FINALLY, a Nut-Free Almond Flour Replacement Recommendation

This is Blendtec week! All of our posts this week will feature something we’ve done with our new blender. Don’t have a high speed blender and want one? Enter to win your own Blendtec Designer Series with Twister Jar on Monday’s post. Even if you don’t acquire one, we hope these posts are still helpful for you!

We are constantly bombarded, on practically every single one of our recipes, with requests for modifications. Can you make these egg free? What if I don’t have palm shortening? I really hate bananas, so would an apple work? The answer to all of these is, of course, I don’t know. I didn’t make them that way, so I have no way of knowing if they will turn out edible at all! I can guess, but someone needs to make it to confirm. No matter how much we reference our Ingredients Page that has some replacements suggestions, we’re still not going to have all the answers!

However, we’ve been trying to tackle the most frequently requested replacement for years, “I’m alergic to tree nuts, what can I substitute for almond flour?” Almond flour is a wondrous thing, truly. It’s more nutrient-dense than any other flour out there, and its quite versatile. Personally, we find it to be much tastier than wheat flour could ever hope to be. But then it has its drawbacks, too. For example, it’s really quite expensive. Your Bob’s Red Mill, inferior to begin with, runs over $10 per pound. Better quality like our recommended Honeyville is over $30 for 5lb. bags. And of course, so many people are allergic to tree nuts; even if you’re not allergic, perhaps tree-nuts are banned at your child’s school.

So when Fresh4Five mentioned that she thought there was an ingredient out there that could be substituted one for one with almond flour that was not a nut, we had to investigate. Honestly, I’ve never seen the kids SO excited to help in our “test kitchen.” It was both a new, fun device to use – as well as a science project!     Blendtec Sunflower Seed Flour in Cookies

Introducing Sunflower Seed Flour

Wait, you say, I’ve never heard of that! Where can I buy it?

Bad news. I don’t think you really can. This is something you’re going to have to make yourself. While we used our Blendtec, you may or may not be able to reproduce this stuff in a different appliance.

First step, acquire some raw, whole hulled sunflower seeds. This is just the kernels without the shell, but before they’ve been roasted or salted. Next, pour about 2 cups into your blender. Then blend until you’ve powdered it all. On our blender, that was 12 seconds on level 5. The result? Oh it’s floury alright!

Sunflower Seed Flour vs Almond Flour by PaleoParents

Not only is this stuff nut-free, but do you realize that it’s half the price of the blanched almond flour we use? And I found sunflower kernels at the local, normal supermarket on the regular, ordinary shelf! How fantastic!

But now that we have it, will it really work to replace almond flour? To find out, we tried it in one of our favorite recipes: Addicted to Veggies’ Coconut-Lemon Meltaways.

Will it Cookie? Coconut-Lemon Meltaways

Long ago, these were Stacy’s go-to cookies for a refreshing and light treat. I’ve made so many of these delicious little balls that I can no longer remember what life was like before we had these. Have you tried them? They’re astounding. And so simple and delicate that we knew it would be a great “tester” cookie!

But will they work without that cup-and-a-half of almond flour listed as the very first ingredient? We aimed to find out.

Coconut Lemon Meltaways with Sunflower Seed Flour by PaleoParents


The result? Perfect. They maintained their consistency, shape, flavor, everything that the original had without skipping a beat. What?! High-fives all around! Sunflower Seed Flower Flour, yo! But, you say, that was too easy. Those were raw cookies that you merely dehydrated instead of baking. How about a real challenge, buddy.

Okay. How about it. Let’s make up our own cookie recipe as we would with almond flour and instead cook with the sunflower. Will that work? Well…

It’s (not actually) Peanut Butter Jelly Cookie Time! Whereyat?

So Stacy asked the boys what kind of cookie they’d like to make with the new sunflower seed flour and the resulting vote produced “Peanut Butter and Jelly Time Cookies”. Of course they then dropped the mic and walked away like they expected us to come up with the recipe.

PB&J Sandwhich Cookies by PaleoParents

But we totally did, and to further prove a point – we made it egg-free too!



