What’s the difference between almond flour vs coconut flour? Which is better for keto? Use the easy coconut flour conversion chart and learn to avoid the number one mistake most people make plus the top 10 best coconut flour recipes.
Both are gluten-free, grain-free, and used heavily in low-carb and keto cooking … but which is best and how do you use them?
What is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is fine flour made from dried, ground coconut meat. If you’ve ever used shredded coconut to make coconut macaroons or coconut milk. You can think of coconut flour as a finer, drier version of the same product.
Coconut flour can be made from coconut pulp, a byproduct of coconut cream and coconut milk. It has a mild coconut flavor and is a naturally gluten-free flour. Coconut flour can absorb four times its weight in liquid. So coconut flour recipes often include more liquid or eggs than similar recipes and they produce thicker batters.
Some people with nut allergies can tolerate coconut flour. If you’re allergic to other nuts, check with your doctor before trying coconut flour. Home cooks commonly use coconut flour in pancakes, smoothies, and muffins. I have also written an article on Is Almond Flour Gluten Free?
What is Almond Flour?
Almond flour, sometimes called almond meal, is a nut flour made from finely ground blanched almonds. The blanching process involves submerging the almonds briefly in boiling water to remove the skins, resulting in an almond flour with more uniform color and texture.
Unlike all-purpose flour and other milled wheat flour, almond flour is grain-free and gluten-free, making it an excellent low-carb flour option for those with dietary restrictions.
While you can’t use it to bake an airy loaf of sourdough bread. It is a popular alternative to regular flour in many gluten-free baking recipes and classic French pastry recipes, such as macarons and financiers.
Almond Flour vs Coconut Flour: What’s the Difference?
You can find these two types of flours side by side in grocery stores. Recipes often recommend them for gluten-free, paleo, and keto-friendly diets. Here’s how the flours differ.
Absorbency: Coconut flour is highly absorbent: It can absorb up to four times its weight in liquid. Coconut flour recipes often benefit from a higher ratio of wet ingredients, like extra eggs, to achieve a tender crumb, as well as a resting period that allows the flour to absorb moisture and thicken properly before baking.
Without this extra step, coconut baked goods can turn out crumbly. Almond flour absorbs liquids just like white flour, making it easier to substitute.
Ingredients: Almond flour is made from ground almonds, while coconut flour is made from ground and dried coconut. Therefore, coconut flour is a nut-free alternative to almond flour and other gluten-free nut flour. However, some people with tree nut allergies are also allergic to coconut.
Nutrients: Both almond flour and coconut flour are popular ingredients in low-carb baking. But almond flour contains about twenty-one grams of carbohydrates per one hundred grams. While coconut flour contains approximately sixty-four grams of carbohydrates.
Almond flour has a higher fat content than coconut flour. With fifty grams of fat than coconut flour’s eleven grams; however, coconut flour contains slightly more saturated fat. Almond flour is higher in calcium than coconut flour.
Can You Substitute Almond Flour vs Coconut Flour For Each Other?
If a recipe calls for either of these grain-free flours, take care not to swap one for the other without adjusting the amount of liquid or flour—almond flour recipes require far less liquid to yield a moist and fluffy final result.
To substitute coconut flour for blanched almond flour while accounting for coconut flour’s higher absorbency rate, use a quarter cup of coconut flour for every cup of almond flour. This works best in recipes that don’t rely on large amounts of almond flour, to begin with.
How Coconut Flour is Made?
Coconut flour is dried and finely ground coconut meat. It is often made from the byproducts of the coconut milk-making process.
Once manufacturers filter out the creamy, fat-rich coconut milk, they’re left with coconut pulp. The pulp is then dried and ground into the soft powder that we call coconut flour.
If you have access to fresh coconut meat and the right appliances. You can also make coconut milk and flour yourself. You’ll find instructions on how to do so near the end of this article.
Although many of the healthy coconut fats and minerals are filtered out during the flour-making process. You will still get many of the same benefits from coconut flour as you would from consuming fresh coconut meat.
How Almond Flour is Made?
When recipes call for “almond flour,” they are typically referring to finely ground, blanched almonds.
Creating this popular flour alternative involves blanching almonds in boiling water to remove the skins. Then grind and sift them into fine flour. The result of this process is a keto-friendly, gluten-free flour that has a slightly sweeter and nuttier flavor than regular flour.
You may also come across almond meals and unblanched almond flour. Almond meal is made by grinding almonds with their skins intact, producing grainier flour. Almond meal products are often less expensive and can be used in recipes that don’t require a fine texture, such as muffins and cookies.
Unblanched almond flour is simply skin-on almonds that are pulverized to the same consistency as blanched almond flour. It can serve as a 1:1 substitute for blanched almond flour. However, the skins will change the color and density of baked goods, making them darker and a bit denser than expected.
Of these three varieties, blanched almond flour is the preferred option because of its fine, smooth, and fluffy texture. It also carries the same nutritional benefits as unblanched almond flour and almond meal. You can read more about The Best Pancakes with Almond Milk Amazing For You.
Nutrition and Net Carbs
Before we use this chart to compare coconut flour vs. almond flour, we must also consider the fact that almond flour is typically used in significantly higher quantities than coconut flour. These values may vary within a couple of grams depending on the product you use. Coconut flour products have more substantial variations in their total carb, net carb, and fiber content, which is why they are represented by ranges.
The substitution ratio for these flours is ¼ cup of coconut flour for every cup of almond flour and vice versa (while also adding or taking away liquid and eggs from the recipe). Furthermore, keto recipes that feature coconut flour will call for only a ¼ to ⅓ cup while almond flour recipes typically use 1 cup or more.
For example, one of our almond flour pancake recipes calls for one cup of almond flour while our popular coconut flour pancake recipe only requires a ¼ cup of coconut flour. You can get more from this video.
Is Almond Flour vs Coconut Flour the Healthier Choice?
In comparison to conventional flours, both of these low-carb alternatives are better options. However, when you compare coconut flour vs. almond flour from a health perspective, coconut flour emerges as a healthier and safer choice.
Although almond flour is a better source of vitamin E and minerals than coconut flour, these health-promoting micronutrients are accompanied by an abundance of vulnerable fats that can stimulate inflammation. Furthermore, vitamin E and fats are likely to become oxidized after processing and/or baking/cooking, rendering the vitamin useless and some of the fats toxic.
In contrast, coconut flour is lower in calories and provides us with some fiber and heat-stable, health-promoting fats. It may not be packed with micronutrients, but it is a safe, healthy, and allergen-free substitute for almond flour.
That being said, regardless of the keto flour(s) you decide to use, it should only be used in moderation. Your health transformation will come from eating unprocessed, low-carb foods, not from eating a dozen keto cookies instead of the sugar-laden original.
Overall, coconut flour emerges as a healthier and cheaper option. However, it may take some time before you get a feel for how to use it on keto.
While you are making the shift from unhealthy flours to keto-friendly alternatives, remember to fit these changes into the broader context of your overall keto diet and lifestyle.
The almond flour debate in keto recipes depends on whether you have tree nut allergies, whether you want low-fat flour or high-fiber flour, or whether calories and weight loss are a priority.
Finely ground almond flour is more popular in keto cakes and Paleo baking, but if you have nut allergies and can tolerate coconut flour, almond flour, and coconut flour cakes can both be soft and delicious.
You can use the coconut flour conversion table above as a guide but it is not easy to swap almond flour with coconut flour or conventional flour. They have completely different properties.