Almond Butter Vs. Almond Paste

Almond butter and almond paste - two ingredients you've likely seen in recipes or on grocery store shelves. Though their names sound quite similar, they are distinct products with different uses in the kitchen.

Almond Butter Vs. Almond Paste

It's understandable to be confused about the differences between almond butter and paste. But once you understand how they vary in ingredients, texture, taste, and best uses, you'll know exactly when to use each one.

How Almond Butter And Almond Paste Are Made

Though both originate from almonds, almond butter, and almond paste have distinct production methods. Understanding how each is made gives insight into why they vary in texture and taste.

Almond Butter Production

Almond butter starts with whole, raw almonds that are roasted to bring out their oils and flavor. The roasted almonds are then ground into a paste, which produces almond butter.

Some almond butter contains just roasted almonds, while others have small amounts of additional ingredients like oil, sugar, or salt. These extras help emulsify the butter and prevent separation.

You can also purchase raw almond butter, which is made by grinding up raw almonds. This retains more of the almonds' nutrients but has a less roasted flavor.

Almond Paste Production

Almond paste begins with blanched almonds - almonds that have been briefly boiled and then cooled to remove their skins. Using blanched almonds gives almond paste a smooth, fine texture.

Next, the blanched almonds are finely ground into a meal. Sugar is then added in equal parts to the almond meal and mixed until a thick paste forms.

Other common almond paste ingredients are corn syrup, almond extract, and small amounts of apricot or peach kernels. The added sugar is what distinguishes almond paste from nutty, low-sugar almond butter.

Ingredient And Nutrition Differences

With an overview of how each is produced, let's look at the key ingredient and nutritional differences between almond butter and almond paste.

Main Ingredients

  • Almond butter - Contains primarily roasted almonds, sometimes with small amounts of oil, sugar, or salt added.
  • Almond paste - Made from equal parts blanched almond meal and sugar, plus almond extract and/or fruit kernels as flavorings.

Clearly, the main distinction is almond paste's high sugar content, usually equal to the amount of almond meal. This gives almond paste a sweetness completely unlike the pure nutty flavor of almond butter.

Nutritional Profile

Due to the added sugar, almond paste is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and healthy fats compared to almond butter.

Almond paste has about half the amount of vitamins and minerals found in almond butter. Its high sugar and lower nutrition make almond paste more of a confection while almond butter acts as a nutritious spread.

However, almond paste contains more vitamin E than almond butter, as vitamin E is lost when almonds are roasted for butter production.

Taste And Texture Differences

With different main ingredients and production methods, almond butter and almond paste unsurprisingly vary in taste and texture. Knowing these differences helps choose when to use each one.

Almond Butter Taste/Texture

Almond Butter Taste/Texture

Thanks to being made purely from ground almonds, almond butter has an intensely nutty, roasted almond flavor. Its texture is smooth, creamy, and spreadable, similar to peanut or other nut butter.

Almond butter retains the natural oils from the almond skins so it has a rich, mouth-coating feel. Unless stabilizers are added, almond butter may separate into layers during storage.

Almond Paste Taste/Texture

Almond Paste Taste/Texture

Almond paste tastes strongly of marzipan or sweet almond candy due to containing equal parts almond meal and sugar. It has a coarser, drier, pasty texture than almond butter.

With less almond oils than butter, almond paste has a more doughy, crumbly consistency. It holds its shape well, making it useful for molding or rolling. Almond paste's texture also stays firm when baked or heated.

Best Uses For Almond Butter And Almond Paste

Now that we've compared their main differences, let's look at the best uses for almond butter and almond paste in recipes.

Top Uses For Almond Butter

  • Sandwiches - Delicious with banana or other fruits
  • Smoothies - Blends into a creamy, protein-rich base
  • Over yogurt, ice cream, or cottage cheese
  • Sauces and dips - Makes a great salad dressing base
  • Stir fries - Adds nutty flavor to Asian-style dishes
  • Blended into nut milk or milkshakes
  • As a peanut butter replacement in any recipe

Top Uses For Almond Paste

  • Fillings for pastries like bear claws, fruit tarts
  • Covering cakes or desserts
  • Sculpting into decorative edible shapes or flowers
  • Add texture and flavor to oat or granola bars
  • Mix into cookie or scone dough
  • Can be rolled into truffle-like balls to coat in chocolate
  • Add nutty sweetness to chutneys or savory sauces

Can They Be Substituted For Each Other?

