9 Amaretto Substitutes for Cooking, Baking, and Mixed Drinks

Depending on what you make or bake you may need amaretto in your recipes as it’s a super flavorful Italian liquor made of apricot or almond kernels or both. 

It tastes rich and sweet with an almond flavor and has a slight bitterness. This beverage has gained great fame all over the world and it’s widely used in cooking, desserts, cocktails, and baking. 

If it’s not reasonable for you to buy a bottle just to use a few drops in a dish, then check our amaretto substitutes to use whenever you need this ingredient in a dish or drink.  

The best substitutes for amaretto are Frangelico, almond extract, apricot pit liqueur, Orgeat Italian soda syrup, chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, anisette, amaretto extract, and marzipan. 

Best Substitutes for Amaretto To Try

1. Frangelico / Hazelnut Liqueur 

Hazelnut liqueur, also called Frangelico, is one of the best substitutes for amaretto. It’s another Italian liqueur made of hazelnuts, coffee, cocoa, and vanilla extract. It contains alcohol just like amaretto and although the taste is not the same, it’s still similar. 

It has a toasty and a kind of complex herbal flavor with vanilla and chocolate notes. It’s a light beverage and is often used in desserts and cocktails. It pairs well with coffee and espresso. You can add it to baked goods as well. 

2. Almond Extract

Almond extract is an easy alternative to amaretto. It’s made of almond oil, alcohol, and water. It is strong and has a pure flavor of almond that makes a perfect match with chocolate, coffee, cherry, and vanilla flavors. 

The usage of almond extract is more versatile and you can consider it as another great substitute to use in baking, cooking, desserts, and drinks. You can use it not only with sweets, and desserts but also with savory dishes including pasta sauces, marinades, casseroles, pizzas, lasagna, and as a salad dressing. 

3. Apricot Pit Liqueur

Since amaretto is made of apricot pits, it’s quite reasonable to use apricot pit liqueur instead. It’s used the same way as amaretto. 

You can use it as an appetizer, topping, or add to sauces and baked goods. The taste and flavor are so similar that you won’t notice any difference.

You can also make it at home if you have apricot pits, vodka, and sugar in hand. It’s quick, and easy, and compared to other alternatives it comes with the closest taste to amaretto. 

4. Orgeat Italian Soda Syrup

Orgeat is an Italian sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and orange flower or rose water that makes it taste subtle, distinctively almondy with citrus notes. 

The best part about this substitute is that it’s alcohol-free and can be used in many kid-friendly dishes, desserts, sweets, and drinks.

You can use it to sweeten homemade lemonades, milkshakes, fruity drinks, and coffee. Orgeat Italian soda syrup is the most important ingredient in many cocktails and mixed beverages including Mai Tai and Tiki drinks. 

Note, that compared to amaretto and other alternatives, Orgeat is sweeter and you should reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe if you choose this substitute. It’s used with sweet dishes and drinks. 

5. Chocolate Liqueur

Chocolate liqueur is a flavorful drink that you can use plain or add to desserts and drinks. It contains alcohol and depending on which brand you choose the content of alcohol can vary. Chocolate liqueur can be used to substitute amaretto in almost all recipes. 

It pairs well with mixed drinks and desserts, particularly with coffees, hot chocolate, milkshakes, ice cream, and whipped creams. You can use it as a sweetener in baking and cooking. 

6. Kahlua / Coffee Liqueur

Kahlua is a brand of coffee liquor with a deep and rich flavor of black coffee and caramel color. You can use it instead of amaretto in desserts including tiramisu. 

You can add coffee liqueur in espressos, milkshakes, and cocktails or drink it by itself. It works well in cheesecakes, brownies, cakes, and truffles. You can add it to chocolate and cream too. 

If you can’t find this very brand then use any other coffee liquor that comes with a similar taste to it and can be used to replace amaretto. 

7. Anisette

Anisette is a liquor made of anise seeds and contains sugar. It is stronger in flavor and taste than other liquors mentioned here and depending on the brand you choose its sweetness can vary. 

If you have ever tried anise-based beverages, then I am here to tell you that this one is the sweetest of all. 

So, consider the fact that it’s strong and sweet and use less in your recipe to substitute amaretto. It’s also colorless and you can use it in mixed drinks and cocktails like New Orleans, Violetta, and Shanghai.

8. Amaretto Extract

Pure amaretto extract is meant for baking and flavoring. You can use it to replace amaretto as it has a distinct almond flavor with slight cherry notes. Its usage in baking, cooking, desserts, drinks, and sweets is as versatile as the usage of many other fruit extracts. 

You can add it to cookies, cakes, coffee, and in any recipe calling for amaretto. There is also alcohol-free amaretto extract and if you find it, you can use it in many dishes too. 

9. Marzipan 

Marzipan may be a weird substitute but it works in baking. However, you should compensate for it with some liquid to reach the desired result. It’s sweet and has an almond flavor. 

It also comes with a smooth texture and is one of the basic ingredients in cakes, and other sweets.  Another big plus is that it’s alcohol-free and you can safely use it in many sweet recipes. 

Marzipan takes the last place on our list because you can’t use it in drinks, cooking, and savory dishes. It’s meant just for particular recipes of sweets, desserts, and baked goods. 

FAQs on Amaretto

How long does amaretto last?

An unopened amaretto can last for a few years. Once you open it, you should use it for 6 months as the quality of alcohol will slowly lose its power. 

Can I substitute nocello for amaretto?

Nocello is another Italian liquor made of nuts and it’s quite similar to hazelnut liquor. You can use it instead of amaretto in cocktails. However, it’s hard to find in common grocery stores. 

Is Amaretto liqueur sweet?

Basically, it’s sweet although the word amaretto means “little bitter”. It comes with a nutty almond flavor with brown sugar notes. 

Final Thoughts

Although amaretto is a popular drink, you may sometimes need an alcohol-free substitute or something different to try instead of it. We hope that the above-mentioned amaretto substitutes will help you amuse your guests with interesting dishes, tastes, and flavors. 

Of course, each of them comes with a distinct flavor, but the most dominant flavor is supposed to be nutty, almondy, and slightly sweet-bitter at the same time.

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