Almond Paste vs. Almond Butter

Almond paste and almond butter are two popular options that are often confused.

Almond Paste vs. Almond Butter

While they both contain almonds as their primary ingredient, these two products have distinct differences in terms of their composition, texture, and uses.

What is Almond Paste?

Almond paste is a dense, sweet confection made from ground almonds and sugar. It typically contains equal parts of these two ingredients, along with a binding agent such as egg whites or corn syrup. The almonds are finely ground, often to a powder-like consistency, before being combined with the sugar and other ingredients to form a smooth, malleable paste.

The texture of almond paste is similar to that of a stiff dough, making it ideal for use as a filling or decorative element in baked goods. Its sweetness and rich almond flavor make it a popular choice for desserts like cookies, pastries, and cakes.

Key Takeaway: Almond paste is a combination of finely ground almonds and sugar, with a stiff, dough-like texture suitable for baking.

How Almond Paste is Made

Here's a step-by-step look at how almond paste is typically made:

  1. Blanching: Whole almonds are first blanched to remove their skins, resulting in a smooth, creamy almond meal.
  2. Grinding: The blanched almonds are then ground into a fine powder using specialized machinery.
  3. Combining Ingredients: The almond powder is mixed with an equal amount of powdered sugar and a binding agent like egg whites or corn syrup.
  4. Kneading: The mixture is kneaded until it forms a smooth, pliable paste.
  5. Packaging: The finished almond paste is then packaged, often in plastic tubs or tubes, for sale and distribution.

What is Almond Butter?

On the other hand, almond butter is a creamy, spreadable paste made primarily from roasted almonds. It's similar in consistency to peanut butter, with a rich, nutty flavor and a smooth, spreadable texture.

To make almond butter, roasted almonds are ground into a thick paste, often with a small amount of oil or salt added to achieve the desired texture and flavor. Unlike almond paste, almond butter does not contain significant amounts of sugar or other sweeteners, making it a more savory and slightly healthier alternative to traditional nut butters.

Key Takeaway: Almond butter is a creamy, spreadable paste made from roasted almonds, similar in texture to peanut butter but without added sugar.

How Almond Butter is Made

The process of making almond butter is relatively straightforward:

  1. Roasting: Raw almonds are roasted to enhance their flavor and bring out their natural oils.
  2. Grinding: The roasted almonds are then ground into a thick, creamy paste using a food processor or a specialized nut butter machine.
  3. Emulsifying: As the almonds are ground, their natural oils are released, helping to emulsify the mixture into a smooth, spreadable consistency.
  4. Optional Additions: Depending on personal preference, some manufacturers may add a small amount of oil, salt, or other flavorings to enhance the taste and texture of the almond butter.
  5. Packaging: The finished almond butter is then packaged, often in jars or plastic tubs, for sale and distribution.

Key Differences Between Almond Paste and Almond Butter

While both almond paste and almond butter are made from almonds, there are several key differences that set them apart:

CharacteristicAlmond PasteAlmond Butter
Primary IngredientsFinely ground almonds, sugarRoasted almonds
TextureStiff, dough-likeCreamy, spreadable
SweetnessVery sweetUnsweetened
UsesFillings, decorations, baked goodsSpreads, dips, sauces
NutritionHigher in sugar, lower in healthy fatsLower in sugar, higher in healthy fats

As you can see from the table, the primary difference lies in the addition of sugar to almond paste, which gives it a sweeter taste and a stiffer texture compared to the unsweetened, creamy consistency of almond butter.

Key Takeaway: Almond paste is sweet and stiff, making it suitable for baking, while almond butter is unsweetened and creamy, making it ideal as a spread or dip.

Uses for Almond Paste

Due to its dense, dough-like texture and sweetness, almond paste has a wide variety of uses in the culinary world, particularly in baking and confectionery:

  • Fillings: Almond paste is commonly used as a filling for pastriescroissants, and danish to add a rich, nutty flavor and a delightful texture.
  • Cookies: It can be used as the primary ingredient in almond paste cookies, which are dense, chewy, and packed with almond flavor.
  • Cakes: Almond paste is often used as a layer or filling in layer cakes, providing a sweet, nutty contrast to the cake itself.
  • Marzipan: Almond paste is the base ingredient in marzipan, a sweet, pliable confection used for decorative purposes on cakes, pastries, and other desserts.
  • Baked Goods: It can also be used to enhance the flavor and texture of various breadsscones, and muffins.

Uses for Almond Butter

While almond butter may not be as versatile in baking as almond paste, it still has a wide range of uses in both sweet and savory dishes:

  • Spreads: The most common use for almond butter is as a spread on toast, crackers, or breadsticks, similar to how peanut butter is used.
  • Smoothies: It adds a creamy, nutty flavor and texture to smoothies, especially when combined with fruits or vegetables.
  • Dips: Almond butter can be used as a base for dips, either sweet (like a fruit dip) or savory (like a vegetable dip or hummus).
  • Sauces: It can be used to create creamy, nutty sauces for dishes like stir-fries, noodles, or grilled meats.
  • Baking: While not as common as almond paste, almond butter can still be used in certain baked goods like cookies or cakes to add moisture and a nutty flavor.

Nutritional Differences

While both almond paste and almond butter are derived from almonds, their nutritional profiles differ significantly due to the added sugar in almond paste. Here's a quick comparison of the nutritional values per 100 grams:

NutrientAlmond PasteAlmond Butter
Total Fat25g51g

As you can see, almond butter is higher in calories, healthy fats, and protein, while almond paste is significantly higher in carbohydrates and sugar due to the added sweeteners.

Key Takeaway: Almond butter is generally considered healthier than almond paste due to its lower sugar content and higher levels of healthy fats and protein.


What is the difference between almond paste and marzipan?

Almond paste and marzipan are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two. Marzipan is made by combining almond paste with additional sugar, creating a sweeter, more pliable confection that can be easily molded into decorative shapes for use on cakes and other desserts.

Can I substitute almond butter for almond paste in baking?

While almond butter and almond paste are not direct substitutes due to their differing textures and sweetness levels, it is possible to use almond butter in certain baked goods as a replacement for almond paste. However, you may need to adjust the recipe to account for the lack of sweetness and stiffness in almond butter.

How long does almond paste and almond butter last?

When stored properly, almond paste and almond butter have different shelf lives. Almond paste can typically last for 6-12 months at room temperature or in the refrigerator, while almond butter has a shorter shelf life of 3-6 months due to its higher fat content.

Is almond butter or almond paste better for weight loss?

If weight loss is your goal, almond butter is generally the better choice compared to almond paste. Almond butter is lower in sugar and carbohydrates, while still providing healthy fats, protein, and fiber that can help promote feelings of fullness and satiety.

Can I make my own almond paste or almond butter at home?

Yes, it is possible to make both almond paste and almond butter at home with the right equipment and ingredients. For almond paste, you'll need to finely grind blanched almonds and combine them with powdered sugar and a binding agent like egg whites or corn syrup. For almond butter, you'll need a powerful food processor or nut butter machine to grind roasted almonds into a smooth, creamy paste.


Almond paste and almond butter are two distinct options with their own unique characteristics and uses.

Almond paste is a sweet, stiff confection ideal for baking and decorating, while almond butter is a creamy, unsweetened spread or dip that is generally considered healthier due to its lower sugar content.

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