Almond flour and almond meal are often mistaken for one another. They’re similar and, of course, made with almonds, but they’re not the same thing!
Along with the popularity of the gluten-free diet, alternative flours seem to be gaining traction with everyone. Almond meal and almond flour are two of the more popular gluten-free alternatives to wheat flour. They can be used in everything: cakes, cookies, and vegetable-based dishes.
Even if almond flour and almond meal are quite similar, there still are quite a few differences between them. We'll let you know what they are so that you can decide which one to use in your meals.
Differences between almond flour and almond meal
As you can easily guess, both almond flour and almond meal are made from ground almonds. Still, there are some differences between them that don't make them interchangeable.
Almond flour is typically made from blanched almonds which have had their skins removed and it's ground more finely than almond meal. The texture of the flour is that fine that the product is almost fluffy. Almond flour is made from no-skin almonds, which are typically blanched until they reach a crisp white color, similar to wheat flour.
Almond flour is available in most grocery stores, usually in the baking or gluten-free sections. On the pack, it might also be called ‘almond meal’, ‘ground almonds’, or ‘almond powder’.
You can also easily make it at home. Just soak the almonds in hot water for 1-2 minutes, peel them, dry them using paper towels, leave them dry well overnight, and the next day grind them into a nice fine powder.
What it’s good for
Almond flour is the main ingredient in French macarons. It’s also used for airy cakes, as well as pie crusts, cookies, brownies, quick breads, pancakes, donuts, and waffles.
Almond meal typically still contains almond skins and it’s made from coarsely ground nuts. Some people prefer almond meal because it’s made from unblanched almonds and because the skin holds additional nutrients that are lost when they are removed. But ground skin-on almonds means a denser product, with a slightly grainy texture.
Making almond meal at home is easier than making almond flour because you don’t have to remove the skins. You just need unsalted and unroasted, unblanched almonds. Just add them to a clean electric coffee bean grinder or a food processor and pulse them several times until medium-fine textured meal forms. Don't over-grind!
What it’s good for
Almond meal is usually used for baked goods like cookies and quick breads, thanks to its coarse texture. You can also use it in energy bars, banana bread, fruit crumble, and even waffles.
Almond meal can be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs for coating meat and topping vegetables and casseroles.
You may also want to Understand Wheat Flour Types to Know What to Use when Baking.