Discover the Top 9 Substitutes for Rose Water in Your Recipes

9 Best Rose Water Substitutes

Rose water is a popular ingredient used in various cuisines, adding a fruity and floral flavor to dishes. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find in grocery stores. If you’re in need of a rose water substitute, there are several options that can provide similar flavors and aromas. Here are nine of the best rose water substitutes:

1. Rose Essence

Rose essence is a concentrated version of rose water with a similar flavor profile. It is much more potent, so a small amount goes a long way. Start with a quarter of the amount of rose water and adjust to taste. Rose essence can be an excellent substitute for rose water, providing a strong rose blossom aroma.

2. Orange Flower Water

Orange flower water is made by crushing orange blossoms and distilling them with water. While it has a different flavor than rose water, it still offers a floral and aromatic taste. It is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Spanish, African and French cuisines. Orange flower water can be used in the same quantities as rose water and provides a similar intensity and flavor.

3. Hibiscus Water

Hibiscus Water, also known as Jamaica Flower Water, is an excellent substitute for Rose Water. It has a floral scent and a light taste. While the flavor may be slightly different from rose water, hibiscus water can be used in a one-to-one ratio as a substitute. It adds a light sweetness to dishes and works well in both sweet and savory recipes.

4. Vanilla extract

Vanilla extract is a common pantry item that can be a convenient substitute for rose water. It offers a similar aroma and flavor, but has more sweetness and a slightly deeper fragrance. Use less vanilla extract than rose water because it is stronger and more concentrated. Vanilla extract works best in sweet baked goods, enhancing the flavor and adding a delightful aroma.

5. Lavender Essence

Lavender Essence is made from concentrated lavender flowers and provides a floral aroma and flavor similar to rose water. Although lavender is more commonly associated with household fragrances, it can work well as a substitute in certain dishes. Use less lavender essence than you would rose water to avoid an overpowering flavor. It works well in desserts and beverages that could benefit from a floral addition.

6. Almond Extract

Almond extract adds a sweet almond flavor to dishes and can be a suitable substitute for rose water. While it doesn’t have the same floral notes, it still has a pleasant aroma and flavor. Use about one-fourth the amount of almond extract as rose water, as almond extract is stronger and more concentrated. Be careful not to overpower the dish with the almond flavor.

7. Lemon Juice

Although lemon juice and rose water have different flavors, both can add a fruity kick to dishes. Lemon juice provides a tart and sweet flavor that can be gently incorporated into a recipe. Consider adding some sugar to balance the citrus flavor. Start by adding lemon juice slowly, tasting as you go. Keep in mind that the dish will have a more citrusy flavor compared to the floral aroma of rose water.

8. Cardamom

Cardamom is a versatile spice used in both sweet and savory dishes. While it doesn’t have a flavor similar to rose water, it can provide a herbal and aromatic effect. Cardamom works well as a substitute in savory meat or chicken dishes, especially when combined with other herbs and spices. Use a few cardamom pods for flavoring as they offer a softer aroma compared to rose water.

9. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a widely available spice that can be a great substitute for rose water. It has a distinct flavor, but when used correctly can provide a similar effect. Cinnamon offers a woody and sweet flavor that can be slightly overpowering if used in excess. Start with a small amount and adjust to your preference. The natural sweetness of cinnamon eliminates the need for additional sweeteners in recipes.
While these substitutes can provide similar flavors and aromas to rose water, it’s important to consider the specific dish and desired outcome. Adjust the amounts and taste as needed to achieve the desired flavor profile. With these alternatives, you can still enjoy the delightful essence of rose water in your culinary creations.


Can I use Rose Essence as a direct replacement for Rose Water?

Yes, Rose Essence can be used as a replacement for Rose Water. However, keep in mind that it is more concentrated, so start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

Are there any substitutes that have a similar intensity to rose water?

Yes, both orange flower water and hibiscus water provide a similar flavor intensity to rose water, making them excellent alternatives in recipes.

Can I use vanilla extract instead of rose water in baking?

Yes, vanilla extract can be used as a substitute for rose water in baking. However, since it has a sweeter and deeper flavor, use less vanilla extract than you would rose water.

Can I use lemon juice instead of rose water?

While lemon juice can add a fruity kick to dishes, it doesn’t have the same floral aroma as rose water. However, it can still be used as a substitute, especially in recipes where a citrus flavor is desired.

Besides desserts, what other dishes can I use this substitute in?

These flavorings can be used in a variety of dishes beyond desserts. For example, orange flower water and hibiscus water work well in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, while cardamom and cinnamon can enhance savory dishes such as meats and stews. Experiment and explore their versatility in your recipes.