Difference Between Blanched and Unblanched Almond Flour

This year I began baking with almond flour. Most recipes will call for non-specific regular “almond flour” while others specify “blanched almond flour”. This intrigued me, was there really a difference? My local grocery store only sells Bob’s Red Mill and that has been what I’ve been buying and using and have found it to work well but I had nothing to compare it to. I was surprised to read that Elana, from Elana’s Pantry and author of the book The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, does not recommend Bob’s Red Mill (see what she says here) and instead favors Honeyville Farms.

Several years ago Mr. Nine & I had the pleasure of visiting Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon. I love his vision of the company, their products and facility! His almond flour has been working fine in my recipes, but it is really expensive so I decided to look into alternatives.

A family member recommended Trader Joe’s for having the best prices on almond flour and indeed they do! Too good to be true? I decided to grab a bag at TJ’s this weekend, and ordered a bag from Honeyville online to compare all three.

Almond Flour Brands

Here we have Honeyville Farms, Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill (in the container, unfortunately I do not have the original bag). Let’s take a look at all three compared side by side.

Almond Flour Comparison

Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour - $6 lb.*
view on Honeyville Farm’s website

Bob’s Red Mill Finely Ground Almond Meal/Flour From Blanched Whole Almonds - $10.99 lb.
view on Bob’s Red Mill website

Trader Joe’s Nuts Just Almond Meal - $3.99 lb.
view on Trader Joe’s website 

* Based upon purchase price of $29.99 for a 5 lb. bag since 5 lbs. is the minimum purchase. Please note that I did not include the cost of shipping or sales tax, if applicable. Prices will also vary depending on where you live and shop. I’ve seen Bob’s Red Mill for as high as $12.99 at Super Target down the road!

Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal Flour Blanched

Shown above is Bob’s Red Mill. A nice light golden color (obviously blanched, even though that word doesn’t stand out on the product packaging) and is a fine texture. The packaging describes this as a meal/flour.

Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour

This is Honeyville Farm’s almond flour. Very similar to Bob’s, just a touch lighter in color and is ground just ever so slightly finer. It would be hard for me to tell the difference if I was not directly comparing the two. I did notice that Honeyville was more fragrant in smell (a fresher almond aroma).

Trader Joe's Almond Meal

Trader Joe’s almond meal is darker in color and you can see the pieces of skin. This is a tell-tale sign that it is not blanched.

It is important to know that almond meal is not the same as almond flour. Almond meal is simply ground up whole almonds with their skins, while almond flour is blanched and processed into a finely ground flour. Trader Joe’s says “meal” right on the bag, and you tell an immediate difference by color.

I’ve used both Bob’s and Honeyville in baking and both perform as well as I’d expect. I’ve yet to try Trader Joe’s in a baking application (just bought it this past weekend), but I think it would be better suited for applications as breading chicken, or mixed into something where you wouldn’t mind the little pieces of almond skin. It might also work in a recipe where flour is not one of the main ingredients, or where the end result has a dense texture.

To me, Bob’s and Honeyville are virtually the same. Bob’s is easier for me to purchase since I can just go down to my local store and buy a bag. However, even with shipping ($4.49), Honeyville Farm’s almond flour is a heck of a lot cheaper. Depending on where you shop the savings could be 50%! The downfall to Honeyville is that you do have to buy it in bulk  (minimum 5 lbs.) but I will definitely use it up so I didn’t mind buying such a large bag.

In conclusion Honeyville Farms is the winner in my book because of price, color, freshness and how it performs. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Bob’s either, especially if you don’t plan on making a lot of recipes with it and don’t want to commit to a 5 lb. bag.

What brand of almond flour do you use? Have you tried Trader Joe’s Almond Meal in baking? How did it turn out? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Looking for where to buy almond flour? Most stores like Jewel, Trader Joe’s, Super Target, Woodman’s, Whole Foods & Hy-Vee (to name a few) carry it in the gluten-free section or in the aisle with specialty flours and baking mixes. The most popular brand in my area is Bob’s Red Mill and it comes in a clear plastic 1 lb. bag. You can also order it online on websites like Honeyville (see link in post above) or King Arthur Flour. You could also make your own, but I’ll save that for another post. ;-)

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24 thoughts on “Difference Between Blanched and Unblanched Almond Flour

  1. I use Honeyville Almond Flour — have since I started baking with almond and coconut flours exclusively. Trader Joe’s Almond Meal is better for coating chicken or fish — “breading” — that is grain-free. Great post!

    • Thanks for your comment, Kristen! Do you have a favorite breaded chicken or fish recipe?

    • Florence Martino-Vrablic

      I have tried Bob’s almond flour and made a pie crust with melted smart balance butter and water and pressed the mixture like you would do a graham cracker crust. Baked it for 10 min. then added my apple pie ingredients…baked again and it came out delicious. especially if the crust is crispy. I got on this site because i was looking for a cheaper almond flour.

