Stay Connected

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Baking With Almond Flour

raisin-spice almond flour cookie

This past week I finally made the commitment to myself to stick with a limited diet in order to get some relief from my digestive symptoms and pinpoint the offending food(s). I slipped up one day last week and had a slice of bread, 2 graham crackers and some soup made with instant potatoes. One or all of those foods caused so much pain I could hardly function for a day. That was the motivation I needed. 

So I went to Trader Joe's and bought some almond flour. (I wanted to go easy on the rice for a few weeks, as rice sometimes bothers my gut, too.) I'm new to baking with almond flour, by the way. My past gluten-free baking has relied on rice flour.

I brought the almond flour home and proceeded to make the cookies on the back of the package. 

The recipe calls for 1 egg plus 1 egg white. I didn't want to have to deal with the leftover egg yolk, so I made a 2/3 batch of the cookies, using only the whole egg and skipping the white. Much math later and I had a lovely batch of 16 good-sized chocolate chip cookies that were completely grain-free and allergen-free (for me that is, others could have an allergy to tree nuts or eggs), containing almond flour, butter, brown and white sugar, egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract and chocolate chips. 

Those cookies were so incredibly good. The texture is that of a soft cookie and not overly sweet (my batch used a total of 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of white and brown sugar combined). I still had several left when my son and daughter-in-law came over on Father's Day. Knowing that my daughter-in-law is also gluten-free, I offered them some cookies at dessert time. Both of them loved the cookies.

Also on Father's Day, I had planned on baking some sort of bread product to go with our lunch. I found several good recipes for almond flour biscuits that looked like something both my daughter-in-law and I could eat, made with almond flour, butter, eggs, baking powder, salt, and honey.

photo credit:, the site where I found this biscuit recipe

The biscuits were also a hit with my family, very buttery and rich. I'll be making these again very soon.

trying to get the portion of butter just right for the recipe -- it looks
like I'm stacking building blocks from the 1-lb butter block. 

By Tuesday morning, we had polished off the chocolate chip cookies and the biscuits, so it was time to bake another batch of something. This time I decided to tweak the Trader Joe's cookie recipe to make raisin-spice cookies.

I made the raisin-spice cookies slightly smaller than the chocolate chip ones, so this batch made 20 cookies. In addition to subbing raisins for chocolate chips, I added pinches of ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to the dough. These are very addictive. But again, as with the chocolate chip cookies, they're not overly sweet and I feel like they may have some health benefits with the almonds and raisins.

If you're not familiar with almond flour, here's a little information. There are two kinds of almond flour, blanched and unblanched. The blanched almond flour is made with almonds after blanching and removing the skins, while the unblanched almond flour is made with the almond skins still on the nut meats. The blanched flour is preferred by many bakers due to its uniform color and texture. However, the unblanched almond flour is often less expensive and adds a nice home-baked appearance to the cookies or muffins. For your information, I used only blanched flour in both the chocolate chip cookies and the biscuits, but I used half and half blanched and unblanched flour in the raisin-spice cookies. 

In addition to the almond flour that I bought at Trader Joe's, I also bought some unblanched almond flour from the bulk bins at WinCo on Monday. WinCo carries both blanched and unblanched almond flour. The blanched flour was about $4.50/lb, while the unblanched flour was about $3.89/lb. I wanted to try the unblanched in cookies and see what I thought of it. As I said above, I used a mix of both types of almond flour in my second batch of cookies and thought the cookies were good and didn't suffer from using part unblanched. Price comparison between Trader Joe's and WinCo's bulk bins, Trader Joe's 16-oz package of blanched almond flour was $6.49. So there's about $2 or more savings by buying the almond flour from bulk bins. The one caveat, if someone has celiac, I'd be hesitant to buy a gluten-free flour from a bulk bin where in-store cross contamination is a possibility. WinCo does dispense its almond flour (and other gluten-free flours) from containers that require pulling down on a handle and the flour flows out, as opposed to dipping a scoop into a bin. Their method of dispensing these flours likely minimizes in-store cross contamination.

