Almond extract is a commonly used ingredient when making desserts. This concentrated liquid is made from bitter almond oil, alcohol, and water, and has a rich, nutty flavor that pairs well with baked goods.
Almond extract is readily available at most supermarkets and you can also make it at home. However, if you don’t have almond extract at hand, you’re probably wondering what you can use instead.
So, what is the best almond extract substitute? The best almond extract substitute is vanilla extract. Vanilla extract has a similarly warm and rich aroma as almond extract and is readily available at grocery stores. Other suitable almond extract substitutes include vanilla paste, imitation almond extract, hazelnut extract, and Amaretto.
This article lists the best substitutes for almond extract and tells you how to use them in recipes.
What Is Almond Extract?
Almond extract is an intensely flavored concentrated liquid made from bitter almond oil, water, and alcohol. It has a strong, nutty, and slightly fruity flavor and is most commonly used in baked goods.
Almond extract is made by cold-pressing almonds, which helps preserve most of the nutrients. This process creates yellow-colored oil, which is then combined with alcohol. This mixture is then allowed to sit for several months to obtain its distinctive almond flavor.
In addition to almonds, almond extract can also be made using kernels from cherry, peach, apricot, or plum pits. The pits of these fruits are used because they contain benzaldehyde, the same chemical that gives bitter almond oil its strong flavor.
The almond extract’s flavor is so powerful, that a little goes a long way.
Do You have to use Almond Extract?
Almond extract is most commonly used to add flavor to baked goods and desserts. Its strong, nutty, and sweet flavor pairs well with fruits like peaches, plums cherries, apricots, and nectarines.
If you don’t have almond extract at hand, you can use an almond extract substitute instead. But, if you’re missing the substitutes, simply leave the almond extract out of the recipe completely.
The absence of almond extract will change the overall flavor of the recipe, but you’ll still get a delicious dessert.
6 Best Almond Extract Substitutes
Almond extract is used to add a rich nutty flavor to cookies, muffins, cakes, cheesecakes, bread, and other desserts. If you’ve run out of almond extract here are several other ingredients you can use instead to enhance the flavor of your baked goods.
1. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is the best substitute for almond extract. This liquid is made by softening vanilla pods in a solution of alcohol and water. In addition to vanillin, pure vanilla extract possesses several hundred additional flavor compounds, which give it a complex sweet, and musky flavor.
Use vanilla extract as a substitute for almond extract when making baked goods like cookies, brownies, cakes, and cupcakes. Replace vanilla extract with almond extract in a 1:1 ratio.
2. Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is another excellent substitute for almond extract in recipes. It’s a blend of vanilla bean powder and concentrated vanilla extract. Despite its name, vanilla bean paste isn’t as thick as paste and has a similar consistency to liquid glue.
Vanilla bean paste has a rich, intense vanilla flavor and can be used as a replacement for almond extract in deserts. Use vanilla bean paste as a 1:1 substitute for almond extract in recipes.
3. Imitation Almond Extract
Imitation almond extract is a great replacement for almond extract when you’re baking for someone with an almond allergy. It’s made using benzaldehyde, a chemical compound with a characteristic almond-like odor.
Pure imitation almond extract tastes exactly the same as almond extract and can be used as a substitute in any recipe. Use imitation almond extract as a 1:1 replacement for almond extract when making cookies, cakes, or ice cream.
Amaretto is a brown-colored almond-flavored liqueur that originated in Saronno, Italy. Depending on the brand, this sweet liqueur can be made from bitter almonds, apricot kernels, almonds, or peach stones, all of which contain benzaldehyde that gives almond-like flavor to Amaretto.
Use Amaretto to add almond flavor to your coffee or when baking cookies, muffins, cakes, or other baked goods.
5. Hazelnut Extract
Hazelnut extract is a concentrated liquid made by infusing roasted hazelnuts in alcohol and straining out the solids. It has a rich nutty aroma and is used to add flavor to a variety of dishes.
Hazelnut extract is an excellent substitute for almond extract in baked goods and will add a warm and nutty flavor to muffins, cakes, cookies, or ice cream.
6. Pecan Extract
Pecan extract is another nutty-flavored substitute for almond extract. It’s made using roasted pecans, vanilla beans, and alcohol, and has a buttery, sweet, and nutty flavor.
Pecan extract delivers a rich, nutty flavor to baked goods and can be used for cakes, cookies, and pie fillings. Use pecan extract as a 1:1 substitute for almond extract in recipes.
How Important is Almond Extract in a Recipe?
Almond extract is rarely a crucial ingredient in a recipe. More often than not, almond extract is used to add or enhance the flavor of sweet baked goods.
Can I use Vanilla Extract instead of Almond Extract?
Yes, you can use vanilla extract instead of almond extract in recipes. Vanilla extract is the best substitute for almond extract in various recipes and adds a complex, fruity, and sweet aroma to cakes, cookies, ice cream, coffee, cheesecakes, and pies.
Almond extract is a concentrated liquid used to add flavor to sweet treats, like cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, pies, and ice cream. Although it’s easy to find almond extract at supermarkets, you may need a substitute if you’re baking for someone with an almond allergy,
The best substitute for almond extract is vanilla extract. If you don’t have any vanilla extract, use vanilla bean paste, hazelnut extract, Amaretto, pecan extract, imitation almond extract, orange zest, mint extract, maraschino cherry juice, cinnamon, or homemade almond extract instead.