What Is Almond Flour and Why It's Great For The Keto Diet?
Whether you're a member of the keto club or you just like experimenting with healthy, flavorful ingredients, almond flour could be just the thing for you. It's got a host of solid nutritional benefits and should be a super versatile (and delicious!) staple in your kitchen.
Almond flour might seem like a popular, new flour substitute, but it's been used in cooking and baking for generations. Have you ever tried macaroons or marzipan? These classic sweet treats are created with the addition of almond flour!
Almond flour is made by grinding blanched sweet almonds - resulting in a hearty and nutty flour substitute that can be added to both sweet and savory dishes across the board. There are various consistencies available on the market so be sure to double check your recipe and use the right product.
Almond Flour vs. Almond Meal
For the most part, almond flour is made by first blanching the almonds - a process where the almonds are quickly boiled and cooled, allowing for the skins to be easily removed. The skinless almonds are then ground finely like regular flour, and the resulting almond flour is often used for lighter and fluffier cakes and cookies.
Almond meal on the other hand is made from either blanched almonds or whole, skin-on nuts, and is generally more coarsely ground. The finished product resembles corn meal more than all purpose flour, so use it accordingly for thickening soups and sauces, or for more dense flapjacks or muffins.
Fun fact: Almond meal is sometimes referred to as "ground almonds" and indicates that it was ground with the skins left on.
Almond Flour Basics: Taste, Texture & Consistency
Sure, a trendy new flour substitute sounds ideal and convenient….but how does it actually taste, and how does it feel to chew it? Luckily its taste is one of the best things about almond flour! Expect a sweet and nutty flavor that enhances most baked goods.
The texture of almond flour depends on the consistency of the grind, but it can range from light and fluffy to a more crackly and crunchy product. Overall it is entirely pleasant and improves the consistency of your batter or sauce. It also lends itself nicely to pie and pastry fillings if you are looking for a hearty addition in that arena.
Health Benefits Of Almond Flour And Why It's So Popular On The Keto Diet
The bottom-line benefit of almond flour is undoubtedly its low carb and sugar content, making it ideal for satisfying your carbohydrate cravings without sacrificing all your hard keto work and progress. Almond flour is quite simply better than basic flour for regulating your blood sugar due to its low glycemic index.
Besides these basics, almond flour really packs a punch in terms of other overall health benefits. It's high in protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats. Imagine eating a filling and nutritious baked good knowing that you are getting your protein in spades - along with a bonus dose of fiber and Omega-3's! Score! Almond flour really is a special food and is ideal for an overall successful keto lifestyle.
Storing Almond Flour
Storing almond flour is easy and straightforward. It will last the longest if kept in an airtight, covered storage container such as a glass jar or crock.
If you buy it in a bag, transfer it into something that seals more tightly before tucking it away. While almond flour will certainly keep on a cool, dark pantry shelf, it's preferable to store it in your refrigerator if you have the space. Think "cool and dry" to maximise its shelf life!
Using Almond Flour In Recipes
Almond flour, with its smooth, fine consistency, is a wonderful addition to so many recipes. Of course it's classically used in baked goods and treats, but it can really add a unique, nutty flavor to numerous savory dishes as well.
There are all sorts of ways to experiment with almond flour, such as:
Cookies - Use almond flour-specific cookierecipes or sub in for all purpose flour using a 1:1 ratio.
Cakes - A lighter almond flour can be used in the cake batter with delicious results, or you can use it in the icing to create a marzipan effect and take your cake to the next level.
Sweet Fillings - A sweet and simple addition to pie and pastry fillings can be made with a generous helping of almond meal. Who knew a decadent filling could be so healthy?
Sauces and Soups - Try thickening up sauces, soups and stews with a simple roux of butter/oil and almond flour. Whisk them together lightly over a low heat and add this roux into your stocks for both a pleasant texture and a hearty flavor blast!
Smoothies - Adding a spoonful of raw almond flour or meal is a great way to sneak some extra fiber and protein into your daily smoothie.
Breads - Almond flour and meal are delightful subs for other flours when baking bread at home. Check out our FAQ section to learn more about this substitution.
Almond Flour Nutritional Information (per 1/4 cup serving)
7 grams of protein
5 grams carbohydrates (net carbs)
7 grams fat
11 grams fibre
FAQs - Everything Else You Need To Know About Keto's Favorite Flour Substitute
Can almond flour go bad?
Almond flour, like all perishable foods, has a limited shelf life. When you crack open the skins and grind almonds, the oxidation rate of the flour or meal increases -- so you'll need to be mindful of how you store it.
Most almond flours will have a "Best By" date clearly indicated so be sure to use that as a guideline. A general rule of thumb is that you should use the flour within 4-6 months of purchasing it, which will be easy to do since it is such a delicious and versatile flour!
Can you substitute almond flour for all purpose flour?
The short answer is "Yes, absolutely!" Most people who are getting into the keto diet start by subbing in a little almond flour for regular flour due to its rich and nutty taste and lower carb profile. While there are tons of awesome recipes that were specifically developed with almond flour in mind, it's nice to be able to get creative in the kitchen with your trusty, go-to recipes.
The basic almond flour to all purpose flour ratio is a 1:1 substitution, and for most recipes this will work out great! However, keep in mind that almond flour is a little more moist than your basic all purpose flour and might not bind as well with wet ingredients. If the consistency is off or seems too runny, try adding in more almond flour a spoonful at a time to thicken up your batter prior to baking.
Does almond flour take longer to bake than regular flour?
Almond flour tends to brown up a bit quicker than regular flour, so you'll need to keep your eyes on the oven as you are baking. The last things you want for your cookies or muffins are burned, crunchy tops with underdone insides. No, thank you!
A simple fix is to use aluminum foil as a "tent" over your precious cakes and macaroons. Crimp a foil cover on the pan before you slide it into the oven, or monitor the baking process and add the cover midway through. Voila! Problem solved.
Does almond flour raise blood sugar?
No, it does not. Almond flour has a relatively low glycemic index compared to regular and wheat flour and will not cause a blood sugar spike. Almond flour has fewer sugars and carbohydrates overall making it an ideal ingredient or flour substitute for diabetics and keto folks alike.
Is Almond flour Gluten-Free?
Yes, almond flour is a great substitute for wheat in gluten-free baking and cooking.