Almond Paste Vs. Almond Flour

Almond paste and almond flour are two versatile ingredients used in baking, each with their unique properties and uses.

Almond Paste Vs. Almond Flour

Understanding the difference is key to choosing the right one for your recipes.

What is Almond Paste?

Almond paste is a sweet mixture made from ground almonds, sugar, and other flavorings. It has a thick, doughy texture similar to marzipan. Almond paste imparts a subtle fragrance and rich almond flavor to baked goods without adding too much sweetness.

It usually contains equal parts finely ground blanched almonds and confectioners’ sugar, bound together by egg whites, glucose or corn syrup. Some versions also include a small amount of almond oil or extract to enhance flavor.

Almond paste is used primarily as a filling or component in pastries, cookies and desserts like:

  • Danish pastries
  • Baklava
  • Frangipane tarts
  • Canolis
  • Rainbow cookies
  • Linzer cookies
  • Madeleines

Its soft, pliable texture makes almond paste easy to roll out, cut into shapes or pipe decoratively. It’s often paired with fruit fillings like raspberry, peach or apricot.

Key Takeaway: Almond paste is a sweet almond-based filling used in pastries, cookies and desserts.

What is Almond Flour?

Almond flour is made from finely ground blanched almonds into a meal with a texture much like traditional all-purpose flour. However, unlike traditional flour, almond flour contains no gluten.

The highest quality almond flours are made from almonds that have had the skins removed. This avoids imparting flecks into lighter colored baked goods. It also produces a finer, smoother texture ideal for gluten-free baking.

Lower quality almond meals retain more of the skins, resulting in a coarser texture and speckled appearance. This type sometimes labeled as almond meal rather than almond flour.

With its naturally mildly sweet, nutty flavor, almond flour works beautifully in:

  • Gluten free baked goods
  • Paleo recipes
  • Quick breads and scones
  • Cookies
  • Pancakes and muffins

It produces baked goods with a tender, moist texture while avoiding gluten. However, it does not provide the structure of traditional flour so often works best combined with other gluten-free flours.

Key Takeaway: Almond flour is a gluten-free flour substitute with a mildly sweet almond flavor, ideal for gluten-free and paleo baking when combined with other flours.

Almond PasteAlmond Flour
Thick, pliable doughFinely ground powder, flourlike
Equal parts almonds & sugar100% ground almonds
Added flavorings like almond extract or oilNo added flavorings
Subtle sweetnessMild natural sweetness
Used as filling or componentUsed for structure like flour

How is Almond Paste Made?

Homemade almond paste simply contains almond flour, powdered sugar, salt, almond extract and egg whites. Optional extras include glucose syrup or a small amount of almond oil.

Making your own lets you control the quality of ingredients for a fresher, better tasting result than store-bought versions.

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Mix together the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt. Break up any clumps.
  2. Add the extract and egg whites then mix again until fully incorporated.
  3. Knead briefly until it forms a smooth, malleable dough.
  4. Wrap tightly in plastic and store chilled until using.

The egg white acts as an emulsifier, binding the dry ingredients together. Adding a little at a time prevents making the paste too wet.

For convenience, you can make almond paste in a food processor. But you can also mix it manually with a spoon or electric mixer then knead by hand.

Key Takeaway: Homemade almond paste contains just a handful of ingredients and takes only a few minutes to prepare.

How is Almond Flour Made?

Producing almond flour or almond meal simply involves grinding whole, blanched almonds into a fine powder.

There are a few easy methods to make your own at home:

  • Food processor - Blend 1-2 cups whole almonds until powdery, being careful not to overprocess into almond butter.
  • Blender - Combine almonds and 1-2 tbsp flour or starch to prevent clumping then blend into a flour.
  • Coffee grinder - Grind small batches at a time by pulsing then sifting to ensure a fine, uniform grind.

You can create meals or flours from unblanched or blanched almonds. Blanched almonds create finer, paler flours but any will work.

Just take care not to overprocess or the oils will release and clump together into almond butter.

Key Takeaway: Almond flour consists of finely ground blanched almonds. You can easily make your own using a food processor, blender or coffee grinder.