Since almond butter and almond paste vary so much in texture and sweetness, they cannot be perfectly substituted for each other in recipes.

However, there are adjustments you can make to mimic some of their qualities if you only have one ingredient on hand.

Substitutes For Almond Paste

If a recipe calls for almond paste but you only have almond butter:

  • Add powdered sugar to the almond butter until a dough forms, starting with 1⁄4 cup sugar per 1 cup butter. The sugar recreates almond paste's firm texture.
  • Mix in almond extract to add a sweet nutty flavor that mimics marzipan.
  • Reduce other sugars in the recipe slightly to account for the added powdered sugar.
  • Expect a slightly thinner, greasier texture than almond paste, so reduce liquids if needed.

Substitutes For Almond Butter

To substitute almond paste when almond butter is required:

  • Add more almond meal to the paste until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Start with 1⁄4 cup extra meal per 1 cup paste.
  • Mix in a small amount of coconut or vegetable oil to help thin and emulsify the paste.
  • Add a pinch of salt for a salted butter flavor.
  • The paste may separate after baking since it contains less fat. Expect a pasty, dense texture.

While not perfect replacements, these substitutions can work well in a pinch!

Almond Butter And Paste Compared To Other Nut Butters

How do almond butter and almond paste compare nutrition and taste-wise to other nut butter like peanut, cashew, and walnut?

Peanut butter - High in protein but prone to mold contamination. Has added sugar and is higher in saturated fats than other nut butter.

Cashew butter - Has a mild flavor and creamy consistency similar to almond butter. Provides carbohydrates, protein, and copper.

Walnut butter - Has an earthy, toasted walnut taste. Highest in omega-3s compared to other nut butters.

No single nut butter is superior. For best nutrition, regularly enjoy a variety of nut butter like almond, peanut, cashew, and walnut.

Which Is Healthier: Almond Butter Or Almond Paste?

Almond butter is healthier overall than almond paste. It has:

  • Higher protein
  • More healthy fats
  • Fewer net carbs
  • Lower calorie density
  • More vitamins and minerals

However, almond paste contains more vitamin E.

For a nutritious spread, almond butter is a better choice. Almond paste is primarily used in baking as a sweet almond flavoring.

Make Homemade Almond Butter And Paste

Want to control the ingredients by making your own almond butter and paste? Here are simple recipes to try:

Homemade Almond Butter


  • 2 cups raw or roasted almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil (optional)


  1. Add almonds to a food processor and blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy, scraping sides as needed.
  2. If needed for texture, drizzle in the oil while the processor is running.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Homemade Almond Paste


  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)


  1. Beat egg white until foamy.
  2. In a food processor, finely grind almonds with 1/2 the sugar.
  3. Add remaining sugar and process until a coarse meal forms.
  4. Add egg white and almond extract and process until a thick dough forms.
  5. Chill dough until firm, at least 2 hours. Keeps 2 weeks refrigerated.

Be sure to use a powerful food processor, as nuts are hard to grind smoothly. Adding some oil helps ease the processing if needed.


Are almond paste and marzipan the same thing?

In Europe, yes. But in the US, marzipan contains more sugar than almond paste and has a candy-like consistency used for decorating cakes.

Is amaretto liqueur made from almonds?

Not always. Many brands use apricot kernels or other nuts rather than almonds to flavor amaretto. But it does have that sweet almond taste.

Can I freeze almond butter or paste?

You can freeze both almond butter and paste for 6-12 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using. The butter may separate after thawing but will remix smoothly.

Which is better for weight loss?

Almond butter. With more protein, fiber, and healthy fats, almond butter is more nutritious and satisfying. Have it in moderation.

What’s the shelf life of almond butter and almond paste?

Unopened almond butter lasts 6-12 months past its printed "best by" date. Almond paste keeps 6-8 months refrigerated. Opened, both last 1-2 months refrigerated.


While their names sound similar, almond butter and almond paste vary widely in ingredients, texture, taste, and best uses.

Almond butter shines as a nutritious spread or addition to smoothies and sauces. Sweet almond paste lends its marzipan flavor to pastries but lacks the nutrition of almond butter.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions