Marcona almonds, often referred to as the “Queen of Almonds,” are native to Spain where they are widely used in cooking.
In the United States, Marcona almonds are growing in popularity — they are prized for their more delicate, buttery flavor and tender texture.
In this article, we’ll give you the low-down on Marcona almonds, including nutritional information, where to buy them, and how to use them.
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What are Marcona almonds?
Marcona almonds, also called Spanish almonds, are a variety of almond (Prunus dulcis) that is grown in Spain and is very popular in Mediterranean countries.
These gourmet almonds have a rounder, flatter shape than the California almond, which is the most common almond variety in the United States.
Before they’re sold, Marcona almonds are typically blanched (briefly boiled in water) to remove their brown, papery skins, and then fried in olive oil or sunflower oil.
What do Marcona almonds taste like?
Marcona almonds taste delicate, butty, and buttery, with a hint of sweetness. Some people say their flavor is like almond extract, but milder.
Marcona almonds have a texture that is slightly crunchy but also somewhat soft and tender, similar to macadamia nuts.
Compared to California almonds, Marcona almonds are sweeter, less bitter, and softer.
Marcona almonds nutrition
Marcona almonds are high in calories and fat while providing a small amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of Marcona almond nutrition:
Calories & Macronutrients
Here’s the calorie & macronutrient content for 1 ounce (28 grams) of Marcona almonds (1):
- Calories: 170
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 6 gram
- Fat: 15 grams
- Saturated fat: 1 gram
The nutrition of Marcona almonds is pretty much the same as regular (California) almonds, the most common variety in the United States (2).
Vitamins and minerals
Here’s the vitamin and mineral content for Marcona almonds, based on a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving size (1):
- Calcium: 70 mg (5% DV)
- Iron: 0.9 mg (5% DV)
- Potassium: 190 mg (4% DV)
As you can see, Marcona almonds provide a small amount of calcium, iron, and potassium.
We weren’t able to find complete nutritional information for Marcona almonds. However, they likely contain other vitamins and minerals that are found in regular (California) almonds.
Regular almonds are high in magnesium, copper, and riboflavin, and they provide close to 50% of the DV for vitamin E in a single 1-ounce serving (2).
Marcona almonds are rich in polyphenols, a class of compounds with antioxidant properties (3).
Antioxidants protect the body from unstable molecules (called free radicals) that can damage cells and increase your risk for chronic diseases, including cancer and diabetes (4).
However, compared to regular (California) almonds, Marcona almonds have about 50% lower antioxidant activity (3).
Where to buy Marcona almonds
Marcona almonds can be difficult to find, depending on where you live. Specialty grocery stores and European food markets are the most likely to carry them.
You can also find Marcona almonds (either plain or flavored) in the nut aisle or international foods section at Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.
If you’re unable to find Marcona almonds locally, you can order them online through Nuts.com or Amazon. Here are some of the most popular Marcona almond products on Amazon:
How to store Marcona almonds
Keep Marcona almonds in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, such as in a pantry or cabinet. They should stay fresh for at least 6 months if stored properly.
To extend their shelf life up to a year or longer, store Marcona almonds in the refrigerator or freezer. The cooler temperatures help prevent oils in the almonds from breaking down and turning rancid.
Ways to use Marcona almonds
1. On their own
Marcona almonds make for a delicious and satisfying snack all on their own. They’re usually fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, giving them a rich flavor and crisp texture.
You can also make your own Marcona almond butter to spread on toast, apple slices, or crackers. All you need is a food processor or high-powered blender.
2. On charcuterie boards
Marcona almonds are a fantastic addition to charcuterie boards, offering a delightful crunch and rich, buttery flavor.
Pair them with cured meats like prosciutto and salami, along with an assortment of cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, Manchego, and soft goat cheese.
You can also add crackers and fresh or dried fruits to the board. Fruits like apricots, figs, and apples add a touch of sweetness that pairs well with Marcona almonds.
3. In salads and side dishes
Try adding Marcona almonds to your favorite salads and side dishes to give them a more interesting flavor and texture.
Marcona almonds pair well with a variety of salad ingredients, but they pair especially well with salads that include fresh fruit, offering a perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness.
For example, you can sprinkle chopped Marcona almonds over a spinach salad with sliced strawberries, crumbled goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.
In terms of side dishes, Marcona almonds can elevate dishes like roasted Brussels sprouts, wild rice pilaf, or even sautéed green beans. They’re a great way to add texture and complexity to these dishes.
4. In baked goods
For a sweeter, less bitter flavor, Marcona almonds can be substituted for regular almonds in recipes for baked goods, like cookies, cakes, and pastries.
They work well in recipes like almond biscotti, where their natural sweetness complements the buttery and crunchy texture of the biscotti.
Keep in mind that Marcona almonds are softer than regular almonds, so they might affect the texture of your baked goods.
Marcona almonds are a Spanish variety of almonds, with a rounder, fatter shape, a softer texture, and a sweeter, less bitter flavor than regular almonds.
Like regular almonds, they are high in calories and fat but provide small amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and potassium.
Look for Marcona almonds at specialty grocery stores and European food markets, or order them online. They’re perfect for adding to charcuterie boards, salads, and baked goods, but they’re also delicious on their own.
Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today. Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.