PB&J Sandwich Cookies



  1. Pulse or use batter setting on dates by themselves until a paste forms.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until a batter forms.
  3. Place tablespoons of batter onto a greased baking sheet (for that real peanut butter cookie look, make crosshatches at the top with a fork).
  4. Bake at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes.
  5. Allow cookies to cool on tray for five minutes.
  6. Spread sunflower seed butter and jelly between two cookies to make a sandwich.


Be forewarned: the Blendtec was not designed for a two year old! The touch panel can be easily turned on accidentally and there is no locking mechanism that prevents it from being turned on without a lid. CLOSE supervision is a must!

They are delicious and totally hit that peanut butter cookie spot. Per the boys request, served ours with a natural jelly. We adults, however, spread on some sunflower seed butter and made ourselves little not-nutter-butter-sandwiches with them. The resulting sandwiches tasted just like Nutter Butters. Seriously! Deeply nutty tasting without a single nut plucked from a tree. Out of this world good!

Not Peanut Butter Sandwhich Cookies by PaleoParents

So if you want to satisfying a cookie craving but have a nut-flour complication, perhaps you’ll consider making some sunflower seed flour?

Lastly, don’t forget to let your kids help – we recommend those marked with a ♥

Let Your Kids Help by PaleoParents
Lastly, you should know that although these two recipes don’t include baking soda so they will be unchanged, recipes which do include it cause a chemical reaction with the chlorophyll in sunflower seeds (butter or flower), causing a bright green reaction in your baked goods! This can be FUN and an exciting science experiment if you give your kids a heads up. If you wait for them to see it themselves, they may find it off-putting… We’ve used it to make some gnarly snacks on Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day!

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  • Ann

    YAY!!! My daughter has nut allergies and I’m in the process of switching her to the paleo-way — for a three year old, the change is much easier when there are treats she can eat!! Thank you!

    • Absolutely, happy to help 🙂

      • stampergal

        anyone with nut allergies must be careful to get sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds not processed in a nut facility. Just because they are seeds does not automatically make them safe.

  • Rennie

    I love this idea! Gonna go search my cabinets to see if I have some sunflower seeds! We don’t have nut allergies, but it’d be nice to save some $$ on almond flour. I was in the cookie aisle at the grocery store yesterday and eyeballing those nutter butters, LOL. My son said we had to get in the kitchen and experiment, looks like you’ve done it for us. 🙂

  • Lily

    Not to come up with another what if, but, well what if… pepitas?! I’m trying to think of other seed alternatives, but I’m good with almond flour too. (With the exception of the cost, of course.)

    • Lily, I’ve used pepitas successfully in my almond flour recipes. Different flavor of course, but worked great!

    • Michelle

      I just did my first experiment with pepitas/pumpkin seeds, and it turned out great! I made the paleo pumpkin bread on Elana’s Pantry with raw pumpkin seeds that I ground in a coffee grinder. It turned out a little darker than the version with almond flour and it doesn’t have the sweetness of almond flour, but the texture was perfect.

  • Heather Acuff

    THANK YOU!!! We have been tring so hard to be grain free, but with my other now living with us it hasen’t worked so well. She refuses ANYTHING with coconut in it and can’t eat nuts 🙂 I can’t wait to do this!

  • Dawn

    And… a fun thing about sunflower seeds- they chemically react to baking soda by turning green. (If you are curious to see this put some seeds, baking soda and water in a cup together). The green color is harmless but as you try sunflower seeds in your favorite recipes don’t be startled if they turn green. (Acid- lemon, etc, counteracts the effect.)

  • JC

    I am so excited to try this! It seems like the majority of recipes use nut flour.. which makes paleo treats a little testy when you are allergic to nuts like me! I use coconut flour all the time, but am excited to finally try out some of the recipes that call for nut flours with sunflower seed flour. I started replacing nut butters with sunflower seed butter, and it has worked great (Except a couple of green cakes, that still tasted SO good) so obviously, why not replace sunflower seed flower for the nut flours??? You guys are just too smart 😉

    • We love the science of chlorophyll in it too!

      • Marci

        Just add twice as much lemon juice as baking powder & you won’t get green. Avoid baking soda tho, unless you like the funky color. : )

  • Amy from Tx

    These look awesome!! Can’t wait to make some!!

