Gluten-Free and Low-Carb Cooking With Almond Flour or Meal

almond meal
This fresh-ground almond flour is made from almonds that have the skins removed. Andrew Bret Wallis/Photodisc/Getty Images

Almond flour and almond meal are both made by grinding almonds. You can buy them commercially prepared or make them yourself at home with a food processor or grinder. They are a gluten-free alternative to wheat products in some recipes.

Almond flour is most often made with blanched almonds (no skin), whereas almond meal can be made either with whole or blanched almonds.

In either case, the consistency is more like corn meal than wheat flour. They can usually be used interchangeably, although using flour from blanched almonds will produce a more refined, less grainy result. Super-fine almond meal is more uncommon, but you may be able to find it.

Carbs and Calories

One half cup of commercially-prepared almond flour contains about 12 grams of total carbohydrate, 6 grams of which are fiber, for a net carb count of 6 grams of carbohydrate. A half cup also contains 12 grams of protein, 28 grams of fat, and 320 calories.


Almond flour is good in making gluten-free "quick-bread" type recipes. You can use it to make gluten-free muffins, loafs such as pumpkin bread, pancakes, and even some cakes. Cookies are another favorite that can be made gluten-free with almond meal.

Almond meal not good for foods such as bread that require a true dough as you can't knead it.

More eggs are required when baking with almond meal to provide more structure since this would be provided by the gluten in wheat flour. You can produce almond meal biscuits by careful attention to the recipe.

Almond meal can also be used in breading fish and other fried foods, but care must be taken not to burn it.

Almond meal can be cooked as polenta or grits to serve for breakfast or as part of the main meal, such as shrimp and grits. Almond flour is beneficial for adding nutrients to foods. Almonds, in general, are more nutrient-dense than grains.

Making Your Own Almond Flour

You can make it in a blender or food processor. You must take care not to grind it for too long, or you will have almond butter. Use fairly small amounts, and pulse until it is ground into meal. Store any that you don't use immediately in the refrigerator or freezer as it will go rancid quickly if left out. Because almonds are shelf-stable, it makes sense to only grind what you need for recipes for the next couple of days unless you want to freeze batches of almond meal.

Where to Find Almond Flour and Almond Meal

Most health food stores sell almond flour, and more traditional supermarkets are stocking it as more people look for gluten-free products. Trader Joe's often has good prices for almond meal that includes the skin. Check the bulk prices for almonds compared to almond meal and decide whether it wouldn't be more economical to grind you own.


USDA Branded Foods Database. U.S. Department of Agriculture.