Test Kitchen Showdown: Battle of the Blanched Almond Flours

In the left corner, brand A and in the right corner brand B. As you can see, brand A is somewhat coarser in appearance, whereas brand B is smoother. In addition, brand B rose slightly more to produce a lighter, fluffier baked good. But the real test is taste! Can you guess who’s the winner?

 

As you’ve probably discovered, I really enjoy baking with blanched almond flour. So, not surprisingly, a question I frequently receive is “which brand of blanched almond flour do you prefer?”

Until recently, I would have told you about my tried-n-true friend Bob – you see, I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour for more than a year now (*aff.link). Why? Because it’s available through my Azure Standard co-op for a super great price. And if you’ve shopped for blanched almond flour, you know what I mean. This stuff ain’t cheap!

But recently, a friend of mine (Renee) decided to wander off the beaten-path and give Honeyville Grains blanched almond flour a try (*aff.link). She immediately emailed me suggesting I do a head-to-head comparison of the two. Brilliant idea! In fact, this had all the makings of a great regular segment!

So … here’s to the first The Nourishing Home Test Kitchen Showdown starring Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour vs. Honeyville Grains blanched almond flour. Who will take the coveted title of “Showdown Winner!” Read on …

In order to determine a winner, I decided to base the competition on three specific qualities: Taste, Texture and Performance. So, I chose three different recipes in order to test the versatility of the competitors’ products:
Fluffy Little Almond Flour Pancakes
Mixed Berry Muffins
Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let the competition begin …
After carefully selecting a taste-testing panel of experts familiar with the taste and texture of almond flour (a.k.a. my family), I set-up a three day period to run the test. I informed my taste-testers that they would be judging between two different almond flour brands (not knowing which was which) in the areas of taste and texture. As the home chef preparing the recipes, I would be judging the two brands on performance.


Almond Flour Pancakes

As shown above, I was surprised to find with the very first recipe I tried, a distinct difference right out of the gate. As I whipped up two batches of our favorite almond flour pancakes, keeping all ingredients the same except for the brand of almond flour, I immediately noticed that one of the batches appeared smoother and creamier in texture.

As the pancakes cooked side by side on the griddle (just to be sure that temperature wasn’t a variable), I was amazed again that one of the pancakes seemed so much fluffier.

I said nothing to my taste-testers, but served them one of each and asked them to judge the pancakes according to taste and texture. It was a unanimous decision. I later sat down and joined them in scarfing down the rest of the winning batch, making sure to let everyone know that come tomorrow, the second place batch would be served!
(Waste not, want not!)


Mixed Berry Muffins

Keeping an open mind, I moved on to the muffin recipe test. I selected this particular muffin recipe because the dominant ingredient is almond flour – there’s not a lot of competing flavors, just the simple addition of some ripe organic fruit. What better way to test any significant difference in taste, as well as texture.

As shown above, I placed the competitors side-by-side in the muffin tin in order to rule out variations in baking temperature. Again, one batch rose to the top in terms of taste and texture, as well as out performed in producing a lighter and fluffier baked good.


Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Would there really be much of a difference in something as simple as a cookie? Well, it was amazing to find yet again, that yes, the brand of blanched almond flour used does make a noticeable difference, as evidenced above. Although this time, the taste difference was pretty negligible. However, the texture was definitely better with the same brand again – less mealy/grainy.

And the winner is …
Bob, you know “I love ya, man!” but you must concede victory. Without question, Honeyville’s blanched almond flour out performed in all three areas: Taste, Texture and Performance.

Overall, after comparing these three recipes, I found that the performance of Honeyville was consistently better in producing lighter, fluffier baked goods. As far as taste, in two out of three recipes tested, baked goods made with Honeyville’s blanched almond flour tasted better – they had a noticeable mild, sweet nutty undertone. And last but not least, the biggest difference we discovered between the two brands was that of texture! Honeyville’s blanched almond flour was far less grainy (mealy) in texture. So it’s apparent that Honeyville’s finer even grind results in a lighter, fluffier baked good, more similar in texture to baked goods made with a gluten-based flour.

So, here’s to you, Honeyville Grains, the first victor in our first-ever Test Kitchen Showdown. Congratulations and thank you for making a wonderfully fine ground, delicious almond flour!

Joyfully Serving Him, Kelly

Whoever said “a little healthy competition is a good thing” is right!

