People are increasingly searching for alternatives to traditional wheat flour.
This could be down to a wider understanding of food intolerances, a desire to eat fewer carbs or a result of home cooks seeking to increase the nutritional value of bakes.
As a result, almond flour is firmly in the spotlight as a ‘healthy’ flour alternative.
But you probably have some questions.
For example, is almond flour healthier than regular flour? How do you bake with almond flour? Does almond flour have sugar?
We have all the answers.
What is almond flour?
Almond flour is a fine powder made from ground almond nuts.
It’s often used to replace wheat flour in baking, cooking and sauces to make a dish gluten-free.
Almond flour is more nutrient-dense than regular wheat flour and contains more fibre and protein than most common flours.
What are the different types of almond flour?
Here we'll explain the different types of almond flour, how they're made and how they can be used.1
This is the most common type of almond flour.
It’s made by blanching (boiling) the almonds to remove their reddish-brown skins prior to being ground. As a result, the flour is pale ivory in colour.
Blanched almond flour is sometimes labelled as almond powder, or ground almonds.
Unblanched almond flour is made from whole almond kernels with the skin still on. Therefore, the reddish-brown pulp of the skin is included, making for a coarser blend with more fibre.
Almond meal is the same as unblanched almond flour. It basically means that the almond kernels still had their skins on when they were finely ground.
Again, almond meal is coarser than blanched almond flour and may be more suitable for robust bakes.
How healthy is almond flour?
Almond flour is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals which make it a healthy addition to the diet.
As almond flour is made with 100% blanched almonds, it contains all the goodness of this super nut including:
Almonds themselves are rich in vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant which can help minimise disease-causing oxidative damage to cells.2
100g almond flour contains a whopping 23.9mg of vitamin E – 159% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin E.3
Magnesium helps us convert food into energy, as well as being important for bone health.4
Almond flour has plenty, with 279.0mg per 100g. That’s 66% of your daily value. 5
Higher in fibre than most other flours, almond flour boasts 14g fibre per 100g, more than brown rice flour, whole wheat flour and buckwheat flour.6
Fibre is important for healthy digestion and gut health.
With 2.2mg per 100g (97% of your recommended daily amount), almond flour has lots of this trace mineral.7
Manganese is important for energy as well as bone and connective tissue health.8
A vital mineral for all stages of life, calcium is needed for strong bones, blood flow and muscle contraction. 100g almond flour provides 271mg calcium.9,10
Needed for cell communication and a healthy heart, potassium is found at high levels in almond flour with around 736mg per 100g – 16% of your recommended daily amount. 11
Lower in carbohydrates than other flours, almond flour is a great alternative to wheat flour for those looking to follow a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.
With just over a quarter of the carbohydrate content of wheat flour, almond flour has 21g carbohydrates per 100g.12
Almond flour – like almonds themselves – is a rich source of unsaturated fat with 50g unsaturated fat per 100g. This type of fat is known to have heart-protecting benefits. 13
With more protein than other flours, almond flour is the clear choice if you’re trying to increase your intake of vegetarian protein.
Almond has 21g protein per 100g, which means your cakes, bread and other bakes will be far higher in protein than if you used regular flour, or even other gluten-free flour types (excluding coconut).14
Blood sugar benefits
Almond flour is also a good choice for balancing blood sugar.
Wheat flour, like all simple carbohydrates, has a high glycaemic index (GI) and is rapidly converted to glucose in the body. This elevates the levels of glucose in the blood – also known as our blood sugar.
Blood sugar levels that are consistently too high can lead to health problems over time.15
Unlike wheat flour, almond flour is a low glycaemic index (GI) food meaning it is converted to glucose more slowly in the body. This means it won’t cause an elevation in the blood glucose, minimising harmful spikes.16
Foods made with wheat flour, such as cakes, cookies and breads can be made better for our blood sugar by switching their usual wheat flour for almond flour.
Are there any downsides to almond flour?
Almond flour isn’t suitable for anyone with an allergy to almonds.
Further, almond flour is higher in both calories and fat than other flours. Although the fat in almond flour is primarily the unsaturated ‘good’ type which can help protect heart health, eating too much almond flour will still lead to weight gain and the associated risks.
- Almond flour is a fine powder made from ground almond nuts
- Almond flour contains more nutrients than wheat flour
- It contains fibre, protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese, potassium and comples carbs
How healthy is almond flour compared to other flours?
