This guide to almonds was contributed by Nikki Miller-Ka. Nikki is a culinary expert and social media influencer based in North Carolina. A former associate editor at Food And Wine, her favorite things to cook are tacos and biscuits.
Depending on how they’re prepared, almonds can be slightly sweet, rich and toasty, or mild and buttery. This versatile ingredient can be the golden brown star of a dish, or it can subtly enhance a recipe as a garnish. Almonds have a high oil content, giving them a long shelf life when handled and stored properly. Whole, sliced, diced, slivered, ground, chopped, or blanched—almonds add flavor and texture to just about any savory or sweet recipe.
All almonds taste nuttier and richer when they’re roasted. Roasting almonds brings their natural oils to the surface, and also crisps up the bronze, papery skins. Roasting nuts deepens their flavor, rendering them richer, nuttier, and more complex. It also gives them a crispier texture that shines in many recipes. There are two ways to roast almonds: in the oven or in a frying pan. Read on for instructions for both methods.
How to roast almonds
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Place almonds in a single layer on the sheet. To enhance browning, it’s optional to use a neutral oil and drizzle a small amount (1-2 teaspoons total) over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. Roast whole almonds in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, sliced almonds for 5-7 minutes, and slivered almonds for 6-8 minutes. Place in the oven and check every 5 minutes.
Stir and shake the pan so that the nuts are redistributed to roast evenly. When the nuts are browned and smell nutty, remove them from the oven and immediately transfer to a work surface or an unheated baking sheet to cool. The nuts will continue to cook and potentially burn if not removed to a cool surface.
To toast a small number of almonds, use a frying pan. Place the nuts in a single layer in a small dry skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes until they start to smell nutty and they look golden. Pay attention to the pan closely as pan-roasted almonds burn easily on the spots in contact with the pan.
Try this romesco sauce recipe using roasted whole almonds. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
What are blanched almonds?
Blanched almonds are almonds with the skin removed. Blanching refers to briefly submerging the almonds in boiling water to loosen and remove the skins. Without skins, almonds have a shorter shelf-life but can still be roasted or processed to make almond meal, milk, or flour.
How to blanch almonds
There are two common methods for blanching almonds: an overnight soak or a 5-minute boil. Be sure to dry the almonds thoroughly after blanching in a single layer on paper towels or on dish towels. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place.
Overnight Soaking Method
Place almonds in a bowl. Fill it with cold water just until they are fully submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or a loose-fitting lid, and let it sit under refrigeration overnight. Drain the water from the bowl. Gently squeeze the almonds to loosen their skins—they should slip off easily. Compost the discarded skins.
Fill a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, add the almonds to the saucepan. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let them rest for 2 minutes. Drain the water from the pan into a colander as soon as the skins become wrinkled. Rinse the almonds under cold water and gently squeeze the almonds to loosen their skins immediately. Start peeling the skins while the almonds are still warm—as they cool down it will become more difficult to remove the skins.
Try this Tangy Sweet Meyer Lemon Almond Tart recipe with blanched almonds. The crust will become brown, nutty and pair perfectly with the bright, fresh meyer lemon filling.