Almond flour has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is now one of the most common types of flours, and many recipes call for almond flour instead of all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
Almond flour makes an excellent substitute for all-purpose flour in many recipes. Whether you are gluten-free, follow a paleo or keto diet, or are looking for a healthier alternative, almond flour is a great option.
When Almond Flour Be Used in Place of All-Purpose Flour
When substituting flour, it is important to consider a few questions:
- How can almond flour be used?
- Does almond flour rise like regular flour?
- Can it be substituted in a 1 to 1 ratio?
- Do any ingredients need to be added or removed from recipes when cooking and baking with almond flour?
Let’s dive into a complete guide to almond flour and take a look.
What is Almond Flour?
It is a flour made from ground almonds. Almond flour is also known as almond meal and almond powder.
As far as texture goes, almond flour is not as fine as all-purpose flour. It adds density to your sauces and baked goods. This leads to a different texture in cakes and breads.
Almond flour has a mild nutty flavor. It does not have a neutral flavor like all-purpose flour, but the almond flavor is not overwhelming. Try using it in recipes calling for almond flour specifically before substituting it for all-purpose flour in a favorite recipe.
Almond Flour vs Almond Meal
When looking for almond flour at the grocery store, it is important to know the difference between almond flour and almond meal.
Almond flour is made with blanched almonds that have the skins removed. It is finely ground and is an off-white color.
Alternatively, almond meal is made from ground almonds that have been dried, often after being used for almond milk. These almonds are ground into a texture with a similar consistency to cornmeal. Since the skins remain on the almonds, it has a darker color and a coarser texture.
Almond meal can serve as a gluten-free substitute for breadcrumbs. It can also be ground into almond butter. To make almond meal, just blend whole almonds in a food processor or blender until you reach the consistency of a fine powder.
Almond flour is often used to make French macarons. It can be found at many grocery stores, or you can make it at home.
To make almond flour, you will need blanched almonds, which are almonds without the skin. To remove the skin, soak almonds in cold water overnight and drain them the next day. Squeeze the almonds so their skins pop off and dry them overnight on a baking tray.
Storing Almond Flour
Almond flour does not last as long as regular flour. The oils in this nut flour can oxidize or go rancid. It is important to store it properly. It should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark environment.
Sealed packages of almond flour can be stored in the fridge for six months and in the freezer for up to a year. Bring the flour back to room temperature before using it in a recipe.
Fresh almond flour has a sweet nutty aroma. Almond flour that has gone bad will smell off and have a bitter taste. Smell it before using it to make sure it hasn’t gone rancid.
When used in recipes, almond flour increases the shelf life of baked goods. It keeps your baked goods moist longer because of its high fat content.
Reasons to Use Almond Flour as a Replacement for Regular Flour
Many people are looking for alternatives to all-purpose flour for a variety of reasons. People who have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease need wheat-free alternatives. Almond flour is a viable option for those on a gluten-free diet along with oat flour.
Nut flours such as almond flour are also used by those looking for a healthier, less processed option when compared to traditional flour. It has a low carb content that is ideal for people with diabetes. Since it does not contain grain, it has a low glycemic index and does not spike blood sugar like white or whole grain flours.
Almond flour is more nutrient dense than all-purpose flour and is high in fiber, protein, and minerals. This flour is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fats. These may help lower cholesterol.
With its high fat and low carb content, almond flour is a great choice for those who follow a keto or low-carb diet. It is also popular among vegans and those who follow a paleo diet because it is grain free like coconut flour, cassava flour, cashew flour, and buckwheat flour.
Substituting Almond Flour for All-Purpose Flour
Because of its high fat content and lack of gluten, almond flour cannot be substituted for all-purpose flour in a 1 to 1 ratio. If swapping almond flour for all-purpose flour in a recipe, try using a smaller amount of almond flour. Use ¾ of flour for every cup of all-purpose flour and add a binding agent. Using a binding agent is especially important when using almond flour in baked goods, and is discussed below.
If gluten is not a concern, you can also use a combination of almond flour and all-purpose flour. In recipes containing yeast, replace ⅓ cup of the regular flour for almond flour. In recipes without yeast, replace ¼ cup of the all-purpose flour with almond flour.
Using a combination of almond flour and all-purpose flour keeps the texture of recipes relatively the same because it retains the gluten, which is the binding agent. This is a great way to approach pasta, pizza dough, and bread recipes.
One way to make sure you replace almond flour for all-purpose flour appropriately is to do so by weight. 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs approximately 4.2 ounces whereas 1 cup of almond flour weighs 3.9 ounces.
It is important not to pack almond flour when measuring it. Using too much almond flour makes baked goods overly dense. Scoop almond flour and use a knife to sweep the excess off the top so that it fits loosely in the measuring cup.
Almond Flour Uses
Almond flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour in many favorite recipes. This nut based flour has many uses in desserts, entrees, and sides. Its most common uses are in baking, meats, as breading, and as a thickening agent.
Almond flour can be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes, including breads, pizza crust, pasta, pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, and cobblers. There are a number of things to keep in mind when baking with almond flour. Its texture and consistency impact how it reacts when baked and modifications may need to be made.
Almond flour does not contain gluten, which acts as a binding agent in regular flour. Almond flour can crumble in baked goods and will need a binding agent to act as glue.
A common binding agent is eggs, however applesauce, aquafaba, or another binding agent can be used instead. Other not-so-common binding agents include xanthan gum or psyllium husk.
Almond flour is more moist than all-purpose flour. This leads to more tender baked goods. Make sure to check for clumps of flour when mixing. You may need to reduce the amount of liquid used in your recipe.
Because almond flour has a low carb and high fat content, it can burn easily, so do not increase the baking time to offset the extra moisture. When replacing all-purpose flour with almond flour in your favorite recipes, bake at a lower heat. If converting a recipe that originally uses regular flour, lower the temperature by 25 degrees and reduce the cooking time by a quarter.
Almond flour does not rise as much as regular flour when it bakes. The gluten in all-purpose flour helps dough rise by allowing the dough to stretch and trap air as it bakes.
The density of almond flour also prevents it from rising. You can add extra egg whites or baking soda in order to make fluffy cakes or breads.
Because baked goods made with almond flour are more moist, they can fall apart after baking. Let cookies, muffins, and breads cool completely in their pan or baking sheet before removing them. This allows them to firm up so that they hold their structure after they cool.
Breading and Binding
Almond flour can be used to coat fish or make crispy chicken tenders. It can be used in place of breadcrumbs or all-purpose flour. Use almond meal for a crunchier coating.
When adding breading to food, coat meat or vegetables with almond flour before baking or frying. This can be done by using dry flour or a mixture of almond flour and egg.
Substitute almond flour in recipes that call for all-purpose flour, such as meatballs or meatloaf. It makes a great low-carb or keto substitute for breadcrumbs in both of these meals.
Create a crispy exterior on meats like pork chops by dredging them in almond flour before cooking.
Just like regular flour, almond flour can be used as a thickening agent in puddings and sauces. Some sauces are traditionally thickened with nuts, including pesto and mole sauce.
To thicken liquids, whisk almond flour into liquids with a fork or wire whisk. Heat the sauce and keep adding almond flour in small amounts as you stir, until you reach the desired consistency.
Keep in mind that almond flour will give sauces a heavy and gritty texture. Since it has a distinctive flavor, choose a food that the sauce will pair nicely with, like chicken.
When looking for a healthy flour alternative, almond flour is a great option. This gluten-free substitute has a higher nutritional content than all-purpose flour. It can be used as a replacement in many of your favorite recipes. When used correctly, it leads to light and fluffy baked goods.