Baking with Almond Flour for Type 2 Diabetes

Do we have any bakers with type 2 diabetes out there?

In the past 5 years, I have grown to love baking. Cookies, cakes, bread… you name it, I have baked it!

A family member of mine was recently diagnosed with prediabetes. This family member is working hard to make lifestyle changes to slow/prevent the progression of prediabetes to diabetes (that includes avoiding most of my high carb baked goods!). To show my support, I decided to experiment with a favorite recipe: pumpkin muffins, for those with type 2 diabetes.

My goal: modify the original pumpkin muffin recipe to a new, lower-carb muffin, while maintaining the overall taste and quality.

Is almond flour compatible with type 2 diabetes?

Almond flour is gaining popularity as more people with type 2 diabetes look for a lower carb alternative to all-purpose flour (a common staple in any baker’s pantry).

In doing some of my own research, I wanted to find out, could I use almond flour for my pumpkin spice muffins? The original recipe includes the following ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • White pepper
  • Raisins

(As a personal preference, I usually omit the ginger, cloves, and white pepper, but add extra cinnamon)
Carbs in 1 muffin: 52 grams

What is almond flour?

Almond flour is made from almonds. The almonds are blanched (boiled for a brief time and then placed in cold water to stop the cooking process), then the skin is removed, and finally, the almonds are ground into a fine texture (almond flour).

Benefits of almond flour

Almond flour is low in carbs and is gluten free, making it a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance (in addition to those who are carb-conscious, like those with type 2 diabetes). Gluten, however, does play an important role in flour, it is the protein that forms when water and flour are mixed together and help give bread its chewy texture. Therefore, it is not always a simple one-to-one swap when it comes to replacing all-purpose flour with almond flour. 

Almond flour baking tips

Almond flour can be a viable alternative to all-purpose flour for those with type 2 diabetes in many baked goods such as cookies, cakes, quick bread, and pancakes. However, it may not the best alternative for yeast bread. There is no standard conversion when using almond flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour. Almond flour burns easier than all-purpose flour. Baked goods with almond flour may need to be cooked at a slightly lower temperature and/or covered using a foil tent to prevent burning.

A few avid bakers have suggested the following:

  • Start off by replacing the volume of flour in the recipe with the same volume of almond flour (i.e. 1 cup of almond flour in place of 1 cup of all-purpose flour).
  • Slightly increase the amount of rising agent (baking powder and/or baking soda) to accommodate the heavier weight of the almond flour.
  • Using either more almond flour or using less liquid in the recipe can help balance the extra moisture in almond flour.

One suggested conversion when using almond flour as a substitute:

  • 1:2 ratio (i.e. ¾ cup all-purpose flour = 1 ½ cups almond flour)

Comparing almond flour to all-purpose flour

FlourServingCaloriesCarb (g)Fiber (g)Fat (g)Protein (g)
All-purpose flour¼ cup1202410.54
Almond flour¼ cup16063146

Pumpkin spice muffins recipe

Ingredients for pumpkin spice muffins

Makes 24 muffins

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • ¼ cup Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ¾ cups almond flour

*(The original recipe called for 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour. I used a slightly different conversion ratio: 1:1.5 instead of 1:2 as suggested above)

  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins 

Directions for pumpkin spice muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin cups.
  3. Whisk eggs, sour cream, pumpkin puree, sugars, and butter together in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Fold raisins into dry ingredients.
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stir gently. Do not over-mix.
  7. Scoop ½ cup of mixture into each muffin tin.
  8. Bake muffins at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Wait 10-15 minutes before removing muffins from tins.
  10. Place muffins on cooling rack.

Nutrition Facts for pumpkin spice muffins (per serving)

  • Serving Size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 309
  • Carbs: 14 grams (the original recipe had 52 grams of carb per muffin)
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fat: 26 grams

Main takeaways

Almond flour can be a great baking alternative for people with type 2 diabetes. Almond flour can be expensive (the amount you pay will vary depending on where you shop and which brand you purchase). In my own research, I found almond flour cost nearly 15 times more than all-purpose flour (per pound). Creativity and patience are required. Remember, what works well for one recipe, may not work well for another.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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