Another thing to know about baking with almond flour (whether the flour is the blanched or unblanched variety), almond flour relies on eggs as both a binder and leavening. Regular wheat flour, in contrast, is a binder in itself and holds doughs together. A quick look at many almond flour baking recipes may surprise a person by the number of eggs called for. In addition, almond flour tends to result in denser products than those based on wheat flours. But we didn't find that an objectionable quality in either cookies or biscuits. I imagine almond flour layer cakes might not be as light and airy as traditional cakes, unless several eggs were used for leaven. 

So, that's been my experience with baking with almond flour this past week. I prefer both the texture and flavor of the baked products using the almond flour over my previous baking with rice flour. But I see a place for rice flour for some folks who need to be gluten-free. Rice flour is more economical than nut flours, and rice flour is less likely to pose allergies compared to tree nut flours. 

Anyway, for myself, I'm just hoping to heal my insides so I can get back to normal living. If almond flour can help me, then I'll be happy to use it.

Have you baked with gluten-free flours before? What was your experience? Was there any that you'd never use again? Any that were particularly good?


  1. I hope that this helped with your digestive difficulties. They sound miserable. With almond flour, do you get a hint of an almond flavor? I like almonds, but do not like the almond extract flavor that is in many baked goods. Luckily, gluten doesn't bother anyone here, so when we do our occasional baking, we can use wheat flour.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I wouldn't say almond flour tastes like almond extract. More like a mild almond flavor akin to eating a handful of blanched, unsalted almonds. Evidently, a lot of people like almonds but dislike almond extract. So, you're not alone in that. :-)

  2. I haven't had issues with any brand I use, though I primarily purchase from Sam's or Costco. My absolute favorite recipe made with almond flour is the "Paleo Banana Bread" from Elana's Pantry blog, but I make it into muffins instead of a loaf. This gives me a not-overly-sweet but delicious breakfast item to keep in the freezer for those mornings when I'm in a hurry or just can't think of something I want to fix to eat.

    Overall, I use many different gluten-free flours for various uses. Two favorite blogs whose recipes have yielded excellent results for me are "Let Them Eat Gluten-free Cake" and "The Loopy Whisk". I make up the flour blends from "Let Them Eat Gluten-free Cake" which tend to be more economical than buying the pre-made "cup for cup" type blends and work very well in recipes with less graininess than many commercial blends. And "The Loopy Whisk" has some excellent recipes for items such as crescent rolls utilizing millet and sorghum flours--I appreciate this because rice, tapioca, and potato "flours"/starches tend to be so carby and I don't want to overdo them.

    1. Hi Cat,
      Thanks for the suggestion for Elana's Banana Bread. I looked the recipe up and it looks like something I could eat. I'll give it a try when I have enough ripe bananas. Or, I may try to make a 1/3 batch as muffins, using just one ripe banana. Bananas get eaten around here before they get a chance to become ripe enough for banana bread. Thank you! And thank you for the names of the other two websites. I'll check those out.
      Thank you for all of the info!

  3. I reduced my almond consumption since I learned how hard they're on the environment. The same goes for riced cauliflower, coconut sugar, etc.

    1. Hi Farhana,
      Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  4. Well, this got me thinking too. We don't have issues with our tummies but I do like to try gluten free stuff. I read your post and was drooling and since I had all the ingredients I googled the recipe and made them immediately. They turned out so good. They are a soft cookie but I freeze them so we don't eat so many. I got exactly 2 dozen out of the recipe. We'll see what my husband thinks of them when he gets home tonight.

    Now the next thing is coconut flour. I have that on hand from a recipe I tried but I find the end product a bit "grainy". Any ideas for recipes for me to try?


    1. Hi Alice,
      I'm so glad you tried this recipe and liked the resulting cookies. They are really good and not bad as far as sugar goes, plus less carbs due to no grains. I'll definitely be making more of these cookies in the future. I hope your husband likes them, too.

      As for your coconut flour, perhaps egg-heavy pancakes. 35 years ago, I went on a strict elimination diet (found out I was lactose intolerant), and at first rice and rice flour were the only grains I could eat. The only rice flour I found in stores was too expensive for my low grocery budget, so I made my own using a regular pitcher blender. The resulting flour was gritty and anything I made with it was dry as sawdust, except pancakes. As I was also milk-free during the elimination diet, I used water and extra egg for liquid in the pancakes. The pancakes were palatable enough. Anyway, here's a link to Bob's Red Mill recipe for coconut flour pancakes:

      Read the comments below the recipe. One commenter suggested adding 3 additional tablespoons of oil, 1/4 cup of sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to improve them.

