Here are 15 easy ways to substitute for almond extract when you’re in a pinch or for those with a nut allergy + how to make your own!
Almond extract is a popular dessert and baking ingredient. It’s also used in lots beverage and hot chocolate recipes. You’ve probably enjoyed it’s strong, nutty and sweet flavor in recipes with cherry, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee flavors.
If you don’t have any on hand, you might wonder what you can use to substitute its warm and aromatic flavor.
Luckily, there are several easy ways to substitute for almond extract and easy methods to make your own.
Below, are the best almond extract replacements that can stand in for almond extract in a pinch and for those with an allergy to nuts, plus a simple DIY recipe.
- Common Ways to Substitute for Almond Extract
- DIY Almond Extract
- Recipes with Almond Extract
Common Ways to Substitute for Almond Extract
Almond extract has a strong flavor, so you’ll generally need to use more of your replacement ingredient to achieve a similar potency.
Each substitute ingredient will make your dish taste a bit different, so make sure it goes well with the other ingredients in the recipe. You should also pay attention to your ratio of dry and wet ingredients.
If you need a lot of a particular liquid substitute, you should consider decreasing the amount of your other wet ingredients to compensate.
1. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla has a similar warmth and comforting aroma as almond extract. It is used in similar recipes and makes a great substitute because it’s a more popular ingredient. It’s likely you have some in your pantry right now.
It doesn’t have as powerful a flavor, so you’ll need to use twice as much vanilla in your recipe as you would almond extract.
2. Almond-Flavored Liqueur
An almond-flavored liqueur (like Amaretto) is another easy substitute. These liqueurs can be made from apricot pits, almonds, or both.
You’ll need quite a bit more liqueur to achieve the same potency as almond extract, though. Be extra careful with the other wet and dry ingredients in your recipe when baking.
You’ll need 4-8 times as much liqueur as you would almond extract.
3. Imitation Almond Extract
Synthetic or imitation almond extract is the perfect substitute for those who have a nut allergy. It’s made using BENZALDEHYDE and not almond oil. Thankfully, pure and imitation extracts taste virtually the same.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
4. Vanilla Bean
Vanilla bean makes a suitable replacement for almond extract in baking recipes. Keep in mind, you may see some dark flecks in your dessert if it is light in color.
Again, you’ll need more vanilla bean paste to replace almond extract. Substitute 2 to 1.
5. Maraschino Cherry Juice
Did you know cherry pits taste like almonds? Or, so I’ve heard! Cherry and almond flavors play well together and are sometimes used in the same recipes.
While it may seem unusual, cherry juice can make an excellent almond extract substitute. Replace 4 parts cherry juice to 1 part almond extract in your recipe.
Ground cinnamon is a great, aromatic spice that lends well to recipes that call for almond flavor. Cinnamon is best used as a substitute for almond in non-fruity desserts.
Use 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per 2 drops of almond extract.
7. Orange Zest
Orange zest works well as an almond replacement in baked cakes and cupcakes, muffins, and pies, especially those with fruit involved. It also makes a great addition to icing and filling recipes.
Use 1 teaspoon orange zest per 2-3 drops of almond extract.
8. Walnut Extract
A great way to substitute almond extract in a recipe is to use another nut extract. Walnut has a great, nutty flavor that works well with lots of baked goodies.
For most recipes, you can go with a 1:1 ratio.
9. Pecan Extract
Pecan extract is another great, nutty replacement for almonds. You can use it as a substitute the same way you would walnuts. Imagine how delicious this would be in holiday baking recipes!
10. Hazelnut Extract
Enter another great nut extract, hazelnut! You can also use this as a 1 to 1 substitute in most recipes. Hazelnut has a great, warm and nutty flavor that works perfectly for baked goods and beverages, especially seasonal goodies.
11. Diluted Almond Essential Oil
Almond essential oil is most often used in cosmetics to make things like soap, but it can be used for culinary applications when diluted. Only a very small amount should be used because it is so highly concentrated.
Start with a tiny drop and add more if desired.
12. Mint Extract
Here’s another extract ingredient that can be used as a 1 to 1 substitute. Mint extract is also nut-free and friendly to those with allergies. Mint works best to replace almond extract in chocolate recipes. Just be sure you like the taste before making the switch.
13. Chocolate Extract
If you happen to have some chocolate extract lying around or find it in a store, you can use it to replace almond extract in baked goods like cakes, cookies, and certain pies. You could also use it in beverages like hot chocolate.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute for applicable recipes.
14. Leave it out!
If your recipe doesn’t rely heavily on almond flavor, and it already includes ingredients like vanilla and butter, you can simply omit the almond extract. Your recipe will obviously lose some flavor, but will likely still be delicious!
DIY Almond Extract
It’s really easy to make your own almond extract, but it can take at least a couple of months to develop the proper flavor. It’s definitely not a quick substitute option, but once you have a completed batch, it will last a long time.
Here’s a simple recipe to try:
- 12 skinned almonds
- 1 cup vodka or 1 cup food-grade glycerin
First, lightly TOAST the almonds over medium-high heat to bring out the flavor. Allow them to take on a little color but do not let them brown.
REMOVE the almonds from the pan and CHOP them into small chunks.
PLACE the almonds into a sealable glass jar and POUR 1 cup of vodka or glycerin over the almonds.
Allow the mixture to sit for a few months so the flavors can develop, SHAKING regularly for best results.
Recipes with Almond Extract
And here’s a delicious recipe for cinnamon white hot chocolate. Use this to try out your favorite substitute for almond extract, above.