  • N Sumstine

    I love you I love you I love you

    • N Sumstine

      No eggs! lovelovelovelovelovelove

    • <3

  • AddieMay

    Out of curiosity, what do you use for your jelly?? Do you buy a certain brand or better yet, do you make it yourself? A recipe to share with us would be amazing:) <3

    • We’ll be featuring a jelly vendor for Valentine’s next week 🙂

  • Koritt

    Great to see that we can always find options. I was resigned to foregoing treats altogether given the expense of various flours, but sounds like there is a good alternative. 🙂

  • Margaret

    I’ve heard pumpkin seed flour also works well in many recipes. 🙂

  • So happy to see this idea! I have almond allergies and it makes a lot of paleo baking recipes a bit of a no go for me. Thank goodness for sunflower seeds. All the best to you all.

  • Beth

    I just tried making sunflower seed flour & using it yesterday. I followed a recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple:

  • Erin

    Going to try this for Superbowl snacking! Quick question for the experienced folks… we are new to GAPS and wondering if we can sub something for the arrowroot powder or leave it out?

    • The arrowroot is serving as a binder and it lightens the flour up a bit as well as adds starch. I don’t know what else would work the same way, but tapioca or potato starch might if you can have those (I don’t think there’s any starch allowed on GAPS). Let us know if you leave it out if they still hold together – thanks!

  • RashelleZ

    Thank you for the coconut lemon melt-away cookie recipe! Delish!! I will try the sunflower four soon!

  • Janelle Seymour

    I am so excited to try this! I have this giant bag of sunflower seeds in my pantry to use up!

  • Tara S

    I’m not sure how much this will help, as I know that not everyone has a friendly local Whole Foods, but in the bulk section, they have really high quality almond flour for $7.50/lb. Every now and then it goes on sale for $5.99/lb and I stock up. ALSO, our local Costco started carrying organic coconut oil and Madhava coconut sugar. 😉

  • Deb

    Question: when I make trail mix for my kids, I soak and sprout everything and dry it (dehydrator or super-low oven, depending on how much I have to dry). Wouldn’t using straight-up raw sunflower (or pumpkin, or whatever, including almonds) still give you all the phytates and things that we try to avoid by eating Paleo?

    I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this as I’m allergic to almonds anyway so almond flour recipes are already out for that reason, and been trying to work out relatively non-labor-intensive substitutes – and have so far fallen flat because I keep getting wrapped up in the soak/sprout thing.

    • soak/sprout is best but not required for paleo the way it is for WAPF. because we eliminate grains and legumes entirely the minor amount from occasional nuts and seeds should be balanced with the healthful nutrient-rich diet from the other foods you are eating more of. having said that, however, if you get gas or acne or other symptoms from raw nuts/seeds, try soaking and sprouting to see if it helps.

    • Danielle

      I’ve soaked, then dehydrated sunflower seeds to make flour and it worked. It definitely means extra time and planning, so I haven’t bothered since last year. I think do it again for this holiday baking season.

  • Deb

    I’m a little confused. Under the last picture you state, “Lastly, you should know that although these two recipes don’t include baking soda so they will be unchanged, recipes which do include it cause a chemical reaction with the chlorophyll in sunflower seeds (butter or flower), causing a bright green reaction in your baked goods!” And yet, this recipe does, indeed, call for baking soda. Just wondered if the recipe was supposed to call for baking powder, or if it was supposed to be omitted entirely. Thanks!

    • Well, clearly that was a mistake. The recipe is fine, the final comment is a mistake. Thanks for pointing it out to us.

      • Deb

        So the baking soda in this recipe will NOT turn the cookies green? The interaction between sunflower seeds and baking soda is also mentioned in a comment below this one from Dawn. Either way, I omitted it when I baked them, and they turned out great. I took them to an event and they were a HUGE hit. Thanks for a great recipe and a great, economical replacement for almond flour!

        • Okay, so the reaction doesn’t take place immediately, but takes place when a base and air interacts with the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds. Sometimes it develops over time.

          But I want to reassure you that it is just a cosmetic effect and that the food is perfectly edible!

  • Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box

    Great thing to know. Thanks! I just shared it on my Facebook page. And thanks for the great price recommendation for Honeyville. I called them and they stated that their gluten free flours are gluten free certified.