SIDEBAR:  This “Test Kitchen Showdown” proved to be a fun opportunity to get my boys in the kitchen with me. I just used a few key phrases that made their ears perk right up – “battle between competitors;” “scientific experiment;” “chocolate chip cookies!” … Yes, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get them cooking (or in this case, baking). LOL! But in all seriousness, I’m a huge fan of Kids in the Kitchen because the kitchen is a wonderful classroom, and cooking is a skill you can enjoy for a lifetime!
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Please Note: This was a completely unbiased test. I did not receive free or discounted product or compensation from either brand. This post represents my personal opinion after testing these two brands using three different recipes. Your opinion may vary, so I encourage you to give both brands a try and decide for yourself which you prefer.

Shop Around: Both brands sell their products via their websites and through other retailers and online sources. And although I have included *affiliate links to Amazon, I do recommend shopping around to find the best price. I also recommend not blowing your budget either. Remember, I happily used Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour for more than a year because it’s available via my co-op for a good price and it does produce a nice baked good.

*Disclaimer: If you opt to purchase using the affiliate links in this post, a small portion of the sale goes to support The Nourishing Home at no additional cost to you. There is no obligation to purchase, but if you do, you are helping to support the free resources, meal plans and recipes here at The Nourishing Home. Thank you!
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Comments

  1. Alexis D says

    Thanks for posting this! I’ll definitely be trying out the Honeyville Grains brand of Almond Flour in the near future!!!

    • Kelly says

      Thanks, Alexis! It was a real shocker to see what a difference there is between blanched almond flours :)

  2. Jessica M. says

    I’ve never used any almond flours but my husband and I happen to have bought recently the Honeyville almond flour. I’m excited to try it in some recipes! Thanks for the info! :)

  3. Karen Harris says

    Going through my second bag of Honeyville flour and they do make everything good and light. Thanks for doing this comparison. What about making your own flour vs. Honeyville? Price would also factor in on this comparison. Wish Honeyville wasn’t so expensive!

    • Kelly says

      Hi, Karen! I agree, I wish Honeyville were more affordable. I can get the Bob’s brand through my Azure co-op for $21 a bag with no shipping. As far as grinding your own blanched almonds, you could certainly do that, but my thought is that it probably won’t be as fine ground as Honeyville is able to get it (without creating almond butter :)). But cost is a huge factor. And like I mentioned at the bottom of the post (disclaimers) – it’s not worth breaking the bank to have the best when the good is a blessing you can afford. :)

  4. Kerry Hedley says

    Super interesting article Kelly. Why not mix the two flours together in some proportion? The less expensive Bob’s flour would make the Honeyville stretch, and last a little longer, thus mitigating its budget busting issues. And perhaps the result, while not quite as light and fluffy as the straight Honeyville flour, might still be good (after, it seems as if your clan didn’t complain about the Bob’s flour over the past year). Just a thought -

    • Kelly says

      Kerry, that’s a great idea, sweet friend! Thanks for sharing!! That would be an interesting test – will have to try it soon! Blessings, Kelly :)

    • Kelly says

      Thanks, Michelle! I appreciate you checking this out! And yes, it was fun and surprising! Have a blessed week! :) Kelly

  5. says

    We love Honeyville and never use anything else in our recipes. The Bob’s never comes out right AND from what I’ve seen, Bob’s has the almond skins in the mix, so it contains phytic acid and really needs to be soaked first. With the blanched almond flour from Honeyville (make sure it’s the BLANCHED one), there is no need to soak, because the skins have been removed. They are also removed using only steam, no chemicals, and then it’s a finely ground flour. We call Honeyville almond FLOUR and Bob’s (and others like it) almond MEAL because it so much coarser. Like I said, we don’t use anything other than Honeyville and we don’t recommend anything else to our clients!

    • Kelly says

      Hi, Amy. Thanks for the info about Honeyville’s blanching process using steam to remove the skins and for bringing up the point about not having to soak blanched almonds. I am going to be writing a post on almond flour soon that covers these points, since this is a common question (is soaking necessary for blanched almond flour). Blessings, Kelly :)

  6. says

    I am trying the Honeyville. Never heard of it, but I am always looking to make my recipes better. You convinced me. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Kelly says

      Thanks, Jen! I think you’ll really enjoy it. Like I said though, Bob’s does make a nice baked good. It’s one of those good, better, best things… Blessings, Kelly :)

  7. says

    Hi there everyone, my name is Nikita and I work for the E-Commerce department at Honeyville. I love this comparison between our flour and Bob’s Red Mill, it really shows just how different the flours really are. Thank you Kelly for doing this awesome bake-off!! Not only do I work for Honeyville, but I also use the blanched almond flour for my pancakes, cookies, and muffins. I love it and cannot find anything remotely comparable. I understand the price concerns that everyone here has shared, and we always appreciate hearing those comments. We cannot improve as a company without hearing from our loyal customers, all feedback is welcome :) Please E-mail me at nikitaj@honeyvillegrain.com so i can voice your comments, concerns, and feedback to the rest of our company.

