Almonds are a nutritious and versatile ingredient used in many recipes. Two of the most common almond products are almond meal and almond powder. Though they sound quite similar, there are some key differences between the two.
How Almond Meal and Almond Powder Are Made
The main difference between almond meal and almond powder lies in how they are produced:
Almond meal is made from whole, unpeeled almonds. The almonds are simply ground up into smaller pieces, skins and all. This produces a coarser texture with visible almond flecks.
Almond powder is made from blanched almonds, meaning the skins have been removed. The blanched almonds are then ground into a fine, flour-like powder.
So in summary:
- Almond meal: Made from whole almonds with skins
- Almond powder: Made from blanched (skinless) almonds
This difference in raw ingredients also leads to differences in the color and texture of almond meal vs almond powder, which we'll explore next.
Appearance and Texture
Because they're made from different types of almonds, almond meal and almond powder have slightly different appearances:
- Almond meal has a speckled appearance from the almond skins and larger grits. It's more granular and coarse.
- Almond powder has a smooth, uniform consistency and powdery texture similar to flour. It also has a pale cream color since the skins have been removed.
- Almond meal is often a tan or brown color from the almond skins. It can have a rougher, grittier texture.
So in general, almond powder will provide a finer, smoother texture in recipes, while almond meal has more visible almond flecks and a heartier, nubby texture.
Key Takeaway: Almond powder has a super-fine, flour-like texture since it's made from blanched almonds. Almond meal is more coarse and gritty with visible almond skins.
Despite the differences in texture and appearance, almond meal and almond powder have very similar nutritional profiles.
They both provide these nutrition highlights:
- High in healthy fats like monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids
- Source of plant-based protein
- Rich in vitamin E
- Provide magnesium, manganese and other minerals
- Low net carbs and suitable for ketogenic and low-carb diets
Since almond skins contain fiber, vitamin E and polyphenols, almond meal contains slightly higher amounts of these nutrients compared to almond powder. But overall, they are both nutritious options.
For a detailed comparison, here is the nutrition profile per 1/4 cup serving (30 grams):
|Nutrient||Almond Meal||Almond Powder|
|Fat||16 g||16 g|
|Carbs||6 g||6 g|
|Fiber||3 g||2 g|
|Protein||6 g||6 g|
|Iron||6% DV||3% DV|
|Vitamin E||41% DV||35% DV|
In most recipes, almond meal and almond powder can be used interchangeably. However, each works best for certain culinary applications based on their differing textures:
- Almond powder works well in delicate baked goods where you want a fine, smooth crumb texture. It provides fluffiness in cakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads.
- Almond meal adds pleasant texture and heartiness in items like breading, granola bars, fruit crisps and apple crumble toppings.
- Almond meal can provide a nuttier flavor thanks to the skins. It pairs nicely with bold seasonings.
- Almond powder has a milder flavor that won't compete with other ingredients. It works well in sweeter baked goods.
- Both work for thickening smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal and more. Almond powder blends more smoothly while almond meal provides texture.
So in summary:
- Almond powder: Best for delicate baked goods where smooth, fine texture needed
- Almond meal: Best for adding hearty texture and nutty flavor
You can certainly experiment with using each type of almond product in different recipes and see which texture you prefer!
Key Takeaway: Almond powder works best in delicate baked goods like cakes and cookies, while almond meal is ideal for adding texture and hearty flavor.
Making Your Own Almond Powder and Meal
Want to save money by making your own almond powder and meal at home? It's easy to do with just raw almonds and a food processor.
For almond powder:
- Start with blanched, skinless almonds
- Process in a food processor until very fine and powdery
- Be careful not to overprocess into almond butter
For almond meal:
- Use whole, unpeeled almonds
- Pulse almonds in a food processor into smaller grits
- Be careful not to overprocess into almond butter
- Store in airtight container at room temperature
When making your own almond powder or meal, stop processing once the desired texture is reached. It's easy to accidentally go too far and end up with almond butter, which has a completely different consistency.
Almond powder is generally more expensive than almond meal. Here are some average costs:
- Almond powder: Approximately $0.33 per ounce
- Almond meal: Approximately $0.55 per ounce
The price difference stems from the additional processing work required to blanch the almonds and grind them into a super fine powder to produce almond powder.
However, making your own almond powder and meal at home can be an affordable alternative to buying them pre-made.
Almond Powder and Meal Recipes
Here are some recipe ideas to start baking and cooking with almond powder and meal:
Almond Powder Recipes
- Almond Powder Pancakes
- Almond Powder Cookies
- Almond Powder Bread
- Almond Powder Banana Muffins
- Almond Powder Oatmeal
Almond Meal Recipes
- Almond Meal Crusted Chicken
- Almond Meal Granola Bars
- Almond Meal Apple Crisp
- Almond Meal Carrot Cake
- Almond Meal Chia Pudding
Now that you're an expert on the differences between almond meal and almond powder, it's time to try them out! Both make nutritious additions to a variety of sweet and savory recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you substitute almond powder for almond meal?
Yes, in most recipes you can use almond powder instead of almond meal. The texture may come out slightly finer and fluffier.
Can you use almond meal instead of almond powder?
You can, but the texture will likely be grittier and denser. Almond meal works best in items where you want extra texture.
Is almond powder the same as almond flour?
Yes, almond powder and almond flour are the same product. They both refer to finely ground blanched almonds without skins.
Is almond powder gluten-free?
Yes, almond powder is naturally gluten-free since it contains no gluten grains like wheat.
Can you make almond powder in a blender?
Yes, you can make DIY almond powder or meal in a high-powered blender instead of a food processor. Just be careful not to overblend.
While almond meal and almond powder are both made from ground almonds, they differ in their texture and culinary uses based on how they are produced.
Almond powder offers a super-fine, flour-like texture thanks to being made from blanched almonds. Meanwhile, almond meal has a coarser, grittier texture with visible almond skins that provides great flavor and heartiness.
In baked goods, almond powder works best when you need a light and fluffy texture like in cakes and cookies. Almond meal shines when you want extra heft and texture like in granola and crisps.