  • Shaina

    I wonder if pumpkin seed flour would work as well??

    • We haven’t tried it, but should theoretically work the same.

  • Chef Rachel

    Wow! Gorgeous food photos! I love the lighting and layout. Rockin good! Can’t wait to try some of your new recipes.

  • Vetti

    I just wizzed up 1/3 cup sunflower seeds in my low-tech food processor, when they were just past coarse I added an egg & cinnamon and wizzed again. Dropped spoonfuls into a hot frypan & hey presto! Yummy, fluffy pikelets! Yay 🙂

  • Janine

    So, for anyone living in Canada, Hempola sells Sunflower Flour in 1 lb bags, thru Oilseed Works Inc. in Barrie, Ontario. It does state on the package “may contain gluten” due to the fact that it is processed in the same facility that also uses soy, wheat and sesame, which will rule it out for some 🙁 But it does exsist!

  • V

    Looks like a great idea, will have to try it. And as for kids helping in the kitchen, my daughter helps all the time, and eats less than 10% of the things she helps to make. Go figure.

  • Daniele

    and now i know why my bread turned green…haha

  • Elizabeth Healey

    These are the absolute BEST ringers for peanut butter cookies I have ever had, and that is huge for our family as my niece has a severe peanut allergy. I started making them first before I made the sunflower flour so I went ahead and use the almond options and they are fantastic! Thank you so much for this recipe, it is really wonderful to have another great cookie recipe in my arsenal with all the family cook outs this summer! 🙂

  • DarbysMom

    I can’t wait to try this. One question. What is the shelf life for any leftover flour? Does it get rancid quickly?

    • I don’t think it goes bad any quicker than raw sunflower seeds. I had some in my pantry for over a month with no issues.

  • Autum Puhrmann

    This is great! thanks!
    I wonder if this would work? http://www.amazon.com/Omega-Nutrition-Pumpkin-Protein-21-Ounce/dp/B004L3VLFK

  • Andrea Petersen

    YAY!! This is so exciting! We have nut allergies in the house and I am constantly searching for almond flour alternatives. Just today I made The Food Lovers Kitchen’s Infamous Bacon Cookies. Even after doubling the coconut oil they are still falling apart – No bueno. I can’t wait to try them again using this discovery! Not to mention all the new possibilities with Eat Like a Dinosaur. The kids will be stoked! Thank you!!

  • Meagan

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! My sister’s kids have severe nut allergies; they can, however, have sunflower seeds. I cannot wait to test these out and bring them along to the next family gathering.

  • Lanie

    Just in case it hasn’t been mentioned I used my coffee grinder to grind my sunflower seeds.

  • Kim Wojcuilewicz

    I could cry I’m so happy I read this!!! Both of our boys have tree nut allergies and when I first turned to Paleo I was that person asking about substitutions. I quickly realized just how annoying I was… Haha but this is going to be epic!! I bet I could even make something for my son’s Halloween party this month at school! THANK YOU! This information is worth more than gold!

  • Matie

    I have been searching the web for treats that my celiac dad and nut allergic daughter can share. This looked awesome…..but…..according to the allergy statement on the Medjool dates package they may contain nuts. Any ideas on what else to use?

    • Matie, dates are just fruit, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find dates that are not packaged with nuts. Good luck.

      • Marci

        Sunmaid dates are safe for nut allergies at this time, but please check yourself. Sadly, many dried fruits have nuts in the facility/shared lines, and are not safe for nut allergies.

  • Britt

    I just found this and thank you so much for posting this! I recently found out I have to eat a low-FODMAP diet and since going Paleo back in March, almonds are by far the most crushing thing to have to give up on my diet. But now I have a great alternative to make delicious goodies out of. Thanks! :]

  • Adele

    please look into the health, environmental and wildlife effects of Palm products

    • It depends on the palm products. Malaysia requires that any new palm plantations be planted on top of pre-existing farms. And there are no orangutans in Africa. Look into the certifying agencies that help us be sure of the sources.

      And if you just can’t bring yourself to do any of that, try ghee or (gasp) lard in your baking. You’re looking to replace a long-chain fatty acid so coconut oil probably won’t cut it.

