Almond meal and almond flour are both great options for those of us who are gluten free! These two ingredients sound very similar, and there's a lot of confusion about whether they are just two different names for the same product. So let's talk about all things almond meal and almond flour!
If you've ever gotten an up close look at almond meal you may have noticed more visible brown specks than in it's counterpart, almond flour. Whereas almond flour has a very light, almost cream color, almond meal appears more earthy. Almost like you took almonds and ground them in a food processor.
Believe it or not, that's pretty much what almond meal is! Contrast that to the finer texture of almond flour and you have two almond ingredients that, while they sound similar, are actually quite different.
Is almond meal the same as almond flour?
The short answer is no. Although they are both made from almonds, the type of almonds used varies widely. So they are similar products with completely different textures. Almond meal has a coarser texture, while almond flour is finer. This is due to how they are made, and it all comes down to the almonds used to make them (peeled or not).
More importantly, they are not interchangeable in recipes!
What is almond meal?
Almond meal is made by grinding up whole, unpeeled almonds into a mixture that's similar to breadcrumbs. It has a more coarse texture than flour, so it's often used as a breading.
How to cook with almond meal
Almond meal is ideal for making foods that need to be super crispy, like chicken or fish. If you need a good breadcrumb replacement, you've found it!
Can I substitute almond meal with almond flour?
A common question is whether almond meal can be substituted with almond flour. And it depends on the use. Since almond flour is more fine and powdery, it's not what you want to use to achieve a crispy coating as in a breading substitute for example. And in baked goods, they are definitely not an even swap. Almond flour is more suitable for tender baked goods, whereas almond meal will not lend the same texture.
What is almond flour?
Almond flour is a very popular gluten free flour that is made by grinding shelled almonds to a fine powder. The process of shelling almonds is called "blanching", where the almonds are boiled and the skins are easily removed. The package of almond flour will usually say it was made with blanched almonds.
How to bake with almond flour
Since almond flour is made without the shells, it's much lighter and softer than almond meal. This fine texture is ideal for baking, resulting in baked goods that are perfectly tender. Whether you're new to gluten free baking or you're a seasoned pro, you've probably seen recipes that use almond flour. It's perhaps most famous for being the flour used in French macarons, but almond flour is also great in breads, cakes, and cookies.
Can I substitute almond flour with almond meal?
So, can almond flour be substituted with almond meal? While there are some baked goods that are made with almond meal rather than flour (like this flourless vanilla cake), the ingredients are not interchangeable. Since almond meal is much more coarse than almond flour, the recipe would not result in the same consistency if the ingredients were substituted.
Almond meal vs almond flour FAQs
Not quite! Although they are both made from almonds, they have different textures. Almond meal is made from whole almonds and is coarse. Almond flour is made from peeled almonds and is fine.
Almond flour is the best choice if you want perfectly tender baked goods. Use almond meal as you would with breadcrumbs to get a crispy coating on food!
They both have a pretty mild, slightly nutty flavor. Since they have a neutral flavor, they take on whatever flavors you combine them with, which is great for cooking and baking!