Almond meal is one of those staple nut flours I always have on hand. From start to finish, the whole process of making almond meal takes under a minute, and it’s much more cost-effective than buying it at the store. Grinding whole almonds myself also means that the almond meal is guaranteed fresh and packed with the complete nutrition of the original nut. Read on to learn how to make almond meal at home.
What is Almond Meal
Almond meal is ground up raw (unpeeled) almonds into a relatively fine powder.
This definition sounds simple enough, but when you visit a healthy aisle of a grocery store, you'll come across labels such as "almond meal," "almond meal flour," "almond flour," "natural almond flour meal," "ground almonds"... the list goes on and on. And then there is also almond meal from almond pulp. So, what exactly is almond meal, and how does it differ from almond flour and almond pulp?
Almond Meal vs. Almond Flour
Almond meal and almond flour are both made from ground almonds. They are similar enough that you can often use one instead of the other in a pinch, but there are some situations where one will work better than the other. So, what's the difference between almond meal and almond flour?
- Almond meal is made from whole (unpeeled) almonds. It has a mild, nutty flavor, a slightly coarse texture, and a speckled yellowish-brown color. It's typically used for quick breads, loaves, crackers, and cookies. It can also be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs or as a topping on salads, soups, and casseroles.
- Almond flour is made from blanched (peeled) almonds. It has a neutral, mildly sweet flavor, a light, fluffy texture, and a uniform off-white color. It's commonly used in breads, light cakes, pastries, and macaroons.
Here's a chart comparing the nutritional value of almond meal and almond flour:
Almond Meal (100g)
|Almond Flour (100g)|
|Carbohydrates||20 g||20 g|
|Fiber||10 g||6.7 g|
|Sugar||3.33 g||6.67 g|
|Protein||20 g||20 g|
|Fat||53.3 g||53.3 g|
Almond Meal vs Almond Pulp
If you make almond milk regularly, you probably have plenty of leftover almond pulp. You likely dehydrate it and process it into a fine powder to use in recipes. It's a great way to use whole almonds without any waste. However, this almond meal from leftover almond pulp is different from the 'real' almond meal ground from whole raw almonds.
- Almond meal (from whole almonds) contains the same nutrients as whole almonds. Since nothing has been removed in the process of grinding the almonds, almond meal contains quite a bit of fat, making it moist and heavy.
- Almond meal (from almond pulp) has lost most of its fat in the process of making almond milk. As a result, it feels drier, is slightly lighter in weight, and looks darker. So, when using almond meal made from the leftover pulp in recipes that call for traditional almond meal, it's almost always necessary to compensate with additional fat.
Here's a chart comparing the nutritional value of almond meal and almond pulp:
Almond Meal (100g)
|Almond Pulp (100g)|
|Carbohydrates||20 g||12 g|
|Fiber||10 g||7 g|
|Sugar||3.33 g||2.13 g|
|Protein||20 g||13 g|
|Fat||53.3 g||11 g|
Tips for Making Almond Meal
- Almonds: almonds come in different forms - raw, blanched, roasted - and shapes - whole, slivered, sliced, and ground. Whenever possible, use raw whole (unpeeled) almonds. I have made almond meal with raw almonds that have been packaged right after having their shells removed and with almonds that have been activated (soaked and dehydrated). Almonds contain compounds known as 'anti-nutrients', which can make digestion problematic for some people. When almonds are soaked in water for a time, the anti-nutrient compounds get broken down. The soaked nuts are then dried at a low heat to retain the beneficial enzymes. Store-bought, activated almonds are the most expensive option, but they can be done easily at home.
How to Make Almond Meal
Making almond meal couldn't be any easier. All you need is a high-speed blender or a food processor - I use the Vitamix.
How to Make Almond Meal in a Vitamix Blender
If you have a Vitamix dry container, use it! The theory behind the dry container is it helps to grind it more like a grain mill. In the dry container, ingredients are pushed up the sides and away from the blade to prevent material from packing at the bottom of the container. In the wet container, on the other hand, ingredients are pulled down into the blade to help the liquefying process. However, that doesn't mean you can't make flour in a wet container. You just have to be more careful not to overprocess the almonds. Here's how to make almond meal in a Vitamix blender:
- Blend. Add the whole almonds to a high-speed blender. Start the blender on its lowest setting and then gradually increase the speed to the highest. Blend on high until the almonds have broken down into a fine, powdery meal, for 5-10 seconds. If you see any clumps then stir the almonds, and blend again. Don't blend the almonds for too long; they will start clumping up on the sides and turning into almond butter.
How to Make Almond Meal in a Vitamix Food Processor
Making almond meal in a food processor takes a bit longer than in a blender, but there's a smaller chance of overprocessing the almonds. Here's how to make almond meal in a food processor:
- Process. Add the whole almonds to the food processor work bowl fitted with the multi-use blade. Process the almonds until they have broken down into a fine, powdery meal, for about 45 seconds.
How to Store Almond Meal
- Refrigerating: transfer the almond meal into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 months.
- Freezing: transfer the almond meal into an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.
More Vitamix Recipes
- Almond flour: coming soon!
- Almond butter: making almond butter at home is just as quick and easy as making any other nut butter. In fact, it only takes 50 seconds if you have a Vitamix blender. The final result is smooth, creamy, and absolutely delicious almond butter.
- Almond milk: store-bought almond milk is undeniably convenient. It’s also cheaper than anything you can make at home. So, why make your own? Homemade almond milk contains up to 20% almonds, making it creamy and thick even without additives. It also has a beautiful bright white color incomparable to the store-bought variety.
How to Make Almond Meal
- 1 ½ cups almonds
- Blend. Add the almonds to a high-speed blender. Start the blender on its lowest setting and then gradually increase the speed to the highest. Blend on high until the almonds have broken down into a fine, powdery meal, for 5-10 seconds. If you see any clumps then stir the almonds, and blend again. Don't blend the almonds for too long; they will start clumping up on the sides and turning into almond butter.
- Store. Leftover almond meal keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. For longer-term storage, freeze for up to 6 months.