Best Rum Extract Substitutes For Cooking And Baking

Rum extract is an ingredient that’s often called for baked and cooked recipes. As the name suggests, the extract highlights the flavors of rum, though without the same amount of alcohol. Besides, the flavors in the extract are more concentrated and powerful. If you prefer, you can also get alcohol-free rum extract for your cooking needs. 

But what if you can’t use this extract? Well, that’s the time to look for rum extract substitutes that add flavor and cover up the lack of the rum extract.

Top Substitutes For Rum Extract For Your Recipes

1. Rum

It’s only natural that rum is viable as a substitute for rum extract. Their flavor is similar but not identical. Yet, the similarity is relevant enough to make this substitution work like a charm. Keep in mind, rum is not the same as rum extract. The latter is, first and foremost, a cooking ingredient.

Since rum extract is concentrated, the substitution will require the use of a greater amount of rum. For every spoon of the extract, add three spoons of rum. This works for both light and dark rum. However, if you prefer, you can use 2.5 spoons of dark rum to better manage the flavor.

2. Bourbon

Bourbon is a very popular drink. Though it is technically a whiskey, its flavor is often a good match to rum. That’s what makes it suitable for our current purpose. Bourbon is fast carving up a place for itself in cooking and baking. Well, if your rum extract needs replacing, bourbon will take on the role rather skillfully.

When using bourbon, remember it can be sweeter than the extract. While this isn’t usually a problem, it’s possible to work around it by adjusting the sugar in other steps or ingredients of the recipe.

3. Cognac

Famous for its taste and quality, Cognac is a high-quality brandy that’s a star of many recipes and kitchens. This excellent ingredient will take on the responsibilities for cooking and baking to add a nice touch to your recipe. 

Cognac is sweeter and spicier than rum extract, so expect a change in the flavor of the dish. On the other hand, the rich flavors of cognac are quite a welcome treat by themselves. Besides, it doesn’t change the flavor dramatically.

Learn more: Cognac Substitutes That Can Maintain Flavor And Style

4. Vanilla Extract

Speaking of dramatic changes in recipe flavors, give a shot to vanilla extract! Vanilla extract, much like vanilla, is a very versatile ingredient that can get along with most recipes. It’s common in kitchens, easily available in stores, and offers plenty of options for use. 

If you choose to go with vanilla extract to substitute rum extract, remember that the flavor will change. You’ll go from rum-flavored goods to vanilla-flavored goodies. That’s an acceptable trade if you need an extract quickly. 

Commercial vanilla extract is available in alcoholic as well as alcohol-free versions.

5. Tequila

A liquor with an intense flavor, tequila can be a half-decent substitute for rum extract in a few recipes. It will change the flavor, but recipes like cakes and cupcakes work with this liquor without a problem.

Though it has an intense alcohol flavor, tequila still has to replace an extract for our current requirement. As a rule of thumb, use two spoons of tequila for every spoon of rum extract.

6. Orange Liqueur

Orange Liqueur is already a handy pick for many baked and cooked recipes. The distinct flavor of orange and the sweetness it brings livens up the recipes and their flavor. Using orange liqueur as a substitute for rum extract will replace the distinct flavor of rum with the rather bold flavor of orange.

The amount of orange liqueur necessary for the substitution depends on the liqueur used. Generally, a substitution can work with three spoons of the liqueur for every spoon of rum extract. This ratio works with most popular orange liqueur versions like Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, and Cointreau.

7. Cooking Sherry

Usually, I’m not a fan of cooking sherry. It has limited uses, feels too salty, and is not nearly as good as conventional sherry. Yet, it has its uses, like replacing rum extract in a few recipes. Cooking sherry is salty so it’s better used for cooked foods and savory recipes.

Use two spoons of cooking sherry for every spoon of rum extract. Keep in mind, dry sherry won’t work as a substitute for this option.

8. Almond Extract

Almond extract is a possible choice to substitute rum extract, though not an ideal choice. It usually has a stronger flavor than rum extract and is more expensive. The better choice would be to use almond extract for recipes that specifically call for it, rather than using it as an alternative.

Many people believe that almond extract is alcohol-free. That’s not true! Conventional almond extract does include alcohol, though alcohol-free variants are available.

9. Coffee Extract

Going with coffee extract is an interesting choice. Coffee has a deep flavor and lovely aroma that is almost universally loved and enjoyed. Using this extract could be the right fit. Using coffee extract in place of rum extract will change the flavor of a recipe. Yet, the deep taste of coffee is often welcome and pleasant.

10 Cachaca

Cachaca is a Brazilian white rum that has sweet undertones. You can use this rum to replace rum extract, but remember that Cachaca isn’t the same as conventional rum. It has a different flavor, which is somewhat brighter than rum. You could use this alternative for flavorful and sharper-tasting options like lemon cake.

Also note, while cachaca is well-known in Brazil, it is rather difficult to find outside the country. It would perhaps be easier to get rum extract as compared to finding a bottle of cachaca!

11. Skip It!

Most of the substitutes for rum extract (with the exception of rum itself) will change the flavor of the recipe. Some, like vanilla extract, will do it rather dramatically. In case you don’t fancy these alternate flavors, it is worth considering to simply skip the rum extract in your recipe. This will affect the recipe, but won’t set it on the path of a completely different flavor.

Rum Extract vs Rum – Things You Should Know

Rum is a popular liquor made by the fermentation of sugarcane juice or sugarcane molasses. The light and dark rum are the most popular varieties, with the darker variant giving a strong flavor and feel. Rum is a versatile ingredient, used for cooking, cocktails, baking, drinks, as a mixer, and so on. Light rum is also a versatile ingredient, though its most popular use lies with cocktails.

As its name implies, rum extract is derived from rum. We could say that it’s a more concentrated form of rum, though not intended for consumption as a drink. Rum extract is a popular ingredient for countless cooking and baking recipes. 

Generally, rum extract contains alcohol. The percentage of alcohol can vary by brand, often varying from 30-45%. For example, McCormick’s imitation rum extract has 35% alcohol. Non-alcoholic rum extracts are also available commercially.

You’ll find rum extract is usually available in two varieties. These are:

  • Imitation: This means that the rum extract has been manufactured using synthetic (artificial) flavoring.
  • Natural: As its name implies, natural rum extract comes from actual rum and is a somewhat “pure” extract.

Going with the natural extract is a good choice if you prefer the more complex flavors of rum.

Thoughts On Replacing Rum Extract In A Recipe

The deep and unique flavor of rum extract is rather welcome in a variety of recipes. In the event that you need a rum extract substitute, give your first preference to rum. It matches the (and in fact is the origin of) the unique flavor of the rum extract. So, rum is an excellent choice as a replacement.

As we see in the article here, there are several alcoholic and alcohol-free options available to substitute for the rum extract. Some of these may cause a big change to the recipe’s flavor, so choose wisely!

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