The more time you spend baking, the more unique ingredients you'll come across. While flour is a widely used ingredient, flour substitutes have begun to make their way to the top of grocery lists. Aside from lending baked goods a unique flavor, nut-based flour substitutes can be used to create low-carb, gluten free goods that anyone can enjoy.
Two of the most popular plant-based flour substitutes include almond flour and almond meal. And while the two may sound similar, each holds unique differences that will impact the outcome of your baked goods. Continue reading to learn more about these differences and create deliciously baked goods that the entire family will enjoy. In this article, we'll take a closer look at almond flour and almond meal so that you can determine when to use each.
Benefits of Almonds
Before diving into the differences between these two popular baking ingredients, let's discuss why almonds are an excellent flour replacement in the first place. Aside from being incredibly delicious, almonds are jam-packed with nutritional value, helping you create goods that taste just as great as they are for you. Here are a few of the most recognized dietary benefits of almonds.
They’re Loaded with Vitamins and Antioxidants
Almonds are overflowing with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, and riboflavin and work from the inside out to keep you feeling your best. Additionally, the high amounts of antioxidants found in the skin of almonds will work vigorously to prevent your cells from damage.
They’re Great for Gut Health
Are you struggling with digestive upset? Almonds may be able to help out with that. Full of fiber and prebiotics, they're an excellent way to show your digestive system a little extra TLC. The prebiotics found in this superfood will serve as food for the healthy bacteria (probiotics) found in the gut, allowing it to remain strong and free of illness. On the other hand, the fiber will add bulk to your stools fending off diarrhea and constipation. Fiber also helps keep you full between meals, making it easier to refrain from diving into sugar-filled, unhealthy snacks.
They’re Full of Healthy Fats
Contrary to popular belief, fats are a vital part of a healthy diet. Consuming healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, chia seeds and nuts will work to provide your body with enough energy to support healthy cell growth, protect your organs, and keep your body temperature regulated. In addition, essential fatty acids like the ones found in almonds are needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, D, and A.
Almond Flour Vs. Almond Meal
Now that you better understand the many nutritional benefits that almonds provide, it's no surprise why they're used in so many tasty recipes. Continue scrolling to discover how this snack can easily be turned into a superfood flour.
What Is Almond Flour?
Almond flour tops the list as the most popular alternative to traditional wheat flour. It's low in carbs, loaded with nutrients, and has a slightly sweeter taste than wheat flour does. Made from ground almonds, when making almond flour, the nuts are first boiled in water to remove the skins and then ground and sifted into a fine flour. While almond flour and almond meal are slightly different, they can be used interchangeably in recipes.
What Is Almond Meal?
Similar to almond flour, almond meal consists of sweet almonds that are ground into a flour-like consistency. While almond flour is a favorite, most individuals choose to purchase almond meal for its unique texture. When searching for almond meal, you'll likely come across two kinds: natural almond meal and blanched almond meal. Almond meal has a slightly more coarse consistency than almond flour and a larger grain size. Additionally, because the skin is blended into the flour, almond meal usually has a richer taste and contains more prebiotics
The Main Difference
When deciding whether to use almond flour or almond meal, it's essential to take a close look at their differences and choose the one that works best for your recipe. To help you out, we've outlined the main difference below.
Peeled vs. Unpeeled
The way in which the almonds are prepared before they're ground into flour is a determining factor when distinguishing almond meal from almond flour. As we mentioned, almond meal contains the whole almond—skin included. Because unpeeled almonds are used, the result is often has a more granular consistency and may feature brown specks and spots throughout. Almond meal also has a larger grain size, and the skin may produce a slightly bitter taste. Almond flour, however, is made from skinless, blanched almonds. The result is a pale, off-white flour that has a mild flavor and extremely fine grain. In fact, some almond flours may be more of a powder than a flour.
When to Use Almond Meal
Because almond flour and almond meal can be used interchangeably, there's no wrong time to use almond meal. However, there may be times when you prefer it. For example, because almond meal has a more coarse consistency, it works well when used as a bread crumb substitute or coating. Additionally, when baking with almond meal, it can be a bit more bitter than flour, so it works well in savory dishes.
Almond Meal Recipes
Ready to begin making delicious recipes with almond meal? We're here to help you get started. Here is one of our favorites.
Easy Almond Meal Fish Sticks
Almond meal's coarse texture makes it an excellent gluten free bread crumb substitute. Explore this ingredient's great texture and flavor by making this Easy Almond Meal Fish Stick's Recipe. So quick and easy to make, these fish sticks are a kid-friendly recipe that tastes so much better than the kind you'll find in the frozen food section. While you may have to make these fish sticks from scratch, you can have fun and invite the kids into the kitchen to help out. Grain free, dairy free, gluten free and paleo-friendly, they're the perfect food to prepare for guests with food allergies. Serve the finished homemade fish sticks with your favorite dipping sauce, a baked potato, or a fresh salad!
Almond Meal Bread
When you're on a low-carb diet, bread is not always an option. But, because we love bread, no matter what diet we're following, we set out to find a solution to this dilemma. The answer? Almond Meal Bread! Though It may resemble a loaf of banana bread, it is certainly not the same. Despite being prepared with almond and coconut flour, it has a beautiful whole grain texture and a savory flavor, making it ideal for sandwiches, toast or grazing.
When to Use Almond Flour
Wondering when the best time to use almond flour is? As previously mentioned, almond flour is more delicate than almond meal, making it the preferred flour when making baked goods that require a smooth and uniform finish. Almond flour also works best when working with fine recipes to create a fluffier result. For example, macaroons, bread and muffins are all baked goods that work well with an almond flour base. Additionally, because its flavor is so light, it can be worked into any type of dish, from sweet to savory.
If you're searching for a specific grain size, both almond meal and almond flour are relatively simple to make at home. To try it out for yourself, start by reading our article How to Make Almond Meal at Home.
Almond Flour recipes
If you love baking, then you've likely created a loaf of banana bread before. For a twist on your favorite classic, try out this Banana Bread With Almond Flour Recipe. Moist, dense and oh-so-delicious, it uses a mixture of almond flour, tapioca flour and flaxseed meal to create a dessert that's too good to resist. Enjoy as it, serve with a side of coffee, or drizzle the top of it with some homemade icing for a true treat.
Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookies
These Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookies are light and crisp, making them ideal for coffee, tea or a simple dessert. With touches of brown sugar and cinnamon, they are the perfect delicious treat for any time of day.
When learning about almond meal vs. almond flour, it's essential to know that whichever you choose, your recipe is bound to turn out great.
The minor differences of each can lead to slight variations in texture, color and taste. As well as nutritional value—as almond meal tends the have a slightly higher fiber, mineral, and antioxidant content than almond flour. Both products are widely available in most supermarkets and online stores and can be made easily at home. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, we wish you the best on your baking journey!
Do you have a preference for almond flour or almond meal? We'd love to know more about how you use each. Share your favorite almond-inspired recipes with us in the comments below. We can't wait to hear from you!