Almond Flour FAQs

almond powder

Is almond flour the same as almond meal or ground almonds?

Yes. If you are unsure, check the ingredients on the package; the only ingredient listed should be almonds. If there are other ingredients, it’s not the same thing and should not be used in a recipe that calls for almond flour. Other names for almond flour are powdered almonds, almond meal, and almond powder.

(Some say that only blanched almonds are used for what is called almond flour, but I’ve seen unblanched almond “flour” listed as such, so that’s not always the case.)

What is the difference between natural and blanched almond flour?

Blanched almonds have had theirs skins removed. This is done by dropping them in boiling water for about a minute. Draining them in cold water, and slipping the skins off. Unblanched almonds have their skins on. Both kinds of almonds are then ground up for almond flour. A majority of almond flour you’ll come across is made from blanched almonds since most people prefer the lighter crumb and appearance in cakes and other baked goods. Some bakers say that unblanched almond flour can make baked goods heavier, but I’ve not found it to make a tremendous difference. So you can use either, unless one is specifically called for in a recipe.

Can I make my own almond flour?

Yes. It’s best to start with sliced almonds since they are already finely cut. (You can also use whole or slivered almonds, which will require more processing.) Your food processor or blender should have a sharp blade for best results. To make your own almond flour, I highly recommend that you grind the almonds with some of the flour or sugar called for in the recipe (use the weight equivalent for better accuracy); nuts ground on their own can heat up during the pulverizing and get oily. Flour or sugar helps prevent that. Generally about 2 tablespoons of flour or sugar is the minimum you should use per 1 cup (120g) of nuts. Avoid processing more nuts than that at a time. If you need more, work in batches.)

To make your own almond flour, put the untoasted nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse them with the dry ingredients until the almonds are pulverized. Grinding the nuts with the motor running in a continuous stream will make them oily so be sure to pulse if using a food processor, or run the motor with an on-off motion if using a blender.

Another method is to use a nut mill, a rotary grinder that grates the nuts into a powdery mass. (Similar to this one on Amazon.) I used a vintage Swedish one for many years and if you plan to grind a lot of nuts, it might be a good investment. (Online reviews suggest that the newer ones aren’t as sturdy as the vintage models; you may want to check online auction sites or websites that list used items for sale to find one.)

My almond flour isn’t very fine. Will it make a difference?

Because nuts are not ground to uniform sizes, sometimes almond flour may be coarser than you want. If you desire a finer texture, such as for cakes, you can grind store-bought almond flour down with some of the sugar or flour called for in a recipe. But some recipes do fine with coarser almond flour, such as frangipane and pear-almond tarts.

Can I substitute almond flour for all-purpose (wheat) flour?

Because wheat contains gluten, a protein that provides the structure that holds cakes and other baked goods together, the answer is generally no. However in certain recipes, where just a small amount is called for, almond flour can sometimes be used in place of wheat flour. Much depends on the recipe but if the amount is 1 to 2 tablespoons, it’s likely that you can use almond flour. But that’s not necessarily the case for each and every recipe.

Where can I get almond flour?

Almond flour has traditionally been more available in European countries than it has been in America. Fortunately that has changed in the last few years and you can usually find it in well-stocked supermarkets (such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) as well as online. Baking supply stores carry it since professionals tend to make frequent use of it. In Paris, I find it at stores that sell Arab products (such as Sabah, 30 rue d’Aligre) and G. Detou.

How do I store almond flour?

Almond flour will keep for up to one year. It’s best stored in a cool, dark place in a well-sealed container. Light and heat are the enemy of oil-rich nuts. Almond flour can also be stored in the freezer. If frozen, measure how much you need and let it come to room temperature before using.


almond powder


Related Recipes and Links

French Pear and Almond Tart

Italian Almond Cookies

Is it safe to eat apricot kernels?

Nutty Magdalenas

Chocolate Buckwheat Cake

Galette des rois

24 comments

  • My almond flour is usually speckled, I never, ever blanch the almonds if I make it at home. Too much work! Sometimes I toast them though.

  • To prevent almonds from getting warm and oily during the processing try to freeze them before. I haven’t tried it yet but it make sense. It takes more time to heat them in the food processor and the almonds may be more brittle so they should grind easier.

  • Paula: The almond flour that is most common in France is blanched so that’s what I go with. Toasting nuts is a good way to bring out flavor but I’ve experimented with toasting flour and found that it can lead to things needing more fat to compensate as the cookies and cakes I tried were on the dry side. But if I make it at home, I never blanch the almonds either. I like the way they look.

    Lucie: That’s an interesting idea and would probably work ~!

  • “A majority of almond flour you’ll come across is made from blanched almonds” -
    It probably depends on where you live: Austrian groceries rarely carry flour made from blanched almonds. I have made the lightest sponge cakes and the like with the unblanched variety. The almond flour from the stores is much finer than what I could grind in my Cuisinart.

    My grandmother used to grind her own almond flour, with a special nut grinder (like the one at the bottom of the page http://www.edelstahl-in-bestform.de/pdf/contacto-pdf-90.pdf).

  • I usually get the Bob’s Red Mill since it’s so readily available here but I’ve heard that Honeyville makes for a better end product because it’s finer. Have you by chance tried it? Do you have a brand preference? I find that making my own in the food processor or vitamix doesn’t have the same evenness as store bought.

