Almonds are a popular snack that’s rich in many nutrients, including fiber and healthy fats (
They’re also an excellent source of vitamin E, which protects your cells from damage (
While many people enjoy them raw or roasted, you may wonder why others prefer to soak them before eating.
This article tells you everything you need to know about soaking almonds.
Research suggests that soaked almonds may offer some health benefits.
May ease their digestion
Almonds have a tough, hard texture that can make them difficult to digest (
However, soaking softens them, potentially making them easier for your body to break down (
Almonds also harbor antinutrients, which can impair the digestion and absorption of certain nutrients, such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium (
While research shows that soaking can significantly reduce antinutrient levels in grains and legumes, there’s limited evidence of the effectiveness of soaking almonds or other tree nuts (
In one study, soaking almonds at room temperature for 24 hours decreased phytic acid levels — but by less than 5% (
Another study found that soaking chopped almonds in salt water for 12 hours resulted in a small — yet significant — 4% reduction in phytic acid levels (11).
Notably, an 8-week study in 76 adults determined that soaking did not appear to improve digestive symptoms. Additionally, levels of phytic acid were the same or slightly higher in soaked almonds, compared with raw ones (
Overall, the research is mixed on whether soaking decreases antinutrients or aids digestive symptoms.
May increase your absorption of certain nutrients
Soaking may make almonds easier to chew, increasing nutrient availability.
Research shows that breaking down almonds into smaller pieces through chewing or cutting allows more nutrients to be released and absorbed — especially fats (
Additionally, digestive enzymes may be able to break down and absorb the nutrients more efficiently (
Nonetheless, one study indicated that soaking whole almonds had little or no effect on the availability of some minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc (11).
In fact, when the almonds were chopped before soaking, the concentrations of these minerals decreased — despite phytic acid levels also going down (11).
Thus, soaking may aid fat absorption but, conversely, decrease mineral availability.
Some people may prefer the taste and texture
Soaking also affects the texture and taste of almonds.
Raw almonds are hard and crunchy, with a slightly bitter flavor due to their tannins (
When soaked, they become softer, less bitter, and more buttery-tasting, which may be more appealing to some individuals.
Soaked almonds have a softer, less bitter flavor than raw ones. They may be easier to digest, which can increase your absorption of some nutrients. All the same, the evidence is mixed, and more research is needed.
Soaking almonds is simple — and much cheaper than buying pre-soaked ones at the store.
Here’s a simple way to soak them overnight:
- Place almonds in a bowl, add enough warm tap water to fully cover them, and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt for every 1 cup (140 grams) of nuts.
- Cover the bowl and let it sit on your countertop overnight, or for 8–12 hours.
- Drain and rinse. If you choose, you can remove the skins for a smoother texture.
- Pat the almonds dry using a clean paper towel.
The soaked nuts can be eaten immediately.
For a crunchier twist, you can dry them via a few methods:
- Roasting. Preheat your oven to 175oF (79oC) and place the almonds on a baking sheet. Roast for 12–24 hours, or until dried out.
- Dehydrating. Spread the soaked nuts in an even layer on one or two trays. Set your dehydrator to 155oF (68oC) and run for 12 hours, or until crunchy.
It’s best to store soaked almonds in an airtight container in your fridge.
To soak almonds at home, simply cover them with water in a bowl and let sit for 8–12 hours. If you prefer a crunchier texture, you can dry them in an oven or dehydrator.
While soaking may lead to some improvements in digestion and nutrient availability, unsoaked almonds are still a healthy addition to your diet.
These nuts are a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, as well as an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium (
In particular, the skins are rich in antioxidants, especially polyphenols, which may protect against several chronic illnesses, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes (
Regular almond intake is associated with weight loss, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and fullness (
Additionally, consuming tannins and phytic acid is not necessarily harmful, as both antinutrients have been shown to exhibit antioxidant effects and may protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer (
Whether soaked or unsoaked, almonds are rich in many nutrients and associated with improvements in heart health, blood sugar control, and weight.
Soaking almonds may improve their digestibility and increase the absorption of some nutrients. You may also simply prefer the taste and texture.
Yet, you don’t have to soak these nuts to enjoy their health benefits.
Both soaked and raw almonds provide many important nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats.