Food & Drink

Almond Flour Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Published on December 22, 2023 | 0 Comments
almond flour in a white bowl surrounded by whole almonds

Looking for some great almond flour substitutes? Popular in gluten-free cooking as an alternative to wheat flour, almond flour has found its way into modern kitchens in the past two decades with even more frequency. While it's easier to find almond flour in supermarkets than years ago, you can still find yourself in a pinch when you find it missing from the shelves or your pantry.

Here, you'll find a handful of different options, some more common, some less. With such a wide range, it's easy to find a perfect almond flour substitute for a variety of uses and dietary needs. From use in delicate pastries to rich baked goods and decadent battered fried foods, one of these almond flour alternatives will be a perfect fit for your recipe.


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What Is Almond Flour?

Almond flour is a powder created from blanched peeled almonds, which are then ground and sifted to a fine texture. It is often used as a gluten-free, low-carb alternative to more commonly used grain flours. Almond flour is more nutrient-dense with protein and fiber than grain-based flours, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin E. 

Almond flour's history in Europe started with a cookie. While the cultivation of almonds as a crop had begun centuries before in the Middle Eastern region, the flour made from the nut first caught the attention of Europeans via a Middle Eastern cookie called maccherone, which would eventually evolve into what we know as macaroons.

While initially associated with decadent almond-infused pastries, the flour began to be used more as a replacement for grain flours throughout the world in the late 20th century due to its low-carb and gluten-free properties. 

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Purpose of Almond Flour in Cooking and Baking

Almond flour is often used in creating pastries and confectionery items like macarons, marzipan and cake or pie fillings. It is also used to create almond paste, a popular pastry ingredient. When using almond flour in place of wheat flour, results for baking and cooking are often denser and more moisture-rich, making it great for recipes like brownies, cakes and cookies. Its nutty and distinct almond flavor makes it ideal for desserts and sweets, yet it might not suit recipes that demand a neutral taste profile.

Because it is denser and absorbs less oil, it's often a popular alternative for gluten-free crispy batter fried chicken or seafood. When baked, it adds a buttery, crumbly texture to items. Though it is low-carb and gluten-free, almonds are a nut, so almond flour can present an issue for those with allergies. It is also more calorie-dense than other varieties of flour. 

While usually useful in a 1:1 ratio to other more commonly used flours, its science is not exact and may require some experimentation to get the best results.

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Almond Flour Substitutes

 1. Wheat Flour

The most commonly used flour when it comes to baking, frying and other uses, this grain flour is made from ground wheat kernels. You can usually substitute wheat flour for almond flour in a 1:1 ratio. While not gluten-free and lacking the nutty flavor of almond flour or almond meal, it makes a perfect almond flour substitute when cooking or baking if these are not considerations. The end results will be less moist, however, than almond flour, so you may need to add more wet ingredients like water, eggs or milk to make up the difference. 

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 2. Oat Flour

Made of ground oats, this grain flour has a mild and slightly sweet flavor that rivals that of almonds, making it a great almond flour substitute in a 1:1 ratio. While gluten-free, it is slightly heavier and denser, so best results can often be achieved, especially in baking, by mixing oat flour with other varieties of flour below.

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3. Sunflower Seed Flour

A seed flower, this almond flour replacement is gluten-free and high in nutrients. As a seed, it is also good for those with nut allergies. It’s made from finely ground sunflower seeds and has a mild and nutty flavor. It is coarser than other flours, so may need to be sifted for best results. It has a tendency to turn green from the chlorophyll when heated, but this can be remedied by adding a teaspoon of cream of tartar. Use in a 1:1 substitution.  

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4. Flaxseed Flour

Often used as a gluten-free and vegan alternative to grain flours, this flour is made from ground flaxseeds, so it is rich in fiber and amino acids. It is very dense, so use half as much flaxseed flour as you would almond flour. Additionally, it has a tendency to spoil when left unrefrigerated, a factor worth noting when using as an almond flour substitute. Flaxseed flour is also a great vegan alternative for eggs in many recipes.

