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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Homemade Almond Paste for One-Third the Cost of Store-Bought

Every year, I bake a special bread for Christmas morning, using a recipe from the Scandinavian side of my family. I make this in advance and keep it in the freezer until Christmas Eve, then thaw in the fridge overnight. I'll be baking this Crêche Bread in the next few days. 

A key ingredient to this recipe is almond paste. If you've ever bought almond paste, you know this stuff is pricey for the tiny box it comes in. Walmart sells the Solo brand for $5.44 (8 ounce box).

I use the whole package for 1 loaf of bread. When I can save anywhere in this recipe, I do. Which brings me to this DIY recipe for almond paste that I found on King Arthur Baking Co website

I made a half batch of the recipe this morning, which yielded a little more than 6 ounces of almond paste and used ingredients I had in my kitchen already. The most expensive of these ingredients is the almond flour, which I buy in bulk from WinCo for around $6/lb. The bonus to making my own (beyond saving money) is my product did not contain any preservatives.

I followed the instructions on KA's site, using measuring cups/spoons instead of weights. I think this would be one recipe where weighing the first 2 ingredients would produce the quality of product that would approximate commercially-made almond paste more closely. But I don't have a kitchen scale, so I used my cups and spoons. However, I was able to fiddle with the end result by adding slightly more almond flour at the end, until it had both the taste and texture I was expecting.

Here's the full recipe:

Almond Paste

Yields about 1 1/2 cups (375 g or 13.23 ounces)

1 3/4 cups (168g) blanched almond flour (which is about .37 of a pound)

1 1/2 cups (170g) confectioners' sugar

1 large egg white

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract,  to taste

Using either a food processor or mixer and bowl, combine the almond flour and confectioners' sugar. Blend in the egg white, salt and extract, pulsing or mixing until you can see a ball forming. There will still be some bits of mixture in the bowl. Press these together with the ball that formed.

Double-wrap in plastic and store inside a plastic or glass container.

According the King Arthur's website, this will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month or in the freezer up to 3 months. I think this would actually keep in the freezer longer than 3 months, if wrapped well enough. But of course, YMMV.

I will add to this recipe, since Large egg whites are not uniformly the same in volume, you may need to add a bit more almond flour to end up with the stiffness usually found in commercial almond paste. In addition, you may find that you prefer a less-sweet almond paste, as I do. I ended up mixing in a little more almond flour to get a stiff paste that was not cloyingly sweet. The final result should be about as stiff as Play-Dough.

So, did I save money making my own almond paste? Here's the cost breakdown, based on the full recipe above:

Almond flour, about $2.22

Sugar, 37 cents

1 egg white, 7 cents

Extract and salt, 3 cents

Total for homemade 13.22 ounces (not quite double the Solo brand 8 ounce package), about $2.69. Solo's product costs $10.88 a pound, while the DIY version costs about $3.25 a pound.

The project took about 10 minutes start to finish including clean-up and was super simple. I'll be making my own almond paste from here on.

Maybe you're curious -- whats' the difference between almond paste, almond filling, and marzipan?

Marzipan is sweeter and often used as is, rolled out into a sheet to top a cake, or mixed with colorings to make shaped candies. Almond paste has a stronger almond flavor and is less sweet. Almond paste can be turned into something like marzipan by adding additional sugar and an egg white. Almond filling is a product that can be used as is to fill pastries, cakes, and tarts. It has added sugar, thickeners like cornstarch, and sometimes milk added to ground almonds. If you're buying almond paste for a recipe, make sure you have the right product. Almond filling cannot be used where a recipe calls for almond paste. 

What other recipes is almond paste used in?

Some years, I bake amaretti cookies. They call for almond paste, granulated sugar, and egg whites. Light and crunchy amaretti are a gluten-free Italian cookie. Other years, I've made almond macaroons, anther gluten-free cookie. Here's a recipe very much like my mother's.

While I haven't made this, a friend of mine has -- Dutch Banketstaaf, also called Banket. These are a filled pastry cut into cookies.

Frangipane or almond cream filling is a traditional French tart cream that can be made with almond paste, eggs, sugar, a thickener like cornstarch and sometimes a bit of rum or brandy. Once spread in the tart shell, it can be topped with thin-sliced pears for a Frangipane Pear Tart.

I grew up knowing almond paste as a Scandinavian ingredient. As it turns out, almond paste is used in many different cuisines. 

Have you ever used almond paste in a recipe?


  1. I have never used almond paste. While I like almonds, I don't like almond extract, so I've never been interested in baking with it. However, I know that I am in the minority. Will you be using almond paste now that your found and easy and inexpensive way to make it?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      yes, I'll definitely be making a batch of amaretti to add to the Christmas cookie tray, and will make more almond paste for that. I'm glad that almond flour is so readily available these days. It really did make the process easy and inexpensive.

  2. I love almond paste. I am from Dutch heritage and have grown up with Banket, almond cookies, almond kuchen and everything almond. My husband does not like it and he's more Dutch than I am. My kids don't like it either. I am going to try your recipe because I think some almond cookies just for me sounds good. Since they freeze well, I will get a small treat during the holidays.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I'm glad to pass on this recipe. It really was easy and turned out exactly how I wanted it to be. Enjoy your private stash of almond cookies.

  3. I would happily eat yours and Alice's almond goodies. Yum! I didn't grow up in a household that used almond paste and it was a happy discovery after I married into a Dutch family. My husband has family in Pella, Iowa, and the bakeries there make something called Dutch Letters. Here's a link: It's been years since we've been there, but a visit to the bakery is a highlight when we go. I don't have it in me to go to the work to make my own. :) I have, however, made this recipe, which is much simpler, and very tasty:

    I also love almond extract (sorry, Live and Learn) and add it to lots of things--sometimes sugar cookie dough, and sometimes a sweet/tart fruit sauce. I think it pairs well with cherries, rhubarb, and I also put a little in my cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.

    1. Hi Kris,
      thanks for including that link. Those Dutch cookies sure do look delicious. I may give those a try.

      I use almond extract with cherries and rhubarb, too. But I haven't tried it in cranberry sauce. That's a wonderful idea. I'll try that next time I make cranberry sauce.

  4. Thanks for this recipe. I was going to search online for an almond paste recipe because I wanted to make Banketstaaf, and you mentioned that here as well. I am American but lived in the Netherlands for over a decade, and I still crave Banket during the holiday season.
    I will adapt the recipe and use erythritol (a sugar substitute) instead of sugar. I too cannot stand almond flavoring so I will leave that out. (If you mention almond flavoring or Amaretto to any of my family members, we will all involuntarily cringe in's a family thing). :)
    - Tina

    1. Hi Tina,
      I was really pleased with how this recipe turned out. It was easy and a bargain compared to brand almond paste. plus I was able to increase the almond flour and make it a bit less sweet. So I think you should be able to make yours how you like it, too.


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