  • Selena

    THANK YOU!!!

  • Cece

    Can you replace arrowroot with tapioca or egg replacer?

  • Eireann

    So I accidentally bought sesame seeds instead of sunflower seeds while not paying attention at the grocery store. I decided to use it anyway in my cookies, and it worked! I can’t compare to sunflower seeds, but I had the same cookies with almond meal and they tasted pretty similar and had a similar texture. Win for the exhausted mom!

  • Jessica Allen Stewart

    I’ve made flour with pumpkin seeds in my coffee grinder and it worked great! I’m definitely going to try it with sunflower seeds, too!

    • Jessica

      what have you been able to make with the pumpkin seed flour. The is the only flour type I can use and I am just finding this out and changing my diet

      • Jessica Allen Stewart

        i only used it once, and I think I made banana or pumpkin muffins that used almond flour. I just swapped it out with equal amounts. I only did it once, though, because it took forever in the coffee grinder. If I knew I would use it more, I’d invest in a blender that would grind larger amounts more efficiently.

  • toxicbeautyblog

    My boyfriend just found out he as allergic to almond and coconut so there goes most of my Paleo baking out the window. I always forget about sunflower seeds…the fact that they are so affordable is magnificent! I wonder if the same can be done with raw pumpkin seeds? Pumpkin seed flour?? Hmmm……

    • Andrea

      I am allergic to treenuts and coconut. When it comes to cookie recipes, I have ran into challenges. I tried baking with arrowroot, flax meal, and tapioca flour with no success. I am hoping the sunflower seed flour will work as a substitute for the chocolate chip cookie recipe.

      • Tertia

        Try Rice flour in your baking. (I don’t know if it is paleo friendly but I am gluten intollerant and use it a lot)

    • Orion Antares

      I’ve seen several people that have used pumpkin seeds as flour. I’d seen that long before seeing sunflower suggested.

    • ardar

      I’ve found an easy way to make almond flour. I use a coffee grinder (I use Krups) and packaged blanched slivered almonds. I got blanched slivered almonds from Trader Joe’s ($2.99 for 8 oz) and it takes about 10 -15 seconds to get a nice, finely ground almond flour. It really works. I’ve used it with cookies and it works great. I also like that it’s fresher this way, and pretty inexpensive and readily available, and also a coffee grinder is easy to work with. Most ‘slivered almonds’ are blanched and can be found easily. I like the small packages from Trader Joe’s. I haven’t tried Honeyville, so I can’t compare, but this works well for me.


  • janette

    How about almond meal replacement. I have a banana and raisin paleo cookie recipe and my only blunder is the almond meal.. My son is highly allergic to all nuts and I just discovered sun butter. And I have little by little started switching my kids into the world of paleo and desserts are a biggie on weekends here. Any help is truly appreciated.

    • Yes, this is a substitute for Almond Meal and Almond Flour… that’s the point of this recipe.

  • Is baking with sunflower seed give a taste to the baking?

    • Hi There! Sunflower seeds, especially those not roasted or salted, don’t really have much of a flavor (in our opinion).

  • spldltlbit

    I have a snicker doodle recipe that calls for almond flour. Do you think sunflower seed flour will change the flavor or do you think they will turn out well?

    • We do not think the sunflower seed flour will alter the flavor, especially if you use unroasted and unsalted ones. They should turn out very well, sunflower seed flour is a great alternative to almond flour!

  • joyous

    Sadly, tree nut allergies can often be accompanied by seed allergies, as is the case for us. it is so awesome to see all of these ideas!

  • Sarah

    What if you’re allergic to almonds and sunflower seeds like me?

    • Can you tolerate cashews? If so, cashews are a 1:1 replacement with other nut/seed flours.

  • Tammy Dickman

    so glad i came across this site! my daughter has a tree nut and coconut allergy and we have been trying to find substitutes for nut flours. does anyone know if we can substitute the sunflower flour in a french macaroon recipie that calls for almond flour?

