[vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, palm oil-free, sugar-free, additive-free]
It’s not an exaggeration to call almond butter a vegan staple. It is so versatile! I spread it on my sandwiches, bake a gooey brownie from it, and even drop a dollop of it in my sweet potato soup. For those – and many other – delicious occasions, I make sure that there’s always a jarful of fresh almond butter in our fridge. Home-made almond butter from whole almonds is about as good as it gets.
Why Whole Almonds?
Almonds are a nutritious and delicious food that has numerous health benefits. They are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, low in saturated fat, and low in carbohydrates. They are a good source of fiber and protein. They are free from gluten and cholesterol.
With that said, almonds are very calorie dense. It’s perhaps not a great idea to stuff your face with them every night. A daily serving of 10–30 almonds is more like it. They are yummy as is, and easy to grab with you when you’re on the go.
According to a Natural Factors’ article, studies show that almonds are health-promoting no matter how you consume them. On one hand, the article sites weight management and using almonds as probiotics as good reasons to eat whole almonds. Almond butter, on the other hand, is a great way to get the most energy and nutrition from almonds because of the smaller particle size.
So, almond butter is an effective way to get the most out of almonds. I always make almond butter from whole almonds for three reasons. First, according to a Live Science article, the brown skin of almonds contains 20 different antioxidants that have significant implications for cholesterol levels and inflammation, for example. Because of this, I opt for whole, raw almonds that haven’t been peeled.
Second, whole almonds are sodium-free, which is especially important if you have issues with hypertension. The fact that they don’t contain sodium also contributes to the pleasant taste of almonds and, naturally, also almond butter. And yes, the amazing taste is the third reason for making almond butter from whole almonds.
Almond Butter Tastes Amazing!
Yes, it sure does!
Make taste count. If you don’t have any other reasons –health-wise or otherwise – for making almond butter at home, make it simply for its amazing flavor.
The flavor is round, mild, and delightfully sweet. In fact, I find it much sweeter than most other nut butters. It doesn’t hijack the taste, unlike nut butters like walnut or cashew butter. Almond butter from whole almonds, with no added salt, is also naturally less salty than peanut butter, for example. These qualities make it a truly versatile baking ingredient, and it is even great for savory dishes.
Almond butter is also esthetically beautiful. It has a light brown colour with tiny darker spots from the skins. Its texture is extremely smooth and less sticky than that of peanut butter. It tends to be quite liquid, which makes it easy to use in baking. When refrigerated, the texture becomes slightly firmer but remains pliable enough to be readily used. It doesn’t have to be separately warmed or softened to be combined in a dough or batter.
Almond butter is absolutely delicious in cookie dough, fudge, or blondies, to name just a few. I particularly love to have it for breakfast: I put it on my toast and top it with sliced banana and sunflower seeds or pine nuts, or mix a tablespoonful of it in my overnight oats and eat that in the morning with a pile of fresh blueberries. So yummy! I’d love to know your favorite use of almond butter. Let me know on Instagram.
What is so amazing about almond butter is its flavor, which brings out the natural flavors of the foods that it accompanies rather than covers them. This makes it more than a versatile vegan ingredient.
Key Points of Almond Butter-Making
- You’ll need a food processor or a powerful blender to make almond butter at home. I have a Vitamix Ascent 2300i that blows through the raw almonds like a breeze! Almonds might not be the toughest nuts (and technically, they’re not nuts, at all, but drupes) to crack, but with a less powerful blender you always run the risk of blowing the motor in the middle of blending. You might be fine, but it’s not something I recommend.
- Roast the almonds in 350°F/180°C for 10 minutes before processing them. This will bring out their natural oils and make processing easier on your blender.
- Don’t be shy – make a sizeable batch. When I make almond butter from whole almonds, I start with at least 500 grams (1.1 lb). This is simply because with too little almonds my blender will have trouble processing it and the half-done butter will end up stuck on the bottom and sides of the blender. Besides, I want to have enough almond butter for it to last at least a couple of days. 500 grams will make approximately 3.5 dl or 1.5 cups of almond butter.
- Home-made almond butter keeps extremely well in the fridge. If you pour it into an airtight glass jar, it can be refrigerated for at least a month. I’ve stored almond butter in the fridge for three months, and it’s still tasted fresh. Just make sure that the lid is properly closed.
- This might not be something to do right off the bat, but home-made almond butter is the perfect testing ground for different flavors. I really, really enjoy it as it is, but sometimes I love to add 1/4–1/2 tsp cinnamon, ginger, or vanilla to it. Test for yourself to see, which version of almond butter from whole almonds turns out your favorite!
- Food processor or blender
- 500 g whole raw almonds
- ⅓ tsp salt optional
- ¼ tsp cinnamon optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Spread the almonds evenly on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Roast them for 10 minutes.
- Let the almonds cool for 15 minutes. You are good to go, when they no longer feel hot to the touch.
- Transfer the almonds to the food processor or blender. It's necessary to use a powerful blender in order for the almonds to turn into butter.
- Process the almonds at full speed for one minute at a time. Scrape down the sides as needed. You will see the go from crush to flour, a sandy dough ball and finally to an oily mixture. Your almond butter is ready, when it is smooth, liquid, and glossy. With a powerful food processor or blender, this won't take more than 3–5 minutes.
- In the final stages of blending, add salt and cinnamon, if you'd like. You can even add maple or agave syrup, vanilla, or ginger. Feel free to experiment. Keep blending a minute or so to combine the add-ins. Please note that the add-ins are optional, as almond butter is delicious even as is.
- Pour the almond butter in an airtight glass jar. Leave the lid open and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a refrigerator, where almond butter can easily be stored for several weeks.