If you’re wondering, what can I use for almond extract substitutes, you’ve come to the right place. We will go through 23 of the best almond extract substitutes below and will tell you the appropriate ratio to use as a substitute and how to use each one. Follow along to find the best easy almond extract substitutes including a homemade recipe. Need an almond extract substitute? You’ve got options!
What is Almond Extract?
What is almond extract made from? Almond extract is used as a flavoring in baked good recipes.
It’s made from bitter almond oil, alcohol, and water. Almond extract is in a concentrated form so small amounts such as drops, are usually what recipes call for.
How to Use Almond Extract?
What is almond extract used for? Almond extract is typically used as a subtle flavoring for cakes, cookies, muffins, breads, cheesecakes, and desserts. Recipes typically call for just a few drops to give a sweet and subtle nutty and earthy flavor. No almond extract? Grab these substitutes instead.
How Much of Each Almond Extract Replacement to Use
If your recipe calls for 1 or 2 drops of almond extract and you opt to use an almond extract substitute instead, you might be concerned about how much of that replacement you should use.
In our list below we’ll go over the ratio for each almond extract substitute. And more important than how much is which one. We’ll show you how to choose an almond extract substitute.
What is the Difference Between Imitation Almond Extract & Pure Almond Extract
Below we’ll describe the similarities and differences between pure almond extract and imitation almond extract. However, the most important thing to note is that they can be used interchangeably without altering the flavor.
Pure Almond Extract
Pure almond extract or natural almond extract is made from combining real almond oils and alcohol. It’s different from imitation vanilla in that it’s made from real ingredients.
Imitation Almond Extract
Imitation almond extract is made from synthetic ingredients, rather than real ingredients like pure almond extract. Though the ingredients are different than pure almond extract, the flavor is not altered because of the difference.
23 Best Almond Extract Substitutes for Baking
Following is our list of top substitutes for almond extract when baking. Be sure to follow the recommended ratio and select the best substitute based on flavor for the dish you’re preparing.
Is there a good substitute for almond extract? Yes, and we’d recommend vanilla extract as the number one substitute.
Vanilla extract has a much more subtle flavor than almond extract. So, when using it as a substitute you’ll want to use twice the amount of almond extract your recipe calls for. Vanilla extract is our favorite substitute for almond extract because it has a similar flavor profile.
Vanilla extract comes from vanilla oil that’s extracted from vanilla beans. Like almond extract, the vanilla oil is then infused with alcohol to make it vanilla extract.
Ratio: 2 parts vanilla extract = 1 part almond extract
Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is a sweet ingredient that uses the best qualities of vanilla pods and vanilla extract. Vanilla bean paste makes a suitable substitute for almond extract because it has a similar flavor profile.
Vanilla bean paste can be used in flavoring for cookies, cakes, ice cream, and many other sweet dishes.
Ratio: 2 parts vanilla bean paste = 1 part almond extract
Diluted Almond Essential Oil
Almond essential oil is a concentrated form of almond oil. Therefore, diluting it and using a very small amount is an important step when using it to replace almond extract in any recipe. We recommend starting with the tiniest drop, then tasting it and adding more if needed.
Ratio: start with a tiny drop and add more if needed
Almond-Flavored Liqueur, Amaretto
The only difference in almond flavored liqueur or Amaretto is that almond extract is made by soaking whole almonds in an alcohol solution and almond flavoring is made from synthetic ingredients.
When using Amaretto to replace almond extract, you’ll want to use about 4 times the volume to achieve the same flavor because the flavor is more subtle.
Amaretto is made from apricot kernels as the main ingredient. When using Almond Liqueur, it’s made of alcohol, but the alcohol evaporates when cooked and you’re simply left with the subtle nutty flavor.
Ratio: 4 parts almond flavored liqueur or amaretto = 1 part almond extract
Some folks use almond milk as a substitute for almond extract because almond milk is also made from almonds and has a nutty flavor. The flavor of almond milk is much more subtle than that which is found in almond extract so much more needs to be used to achieve the same flavor.
Choosing almond milk to use as a replacement for almond extract can be beneficial or not as beneficial depending on the recipe it’s used in. For example, if too much almond milk is added to a cookie recipe because the flavor was being compensated, it could ruin the recipe and change the structure of the cookie. Be careful not to use too much to alter the outcome of the dish.
