Almonds are considered one of the world’s most nutritious and versatile nuts for a reason ‒ they are ideal to serve as a snack or, in flour form, to replace carb- and gluten-heavy flours. Almond flours are especially renowned by the gluten-free community since they help those suffering from gluten intolerances and celiac disease be able to still enjoy some of their favorite foods.
But with so many different ways to prepare almonds, it can get a little confusing as to what is what. Is almond flour the same as almond meal? Do they all taste the same? Some of the answers are here, plus some ideal almond meal replacements.
Ground Almonds vs. Almond Meal
Ground almonds are composed of almonds, but not just any almonds: blanched almonds. You may wonder: Are ground almonds the same as almond flour and almond meal? To put it simply, the answer to that is yes… in a way.
Essentially, when almonds are finely ground, they become what is considered almond flour, and vice versa for almond meal, which is simply coarsely ground almonds.
According to Cooks Info, when used as-is, ground almonds work as a thickener for sauces, as a topping for casseroles, as part of making almond milk, and creating a nice, moist crust on baked goods.
The best way to grind almonds is to use a blender or food processor. Be sure not to grind too long, or you might accidentally end up with almond butter.
Since ground almonds are simply ground-up almonds, they still contain all of the same nutritional benefits as regular almonds, including a high content of healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, proteins and other nutrients.
As for the taste of ground almonds, it’s not much to write home about. Almond meal and almond flour have only a mild almond taste that gets easily overpowered by other ingredients. Ground almonds, however, have a flavor that is more pronounced.
Despite some misconceptions, almond meal is not the same as almond flour. Almond flour comprises almonds grounded very finely into a flour texture; whereas, almond meal is much coarser.
Use almond meal when you make muffins to add a nice crust to vegetables and proteins and as a chunky topping for casseroles. You can also use it as an add-in for foods such as smoothies, oatmeal and yogurt.
According to this recipe by Best Recipes, you can quickly make almond meal at home using just blanched almonds and a food processor. Simply pulse the almonds until a rough flour forms.
Then pass the almond meal through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove the large pieces. Pulse these larger pieces in the food processor again to make them a little smaller. Do this until you don’t have any large lumps.
Almond meal replacements
Almond meal replacements depend a lot on whether you’re gluten-free or not. This is because a lot of people turn to almond meal and almond flour in the first place because it’s gluten-free.
If that isn’t a factor, however, all-purpose white and wheat flour act as great substitutes. Simply replace it for almond meal at a ratio of 1:1. If gluten is a factor, sub in coconut, cashew or hazelnut flour.
Which Flour Is the Healthiest?
It’s difficult to say which flour is the healthiest because of the gluten factor. For example, those suffering from gluten intolerances or celiac disease wouldn’t be able to try other “healthier” versions, such as whole wheat flour. On the whole, though, almond flour is considered a healthy flour that helps keep some dishes grain-free.
A lot can come from a tiny almond, but despite misconceptions, not all variations are the same.
- Cooks Info: Ground Almonds
- Healthline: 9 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Almonds
- The Kitchn: 7 Ways to Bake with Almond Flour and Almond Meal
- Eat Richly: WHAT TO DO WITH ALMOND MEAL LEFTOVER FROM HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK
- Best Recipes: How to make almond meal
- Organic Facts: 12 Amazing Almond Meal Substitutes
- Nuts: Almonds
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.