If you need a quick amaretto substitute because your Italian recipe called for a bit of this almond liqueur, there are some quick alternatives to use.
What Kind of Alcohol Is Amaretto?
Amaretto is an Italian liqueur made from apricot kernels or almonds. The liqueur isused in drinks, cooking, and baking.
What Does Amaretto Taste Like?
Amaretto has a bitter almond-like flavor, even if it is made from apricot kernels. It has some sweeter brown-sugar notes to counteract the bitter flavor.
Common Uses for Amaretto
- Cocktails and drinks – amaretto is often used in various cocktails and drinks and pairs well with sweeter flavors.
- Coffee – amaretto pairs very well with coffee and adding a splash to espresso makes for a delicious drink.
- Desserts and baking – the liqueur can be added to various dessert and baking recipes to give it a nutty, almond-like flavor.
- Over fresh fruit – adding a splash to a fruit salad can make for a tasty dressing.
- On roasted veggies – you can make a quick basting from Amaretto to elevate your veggies when roasting them.
- Whipped cream flavoring – if you would like an almond-infused whipping cream to add to drinks or desserts, adding in some amaretto is ideal.
Why You May Need an Amaretto Alternative
- Alcohol – amaretto contains alcohol, which might not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, finding an alcohol-free alternative might be required.
- Allergies – if you have an almond or apricot allergy, requiring an amaretto substitute is essential.
- Cost – amaretto is an expensive ingredient. So finding a cost-effective alternative is possible.
- Flavor preference – some people dislike the taste of amaretto or almonds and apricots, making it necessary to find a substitute.
10 Best Amaretto Substitute Options
Alcohol Substitute for Amaretto
1. Hazelnut Liqueur
Hazelnut liqueur is very similar to amaretto since it is also nutty in flavor, and might pair well with other sweet ingredients such as chocolate or coffee – start off with small amounts to ensure the flavor works well. If you’d like to try and make your own, follow Serious Eats’ recipe.
2. Chocolate Liqueur
Although there is no nuttiness in chocolate liqueur, it often works well in recipes where you would have used amaretto. This is a great alternative to amaretto that will add the same richness but none of the nuttiness if you can’t consume any nut-containing products. Taste Australia uses it in a self-saucing chocolate pudding.
3. Coffee Liqueur
Coffee liqueur can also add richness to any dessert or drink in a similar way that amaretto can. Hotel Chocolat shows you a few interesting ways to use coffee liqueur – from drinks to desserts.
Anisette is a liqueur that has a flavor similar to licorice since it is made from aniseeds. Whilst not everyone likes licorice, it might work well in the recipe where you need some amaretto. All Recipes uses anisette in some cookies for a unique flavor profile.
5. Apricot Liqueur
Although some amaretto versions are made from apricot pits that have a similar flavor to almonds, using apricot liqueur will yield a slightly different flavor than amaretto. Apricot liqueur or even apricot brandy works well in desserts and puddings. Serious Eats shows you how to make and use apricot liqueur.
6. Coconut Liqueur
If you need a bold-flavored liqueur that most people love without any overwhelming sweetness, give coconut liqueur a try in your recipe where you need to substitute for amaretto. If you can’t find coconut liqueur, you can use coconut rum like All Recipes did in their version of a coffee coconut cake.
Non-Alcoholic Amaretto Substitute
7. Almond Extract
Although it is not as sweet as amaretto, this is the best non-alcoholic replacement for amaretto in baked goods and desserts. It is far stronger than amaretto, so add small amounts until you like the taste. Miss Vickie walks you through the biggest differences between the two ingredients.
8. Almond Syrup
If you are making sweet drinks or desserts or want to add some sweet almond flavors to your coffee, you can use almond syrup instead of amaretto for an alcohol-free experience. You might have to omit some sugar from your recipe to ensure it is not too sweet. Martha Stewart has an almond syrup recipe using raw almonds.
If you are able to find marzipan or have some on hand, a simple trick is to add some hot water to the almond confectionary to thin it out to a syrup-like consistency and use it as needed. Masterclass explains what marzipan is and how to use it.
Orgeat is a non-alcoholic syrup used to flavor cocktails and can be used in desserts. According to Bon Appetit, who explains what it is and how to use it, orgeat is a syrup made from almonds, orange flower water, and sugar.
Tips for Amaretto Substitution
- Allergens – always check the labels of your alternatives to ensure they are free of the ingredients you are allergic to in amaretto, such as almonds, apricots, or nuts.
- Alcohol – some recipes will require the alcohol to heat up, which might not only be a fire hazard, but it can cause the alcohol to evaporate – if this is not something you are comfortable with, use an alcohol-free alternative.
- Sugar content – some substitutes for amaretto are sweeter than others, it’s best to hold back on the sugar, syrup, or honey in your recipe until you have added the amaretto substitute to avoid your recipe being overly sweet.