Ratio: 4 parts almond milk = 1 part almond extract
Brown butter can be easily made a home and is a good substitute for almond extract. It has the same earthy, nutty undertones that are found in the flavor of almond extract. After you make it, you’ll want to let it cool before adding it to your recipe mix. Brown butter can be used as a one-to-one substitute for almond extract.
To make brown butter, place the desired amount of butter in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.
Ratio: 1 part brown butter = 1 part almond extract
Maraschino Cherry Juice
Did you realize that cherry pits and almonds have a very similar if not the same flavor? This is one of the reasons that Maraschino cherry juice can make the perfect substitute for almond extract.
Because maraschino cherry juice is weaker in flavor than almond extract, you’ll want to use about 4 times the quantity that’s called for in your recipe when using it as a replacement.
Ratio: 4 parts cherry juice = 1 part almond extract
Coconut oil is a healthy alternative for many baking needs that people are turning to. If you have coconut oil in your pantry, you can use it as a comfortable substitute for almond extract. It has a subtle earthy and nutty tone to the flavor and works as a one-to-one substitute.
Ratio: 1 part coconut oil = 1 part almond extract
Make sure that those who gather around your table like the flavor of nutmeg before using it as a substitute for almond extract. It can be a delicious replacement for almond extract, but will slightly change the flavor profile.
Nutmeg is known as a spice rather than a flavoring and we recommend using a very small quantity of it. It has nutty, woody, and sweet undertones that make it a viable solution for an almond extract substitute.
Ratio: Use a small amount like 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Cinnamon can be used as either a spice or a flavoring. When using cinnamon as a replacement for almond extract we recommend using a very small quantity such as ¼ teaspoon. It has the same earthy and nutty tones as almond extract and can be a good solution depending on the dish and your eater’s preferences.
Ratio: Use a small amount such as 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
When using cumin seeds as an almond extract substitute, blend and use them in a powdered form, using a small amount.
Cumin seeds have a flavor of warmth and earthy tones that are both rich and hearty, that’s similar to almond extract. There is also a hint of citrus included.
Ratio: Use a small amount such as 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds.
Sometimes it’s appropriate to turn to cocoa powder as an almond extract substitute, especially if the flavor of the dish involves chocolate or mint. If your recipe has a main flavor that’s more delicate such as lemon, we don’t recommend using cocoa powder as a replacement.
Since cocoa powder doesn’t have as concentrated of a flavor as almond extract, you’ll want to use more. Our recommended ratio is to use 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder for ½ teaspoon of almond extract.
Ratio: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder = 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Orange zest can be another good substitute for almond extract. When using orange zest as a replacement, you’ll want to use a small amount and prepare it as a puree keeping any chunks out. This will help you avoid changing the texture of your dish.
Orange zest tends to have more of a sour undertone than almond extract does, so we recommend using a small amount such as ½ teaspoon. You can always add more if desired.
Ratio: ½ teaspoon = 3 drops almond extract
Cherry juice can be purchased in the juice section of many grocery stores. Or maybe you happen to have some on hand. Regardless, we recommend using 4 parts cherry juice for 1 part almond extract that’s called for in your recipe.
Ratio: 1 part almond extract = 4 parts cherry juice
Mint Extract and Chocolate Extract
On some occasions it can be appropriate to use mint extract and chocolate extract and use this as a replacement for almond extract. This works well when there are no other dominant flavors present such as cherry, lemon, or strawberry.
Finding a good mint extract can sometimes be expensive but when you find a good one, you can mix two teaspoons of mint extract with 2 teaspoons of chocolate extract and use this to replace 3 drops of almond extract.
Ratio: 2 tsp chocolate extract + 2 tsp mint extract = 3 drops of almond extract
If the flavor of the dish that you’re making is not too delicate, you can consider making lemon extract and using that as an almond extract substitute. To make homemade lemon extract, mix 6 parts lemon juice with 1 part filtered water.
Lemon extract as a substitute for almond extract works well in vanilla or almond flavored cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and breads. We don’t recommend using lemon as a substitute for almond extract in chocolate or mint flavored dishes where those are the main flavors.
Ratio: 1 part lemon extract = 1 part almond extract
Cherry Pit Syrup
Cherry pit syrup has a similar flavor to almond extract which is why it makes a good substitute. You can make it slightly sweet, and it uses just a few ingredients such as cherry pits, sugar, a pinch of salt and water.
Once the concoction has been boiled, the solids can be drained, and the liquid is the part that gets used. We recommend using 4 times the amount of almond extract that’s called for in your recipe.