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5. Coconut Flour

This flour is made from dried coconut meat, making it a great almond flour replacement with a sweet flavor. Coconut flour does come from a nut so should be avoided for those with allergies. It often works well in combination with other flours. Use in a 1:1 ratio, but keep in mind coconut flour is more absorbent and may require an adjustment in liquid ingredients. It will also grant a coconut flavor to recipes, so it makes a great alternative to almond flour for desserts where coconut is already an element.

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6. Cashew Flour

Created from ground cashews, this almond flour substitute has a slightly sweet and buttery flavor. Cashew flour is rich in protein and healthy fats. It boasts a taste slightly different from almond flour, but one that may suit baked goods like cookies, cakes, brownies and pancakes as a substitution for almond flour in baking. 

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7. Pecan Flour

Created from ground pecans, this nut flour has an intense, rich pecan flavor, making it great for baked goods. It serves as a reliable almond flour substitute when used in a 1:1 ratio. However, keep in mind it does have a denser texture and higher fat content compared to almond flour. 

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8. Macadamia Flour

This flour, often considered an excellent almond flour substitute, is made from ground macadamia nuts and boasts a flavor profile very similar to almond flour and other nut-based flours. However, it can be harder to find and more expensive than other nut-derived flours. It's recommended to use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute.

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9. Hazelnut Flour

This flour made from ground hazelnuts bears its signature flavor and works well as a substitute for almond flour, particularly complementing chocolate and fruit recipes. Use in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for almond flour in baking.

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10. Chickpea Flour

Made from ground chickpeas, this almond flour replacement is excellent as a legume-based flour for vegan, gluten-free and nut-free recipes. It is especially great for hearty, structural foods like breads and muffins. It will, however, absorb more liquid ingredients during mixing, so adjust accordingly when using as an almond flour substitute.

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11. Banana Flour

Made from dried and ground green bananas, this distinctive flour is a high-starch, gluten-free almond flour substitute. This flour is used in many cuisines around the world, especially in regions where plantains are a dietary staple. It is particularly great in baked goods to confer a slightly sweet and banana-rich flavor to recipes. It does absorb more liquids, so adjust liquid ingredients accordingly. Use ½ cup of banana flour to the almond flour.

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12. Tapioca Starch

This flour, derived from the cassava root, serves as a versatile almond flour substitute. It is often used as a thickening agent for gravies, sauces and soups. Tapioca starch also helps to create crispy baked goods when combined with other flours. To replace almond flour, use it in a 1:1 ratio combined with another flour variety such as wheat or oat flour.

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13. Almond Meal

While almond flour is created from peeled almonds, almond meal is a coarser variety made from unshelled ground almonds, creating a coarser, denser flour. Since the source and flavor is the same, it makes a perfect replacement for almond flour. While not ideal for more delicate uses like flaky pastries, its higher fat content makes it great for pie crusts, cookies and other baked treats. Use in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for almond flour.

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14. Gluten-Free Flour

This premade blend of multiple gluten-free flowers can be a great substitute for almond flour. It typically mixes rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch, with different brands containing different ratios. Use in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for almond flour. 

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15. Make Your Own Almond Flour

Making your own flour from almonds at home may be easier than you think. You just need a high-powered blender or food processor and raw, blanched almonds.

To blanch almonds, add them to a pot of boiling water for around 60 seconds. Dry and remove the skins. Add a cup of dry almonds to the machine until they reach a flour-like texture and consistency, then sift through a mesh strainer to remove any larger pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Making your own can be a great lower-cost alternative to purchasing almond flour at a grocery store and a great almond flour substitute if you buy almonds in bulk.

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Whether you are creating flaky pastries, delicious macarons or looking for a low-carb way to create a crispy deep-fried batter, almond flour has an abundance of uses. If you find it missing from your pantry, the above flours can stand-in for this popular ingredient with great results. 

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