12 Kirsch Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Kirsch, or the so-called Kirschwasser is a cherry-based distilled alcoholic beverage used not only as a good ingredient in mixed drinks but also in bakery and cooking. 

There are several types of well-known cakes that call for kirsch. This is the reason why bakers often look for kirsch substitutes

Luckily there are many alternatives to kirsch and you can find several good options. And in this post, we have collected the most suitable substitutes to make your choice even easier.

So, the best substitutes are Brandy, Framboise or cherry liqueur, cherry preserves, Liqueur De Mirabelle, cherry schnapps, cherry Juice, Vodka and fresh cherries, white wine, Kriek Lambic, cognac, grappa, apple juice or apple cider.

Best Kirsch Substitutes To Try

1. Fruit Brandy

You may often see Brandy in cake and dessert recipes. The fruit-based version of this alcoholic beverage is one of the most requested substitutes for kirsch. You can choose cherry brandy instead of kirsch in trifles, cakes, fruit tarts and fondue. 

It is considered to be an unsweetened fruit brandy and it will add the desired rich flavor and taste to the dish. It is ideal particularly for Cherry Jubilee and Black Forest cakes. 

If you avoid the sour and distinct taste of cherries, there are other fruit-based brandies to choose for baked goods. 

2. Liqueur De Mirabelle

The well-known French liquor called Liqueur De Mirabelle can be your next choice. Although it is not as cheap as other substitutes, if you happen to have it in hand, you can use it instead of kirsch. 

This drink is sweeter and it creates incredible tastes for cocktails and other mixed drinks. You may choose it for a bakery too. 

Liqueur De Mirabelle is also a great alternative to kirsch in cheese fondue recipes and in trifles. You can safely use it in these delicious dishes.

3. Framboise 

Framboise is another French liquor made of raspberry but there are other types of this liquor made of various berries and fruits including cherries.

If you have cherry-based Framboise then replace kirsch with it. If you don’t have it, opt for other available fruit or berry-based Framboise for mixed drinks, cakes and other baked goods. 

4. Cherry Schnapps

Schnapps are vodka and fermented fruit-based liqueurs made of different fruits. They offer 20% of alcohol content and come with different tastes depending on the fruits they are made of. There is also cherry schnapps and if you have it, then it will be a great replacer for kirsch. 

When using this liquor in a dish, keep in mind that these two drinks come with different sweetness levels. So, test the taste beforehand. 

5. Cherry Juice

If you are looking for an alcohol-free substitute for kirsch then cherry juice is one of the easiest options. It will provide the desired cherry flavor to your cake or any other dessert you are going to add it into.

Since cherry juice comes with more sweetness than kitsch, you’d better watch the sugar content in your recipe when choosing this substitute. 

It best goes with cocktails, ice-creams, cherry cakes and cupcakes. If you don’t have fresh cherry juice at hand you can buy it from stores. It is available almost everywhere. 

6. Cherry Preserves

Preserves are a kind of jam with thick consistency. If you happen to have cherry preserves in your pantry you can safely use them instead of kirsch in baking. This sweet substitute comes with a thicker texture. 

You can mix some boiling water to loosen it and have the kirsch-like consistency. Although the water will somehow loosen the sweetness of the preserve, it’s still recommended to test the taste before adding to the recipe. 

Cherry preserves are alcohol-free alternatives to kirsch. They taste perfect in waffles, cupcakes, cakes and especially in Black Forest Gateau.

7. Vodka and Cherries

Do you have vodka and frozen fresh cherries in your kitchen? Use them instead of the kirsch and you’ll be amazed with the result. This is actually a more affordable option than kirsch. 

The mixture of vodka and cherries is a sweet and strong liqueur that can add a good taste similar to kirsch. Just mix mashed or frozen cherries and mix with vodka and use it in baked goods. It will be the fastest way to make a substitute for kirsch. 

Vodka works well with other fruits and berries too, such as strawberries, and if you don’t have cherries, then use strawberries. 

8. White Wine

While white wine is not recommended to use for desserts and baked goods, cooks often choose it for savory dishes. So, you can substitute it with kirsch in fondue. For example, the Swiss version of fondue is made with the help of white dry wine. 

If you choose white wine for fondue, make sure you add lemon juice for some sourness. You can also add it to cocktails if you don’t have kirsch in hand. 

9. Kriek Lambic / Cherry Beer

Kriek Lambic is the Belgian version of cherry beer. It holds the fantastic aroma of cherries, its sourness and little alcohol. If you have it in hand, then choose it for recipes that call for kirsch. 

Cakes, cocktails and fruity desserts calling for kirsch can be served with kriek lambic. There are other types of this beer made of various fruits. So, the choice is up to you and you can keep up with your preferences. 

10. Cognac

As for Cognac it is one of the most favorite ingredients in desserts, cakes, other baked goods and glazes. It has a strong flavor and some sweetness and contains enough alcohol.  You can use it in desserts and baked goods if you want to have a similar aroma to kirsch for your dish. The taste, however, will be a bit different. 

11. Grappa

Another type of brandy is grappa originating from Italy. While kirsch is made of dark cherries, grappa is made from grape pomace. It also contains alcohol, which means you will get a similar taste for your dish.

Although the flavor is a bit different, it will still work well in a bakery. It’s worth trying this substitute in different baking recipes as it is another fruit-based and flavorful liquor with a strong taste. 

 12. Apple Cider Or Apple Juice

Apple cider is one of the most necessary products in cooking. Many of us have it in our kitchen for baking and cooking. It is used not only in savory dishes and salads but also in bakery and desserts. 

Apple cider can substitute kirsch in fondue. Just like in the case of white wine you should add lemon juice to add balance to its taste. 

If you have apple juice you can use it too. Overall any fruit-based juice offering some similar notes to cherry can replace kirsch. In this case, apple juice comes with a little bit of sourness which makes it an amazing substitute. 

FAQs on Kirsch

Can I use almond extract instead of Kirsch?

Yes, you can use almond extract instead of kirsch if you want to get a lighter flavor for the dish. It comes with a nutty flavor and has an alcohol content. 

Is kirsch expensive?

A bottle of good Kirsch (750ml) costs about $40 in the United States. If you happen to find smaller bottles, they may come with less price tag. 

What do you use Kirsch for?

Kirsch is used in desserts, drinks, glazes, sauces and cakes such as Jubilee and Black Forest cake. You can also use it with chocolate-based candies and sweets.  


Although kirsch is used only in a few recipes, it is still necessary to find a kirsch substitution if you are going to make any of the dishes calling for this ingredient. You may not always have it in your house, but some of these substitutes are quite easy to find and replace it. 

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