An amaretto substitute isn't too hard to find, just take a look at this list of easy alternatives for baking or cocktails! This sweet Italian liqueur is a key ingredient in many recipes as it adds a very specific punch of flavor. That's not to say you can't replace it and still have delectably flavorful drinks or baked goods!
Best Amaretto Substitute
If you are a fan of traditional Italian cuisine and culture, then you may be familiar with amaretto. This classic Italian liqueur is made from almond pits (or sometimes from apricot pits). It has a bold almond flavor used for cocktails and baking.
One of the most popular brands of amaretto is Disaronno. However, depending on where you live you may have a variety of brands available at your liquor store. Even with so many brands available, there may be times when you need a substitute.
Whether you want a close flavor match with the bold taste of almonds or something completely different, there are many amazing amaretto substitutes to choose from.
1. Hazelnut liqueur
If your liquor store is out of amaretto, or you want to try something a little bit different, then reach for a bottle of hazelnut liqueur
Hazelnut liqueur is the best alternative for amaretto. It has a similar alcohol content and nutty flavor profile. Therefore, you can use it in the same cocktails that call for amaretto.
In addition, hazelnut liqueur is great for adding that rich nutty flavor to your favorite amaretto-based desserts.
Use hazelnut liqueur in a simple 1:1 substitution for amaretto.
2. Almond Extract
While you may not have hazelnut liqueur on hand, you may have almond extract in your cupboard. Since almond extract is made from almonds, it lends a distinctly similar flavor.
Therefore, it is great for replacing the rich amaretto flavor in any recipe. This is an especially great alternative for adding flavor to baked goods or other desserts. Although it is not as sweet as amaretto it will blend well with the other sugars to provide a lovely taste.
You can even use it to add an almond flavor to cocktails. However, it will not provide the alcohol content of amaretto liqueur. Therefore, you will need to explore adding another liquor base.
Almond extract is much more concentrated than amaretto. Therefore, you will not need as much. Start with ⅓ the amount called for (1 teaspoon of almond extract for 1 tablespoon of amaretto). Add more if needed.
3. Almond Syrup
In addition to almond extract, almond syrup is another great amaretto substitute. While almond extract is a concentrated flavor without any additional sweetener, almond syrup is an almond flavoring mixed with sweetener.
This is the kind of flavored syrup used in making flavored lattes or sodas. Therefore, it is a great choice to turn a classic amaretto cocktail into an alcohol-free mocktail! Moreover, you can still use it in a classic cocktail if mixed with a flavorless liquor (like vodka).
As a substitute for baking, almond syrup is great for adding almond flavoring and sweetness. However, it is often a bit sweeter than amaretto.
To avoid making any recipe too sweet, use almond syrup in a 1:1 ratio for amaretto but leave out some of the additional sweetener (such as simple syrup or sugar). Another option is to start with ½ the amount and slowly add more (without making changes to the other sweetener).
4. Chocolate Liqueur
Although chocolate liqueur has a different flavor than amaretto it works well as a substitute for amaretto in almost any recipe. This is because the rich chocolate flavor pairs well with the same flavor profiles that pair well with amaretto.
In addition, you can enjoy chocolate liqueur enjoyed on its own as a pre-or post-dinner drink in the same way amaretto is. Therefore, making it a delightful choice for those who want to maintain the traditional elements of a flavored liqueur (either on its own or in a recipe).
Depending on the brand of chocolate liqueur you have, and how you are using it in the recipe, the ratio will vary. Start with about half of what the recipe calls for in amaretto and then slowly add more as needed.
5. Coffee liqueur
Coffee liqueur is another great alternative to amaretto when you want to maintain the classic qualities of a flavored liqueur. Like a chocolate liqueur, this option can also be sipped alongside dinner.
However, when used to replace amaretto in baking, the flavor of coffee liqueur will not pair well with every recipe. Therefore, be mindful of what the recipe calls for.
While it will not be a good choice for something fruit-flavored, coffee liqueur is an excellent substitute for tiramisu or a chocolate-based dessert.