    • We don’t get Bob’s or other US brands here so I use what I get at the shops listed in the post. (The supermarkets carry a brand in France, but the packets are tiny and not especially cost-effective.)

  • Since I drink homemade almond milk, my almond flour is in fact a leftover! I steep the almonds (about 30) in filtered water overnight, throw that water out, replacing it for fresh water. After blending, I strain it with a cheesecloth and save the almond flour for another occasion in the freezer. (for the Almond milk I add a few drops of vanilla extract, 1-2 grains of pink Himalayan salt, a few drops of stevia rebaudiana and voilà!

  • Hi David – Happy New Year! This is a very informative post – thank you! I have typically made almond flour in the food processor as you mentioned, for macarons and other projects. I think I’ve gotten lazier lately and decided to just buy it instead. I first bought almond “meal” from Trader Joe’s (good value) but then I realized it was unblanched and a bit coarser than the one from Bob’s Red Mill. I’m not sure I’m up for experimenting with the TJ’s version for macarons though…I have a feeling it would work but I’m a little risk-adverse when it comes to macaron-making!

  • Very informative, thank you! I did wonder about this, but now see almond flour is what we simply call ground almonds in the UK.

  • Could I use this to make french macaron? I always grind my almond meal to make them. what do you think David?

  • Hi, David, any hints or information relative to Nut Moths? I had some almond flour from a very reputable source, didn’t use all of it and stored it in a sealed plastic container for about 6 months. When cleaning out the shelves I noticed that there were moths in the container so I threw it out. I have run into these moths before, once they flew out of a sealed box of chocolates (with nuts) that had been given to my mother. Have you had any experience with them? Many thanks! I love your blog and love baking with almond flour.

  • I substituted 1/4 cup of almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill) for the white flour in your almond cake recipe. (I also only use 5 eggs which I discovered by accident makes the cake slightly denser). The result is an even more dense moist cake with an intense almond flavor.

    I love your blog! Am heading to Paris next week with your Paris Pastry app on my iPhone! Can’t wait.

  • @ Monica – I find the Trader Joe’s almond flour a little less moist than Bob’s Red Mill and my only macaron failures were with the Bob’s, so I almost exclusively use TJ’s- which is 50% of the cost as well! Bob’s Hazelnut flour is noticeably drier and works very well in Macarons though (which were made just an hour ago:-).

  • @Sarahb1313 – thank you! wow – I was drawn by the cost savings of the TJ’s almond flour but assumed (wrongly, I see…) that Bob’s would be better. It does seem very wet. Good to know – I appreciate the info because I want to make a batch soon. Happy New Year!

  • Honeyville almond flour is THE BEST. It seems much finer to me than the stuff from Trader Joe’s, and has given me my best attempts at macarons. I have it in the fridge and it seems to stay good for quite a long time.

  • I wanted to take a stab at making my own almond flour, but was feeling bit uneducated, so this article is incredibly timely. I think I now feel informed enough to give it a shot! Merci!!

  • I sometimes grind ‘Chinese’ almonds which are really apricot kernels to a powder to use them in frangpane. They’re basically the ‘bitter almonds’ that almond essence is made from and they’re much more almondy than the normal kind of almond/almond powder. It seems like there’re no commercial versions of this stuff?

    • Chinese herbalists and shops often sell “almonds” which are often kernels of apricots or may be bitter almonds. It’s hard to say but you can often take a sniff and see if they have any fragrance. Some stores have sold apricot kernels for culinary uses which used to be hard to find in the US, although I’d seen them in California. (I’ve not seen them in France.) Most brands of pure almond extract are made from bitter almonds, and a scientist for one of the companies told me that the process makes them food safe, so I often add a drop of that to almond desserts to provide that particular flavor.

  • Almond flour is an alternative for gluten free baking, but be aware of it’s high omega 6 levels. Especially during baking, high temperatures makes it rancid. Coconut flour, rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch are much healthier alternatives.

  • Hello David as far my understanding goes almond flour is with blanched nuts and almond meal is with unblanched. Blanched will give you a finer result. We make our own as we do not have easy access to supply as we live on a farm. Almond flour/meal is very important to our eating lifestyle of Paleo or low carb health fat. It also makes for amazing almond butter. Have a look at our website. Kind regards and a fantastic 2014 and keep the recipes coming maybe some more for us as well. From Garry inSouth Africa

  • I get my nut flours from nuts.com. It’s a great company!

  • Thank you I can’t wait to make my own.

  • Hello David
    I have been following and enjoying your blog for some time now… this is my first comment. I find your articles very informative and well done. Thank you. This article on almond flour has me curious if what I am doing is as beneficial- because the end result is so processed. Let me know your thoughts. I have recently started making my own almond milk and was not sure what to do with the meal left over after straining the milk. I found I can use it in baking – muffins come out so moist and have a fabulous texture and I have been putting it into shakes and smoothies.. But the best thing- (I think) I have done with the almond meal is to spread it out on a baking sheet and dry in the oven with the light on. When it is completely dried – I grind it up in my processor and have wonderful almond flour. I have been using it regularly in baking with great results. BTW – the milk is awesome.. thanks!!