    • Kelly says

      Thanks, Nikita! So glad you enjoyed the article. I tried to email you, but got a bounce back that it was rejected as spam. I’ll try again from my personal email and from my TNH email. Perhaps it was because I included a URL in the message? So if you get more than one note from me, I apologize! Blessings, Kelly :)

    • Kelly says

      Thanks, Alea! It would be interesting for you to do a test kitchen using one of the brands you like best compared to Honeyville. P.S. If you see this message by May 22 – Honeyville is having a sale. Blessings, Kelly :)

  8. Erica Johnson says

    I just purchased a 25lb bag of honeyville because we found an amazing snickerdoodle recipe, that cooks up nice and thin and chewy, the first several times I made it with Bobs Mill….but with the honeyville they stay in a ball and don’t spread out at all….I may just have to experiment and see if using less flour helps, because I’m missing my “cookies” even though they taste the same, I like the thin and chewy ones.

    • Kelly says

      You’re right, Erica! I noticed this recently myself, so it just goes to show how the grind of the almond flour can really impact the quality of a recipe. I haven’t tried this yet, but I am planning to make these again soon and try using 1/4 cup less of the Honeyville flour and I also plan on flattening them with the palm of my hand a bit before baking. But keep me posted if you do more experimenting. And I’ll also make a note when I give this a try. Thanks for pointing this out! Blessings, Kelly :)

  9. Amanda says

    Kelly –
    Just curious but have you ever tried to make your own almond flour? Is there a difference between almond meal and almond flour? Sprouts does sell the meal in bulk but not the flour. I did a little research online and it “appears” easy to make almond flour with a coffee grinder. I have not attempted this yet but was going to try this weekend.

    • Kelly says

      Hi, Amanda. You can make your own blanched almond flour or almond meal – just be careful not to over process as there’s a fine line between almond flour and almond butter. :) The difference between the two is … blanched almond flour is made from blanched almonds (almonds that have had their skins removed). Whereas, almond meal is made from almonds with the skins intact. Blanched almond flour produces lighter, fluffier baked goods. Almond meal has a heavier taste and texture. It’s not a good idea to sub almond meal in recipes that have been specifically developed for use with blanched almond flour. The results can be disappointing, although it depends on the recipe. The most economical way to purchase blanched almond flour is via online, as retail markets charge anywhere from $8-$10 per pound. I use Honeyville Grains brand, as note in this post, because of the quality, finer grind and because they are the most economical especially when they have a sale going on. Which they do right now. See this post for details:
      http://thenourishinghome.com/2012/08/super-summer-sale-honeyville-blanched-almond-flour-as-low-as-3-87-per-pound/
      Hope this helps! Blessings, Kelly :)

  10. Krissy says

    I currently have Honeyville. I’ve been avoiding Bob’s due to reviews, but my concern is that Honeyville is not organic. Should I worry about this since the almond skins are removed? Also, Benefit Your Life has a great Almond Flour that matches Honeyville and is organically grown.

    • Kelly says

      I have not personally tried Benefit Your Life, but I have heard it’s excellent. If the price and quality is comparable, then this may very well be great option for you. I haven’t worried too much about the almonds not being organic as they are not on the list for the Dirty Dozen. Are you familiar with that resource? It’s very helpful because it’s not always practical for every family on a budget to afford all organic everything. This wonderful organization helps monitor the worst and the best so you can make educated decisions. Here’s the link so you can check it out. Lots of blessings, Kelly
      http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

  11. says

    Have you tried sifting Bob’s almond flour? I know it is more work but I did it to find out why others preferred Honeyville over Bob’s. The sifting made all the difference! I saved the coarse bits for breading meats and other uses.

