Intense and nutty are all you need to know about almond extracts. It’s a popular baking ingredient that gives a unique flair to your cookies and desserts, using its delicately sweet yet solid nutty flavor.
Once you start combining it with your baked goods, you’d understand how important it is to build your treats’ flavor profile. As you might have tasted, it offers a subtle but impactful change. However, it’s not all the time that you have all your ingredients prepared.
Missing the almond extract, but you don’t want to pass on giving your cookies a wonderful flavor? Try these almond extract substitutes and see how you can use them as an alternative for your missing baking ingredient!
14 Best Substitute For Almond Extract
According to the American Food and Drug Administration, natural almond extract is made from cassia bark, whereas pure almond extract is made using bitter almonds, or kernels from cherries, peaches, plums, or apricots.
They also contain fiber, fatty acids, and other plant compounds which help to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and also help people with high cholesterol and heart disease. [Source]
For baking, the best substitute we recommend is vanilla extract which also gives a strong flavor and aroma similar to almond extract.
Of course, there are also other alternatives you can consider below.
On top of the list is vanilla extract. Like almond extract, it is always used in baking to give the cookie treats a good flavor and aroma. This ingredient is also easy to find lying around your house, as it is more of a staple and essential ingredient than almond extract.
Vanilla extract’s main difference from almond extract is it’s more regularly used to make a comforting and sweet aroma to the treat.
In contrast, the substituent gives an intense flavor to the recipe. Besides the taste, it is safer to consume as almond extracts are made from nuts, one of the most common allergens among children and adults.
For substituting, use double to triple the amount of vanilla extract to achieve the robust flavor that almond extract possesses.
If you are trying to recreate the intense flavor of almond extract, then almond-flavored liquor is the best man for the job! As we all know, liquors are hard drinks that most people can only take in shots. Almond extract is the same, as we usually only use a drop or two before it can do its magic.
The problem with using liquor as a substitute is the consistency. Since it is a liquid, it will definitely affect how watery your batter will be if you are baking. Moreover, it will need four to eight times more vanilla extract according to the recipe.
If you’re an experienced baker in substituting liquor, then this is a better contender than the other alternatives. Just be careful in adding this liquid and adjust the other wet and dry ingredients accordingly for a perfect batter consistency. Other than that, if it’s for cooking, then you’re all good as liquor can dissolve over high heat.
Vanilla bean should be an expected alternative that you can find in this list, as its extract variant is already mentioned in this list. You can use vanilla bean paste, too, if you decide to go for this alternative, and you’d also need a 2:1 ratio to almond extract.
There’s only one problem with why the vanilla extract version. Better than the paste or vanilla bean itself are the colors it leaves when you use it.
It’s more like a cream version that you scrape from the bean, so you will see dark-colored specks or grains when you mix it in your recipe.
The flavor of cinnamon is different from an almond as one is a spice, and the other is a nut. However, it greatly resembles the vibe of each other when it comes to giving a unique aroma to your dishes.
Unlike the previously mentioned substitutes, you’d need less cinnamon at only half a teaspoon to stand in for two drops of almond extract.
Just make sure that you are substituting cinnamon in a recipe that isn’t fruity, as it wouldn’t go well with each other. However, it’s the best alternative for nuts or chocolate-themed treats!
Orange zest is the most accessible alternative than anything else on this list. Just get your fresh orange and gently use the grater to get its zest.
The citrusy and fruity flavor can also add a distinctive taste to your desserts or pastries, just like how almond extracts work.
Similarities aside, even if it’s an easy substitute that you have a great chance of finding in your chiller, it’s different in terms of aroma.
One originates from a spice, while one is from a fruit. Those who are not baking or making cookies, and need a strict nutty flavor will love this substitute, though, as it goes well with all sweet treats like cookies, cakes, muffins, pies, and the like.
It’s also an excellent ingredient to hike up the taste of your icings and fillings! For two or three drops of almond extract, you will need a teaspoon of orange zest.
Maraschino Cherry Juice
Many people who have tasted both cherry pits and almonds claim that these two almost taste alike. They are also very complimentary when mixed.
As expected, almond extract is several times more potent than cherry juice, so you’d need four times the amount of this substitute to pull off the recipe. You might also need to know that it will give a cherry flavor along the way!
Mint Extract and Chocolate Extract Combination
When mixed with the sweet chocolate with the slightly bitter mint extract, you’ll have something comparable to almond extract.
To make this combination, mix two teaspoons of both chocolate and mint extract to act as a stand-in for two to three drops of almond extract. It will go well with different kinds of pastries, cookies, desserts, and cakes, especially chocolate-based ones.
Lemon extract is an underrated alternative for something that possesses almost the same benefits as almond extract. As we all know, lemon also has a distinct sourness and a hint of bitterness that makes it have a kick on the tongue, similar to almond extract.
However, the two might slightly differ in taste, as lemon is a citrus fruit. The lemon extract made it to the list as it goes well with any food you can imagine, whether sweet or savory.
If you want to try this alternative, you can also make this at home. It’s a simple combination of lemon juice and filtered water, making it a handy option.
The ratio is 1:1, which is pretty rare among the other substitutes. It just shows how much of an equal it is to achieving the scent of the almond extract!
To specifically give you what’s the best almond-flavored liquor in town, choose the Amaretto! Even though it’s not as potent as the almond extract, it will definitely be the best substitute to use with the proper amount!
The main ingredients of Amaretto are apricot kernels, with numerous types of herbs and spices that make the intense flavor. Since it is powerful, it’s not recommended to use in desserts.
Be very cautious in using Amaretto, as it is alcohol!
Imitation Almond Extract
If you’re swapping out the almond extract for health reasons, there’s no other better stand-in than an imitation of itself. It is basically a copy of almond extract that you can use the same way as the original almond extract.
Liquor is strong in general. When you add spice into the mix, unique flavors will arise! Use twice or thrice the amount to substitute the missing ingredients.
Some examples of spiced liquors are rum, brandy, and bourbon. These are common to find, too, making it a good alternative. Depending on your booze, you will find a tremendous unique flair to your recipe and finished product.
Cherry Pit Syrup
If by chance, you don’t have both vanilla extract or the cherry juice alternative from above, you can also use cherry pit syrup! The only difference is its thick consistency in its syrup form.
If your recipe needs milk and almond extract and you’re missing the latter, you can swap these two out and use almond milk instead. The aroma from the almond milk can replace almond extract already.
However, this can only give a lighter flavor than the almond extract, perfect if you don’t prefer the immense aroma of almonds in your dish.
To use almond milk, boil it down first to remove some of the liquid and add more almond milk until you get the aroma near the extract variant.
Other Nut Extracts
To keep the nutty profile in whatever you’re cooking, use other types of nut extracts. Some examples of these extracts are walnut, pecan, and hazelnut.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is the slight differences in aroma each nut can give. It’s still nutty like almond extract, nevertheless!
Homemade Almond Extract
Indeed, there’s a recipe for making almond extract as well. The only con is that it takes too long, and you’d need around two months to get the flavor!
It’s only good if you want to experiment with making it and not as a quick option if the almond extract is missing in your cabinets.
If you still want to go on with the recipe, you’ll only need raw almonds and vodka (or any clear liquor available). Fill a glass jar with vodka with the almonds completely submerged, wait for two months and more to extract the flavor from the almonds, and you’ll have your homemade almond extract ready for use!
The longer you have it stored, the stronger the concentration of the almond extract.