6 Best Almond Extract Substitutes

An almond extract substitute that you can use in your sweets or baking may be just in your kitchen or bar. You may need almond extract to use in cakes, cookies, desserts, or other sweet dishes and find you don’t have it. In that case, you will have to make do with a substitute. 

Almond extract adds the flavor of almonds to the foods. This is a subtle flavor and aroma and should not be overpowering. When you don’t have this, you can use alternative flavoring agents that will complement your dish. 

Almond Extract

6 Almond Extract Substitutes In Your Kitchen

1. Almond Essence or Flavor

You may well have a synthetic version of almond extract in a small bottle. It has a strong almond flavor, so you need to use very little of it when using it as an alternative for almond extract. You will get a whiff of almond flavor when you open the bottle. 

Use this in cakes, cookies, hot or cold sweet for the characteristic almond flavor that you are looking for. You can even use it to flavor milk beverages and add some chopped almonds for texture in your milk or ice-cream. 

2. Vanilla Extract

You can use vanilla extract instead of almond extract. It is likely that you have this in your pantry, in any case, so it is handy. Of course, vanilla does not resemble almonds in any way. But sometimes you need some bland flavor to add taste and aroma to a sweet dish or a bake and vanilla will come to your rescue. 

Since vanilla is an even more subtle flavor, you need to use double the amount of almond extract as called for in the recipe. If you consider not using any flavoring at all, the cakes, cookies, or desserts will not taste the same. And since vanilla, when used in small quantities, does not have an overpowering flavor, you can use it instead of almond extract. 

3. Amaretto Liqueur

If you have a bottle of amaretto liqueur you can certainly use it instead of almond extract. This strongly flavored liqueur is made by many different manufacturers and, since you use it in cooking, you need not worry about the alcohol content. Alcohol evaporates when heated, leaving only the flavor behind. You can even get non-alcoholic almond liqueur from online sources. 

As this is liquid and sweet, you may have to adjust both the liquid content and the sweetness a little bit. In cakes and cookies, you may need to reduce any liquid slightly or add some more flour to get the desired consistency. In savory dishes, if you require almond extract, it is best to avoid this liqueur. 

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a sweet spice and the powder ramps up the flavor of many foods. You can use it instead of almond extract, which also has a sweet undertone. Use it sparingly, especially if you are using cinnamon powder.

In cakes and cookies, in puddings, with coffee and chocolate, the taste and flavor of cinnamon is complementary. You can also use it in hot and cold beverages where it will lend its spicy taste. 

5. Orange Zest

If you are just looking for an alternative flavoring agent, then orange zest is a good one. It is easy to use, since you just grate the zest finely and you get a burst of flavor in your food. Orange zest has a freshness without the tang. While it does not resemble almond in any way, it can be used when you need a flavoring agent and don’t have anything else. 

It can be used in all kinds of baked and cooked sweets. It can be used in cakes and cookies. Orange is a well-loved flavor and you probably have some of the fruit handy. 

6. Maraschino Cherry Juice

The pits of maraschino cherries are often used in the making of almond extract. That is because stone fruits have a similar kind of flavoring in their stones or seeds. That is why you can use this juice instead of almond extract.

Because the juice is extremely diluted, you will need to use a lot of it – at least four times as much. If this throws your recipe a little bit, you will need to adjust other liquid ingredients or add more dry ingredients to get a similar texture and end result. 


Can I leave almond extract out of a recipe?

If you don’t want to use any flavoring, you can leave almond extract out completely. However, some foods need some flavoring, so you should consider using vanilla in the very least, in a sweet. Or you can use any other alternative. If you have other flavor agents in the recipe, you can leave it out. 

Can I use ground almonds instead of almond extract?

Ground almonds will not give you the flavor of almonds. They will also change the texture of the finished product since ground almonds add more density to the food. Ground almonds are often used either instead of flour or to add thickness to a dish. 

Is almond extract the same as almond flavoring?

Almond extract is a more natural agent. Almond flavoring is synthetic. However, you can use them interchangeably in the recipe without any noticeable change in taste. These have to be used in a miniscule quantity so that the almond taste does not become overpowering. 

Final Words

Almond extract is often used in sweet dishes to impart the flavor of the nuts. When you don’t have almond extract handy, you can use any of the alternatives like almond essence, almond liqueur, vanilla, cinnamon, orange, cherry instead. This flavoring is often used in sweet dishes, hot or cold. 

If your food already has other tastes incorporated, not using almond extract may not make much of a difference, for instance in spice and nut cookies.  In case almond is supposed to be the dominant or complementary flavor, you can try out an almond extract substitute. This may change the taste of the finished product, but it may be a happy compromise. 

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