Ratio: 4 parts cherry pit syrup = 1 part almond extract
Other nut extracts such as walnut extract can have a similar nutty flavor to that of almond extract. Walnut extract, like almond extract is made from soaking whole toasted walnuts in alcohol for a few weeks.
Walnut extract has been known for uses other than cooking and baking and also includes historical medicinal uses. Walnut extract has a slight bitter after flavor just like a walnut itself.
Ratio: 1 part walnut extract = 1 part almond extract
Pecan extract is known for having a sweet, rich vanilla flavor that’s combined with nutty notes of pecan and butter. Pecan extract makes a good one-to-one substitute for almond extract for those who don’t have tree nut allergies.
Ratio: 1 part pecan extract = 1 part almond extract
Hazelnut extract is known to have a nutty flavor with a subtle bit of hazelnut flavor. A hazelnut extract has a less pronounced flavor than that of eating a whole nut.
Hazelnut extract works well as an almond extract substitute because it has the same mild nutty and earthy undertones. It can be used as a one-to-one ratio when it’s used as a substitute.
Ratio: 1 part hazelnut extract = 1 part almond extract
Homemade Almond Extract
To make your own almond extract, it’s quite simple to do, but you’re going to need to a few weeks’ time to get it done. So, if you’re looking for a substitute you can use this minute, you’re going to want to select one of the substitutes above or just leave it out of your recipe.
To make homemade almond extract lightly toast about 12 almonds, then place them in a jar and add extract solution such as food safe glycerin or vodka. Let sit for a few weeks. Then, remove the solids and the extract is what remains.
Ratio: 1 part homemade almond extract = 1 part almond extract
Leave it Out!
The final option is to just plain skip it. It’s especially going to be fine to skip the almond extract in your recipe if vanilla and butter are included in the ingredient list. The flavors of these will make it hardly noticeable that the almond extract is missing.
And if you’re not sure how the almond extract substitute is going to alter the flavor of your dish, this is another good reason to simply leave it out.
Skip: when there is not a good clear solution or the flavor is too delicate
Frequently Asked Questions About Almond Extract
Following are frequently asked questions about substitutes for almond extract. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.
Does almond extract have alcohol?
Yes, almond extract that’s purchased at the store contains about 90% alcohol. However, almond extract is traditionally used in baked goods, so the alcohol content is baked out and the almond flavor is what’s left behind.
What does almond extract taste like?
Sometimes people are surprised that almond extract doesn’t taste anything like almonds. Because of the alcohol content that’s used to make it almond extract instead has a somewhat sweet, flavor that’s pure and strong. It goes well with vanilla, cherry, chocolate, and coffee flavors.
Does almond extract have sugar?
Yes, there is a small amount of sugar which helps to give it its sweet flavor.
What can I substitute for almond extract in cookies?
The flavor that almond extract provides in cookies can’t really be substituted to achieve the same almond flavor. If you’re making something like sugar cookies, then we recommend using vanilla extract to give a nice subtle vanilla flavor.
What can I substitute for almond extract in cherry pie?
If you don’t want to eliminate the flavoring you can use a substitute such as vanilla extract, lemon juice, orange zest, honey, or maple syrup. These are all complementary flavors to the cherry pie flavor.
What can I substitute for almond extract in baking?
The top two substitutes for almond extract in baking are vanilla extract, and almond flavored liqueur. These flavors work well in most any baked good. But if you want to look at other options, read through our list of almond extract substitutes above to find the best one for your dish.
Can I make almond extract from scratch?
Yes, almond extract can be homemade from scratch, but it won’t be able to be used right away. See our instructions above for homemade almond extract. It will need to set for a few weeks for the flavors to be right.
Is almond extract the same as almond flavor?
No, almond extract and almond flavor are two different things. Almond extract is typically made from natural ingredients whereas almond flavor is made from synthetic ingredients.
Can I substitute almonds for almond extract?
No, we don’t recommend substituting almonds for almond extract because their flavor is different. And using almonds in a recipe will change the consistency and add chunks.
What is the difference between almond extract and amaretto?
The flavor of almond extract is more concentrated than that of amaretto. Less almond extract is used in a recipe compared to amaretto to achieve the same results.
What does almond extract do in a recipe?
The purpose of almond extract in a recipe is to add flavoring to generally sweet desserts.
Can I use ground almonds instead of almond extract?
We don’t recommend using ground almonds instead of almond extract because the two have very different flavors and adding ground almonds will change the consistency of your recipe.