As with chocolate liqueur, start with half and taste your recipe. Slowly add more as needed to reach your desired flavor.
Marzipan is a substitute that not everyone will have on hand. However, if you are a baker, you may have this sweet almond confection available.
Although marzipan has a different texture than amaretto, it has a similar flavor. This is because it is made with ground almonds. They are mixed with sugar, egg whites, and corn syrup. This creates a soft and sweet candy-like consistency.
To use marzipan as a substitute for amaretto simply add hot water to melt the marzipan. It will create a syrup-like consistency that can be used to add flavoring to your recipes.
The ratio will vary depending on your recipe. Moreover, how sweet your marzipan is.
Anisette is another richly flavored liqueur from Italy. However, instead of a bold almond flavor, it has hints of anise that taste like licorice.
Although it is not an exact flavor match for amaretto, the anise flavoring works well in many recipes. Especially if you enjoy the flavor of licorice.
If you have anisette available, try it as an amaretto alternative. Begin slowly though. Anisette is quite a bit sweeter. Moreover, you do not want to overdo the licorice flavor.
Start with about a ¼ teaspoon of anisette for every 1 teaspoon of amaretto.
You may not have heard of orgeat, but you may have enjoyed this drink before. This Italian drink is a base in traditional Mai Tai cocktails.
Made from almonds, rose petals, orange flower water, and sugar, this syrupy sweet drink is a fun alternative for amaretto in most recipes. It has the same bold almond flavor as amaretto with the lovely addition of rose and orange.
While this option has a similar flavor base it is much sweeter than amaretto. Therefore, start with about half of what the recipe calls for. You can always add more if desired.
9. Apricot Liqueur
Apricot pits have a similar flavor to almonds. Therefore, some versions of amaretto are made from apricot pits.
If you look up apricot liqueur you may find recipes for making amaretto from apricot pits. In addition, you will see quite a few options for apricot brandy (and other apricot-flavored liquors).
Depending on the recipe, these apricot-flavored liquors can work in place of amaretto. It will vary depending on what type of liqueur you are using and your desired taste though.
If you have apricot brandy or another apricot liqueur available, give it a try! Give the liqueur a taste first to determine how sweet it is and if you think the flavors will pair well with your recipe.
The ratios will differ, so start slow and taste along the way.
10. Coconut Liqueur
Coconut liqueur is going to have a distinctly different flavor than amaretto. It is a wonderful flavor though! Moreover, one that is delicious when added to cookies, frostings, and cocktails.
When looking to create a new spin on a classic amaretto recipe consider giving coconut liqueur a try.
Since most coconut liqueurs have a similar sweetness to amaretto you can use it in a 1:1 ratio. Just be sure you love the flavor of coconut before making this switch.
11. Cherry Liqueur
Like coconut, cherry liqueur can be a fun twist on a classic amaretto recipe. Unlike coconut, cherry will not blend with every amaretto recipe.
When choosing cherry as an alternative, choose recipes with other flavors that will pair well with a bold cherry flavor. In addition, know that depending on the cherry liqueur you select it may shift the color of your final dessert or cocktail.
Since cherry will replace the entire flavor, you can use it in a simple 1:1 substitution for amaretto.
If you try an amaretto substitute from this list, please let me know how your recipe turned out! I love hearing success stories, just drop a comment below!
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Best Amaretto Substitute: Hazelnut liqueur (+ More Easy Alternatives!)
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon almond syrup
- Use hazelnut liqueur in a simple 1:1 substitution for amaretto.1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
- Start with ⅓ the amount called for (1 teaspoon of almond extract for 1 tablespoon of amaretto). Add more if needed.1 teaspoon almond extract
- To avoid making any recipe too sweet, use almond syrup in a 1:1 ratio for amaretto but leave out some of the additional sweetener (such as simple syrup or sugar). Another option is to start with ½ the amount and slowly add more (without making changes to the other sweetener).1 tablespoon almond syrup
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!