How to Blanch, Peel and Fry Almonds

  • 01 of 06

    Almonds in Moroccan Cuisine

    raw almonds in bowl
    Almonds. vanillaechoes/Moment Open/Getty Images

    Moroccan cuisine makes good use of its indigenous almonds. Some Moroccan specialties call for raw almonds with skin such as those shown above – Moroccan fekkas cookies and amlou, an almond and argan oil dip, are two examples – but quite often the almonds must be blanched, peeled and perhaps even fried. The following steps show how to do that.

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  • 02 of 06

    Blanch the Almonds

    Blanch the almonds in boiling water for one minute. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    You can often find blanched almonds for sale in grocery stores, but you'll save money doing it yourself. It's easy!

    Bring some water to a boil then slide the almonds carefully into the pot, taking care to avoid splashing yourself. Allow the water to return to a boil just for a minute or so and then remove from the heat. If you leave the almonds longer they'll become soggy.

    Immediately drain the almonds in a colander.

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  • 03 of 06

    Peel the Almonds

    Squeeze the almonds to slide them out of their skin. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    The almonds are easiest to peel while still warm. Skin them by squeezing or rubbing individual almonds between your thumb and forefinger – the almonds should pop right out of the skin.

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  • 04 of 06

    Tips for Blanching and Peeling Almonds

    bowl of blanched almonds
    Blanched Almonds. FotografiaBasica/E+/Getty Images

    A few tips might make peeling almonds an easier task:

    • If you accidentally send almonds flying around the kitchen, try pinching the almonds directly into a cupped hand or into a deep bowl. 
    • The almonds will be harder to peel if they cool because the skin will dry out and adhere to the almond. If this happens, massage the almond for a few seconds to help loosen the skin or return the almonds to a pot of boiling water for a half minute or so.
    • If blanching a large quantity of almonds, work with them in...MORE batches to avoid having them cool before you can peel them. Or, recruit a few family members to gather round and make short work of your pile.

    Leave the skinned almonds to dry in a single layer on a towel. On a warm day, this won't take very long, but in cooler weather, it could take several hours.  

    Once dry, the blanched almonds are ready to be stored in the fridge or used in recipes. If you also need to fry the almonds, see how to do this in the next step.   

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  • 05 of 06

    Fry the Almonds

    Fry the blanched almonds in vegetable oil, stirring constantly. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Be sure your blanched almonds are completely dry before frying.

    To fry blanched almonds, heat enough vegetable oil to cover the almonds in a frying pan or pot. Do this slowly over medium-low to medium heat.

    Test the oil by dropping in a single almond. If tiny bubbles rise around the almond within a few seconds, the oil is ready. If the oil boils and splatters immediately, it's too hot and will need to cool for a few minutes before proceeding.

    Carefully add the almonds to the oil, in batches if...MORE necessary, making sure that they're all fully submerged. Fry the almonds, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Small batches should take at least several minutes, but larger batches might take 7 minutes or longer.

    As soon as the almonds are colored, transfer them to a tray lined with paper towels to drain and cool. Fried almonds will continue to darken a bit after frying, so be careful not to burn them while they're in the oil. I try to remove them when light golden as they'll deepen to medium golden outside of the pot.

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  • 06 of 06

    How Fried Almonds Are Used in Moroccan Cooking

    Moroccan lamb with raisins and honey
    Moroccan Mrouzia. Christine Benlafquih

    Quite often, fried almonds serve as a garnish to sweet and savory entrees such as the holiday lamb dish, Mrouzia, shown above. Other Moroccan dishes which call for fried almonds as a key ingredient or garnish include: