Heat controlled atmosphere (CA) treatments hold potential to pasteurize Salmonella enteritidis PT 30 in almonds. Nonpathogenic Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 was used as a surrogate species of pathogenic Salmonella for validation of thermal pasteurization to meet critical safety requirements. A controlled atmosphere/heating block system (CA-HBS) was used to rapidly determine thermal inactivation of E. coli ATCC 25922. D- and z-values of E. coli ATCC 25922 inoculated in almond powder were determined at four temperatures between 65 °C and 80 °C under different gas concentrations and heating rates. The results showed that D- and z-values of E. coli under CA treatment were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than those under regular atmosphere (RA) treatment at 4 given temperatures. Relatively higher CO2 concentrations (20%) and lower O2 concentrations (2%) were more effective to reduce thermal inactivation time. There were no significant differences in D-values of E. coli when heating rates were above 1 °C/min both in RA and CA treatments. But D-values significantly (P < 0.05) increased under RA treatment and decreased under CA treatment at lower heating rates. Combination of rapid heat and CA treatments could be a promising method for thermal inactivation of S. enteritidis PT 30 in almond powder.