Almond meal, also known as almond flour, is widely recognized as a gluten-free ingredient for cooking and baking. They have a close resemblance to almond flour where the only difference is between the grind.
While almond meal is typically made from raw (unpeeled) almonds, almond flour is made from blanched (peeled) almonds.
Below is the best almond meal substitute list that you can use for your future baking and cooking recipes:
- Make your own!
- Hazelnut, walnut, and other ground nuts
- Regular or all-purpose flour
- Coconut flour
- Bread crumbs
- Sunflower seeds
- Polenta, rice flour, and quinoa flour
- Oat flour from rolled oats
- Wheat flour
Using unblanched almonds may result in a denser product in pancakes, scones, cakes, and other baked goods, with a slightly grainy feeling for texture.
Well, what happens if you don’t have almond meal at hand or if you want to go nut-free with your meals? You turn to substitutes, of course!
13 Substitutes For Almond Meal
Make Your Own
Grinding your almond meal requires you to use whole almonds and a machine to grind them more easily. Although your homemade almond meal may be more grainy in texture than those sold commercially, it won’t necessarily be a problem in most cases, and they may even turn out nicer.
Just make sure to buy unblanched almonds that have no processing in them, other than their removed shells.
Unblanched almonds will also give you more flavor due to the presence of their thin brown ‘skins,’ which provide texture and more nutrients since you can get more calcium and iron than with blanched almonds.[Source]
Hazelnuts, walnuts, and other ground nuts
Having the same texture as almond nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and other ground nuts such as cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, etc., can also be used as an alternative for almond meal.
Be aware that they may have different flavors, so be careful in choosing a substitute.
These options may not suit people allergic to nuts; hence, be on the lookout for the required ingredients for your recipe.
If you are confident to venture into various substitutes for almond meals, it is best to use a food processor to make the grinding process more manageable.
Regular Or All-purpose flour
Buying regular flour from your local grocery or supermarket may be the cheapest option for finding a substitute for almond meal, especially with cakes and baked sweets.
Although flour may be a problem to people who are avoiding gluten in their diets, it may also not be a suitable ingredient to recipes such as meatballs or pie crust.
Hence, you should always be aware of the necessary ingredients for the meal that you are preparing and know the right amount of flour to replace almond meals with.
For instance, you could put 1 cup of flour for every 1 cup of almond meal. However, reducing 20% less flour will garner you the best and most consistent results. For example, for every 100 grams of almond meal, you can put 80 grams of regular flour instead.
Coconut flour is low in carbohydrate content and is perfect for a gluten-free diet, but using this as an alternative to almond meal may result in an entirely different flavor or texture.
This is because coconut flour has a sweeter taste and may absorb a lot of water than almond meals. Specific recipes suitable for coconut flour substitutes are coconut pancakes, paleo brownies, and the like.
However, you may also experiment with other ingredients to increase the moisture in making cakes and cookies. These include eggs, coconut milk, vegetable oil, or even mashed bananas.
Another cheap alternative to almond meal is grinding or processing bread crumbs. To consume less time and energy, you may opt to buy in-store bread crumbs; however, the texture may be much different than homemade bread crumbs.
Remove the crusts and grind or process the bread until they produce a fine texture.
This option may not be suitable for making cakes and other baked goods since the outcome could become dry due to the bread’s lower fat content.
Hence, only use this as an alternative if you are already confident that it is appropriate with your recipe, and have experimented with other substitutes before venturing into bread crumbs as an almond meal substitute.
Flaxseeds are known for their nutritional values, such as having good cholesterol, a high amount of protein and fiber, a shallow carbohydrate content, and a gluten-free product, which can also be used as a substitute for almond meals.
They are also lighter in texture and have higher nutritional content than almond nuts. However, they should not substitute almond meals completely since flax seeds absorb moisture quickly and make things thicker.
When substituting with flax seeds, make sure to use them immediately as they are prone to unpleasant smells due to their high rancidity. Keep them in the fridge before grinding them in a standard coffee grinder to prevent the seeds from turning rancid.
Sunflower seeds are almost similar to almonds since they are gluten-free and low in carbohydrates. Their significant difference is that sunflower seeds are nut-free, but they are a great alternative for people who are allergic to nuts.