    • Sunflower flour has worked as a 1:1 replacement for almond flour in all the recipes we have tried, but let us know if you give it a shot with this one. 🙂

      • Tammy Dickman

        Thanks! My daughter has her degree in culinary arts and the nut allergy was diagnosed just over a year ago and is now affecting her lungs because she breathes in the nut dust at work so now she I s looking for alternatives to bake with

  • Elena

    Lol, I stumbled upon this website in hope of finding a substitution for almond flour (got tested and I’m mildly allergic to it). And the substitution is sunflower seed flour! I tested highly allergic to sunflower seeds. I’m screwed! Maybe I should go back to eating gluten……I’m so bummed 🙁

    • No, that’ll screw you up too. You have two options.

      1. Give up on baked goods. It honestly will not kill you.

      2. Most of us don’t want to do that. So read these other comments and see what other commenters had to say about what substitutes THEY use.

      Wait, there’s a third.

      3. Google it.

  • Jess

    I would like to point out that the Sunflower Seed Butter you linked to on Amazon is NOT safe for those with nut allergies as it says on the label that it may contain soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D4PTX88/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00D4PTX88&linkCode=as2&tag=paleoparents-20

    My daughter is highly allergic to Peanuts but we steer clear of Tree Nuts as well. I just saw a recipe on Pintrest for Homemade Sunflower Butter using raw hulled Sunflower seeds so I will be making it myself. However I’ve bought Sunbutter brand Sunflower Seed Butter since it’s safe for nut allergies.

  • alli

    Hi! As a gluten free vegan baker who also has multiple food allergies and eats a mostly paleo diet ( except for my treats every now and again. 🙂 ) I’d like to make a flour suggestion for those who can’t eat nut or seed flours or coconut flour. it’s entirely possible somebody mentioned this already as I didn’t read through all the posts, but I’d like to suggest a few fours to try and experiment with.

    The first suggestion I’d like to share is for a flour called “Tiger Nut Flour”.
    You can find it in Whole Foods and online for about $ 12.99 for a 1 lb bag. No, it is not a botanical tree nut. No it is not a botanical seed. It is actually a TUBER. And in it’s raw state, similar to Jerusalem artichoke. I’ve heard good things about people swapping this flour for tree nut and seed flours.

    The second flour you might want to try is “Sweet Potato Flour”. You have to google to find it and order it, because I haven’t yet seen it yet in any Whole Foods Markets. I’ve heard great things about it as well. It’s slightly sweet.

    And the third flour that would be fun to use, is “Apple Flour”. It’s made by pulverizing and grinding dried apples into a powder.Rachel Ray profile it in her magazine a few months ago. I believe the company who makes it has their own web site. It’s supposed to be sweet and have good binding properties. I’d play with it by trying it alone or mixing it with tapioca or arrowroot.


  • jooaanee

    Almonds make me very ill so I am thankful for your suggestion.

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  • Isabellü Dubois

    I was able to make sunflower seed flour without a high tech blender. Just the regular, a bit outdated sort! Turns out great =)

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  • Angela Laird

    I’m making a Jamie Oliver recipe, coffee cake. Will this taste weird?

    • Angela, this is a replacement for almond flour, and it tastes very similar. It’s not a one for one substitution for wheat flour, so I can’t really say how it would turn out replacing white flour.

  • Marie

    Love this! I will have to try this substitution, as well as the recipes.

    I’m a couple days late for green St. Patt’s day cookies. But I have used Sunbutter and made green cookies. I couldn’t remember what the reaction was though…

  • Marie

    The Coconut Lemon Meltaways link did not work for me.

  • Vanessa Daher

    Do you use the same ratio? So 1 cup almond meal = 1 cup sunflower seed flower?

    • Yes that’s right.

      • Vickie

        Hi new to substituting sunflower seed meal/flour vs almond meal I read
        a post that they used almond flavoring for taste. Going to try thanks so much for your post as almond meal is expensive.

  • Kristin Charter

    I love this idea, but as a mom of a child with nut allergies, I feel that I must add that the sunflower seeds you link to here are packaged in a factory that also packages peanuts and tree nuts. This makes them completely unsafe to serve in a nut free school or especially to children with nut allergies. Our allergist compares it to playing Russian Roulette with your child. One time it may be safe, another it may not. Sorry to be a downer, but I felt this was important to educate parents who do not deal with the daily struggles of feeding a child with a severe allergy.