Cooking can bring up a lot of questions you never thought you'd ask yourself. For instance, when you see a recipe that calls for almond meal instead of almond flour, you might wonder ... what's the difference?
Though they differ only slightly, there are reasons that almond meal vs almond flour are not considered the same when it comes to cooking or baking. Both are popular gluten-free ingredients, but there are subtle differences between them that might make a baker choose one over the other.
What is Almond Flour?
Almond flour is usually made from blanched almonds which have had the skins removed, according to the Kitchn. It is ground more finely than almond meal, and almond flour is made from peeled almonds, Bob's Red Mill explained.
What is Almond Meal?
Almond meal, by comparison, is slightly coarser than almond flour, but both are made from ground almonds. Sometimes, almond meal is made out of whole raw almonds, Bob's Red Mill noted. Almond meal usually still contains the almond skins of the nut whole almonds.
Almond meal is often used for baked goods such as cookies and quick breads, and can be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs, Kitchn reported. For instance, someone might use it to coat meat and vegetables rather than use wheat flour-based products like an all-purpose flour made from hard red wheat or hard and soft wheat.
Why Would Someone Use Almond Flour/Meal Over Regular Flour?
Those following a grain-free recipe would likely look for almond flour recipes and other similar nut flours. People who stick to keto meals can also turn to almond flour-based breading and other ingredients for their dietary needs.
Almond flour is low-carb, high in fat, and moderate in protein, Keto Mojo noted. Anyone watching their intake of carbohydrates or those on a Paleo diet can use almond meal and flour for their baking, too. Plus, almond flour is rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E, SF Gate revealed. So if you're trying to get more of any of those in your diet, almond flour might help.
Can You Make Your Own?
Yes! If you can't find either at the grocery store for some reason, both are easy to make at home.
To create a homemade almond meal, you just need to add raw almonds (with the skin still on) to a blender and run it until it makes a fine, powdery flour, according to Minimalist Baker. If it starts to turn into almond butter, you've blended it too much.
To make your own almond flour, you just need to process blanched almonds until they are finely ground. In no time, you'll have blanched almond flour for whatever you want to bake: from macarons to chocolate chip cookies to bread and so much more.