Sunflower seeds are also less expensive and can be placed inside school lunchboxes without much hassle. They are also seedier in texture and have a higher nutritional value than almonds, but they do not differ in flavor. However, be prepared for a longer cooking time since sunflower seeds cook much longer due to the seeds’ high moisture content. Use a standard coffee grinder or food processor to grind the roots more easily.
Polenta, rice flour, and quinoa flour
Along with ground rice and cornmeal ingredients, Polenta is another gluten-free option for replacing almond meal in cooking.
You can also use polenta for casserole toppings if you want to go nut-free with your recipe. However, when it comes to baking cakes, you may need to use a combination of polenta and almond flour to make a softer and denser cake in terms of texture.
On the other hand, rice flour and quinoa flour can be excellent almond meal substitutes for people suffering from celiac diseases. You can even use rice flour or quinoa flour to make muffins, as they are almost the same texture and flavor.
Oat flour from rolled oats
Grinding rolled oats to make oat flour using a food processor can also substitute almond meals. Oat flour from rolled oats is similar to the almond meal in texture; however, it has an oaty flavor compared to a nutty one.
Although it still makes a great alternative to the almond meal since it is a soluble fiber and nut-free, making it suitable for people suffering from indigestion or are allergic to nuts.
It also has lower fat content than almonds. That’s why it is best to add butter or oil, depending on your baking recipe. Just be aware that oat flour is not necessarily gluten-free. Hence, do not try this method if you are avoiding gluten in your diet.
Wheat flour is a versatile ingredient that can work with baked goods and savory dishes. However, wheat flour can only replace almond meals in specific recipes. It contains lesser nutritional value as it contains gluten, which may not be suitable for people suffering from celiac diseases or other dietary conditions.
For instance, you may want to combine wheat flour and all-purpose flour to make a denser cake when there is no almond meal around or if you want to go nut-free with your baking. Simply put ½ cup of wheat flour and ½ cup of all-purpose flour as an alternative to 1 cup of almond meal.
Almond Meal Substitute FAQs
What’s the difference between an almond meal and almond flour?
Even though the two ingredients are used interchangeably, there is still a slight difference between almond meals and almond flour.
Almond meals are made from grinding raw and unblanched almonds until they present a coarser, more crumbly texture. (and dark brown and yellow specks). [Source]
On the other hand, almond flour is made from blanched and peeled almonds that are ground to a fine consistency and have a lighter color than almond meal.
Both are great for baking loaves of bread and cookies if you want to venture into a gluten-free route as an alternative to regular flour. Moreover, almond meal is best for achieving a denser, cake-like consistency because of its texture, color, and neutrality in flavor.
What are the rules in substituting almond meal for other ingredients?
There are different rules in replacing almond meals with other ingredients. It mainly depends on your recipe’s components since almonds are not wheat (unless you grind them to more delicate pieces, of course).
Here are a few tips on how to calculate your substitutions:
- For using all-purpose flour, the standard rule would be a ratio of 2:1. With this, if your recipe needs 1 cup of almond flour, you should use ½ cup of all-purpose flour in your cooking. However, if you are not necessarily avoiding all-purpose flour for gluten-allergy, it is best to combine and experiment with all-purpose flour with almond flour instead. Hence, you can use ¼ cup of all-purpose flour to combine it with almond flour if you want your cakes to have a denser texture.
- For using wheat flour, the ratio would be a simple 1:1. Therefore, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of almond flour, you should use the same amount of wheat flour. The exact process same follows if you want to exchange almond flour for wheat flour. However, you should put eggs in your recipe since almonds need a binding agent to keep your ingredients together.
How can I make my almond meal?
In making your almond meal, make sure to use whole, natural almonds. Using a food processor can also help your grinding process of almond meals a whole lot easier.
Just be careful to stop right before the almonds get a nutty and buttery consistency. On the other hand, if you want to prepare almond flour at home, you need skinless almonds and blanch them before using a high-quality food processor.
Don’t know what to do with your prepared almond meal? You can simply look up the internet for any creative recipes that you find interesting, or you can list them down so that you can simply refer to them when you feel like baking or cooking.