    I made a clementine cake and it was delicious! If you haven’t already, you should make it too. So yummy! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/clementine-cake-recipe/index.html

    I am loyal to Bob too as I live in Oregon and can go to the farm store any time and most local stores carry a good selection. I have not tried Honeyville but I will soon.

    Thanks for doing the comparison for us.

    • Kelly says

      Hi, Charlotte. Great idea to sift the Bob’s Red Mill flour so that you’re only getting the finest bits of the grind, especially if that’s readily available and economical for you. Thanks for sharing that option with us!

      I enjoy many of Bob’s Red Mill products, but after this comparison, I had to give kudos to Honeyville for a superior grind that results in a much lighter texture, and I’ve found the price to be more competitive since Honeyville runs sales every quarter.

      BTW, thanks for sharing your favorite cake recipe, if it weren’t for the fact that oranges and grapefruits of any kind don’t work well with my digestive system, I would definitely give it a try. It looks and sounds delicious!

      P.S. Your blog looks really fun. I’ll have to take a closer look soon. Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind note and great ideas! Blessings, Kelly :)

  12. Leanne S says

    Has anyone used the blanched almond flour from nuts.com? I’d be interested in seeing a comparison of that to the Honeyville brand!

    • says

      It would be interesting. I looked at their blanched almond flour and they claim to also have a very fine grind. So if their grind is as fine as Honeyville’s, then my guess is, there wouldn’t be a significant difference between the two. As far as price goes, it looks like a 5 lb. bag at nuts.com is $2 less than Honeyville, but nuts.com shipping is much higher ($10 compared to Honeyville’s flat rate of $4.49 no matter your order size/weight). :)

    • Julie M says

      I’ve used the blanched almond flour from Nuts.com and haven’t noticed any difference when using it vs. the Honeyville brand. As for the shipping price, I just wait until they (Nuts.com) offer free shipping (usually 2-3 times a year) and stock up.

      Since Nuts.com was mentioned, short of ordering directly from date growers in California, I have NEVER had bigger, fresher, soft, and chewy Medjool dates. These seriously blow grocery store bought dates out of the water. Just received 30 pounds for my birthday last week… Best gift ever :)

      P.S. sorry to ramble (I get a bit excited about healthy food options/quality products/good buys) but I also just noticed our local Costco now carries Honeyville blanched almond flour… 3 lbs for $17.99 in Oregon so it’s even cheaper. Hope this helps someone :)

      • says

        Thanks for the great tips, Julie! I haven’t tried Nuts.com almond flour – and their dates sound amazing. Love it that you got fresh dates for your birthday! That is awesome! And yes, several people have mentioned in other posts about Costco carrying Honeyville Almond Flour, I haven’t seen it in our area, but that is terrific that you have it as an option! Thanks for taking time to leave a note! Blessings to you, Kelly :)

  13. Kaye says

    Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for the insightful comparison of Bob’s vs. Honeyville. I’ve been baking macarons with Bob’s and its about $10 a pound at Walmart. I checked out Nuts.com and bought 5lb Blanched Almond Flour for $33.90 only because they carried Pistachio Flour for $15.99 and a few inexpensive freeze dried fruits…shipping was $10.82 for delivery within 5 days ouch! Anyway, for those looking at Honeyville, on Amazon.com, the price for a 5lb bag just dropped from last week from $43.99 to $35.99 which is the same as their website minus the shipping since Amazon.com has Super Saver Shipping :-) Just a tip from a novice baker :-) Anyway, thanks again for this comparison. I will post back concerning Honeyville vs Nuts.com blanched almond powder ;-)

    • says

      That’s great, Kaye! I appreciate you taking the time to let us know how you’re shopping around and that would be great to hear how Honeyville and Nuts.com compare. Blessings, Kelly :)

    • says

      Hi Kaye,

      Have you had a chance to compare the nuts.com versus honeyville consistency? I’m going to make a bulk purchase soon and would love to get nuts.com’s organic almond flour, but I’d like to know if it’s as fine as honeyville’s!

      Thanks, Stephen

      • says

        Hi, Stephen. I haven’t tried nuts.com. If you’d prefer their brand, perhaps you should make a small order first to test it and if you like it, then proceed with a large bulk order. Just a thought. Blessings, Kelly

          • says

            Oh, LOL! That’s my bad. I thought you were talking to me, so I just edited the name to my name. LOL! I didn’t realize this was in response to a reader comment. I fixed it back. Apologies! :)

          • says

            Update: after talking with nuts.com, it sounds like their non-organic almond flour is fine (like Honeyville’s), but their organic is very course at the moment. So, I cancelled my organic order till their processors are making the finer grind.