Almond flour has a host of health benefits, but how does it measure up against other popular flours?17,18,19
|Flour (100g)||Calories||Fat||Saturated Fat||Carbs||Sugar||Fibre||Protein||Iron|
|Whole grain wheat||340kcal||2.5g||0.4g||72g||0.4g||11g||13g||3.6mg|
10 uses of almond flour
- Almond flour cookies
- Almond flour pastry
- Almond flour bread
- Almond flour cake
- Almond flour brownies
- Almond flour sauces
- Almond flour curry
- Almond flour pasta
- Almond flour smoothie
- Almond flour flatbread
Almond flour FAQs
Does almond flour taste different than regular flour?
Food made with almond flour tends to have a nuttier taste and thicker texture to foods made with wheat flour.
Almond flour has also been described as sweeter, creamier tasting than regular flour. Don’t worry though, using almond flour doesn’t make your food taste overwhelmingly of nuts.
Can I use almond flour instead of regular flour?
Yes. However, you will need to bear some things in mind when it comes to the way almond flour affects certain dishes.
You can’t simply switch wheat flour for almond flour like-for-like in a baking recipe, for instance, as it doesn’t offer the same texture as wheat flour.
How does almond flour affect baking?
Almond flour makes bakes slightly denser and heavier than those made with wheat flour. This is due to the absence of gluten – the sticky substance responsible for that stretchy, pliable dough we see in traditional breadmaking.
When combined with yeast and baked, gluten forms tiny carbon monoxide pockets, which inflate under heat, offering structure and springiness, which almond flour bakes can lack.20 It’s not just almond flour, either – many gluten-free flours pose this dilemma.
To make almond flour bread, you will need to add yeast to ensure it rises. Some people find that using a blend of non-wheat flours helps the bread rise rather than using almond alone. Find out more about baking with gluten free flour here.
Is almond flour good for weight loss?
Almond flour contains fibre and protein, both which can support weight loss by helping us feel full for longer.21 It’s higher in calories than wheat flour, though, so don’t go overboard.
Where to buy almond flour?
Almond flour can be found in some large supermarkets, as well as online. Shop Almond Flour.
- You can use almond flour in any recipe which requires wheat flour, although ratios might need to change as almond flour is denser and doesn’t rise
- Almond flour is healthy and can be used as part of a weight loss diet
Almond flour recipe
Looking for an almond flour recipe? Here's three! Our in-house Nutritionist Alexander Thompson brings you 3 unique almond flour recipes.
This curry is popular in Northern India, and uses ground almond powder to make it deliciously thick, rich and creamy.
For the marinade:
- Approximately 600g of Quorn fillets or pieces
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 6 peppercorns
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp yoghurt or alternative
- 1 tbsp gram flour
For the sauce:
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 green cardamom pods
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3cm piece fresh ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, blended to a purée
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp almond flour
- Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- 6 peppercorns
- Add the coriander seeds and peppercorns to a pestle and mortar and crush, then transfer to large bowl.
- Add turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, salt and the yoghurt, and fully combine. Add the Quorn, mix well and leave for 30 minutes.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy pan, add the cinnamon stick and cardamoms, stir until fragrant then add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic, stir and cook for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring now and again to make sure nothing browns or burns.
- Add the tomato purée and stir through. Leave to cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add a little water to 3tbsp of the almond flour to make an almond paste, add this to the sauce and stir. Let this thicken for a few minutes.
- Then add the marinated Quorn and leave it to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick just add a little hot water – you should end up with a thick, creamy sauce.
- To finish sprinkle with some fresh coriander and then serve.
Almond Flour Cake
This almond flour cake is wonderfully simple, and is sure to go down a treat.
Almond Flour Cake
- ½ tbsp of coconut oil
- 4 large eggs or 4 teaspoons of Ogran No Egg Repacer
- 70g of Total Sweet Xylitol
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 200g almond flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C. Generously grease an 8-inch non-stick cake pan with the coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs (if using). Then gradually combine the eggs or Ogran egg replacer with the xylitol, vanilla, almond flour, salt and baking soda.
- Use a spatula to transfer the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until fragrant and set and a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. This should take about 25 minutes.
- Cool the cake, in the pan on a cooling rack, for 10 minutes. Then invert it onto the cooling rack and cool for 20 more minutes before slicing and serving.
Strawberry, Banana and Almond Smoothie
Try this delicious fruit and almond smoothie as a nourishing breakfast to start your day.
Strawberry, Banana and Almond Smoothie
- 1 small ripe banana
- 7 strawberries- fresh or frozen
- 3 tbsp yoghurt or soya yoghurt alternative
- 3 tbsp milk or dairy alternative (e.g. soya milk)
- 2 tbsp almond flour
- Slice the banana into the bowl of a food processor, or a jug if using a hand blender.
- Add the strawberries, yogurt, milk and ground almonds, and blitz until completely smooth.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Last updated: 12 April 2021