and flour are similar enough that you can often use one in place of the other in a pinch. But there are some situations where one will work a lot better than the other.
The only time you can’t easily swap flour and meal is when texture plays a big role. Meal is coarser and heartier, which is why it makes a dope breadcrumb substitute. Alternatively, flour is way better in lighter, fluffier recipes like angel food cake or macaroons.
Since almond meal contains the skin, it has a slightly bitter taste. That’s why almond flour might be better in sweeter recipes.
FYI: The terms “meal” and “flour” are sometimes used interchangeably on product packaging. Check the label to see what you’re actually getting. If the skin is off and it’s finely ground, it’s flour. Skin-on with a coarse grind means it’s meal.
Making almond meal or almond flour from scratch might seem a bit complicated. But IRL, it’s easy AF. You just need raw, unsalted almonds and a food processor.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Add 1 cup of almonds to a food processor. For almond meal use skin-on nuts and for almond flour use blanched nuts.
- Pulse on high in 1-second increments.
- After 30 seconds, scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Continue to pulse every second for another 30 seconds.
- That’s it!
This recipe should yield about a cup of flour or meal. You can store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.
P.S. You can buy pre-peeled almonds at the store. But here’s a hack if you want to blanch them at home:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Add the almonds to the boiling water for 1 minute.
- Drain the almonds and let them air dry on a clean towel.
- Pinch each almond to easily remove the skin.
Almond meal and almond flour both make exciting additions to lots of baked treats and tasty meals. You can use them interchangeably. But almond meal tends to be better in heartier dishes, since it’s slightly bitter and has a coarse consistency. Almond flour is sweeter and has a lighter, fluffier texture.
You can easily make almond meal and almond flour at home. All you need are some nuts and a food processor. From there you can go nuts and elevate tons of snacks, meals, and desserts with these versatile ingredients.