          • says

            Thanks for the update. I appreciate you sharing this as others may be interested in knowing this information as well. :) Blessings to you!

  14. Gayle Kuhlberg says

    Would you share the cookie and muffin recipes you tested with they look so good and my husband could eat them I have had a hard time getting good recipes.

    • says

      Hi, Gayle. If you scroll down in this post to 5th to 6th paragraph, you’ll see bullets of each recipe I tested and the text is in blue type, that because the text is actually a hyperlink that will take you to those exact recipes on my website. So just move your cursor over the blue text and then click and you’ll find each of the recipes that I used in this post for my test kitchen showdown. Hope you enjoy these! Lots of blessings, Kelly :)

  15. Gayle Kuhlberg says

    Sorry I did not get the box checked fast enough, age must be showing! THANK YOU in advance.

  16. Christiana says

    I’ve just made a second batch of cranberry and walnut cookies. First batch, before New Year, was made with Honeyville – scrumptious! Current batch had to be made with a mixture of Honeyville and BRM as I didn’t have enough of the Honeyville to hand – edible but such a disappointment! A mixture of the two didn’t work well – not in this recipe anyway. Just thought I’d contribute my twopennyworth, in answer to Kelly Hedley’s (#4) suggestion.

    I always get my flour from Honeyville when they have a sale, and have a packet of BRM from Costco on hand for substituting for breadcrumbs etc being gluten intolerant. BRM is fine for that, but not for baking. I’ve always heeded the advice that Honeyville is far superior for baking, but had no choice today. Honeyville is definitely better for baking.

    • says

      Thanks for your valued input, Christiana. As you can see from this post, I’ve had the same experience as you and completely agree. Smart shopping too! Waiting for the Honeyville sales is always the best way to go! Thanks for taking the time to share with us. You are a blessing! :)

  17. Mary says

    Yesterday I purchased Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour, Super Fine grind, 3 pound bag for $17.99.
    Here at our local COSTCO in Washington state. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for your experiment and recipes!

    • says

      Yay! That is so cool. I wonder if HV is starting to work with Costco in getting there wonderful product in there. That would be so wonderful if more people could get access to such a healthy, delicious option at such a great price! Congrats! You might want to go grab a couple more bags and store them in your freezer (if you decide you like grain-free baking). Blessings, Kelly :)

  18. Erin says

    Kelly, I love your recipies and meal plans! I work full time and you have inspired me to do the prep work needed to have a healthier week. Thank you!

    Ohhh goody. Thanks Mary. I will have to check out our Costco here in GA for the Almond Flour. That’s a $2 savings per pound. I tried almond meal….because it’s what I had and I LOVE almonds… I was so excited to try it. Not terrible but not the best outcome (but they were biscuits for the pot pie so we jut dropped them in). I’ve been “milling” over the high price (haha pun intended) and whether it’s worth it, but then I realized that I spare no expense in other areas, and less nutritious items without even blinking! (Cereals, occasional chips and snacks, supposedly nutritious bars, etc) So now I’m going to look past the price and go for the blanched!

    • says

      You are so welcome and it’s such a joy to have such a wonderful community here of sweet women who help one another! Blessings to you!! :)

  19. says

    Warm Hello

    honeyville is not organic is it?
    do u recommend an almond flour that has the phytates removed
    kindly
    thanks
    naturally id like to be economical too
    but i would cringe at buying non organic anything

    • says

      Teresa, Honeyville’s blanched almond flour is not organic, but there are organic options such as nuts.com. However the cost is quite high. $15.99 per pound, although I would recommend shopping around. With regard to phytates, the bulk of phytates are found within the bran of a nut or grain, so blanched almond flour which has had the skins removed contains far less phytates than almond meal, which leaves the skins intact. Still, each person must explore the right options for their health concerns and goals. If phytates are a major issue or concern, it may be best to limit almond flour and opt for coconut flour instead. Of course, the bulk of any diet should come from foods highest in nutritional value and benefit for the body. Using grain-free flours for baking enables those of us who are gluten-free and grain-free the opportunity to enjoy baked goods that we would miss otherwise, but these should be a once or twice a day serving at most and not a significant portion of a healthy diet. Blessings, Kelly

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