      Cat has much more experience using alternative flours than I do, so maybe she'll chime in, here.

  5. Hi, Lili--

    Sorry I'm late to the party on this one. We have lots of gluten-free baking/cooking experience, including a lot of almond meal use over the years.

    Glad that your foray into almond flour was productive. We've used both blanched and unblanched, like you said, partly just for the price difference! The appearance never put us off. Besides cookies, you can get some great results with cake with almond meal/flour, very rich and satisfying, IMO. At the time I was doing a lot with almond, I started to prefer almond-based cakes to other grains! Do you do any dairy now? Because I found a recipe somewhere (would have to look it up for you) for the most-addictive almond-based crackers. We used to make a huge batch, freeze them, and thaw them a couple at a time. We also gave them as gifts, to folks we knew could eat tree nuts.

    If Alice is still reading, I wanted to say, coconut flour has some GREAT uses, but it soaks up liquid a LOT -- especially the longer you let it sit -- so you have to sometimes make adjustments you don't expect. I used to mix various GF flours together to gain the cooking benefits from each. Coconut does help to bind things in a lot of recipes, but let the batter sit before cooking to make sure the consistency is what you want/expect. I'm pretty sure that the Bob's Red Mill coconut flour pancakes you linked are ones we used to make and did enjoy. A different texture, but satisfying with some syrup or jam.

    And if Cat's still reading this, great information. :) And I wanted to add to your comments about tapioca. You can make delicious stuff with tapioca (Brazilian cheese bread, anyone???), but in my research tapioca isn't as good for folks with lower thyroid function. Then yesterday I read that one of the glutinous components (?) of tapioca is sometimes also troublesome to folks who are troubled by gluten.

    This doesn't surprise me, based on my own experiences with it (and I adore tapioca). I found out early that a lot of the things GF recipes/products use to make things more glutinous/more like wheat products are also hard on your digestion in similar/worse ways. That's one reason people who go GF sometimes think that gluten wasn't their problem after all. So, anyone newer to experimenting with gluten-free eating, do be cautious about xanthan gum, guar gum, tapioca flour, 'banzo/fava flours, etc. Millet is another flour, like sorghum, which I've had good results with, but like tapioca, it can be lowering to some people's thyroids, I've read.

    My favorite, go-to, never-fail gluten-free baking item is buckwheat pancakes. I originally tried them with other GF flours, because most cookbooks (BH&G, etc.) use only part buckwheat flour. But I've found that you can make excellent pancakes with 100% buckwheat, if you tolerate that one. Just use a standard pancake recipe (I like the classic red-plaid 80s BH&G, myself), replace all of the flour with buckwheat, and enjoy. :) If any of you tolerate corn, I've also had pretty good luck with the BH&G cornbread recipe, using almost any other GF flour in place of the all-purpose; but not as stellar results as the buckwheat pancakes.

    Also, Lili, as an aside, I used to use a lot of brown rice flour, with good results, but my understanding is that brown rice has a lot more arsenic than white rice, so it's another of those foods that are super-healthy, but maybe you oughtn't eat every single day for years and years, especially if you have any detoxification-circuit issues (which I do.)

    Glad the cookies and biscuits were a hit! Thinking good thoughts and praying for good results as you navigate all of this! Sara

    1. Thanks for all the great info in your comment! Interesting to know about the tapioca--wasn't aware of that and haven't noticed issues but it's good to know to watch that. I don't worry too much about the thyroid-lowering aspects having had my thyroid removed due to cancer 12 years ago. I'm on replacement meds for life, unfortunately. I was surprised when having allergy testing done a few years ago, before even finding out about having celiac, to find that I'm allergic to buckwheat, so have had to avoid using that as well. But thankfully can have dairy if I take an enzyme to help digest it, though again, I try not to overdo it.

    2. Hi Sara,
      Thank you for all this information. I knew from experience that xanthan gum and guar gum were bad for me, yet were in so many gf flour mixes or products. But I didn't know that about tapioca. Thanks for the heads up. I can't have any dairy at this point. I've heard that after being gf for a while I may be able to add back some dairy like cheese. We used to eat a lot of brown rice, too. I now alternate with white rice as half of my family members seem to prefer white rice. Thanks agin for the information.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post