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?
What is almond meal used for?
Almond meal made from peeled almonds is the main ingredient in marzipan and almond paste.
Almond meal made from peeled or unpeeled almonds is often used to replace some or all of the wheat flour to give texture and flavor, for example, to…
- Cookies, muffins, and cakes.
- A Crumble topping for a fruit pie.
- Replace breadcrumbs for coating fish or meat.
- A pie crust
If you require a finer texture, then Almond flour is perfect.
What is almond flour used for?
Almond flour can replace wheat flour completely or partially in a recipe.
As I have already mentioned, because it’s gluten-free, it is perfect for making any baked goods if you are following a gluten-free diet for health reasons or by choice.
If almond flour replaces wheat flour completely when making cakes, they tend not to rise as much as a cake made with wheat flour, and the texture is a little denser, but they taste delicious.
Is it cheaper to buy almond meal or almond flour or make your own?
Are almonds expensive?
Almonds are expensive to buy at the best of times, but it’s sometimes cheaper to buy them with their skins on at the farmers market or better still if you know someone with an almond tree and they are willing to share.
If almonds have been processed into almond meal and almond flour, they are even more expensive.
If you possess a good food processor and a coffee grinder, you can process the almonds into almond meal and almond flour yourself very easily.
If you buy almonds with the skins removed, make sure the nuts are hard. Sometimes they will go soft if they are not sealed and will be difficult to grind.
If you want to make your own almond meal or almond flour, how do you start?
How to blanch almonds
Once the almonds have taken from their shells, you can either use them with the brown skins left on or the skins taken off to make almond meal and with the skins taken off to make almond flour.
To remove the skins, you will need to blanch them, which means soaking them in hot water to loosen the skins then squeezing them out of their skins. Be careful because if you squeeze too hard, the nut will fly across the room, so aim it into a bowl or a cloth.
To blanch almonds and remove the skins…
- Put some water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Place the almonds with their skins on in the water.
- Bring the water back to the boil and boil the almonds for 1 minute.
- Drain the almonds and rinse them in cold water, and pat dry
- Squeeze an almond between your thumb and forefinger, and the almond will come away from the skin.
- Once you have skinned all the almonds, let them dry completely.
Note: Don’t leave the almonds in the boiling water for longer than a minute, or they will become soft and be difficult to grind.
You have a bowl full of freshly skinned and dry almonds, so what’s next?
How to make almond meal?
To make the almond meal, you will require a blender to grind the nuts.
Make sure your almonds are completely dry, or you will end up with a lumpy paste.
Place the Almonds, either peeled or unpeeled, in the blender and blitz until they resemble fine breadcrumbs but not as fine as flour.
Put the ground almonds through a sieve, return any large pieces to the blender, and blitz again until all the almonds are evenly ground.
What do you do if you want almond flour?
How to make almond flour
To make the almond flour, you will require a blender to grind the nuts, and you will need almonds without their brown skins (see above how to blanch and peel them)
Place the peeled almonds in the blender and blitz until they become the texture of flour.
Put the flour through a fine sieve, return any large pieces to the blender, and blitz again until all the almonds are ground evenly.
How to make almond flour finer
If you want a very fine almond flour, your food processor may be able to do it, but I find my coffee grinder is much better at achieving this.
I start the process in my food processor and then finish it off by transferring the almond flour to my coffee grinder.
You will have to do it in small batches and grind it for a few seconds.
Pass the flour through a very fine sieve and return any larger pieces to the grinder.
If you try to grind it for longer than a few seconds, the almond flour will start clumping, and very quickly, you will end up with almond butter which is very nice but not what you started out to achieve.
I hope this has answered some of the questions you may have had about almond meal and almond flour.
If you have any other questions, please ask them in the comments box below, and I will do my best to answer them.