While I love baking with almond meal, it can be expensive and hard to find. So here the best simple almond meal substitutes.
What is almond meal?
It’s just finely ground almonds. The texture resembles really fine breadcrumbs. In some places it’s also called almond ‘flour’.
It can be made from blanched almonds with the skins removed. Which is the best option if you’re following a low-lectin diet.
‘Natural’ almond meal is made from almonds with the skins still on so has a speckled appearance and slightly higher fiber content.
The Best Simple Almond Meal Substitutes
1. Grind your own
If you have a decent food processor, it’s easy to make your own almond meal / almond flour from whole almonds.
Depending on how powerful your machine is the texture may be slightly more grainy than commercial almond meal. But in most cases it won’t be a problem (and may even be nicer).
2. Ground Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are similar to almond meal nutritionally in that they’re gluten-free and low carb but have the added advantage of being nut-free so OK for school lunchboxes.
Plus they’re significantly less expensive than nuts!
The flavour is a little more ‘seedy’ or healthy than almond meal but in most baked goods you won’t notice.
For some reason sunflower meal tends to be higher moisture than almond meal, so prepared for an increase in cooking time.
I use a coffee grinder to grind my sunflower seeds freshly. But a food processor will work.
3. Other ground nuts
The second most common nut meal is hazelnut. I’ve also purchased walnut meal.
These are very similar to almond meal from a textural perspective but the flavour is completely different. So tread carefully if using these to substitute.
Feel free to use your food processor to make your own fresh nut meals.
4. Ground Linseeds (Flax)
I love linseeds because they’re packed with protein, good fats and fiber and are very low carb and gluten-free. They give baked goods a beautiful light texture not to mention more nutrition. I wouldn’t substitute 100% though because they absorb a lot of moisture so can cause things to thicken.
I use a coffee grinder to grind my linseeds freshly because they are susceptible to rancidity. If you’re buying pre-ground keep in the fridge.
5. Fresh Bread Crumbs
If using almond meal in a recipe like my meatballs or the crust for this Gorgeous Greens Tart or my Creamy Mushroom, Beef & Almond Pies (Low Carb), fresh bread crumbs will work well.
Just remove the crusts and process your bread until you get fine crumbs.
For cakes and other sweet baked goods the significantly lower fat in bread crumbs may cause dryness. So only substitute if you’re a confident baker.
6. Rolled Oats
You can make oat flour by grinding rolled oats in your food processor. The texture is similar to almond meal but the flavour will be slightly ‘oaty’ but I quite like it!
Oats have the added advantage of more soluble fiber and nut-free, so fine for allergies and school lunches.
Oats are significantly lower in fat than almonds so you may need to add some extra butter / oil to make up for it.
Depending on who you talk to, oats aren’t necessarily gluten-free. So if you are avoiding gluten, I wouldn’t risk it. Unless you know you can tolerate oats.
7. Regular Flour
If you’re looking for the cheapest option, it’s hard to go past good old flour. ALthough it does have the pesky gluten problem.
Flour won’t work in things like meatballs or pie crusts, but it’s a good option for cakes and other sweets.
You can just replace almond meal with flour 1:1 by weight. But I find adding 20% less flour gives the best and most consistent results.
For example if a recipes calls for 120g (4.2oz) almond meal / almond flour I would substitute 100g (3.5oz) all-purpose (plain) flour.
8. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is low carb and gluten-free but is completely different from almond meal / almond flour in its ability to absorb water. So you will need a recipe specifically designed for coconut flour. Try coconut pancakes, or these paleo brownies.
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- The Best Low Carb Bread Substitutes
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!