Substitute for Amaretto Liqueur – What Can You Use?

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Amaretto is an Italian liqueur that is used in cooking and making cocktails. Depending on the brand, amaretto can be made from bitter almonds, apricot kernels, peach stones, or almonds. 

Amaretto is a popular liqueur, and you’re likely to find several different brands at your local liqueur store. However, there’s no need to run to the store if you don’t have any amaretto at home, there are several ingredients you can use instead.

So, what is the best substitute for amaretto liqueur? The best amaretto liqueur substitute is hazelnut liqueur. Hazelnut liqueur has a similar alcohol content as amaretto liqueur and adds a rich, nutty flavor to desserts. Other good substitutes for amaretto are almond extract, almond syrup, chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, and cherry liqueur. 

This article tells you everything you need to know about amaretto and lists the best amaretto liqueur substitutes you can use to make cocktails or desserts. 

What Is Amaretto Liqueur?

Originating in Soranno, amaretto is classic Italian liqueur. This sweet liqueur is usually made with apricot kernels, but it can also be made with almonds, bitter almonds, or peach stones. All of these ingredients contain benzaldehyde, an organic compound that gives amaretto its signature almond-like flavor.

Amaretto liqueur usually contains from 21 to 28 percent alcohol. When used as a beverage, amaretto can be served neat as an after-dinner digestif, used as an ingredient to make cocktails, or added to coffee. 

Amaretto is also used in cooking and is frequently added to desserts, like ice cream and tiramisu, and savory recipes to enhance the flavor. 

What Flavor Is Amaretto Liqueur?

In Italian, amaretto means a “little bitter”. Amaretto has a sweet and rich almond flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. 

The level of sweetness varies from one brand to another, and some brands even have hints of herbs and spices. Premium amarettos typically taste less sugary than less expensive options. 

While amaretto is an almond-flavored drink, most premium amarettos are flavored with apricot pits. However, some brands use almonds, while others use a combination of almonds and apricot pits. 

Some amarettos infuse other botanicals, like vanilla, into the liqueur, giving them a distinctive flavor. Dark or burnt sugar is often added to amaretto liqueur, resulting in a sweeter taste and a dark amber color. 

5 Best Substitutes for Amaretto Liqueur

Amaretto is a traditional Italian liqueur that can be served as a drink, used to make mixed drinks, added to coffee, or used as an ingredient when cooking and baking desserts. There are a number of ingredients with a similar flavor and consistency that can substitute amaretto in recipes. 

1. Hazelnut Liqueur

Hazelnut liqueur is the best amaretto substitute. It has a similar nutty flavor and amber color as amaretto.

Hazelnut liqueur has a similar alcohol content as amaretto, so it can be enjoyed as a drink or used as an ingredient in recipes. This amaretto substitute will add a rich nutty flavor to desserts and can also be mixed into cocktails.

Use hazelnut liqueur as a 1:1 substitute for amaretto liqueur. 

2. Almond Extract

Almond extract is a great substitute for amaretto liqueur in any recipe. This non-alcoholic extract has a strong almond flavor that adds depth to baked goods, especially desserts.

Almond extract isn’t as sweet as amaretto, but it blends well with sugar in baked goods giving cakes and cookies a rich almondy flavor. Since the almond extract doesn’t contain alcohol use it to flavor mocktails. 

3. Almond Syrup

The almond syrup is another non-alcoholic amaretto substitute. Unlike almond extract which is a concentrated almond flavor, the almond syrup is almond flavoring mixed with a sweetener. 

The almond syrup is too sweet to be consumed as a plain drink, but it is an excellent substitute for amaretto liqueur in baked goods, lattes, desserts, and alcohol-free cocktails. Because almond syrup is much sweeter than amaretto, use it in a ½:1 ratio in recipes that call for amaretto. 

4. Coffee Liqueur

Coffee liqueur is another good almond liqueur substitute. It is made of roasted coffee beans, sugar, vanilla syrup, and alcohol. 

Coffee liqueur can be sipped after dinner as a digestif, or used to replace amaretto liqueur in baked recipes. Although coffee liqueur isn’t a good option for fruit-flavored desserts it is an excellent replacement for amaretto in tiramisu or chocolate-based cookies and cakes. 

5. Chocolate Liqueur

Chocolate liqueur is a good alcoholic substitute for amaretto in recipes. This chocolate-flavored drink is made from whiskey or vodka and is often used in cooking, baking, or making cocktails. 

Although chocolate liqueur has a different flavor than amaretto its rich aroma is suitable for recipes that call for amaretto. When substituting chocolate liqueur for amaretto, start with half of what the recipe calls for and slowly add more according to taste. 

What Is a Cheap Version of Amaretto?

Disarono is one of the best-known brands of amaretto, but it is quite expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Disarono Amaretto, give Belucci Amaretto a try. Drink Belucci Amaretto on its own, with several ice cubes, or use it to add almond flavor to baked goods or while cooking.  

What Can I use Instead of Amaretto in Tiramisu?

If you’ve run out of amaretto or don’t like the flavor it gives to tiramisu, use hazelnut liqueur, brandy, or Marsala wine instead. You can also skip the alcohol altogether and use almond extract or almond syrup as a substitute for amaretto in tiramisu. 


Amaretto is a well-known sweet, almond-flavored liqueur that can be consumed as a drink or used in cooking and baking. There are many kinds of amaretto and most liqueur stores carry at least one brand. However, if you’re short on time and can’t go to the store to buy amaretto, there are several alternatives you can use in recipes.

Hazelnut liqueur is the best substitute for amaretto liqueur. But if you don’t have hazelnut liqueur at home, use almond extract, almond syrup, chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, coconut liqueur, maraschino liqueur, cherry liqueur, apricot pit liqueur, anisette, or marzipan as a substitute for amaretto. 

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