  2. Very interesting post. I don’t eat gluten-free, but I subscribe to Elana’s Pantry and read her comments on almond flour. I thouht I wouldn’t mind trying baking with it, but was put off by the need to order a certain kind. It may be more expensive but I know I can find Bob’s Red Mill here. I might give it a try now that I know it will work. Do you have a favorite recipe?

    • Hi Shannon! I am not a baking expert like Elana, but Bob’s works fine for me and I haven’t had a problem and I’ve made a lot of different recipes using it. I’ve never done a direct side-by-side comparison of the exact same recipe on the exact same day so maybe Honeyville does yield a slightly better result if you are a critical cook, but I never had a bad result with Bob’s either. I like the Carrot Banana Muffins (and I didn’t even bother to melt the coconut oil and it was fine) and I also like the Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies – both from Elana’s website. Happy baking!

  3. Dana

    I always use Trader Joe’s Almond Meal, but I am not a picky baker. It works fine in muffins and bars…my crew gobbles them up with no complaints. It’s very inexpensive, so I might stick with it (don’t want to “spoil” anyone with the fancy flour) ;-)

    • Good to hear that the Trader Joe’s Almond Meal works in baked goods! I was going to try it out this weekend to see. You can beat the price, so if it works, stick with it! Thanks for sharing, Dana.

  4. victoria

    FYI – found this on whole foods website in case anyone is interested in the healthy side of this.

    The flavonoids found in almond skins team up with the vitamin E found in their meat to more than double the antioxidant punch either delivers when administered separately, shows a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

    “We have identified a unique combination of flavonoids in almonds,” said Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., senior scientist and director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University. “Further blood tests demonstrated that eating almonds with their skins significantly increases both flavonoids and vitamin E in the body. This could have significant health implications, especially as people age.”

  5. Cory

    I have baked with Trader Joe’s almond meal…pumpkin muffins…and they turned out amazing. Thanks for the post. I was curious what the differences were.

  6. I agree with Cory and Dana – Trader Joe’s almond meal is great for muffin recipes. But I would be wary with other baked goods. I’ve tried making breads (ex: banana bread) with 100% almond meal, and the bread was super-crumbly. It did work to use less than 50%, and I love how rich it makes baked goods taste.

    Ashley of Edible Perspective has a great breakdown of the differences between almond meal/flour (and the orange almond meal muffin recipe is awesome!): http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2012/4/9/orange-almond-chia-muffins.html.

  7. Rita Lowitt

    Are the other two organic? I know Red Mill is. Also does it really matter whether one uses blanched or unblanched if a recipe calls for one or the other? i would always prefer unblanched for richer nutrient value.

    Thanks so much!

    • Janice

      Where did you get Bob’s Red Mill organic almond flour? I haven’t been able to find any organic in any brand.

      • None of the three almond flours pictured in this post are labeled organic. I was unaware that Bob’s Red Mill even made an organic version; they do not list it on their website.

  8. Patricia

    I’m so happy to find this post. Thank you so much for the comparison! I just started using almond flour and I too bought Bob’s Red Mill ($10.99 at Kroger). It was good in carrot cake but I made some biscuits that were a bit crumbly. I might try the Honeyville because it is a bit finer; especially if i’m baking for people who are not used to almond flour. It does have a bit of a different texture to some people. I personally love it and it makes me feel healthier to know I’m not getting all the carbs. (I don’t know that I am healtheir–but it makes me feel that way!) Thanks again for this informative post!

  9. Jerry Burt

    I bye almond flower at winco for 5.38 a lb an it works great

  10. Mel Tyler

    I did not realize that they sold different kinds of Almond Flour. I just bought Now Real Food Almond Four; The back of the package says non blanched almond flour….. is this the same as almond meal?

  11. Portia

    I have been in the process of changing my eating and going to a lower carb diet and noticed a recipe called for almond flour but then saw there were two offerings of blanched vs. non-blanched, so appreciate your research. Thank you.

  12. Pingback: Difference Between Blanched and Unblanched Almond Flour | Running on Cloud Nine | gothnerd

  13. Melissa

    I see this is an older post, but I just found it when I was searching for a cost comparison of Honeyville almond flour vs TJ almond meal. I’ve made awesome chocolate chip cookies (from the Detoxinista website) with just the TJ and just made some biscuits (from the Nourishing Homemaker) with it this morning. While the biscuits taste fine, they aren’t the prettiest and were definately wetter than the recipe called for. I also used the TJ half and half with wheat flour in a brownie recipe and it worked great in that too. I think I will end up keeping both on hand and use the Honeyville in breads, etc where the finer texture really matters and use the TJ elsewhere to cut down on costs. Thanks so much for the comparison.

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