Almond Paste Substitutes

You have a few convenient options if you need an almond paste substitute:

  • Marzipan - Very similar but contains more sugar and almond oil for a sweeter taste and smoother texture. Use in the same way as almond paste.
  • Almond butter - For fillings rather than baking, sub equal amounts of almond butter creamed with powdered sugar to reach the sweetness you need.
  • Ground almonds - Replace almond paste with finely ground almonds combined with enough milk and sugar to form a thick paste. Best for cookies.
  • Extras - Boost ground almonds by also adding extract, a little flour and vanilla pudding mix if you have it. This creates a closer match to almond paste.

In a pinch, almond paste can sometimes be skipped from recipes, particularly if it is more of an accent ingredient rather than the main component.

Almond Flour Substitutes

Finding a sub for almond flour depends on whether you need structure or flavor. Some easy alternatives include:

  • Blanched almond meal - Very similar to almond flour in flavor and texture but slightly coarser grind with occasional flecks of skin.
  • Coconut flour - Equally light and pale but with extra fiber and a faint coconut aroma. Absorbs more moisture so adjust wet ingredients.
  • Other nut flours - For flavor rather than structure, try finely ground hazelnut, pecan or walnut meals, or cashew flour. Boost with starch.
  • Gluten-free flour mixes - Combine several flours like brown rice flour, tapioca and potato starch to mimic gluten. May affect texture and flavor.

Leaving almond flour out isn’t recommended since it provides important moisture, richness and binding.

Which is Better for Baking?

So should you choose almond paste or almond flour for your baking projects?

Almond paste shines when you need a thick, spreadable filling with concentrated almond taste. Its high moisture content makes an exceptionally soft, tender crumb too.

Almond flour performs best when you require a direct substitute for regular flour to provide structure and lift to batters and doughs. Its mild almond sweetness enhances flavor.

In most cases they cannot be swapped for one another in recipes. Almond paste cannot provide lift or structure in baking but almond flour lacks the pliability to roll out or shape.

However, they can be used to complement each other in some recipes by pairing almond paste with almond flour in the actual batter or dough. This gives you both background almond flavor along with a bold hit of extra almond taste in each bite.

Storing Almond Paste and Almond Flour

Proper storage preserves freshness and prevents almond paste and almond flour from spoiling prematurely.

Almond paste contains egg so should be refrigerated. An airtight container keeps it from drying out and absorbing other odors. It will last around 2 weeks chilled or 2-3 months frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.

Almond flour has a high oil content so store this in an airtight canister in a cool, dark place away from heat and sunlight. Used this way, almond flour keeps well for up to a year at room temperature or 18 months if chilled.

For maximum freshness and flavor from your almond ingredients, check expiration dates and use within the recommended periods. Proper storage methods help retain quality.


Is almond flour the same as almond meal?

Very similar. Almond flour tends to refer to a finer, more uniform grind from blanched almonds. Almond meal can have a slightly coarser texture and may contain almond skins. But they can generally be used interchangeably.

Can almond flour be substituted for all-purpose flour?

Not directly. Almond flour contains no gluten so cannot replicate the binding, elastic structure that all-purpose flour provides. For best results in baked goods, use almond flour combined with binding agents like xanthan gum.

What’s the difference between almond paste and marzipan?

Almond paste uses equal parts almonds and sugar for a soft dough-like paste. Marzipan instead has a higher sugar ratio, creating a smoother, sweeter result that can be molded into decorative shapes.

Is store-bought almond paste as good homemade?

Homemade lets you control the quality of the ingredients, often resulting in superior flavor and freshness compared to packaged almond paste containing preservatives and additives. But commercial versions can save time.

Can almond paste be made without egg whites?

Technically yes, but the eggs provide moisture and act as a binder, helping hold the mixture together. Replacing eggs with milk, cream or simple syrup changes the consistency significantly but can work in some recipes.


Understanding exactly what almond paste and almond flour are, how to use them, and when to substitute for one another helps ensure success in your baking.

Choosing almond paste or almond flour depends primarily on whether you need a sweet almond filling, or an almond-flavored flour substitute that can provide structure to recipes. Their different characteristics make them suited for different purposes.

Knowing how to make your own fresh versions gives you control over taste and quality too. Properly stored almond ingredients help preserve freshness as well.

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