We all know about the wonders of vanilla extract in the baking world, but what about almond extract?
It’s just as an excellent and versatile ingredient in baking, cocktails and sauces, especially in desserts.
Almond extract is also excellent in hot chocolate and other beverages, with its warm and aromatic flavor. But what if you don’t have any almond extract available or a nut allergy? (*)
We’ve got you covered with these fantastic almond extract substitutes you should try the next time you’re out of the ingredient.
What Is a Good Substitute for Almond Extract?
Almond extract, weirdly enough, isn’t actually made of almonds, but from pits of fruits from the drupe family, like cherries. These fruit pits taste more like almonds than raw, bitter almonds.
Usually, we only have vanilla extract at home, so we relate if you have none of it as well. Fortunately, there are almond extract substitutes you can easily find at home or your nearest grocery store. Try any of these:
1. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is a very popular extract used for flavoring, maybe even more popular than almond extract! It’s great to use for baked goods and desserts, made from steeping vanilla beans in a water and alcohol mixture.
However, the almond extract has a different flavor than vanilla, so you might want to double the amount required for similar flavor intensity. But if you want a milder option, you can use a 1:1 ratio.
This ingredient works well to bring aroma and flavor to recipes, and even with the flavor difference, it most likely won’t be noticeable.
Alternatively, you can use vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste, using a 2:1 ratio.
There are also other types of extracts you can use, including:
- Walnut extract
- Pecan extract
- Hazelnut extract
- Mint extract
- Chocolate extract
These are great choices of extracts to choose from, mainly nut extracts, since they taste similar to almonds.
2. Imitation Almond Extract
Imitation almond extract has similar ingredients used with pure almond extract. Pure almond extract has water, alcohol, and bitter almond oil, with the flavor coming from benzaldehyde, found in almond oil.
Laboratories can create benzaldehyde, which is where the imitation version comes along. It’s flavored with synthetic benzaldehyde mixed with water and alcohol.
It’s best to use imitation almond extract if you have nut allergies since it doesn’t contain nuts.
3. Mint and Chocolate Extract
If you want a minty and chocolatey touch to the recipe, then you can use this extract.
You can also make your own extracts by soaking mint leaves and cocoa beans.
We recommend this ingredient is great for desserts, cakes, cookies, or ice cream requiring chocolate.
4. Homemade Almond Extract
Did you know that you can create your own almond extract? Here are the steps to follow:
- Prepare about a dozen chopped and lightly toasted almonds and put them in a container.
- If you’d like an alcoholic extract, then use one cup of vodka. If not, use a non-alcoholic extract like one cup of food-grade glycerin.
- Add that liquid to a container, setting it aside for a couple of months.
- Note that the procedure will take a long time and won’t be practical if you need the almond extract right now. But it’s great if you need it for the future.
5. Almond Flavored Liqueur
Almond flavor liqueur has almond flavoring to it, making it a good substitute for almond extract. However, there is less flavor in the liqueur than extract, so you need to use more of it for proper taste.
For every teaspoon of extract required, add 4-8 teaspoons of liqueur. Also, since it takes more liqueur for flavor, we recommend using it for baking, so the alcohol has more time to cook out. Also, adjust the other liquids in your recipe to prevent watering down the batter, sauces, or filling.
More specifically, we recommend using amaretto, which is Italian for “a little bitter.” This drink has a sweet and almond taste, with just a hint of bitterness.
Besides an almond-flavored liqueur, you can use spiced liquor such as rum, brandy, and bourbon. Like using almond-flavored liquor, you should use double to triple the amount required and adjust the other liquids accordingly.
6. Almond Milk
If your recipe calls for milk, then you can opt for almond milk instead.
We recommend cooking down your almond milk to remove some water content for a much stronger flavor.
7. Maraschino Cherry Juice
As mentioned, cherry pits taste like almonds, and while it does sound unusual, its juices make an excellent substitute. Use a 4:1 ratio, cherry juice to almond extract, respectively.
Cinnamon does not resemble almonds at all; we know that. But if you want an aromatic and slightly flavored spice for baked dishes, then cinnamon is your answer.
This ingredient works best in non-fruity bread and pastries, especially chocolate and nut-based ones. For every two drops of almond extract required, use half a teaspoon of cinnamon.
9. Orange Zest
Orange zest works best for recipes like cakes, cupcakes, pies, muffins, particularly in icing filling. It gives off a fruity taste and citrus aroma, best for fruit-based recipes.
When getting orange zest, wash the fruit well, drying it with a towel.
Grate your fruit with a cheese grater. Or you can squeeze the fruit instead, adding some of the juice.
One teaspoon of orange zest or juice is equivalent to 2-3 drops of almond extract.
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10. Diluted Almond Essential Oil
Almond essential oils are usually used for cosmetic purposes like soap. But when diluted, you can use it for culinary applications.
You should use only a very small amount of essential oils because of the high concentration levels. Start with one small drop, adding more if needed.
What can I use almond extract with?
Almond extract is a fantastic flavor enhancer to add a mildly sweet and aromatic hint. It can also balance the acidity levels of sour cherries in cherry pie.
Here are recipes you can use almond extract with:
- Baked goods like cookies, cakes, cupcakes
- Fudge bars
- Hot chocolate or lattes
- Stuffing in chicken or turkey
- And many more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Wait, we’ve got more you can learn about with almond extract and its substitutes! Here are frequently asked questions asked from our readers:
Wrapping It Up
Almond extract is a great ingredient you can use for many recipes, and if you have none available, there are other options.
That way, you can nail the desired flavors you want in your drinks or dishes, whether you have the extract or not.
Hopefully, our list will help you find the substitute for almond extract.
Next time you’re cooking your favorite food, you need to nail the flavors you’ve been searching for.
Good luck and happy cooking!
If you’d like to share your own recipes and alternatives for this ingredient, share them in the comments section below.
Also, feel free to check out our other blog posts to learn more about cooking and the ingredients we use daily.