As more and more people become aware of the various health hazards of peanuts, they’re turning instead to almonds for their nut-buttery needs. Almonds have long had a place in the kitchen on the baking scene, and there is now some confusion about what is what.
So what is the difference between almond butter and almond paste? The main difference is that almond butter is made almost purely from the nuts alone, whereas almond paste includes other ingredients, primarily sugar.
This simple difference leads to quite a lot of variety between the two products and, in this article, we’ll take a deeper look into what this means and how to use them each properly.
Almond butter is a simple paste made primarily from almonds, usually roasted. Depending on the maker, there may be sugar or oil added, and some manufacturers or home butter makers will also use raw almonds.
Almond butter is essentially the same as peanut butter, only made with a different nut. We love Justin’s Almond Butter.
Easy Almond Butter Recipe
The real secret to a great almond butter recipe is not about the ingredients at all, but rather about your equipment.
Nuts are notoriously difficult to process, so you need a machine that’s designed to crush and grind until they’re smooth without overheating or blowing out the motor.
If you’ve got a great food processor that can run for a couple of minutes at a time without overheating, you can make almond butter with a single ingredient: almonds. You can choose to use raw or roasted, depending on what flavor you prefer.
If your machine is a bit older or less durable, you might want to add oil to your recipe to help your machine get through the thick, sticky nuts. Try ¼ cup of oil per 1lb of almonds.
Best Uses for Almond Butter
- Almond butter and jelly sandwiches (a twist on a classic)
- Mixed in a smoothie with frozen bananas and oat milk
- Mixed with ice cream, cream cheese, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
- Make a nutty dipping sauce, or add chocolate and melt for a dessert topping
- Add to a stirfry for a twist on the tried and true peanut sauce
- Blend it with water to make homemade almond milk
In the US, almond paste is made with equal parts ground almond powder or meal and sugar, mixed together with a binding liquid and sometimes a dash of almond extract for extra flavor.
Commercial producers may substitute some of the almond meal for ground apricot or peach kernels. This reduces the cost of making the product without substantially altering the taste or quality of the paste.
Easy Almond Paste Recipe
- 1 cup whole, blanched almonds
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 medium egg white
- Bring the egg white to room temperature and lightly beat it.
- Place your almonds and ½ your sugar into a food processor and blend until you have a fine grind. You will have to stop periodically to scrape the sides and, if necessary, cool down your processor.
- The addition of the sugar will keep the almonds from turning into butter, but add more sugar if needed.
- Once the almonds are ground nicely, add the rest of the sugar and pulse to blend .
- Add the egg white and continue to process until the mixture become a thick paste.
- If it’s too sticky for your needs, you can add more sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it’s the desired consistency.
- Almond extract
- Cherry extract
Liquid Substitution Options:
- Corn syrup
- Cooking oil
- Heavy cream
- Cane syrup
Best Uses for Almond Paste
- As a filling for cookies, cakes, and other pastries
- To create a glaze for vegetables or other savories
- To add creaminess and depth to oat or granola crumble
- As the base for a vegetable dip
- To amply the nutty flavor in creamed spinach or other greens
Health Benefits of Almonds
Even though almond paste and almond butter are both made from almonds, there is a significant difference in their nutritional output.
Let’s take a look at what each has to offer, tablespoon for delicious tablespoon.
|Per 1 ounce||100% Almond Butter||Almond Paste|
||Grams||% Daily Value||Grams||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||
Almonds, as with most nuts, are high in fat, however, it’s mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are generally agreed to be “the good fats” that support your heart and help protect against cardiovascular disease.
Many of the trace minerals found in almonds also contribute to heart health by helping to balance cholesterol and blood pressure levels, while also helping to maintain steady blood sugar control.
They’re also on the high end of the calorie/gram scale, but they’re full of critical nutrients that help your body make the most of the energy it’s consuming.
As you can see by the chart, almond paste is not nearly as nutritious as almond butter, thanks to the additional ingredients.
There is one glaring positive, however, and that is the Vitamin E. Almonds are famous for their Vitamin E content, which is great for keeping your cells healthy.
For many people, this means healthy, youthful skin but it also means healthy cells for your heart, lungs, and brain. By protecting your cells from oxidative stress, Vitamin E also helps prevent many types of cancer, but specifically damage related to sun exposure such as skin cancer.
Unfortunately, roasting nuts results in near to complete loss of Vitamin E. There are some manufacturers now making their nut butter with raw almonds, so it certainly a great option to taste out.
Almond Butter or Almond Paste for Weight Loss
Almonds have been praised for their ability to help dieters feel satiated and reduce overall calorie intake, leading to weight loss despite their high-calorie count.
The protein, fiber, and healthy fats help you feel full, preventing you from unscheduled and unhealthy snacking.
They also help to stabilize your blood sugar, saving you from the dreaded energy crashes and binges that happen frequently in dieters and non-dieters alike.
When it comes to almond butter or almond paste, however, there is more to be considered.
First, almond paste is highly unlikely to be a smart feature food in your dieting plan. The 50/50 mix with sugar will sabotage all your dieting efforts and the desserts that it’s likely to be paired with will do further damage.
Almond butter, on the other hand, can be a great addition to your diet plan if you choose a high-quality blend.
Try to avoid added oil, salt or sugar and stick to 100% organic almonds for best results. You’ll enjoy the satiation benefits whether the butter is made with roasted or raw nuts, so choose based on your flavor preference.
If you want the added benefits of Vitamin E, look for butter made with raw almonds.
Almond Butter vs Other Nut Butters
Peanut butter has been a staple in North American households for so many years, it can seem nearly sacrilegious to ask any mother to hand over her tub of creamy bliss. But how do the different nut butters compare to each other?
|Per 2 tablespoons||100% Almond Butter||100% Peanut Butter||100% Cashew Butter||100% Walnut Butter|
The information above is what you would find if you were comparing labels on a package. What the labels won’t tell you is that peanut butter is not only a common allergen, which most people know, but it’s also prone to mold. You won’t always taste the mold, but it can be toxic and even lead to cancer.
Best vitamins and minerals in almonds, walnuts, and cashews:
- Almonds are considered the best food source of Vitamin E, but only when raw.
- Walnuts have the highest level of healthy Omega 3s.
- Cashews have the highest carbs, but they’re also the best source for zinc.
Summary? Switch it up frequently to cover all your bases and surprise your taste buds regularly!
Is almond paste the same as marzipan?
If you live in the UK, yes, almond paste and marzipan are one and the same. However, if you’re in the US, they are different recipes and used for different purposes.
Almond paste has less sugar and is generally used as a filling for desserts, whereas marzipan has about 25% more sugar and is used to mold decorative elements or icing for desserts.
How do you know if almond paste is bad?
Almond paste will last a long time, but it can go rancid if it’s not stored properly. If it’s simply hard, there are ways to soften it, but if it has a noticeably bad smell or foul taste, it might be a good idea to get rid of it. It’s not dangerous, even if it has gone off, but it will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Is Amaretto made from almonds?
Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur, but not all brands actually use almonds. Many manufacturers prefer to use apricot pits as the base for their alcohol, even high-quality brands.
This shouldn’t turn you off the drink though, as kernels from stone fruit are completely safe and, when prepared correctly, completely delicious.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Almond Butter?