The Ultimate Guide to the Top 7 Brandy Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Best Brandy Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Brandy is a versatile alcoholic beverage that adds unique flavor and depth to both cooking and baking. However, there may be times when you need to find a suitable brandy substitute due to personal preference or unavailability. In this article, we will explore the best brandy substitutes to use in your recipes. Whether you are looking for an alcoholic or non-alcoholic alternative, we have you covered.

1. Rye Whiskey

Whiskey is a popular substitute for brandy due to its similar flavor profile and alcohol content. It provides a rich and complex flavor that can enhance the overall taste of your dish. When using whiskey as a brandy substitute, it is important to consider the specific type of whiskey that best complements your recipe. For example, bourbon whiskey adds sweetness, while scotch whiskey adds smoky depth.

2. Wine

Wine, especially red wine, can be an excellent substitute for brandy in cooking and baking. Like brandy, wine is made from fermented fruit and offers a wide range of flavors that can enhance your dishes. Red wine, with its fuller and more complex flavors, is best for heartier dishes, while white wine works well with creamy sauces. Adjust the amount of wine according to your recipe to maintain the proper balance of flavors.

3. Gin

Although not a traditional substitute, gin can be a fantastic alternative to brandy in certain recipes, especially those featuring poultry or game. Gin’s clean and crisp taste, with its woody and herbal undertones, can enhance the flavor of your meat dishes. Use gin in the same quantities as brandy to achieve the desired flavor.

4. Rum

Rum is a sweet and aromatic alcohol that can add depth and richness to your baked goods and desserts. Although sweeter than brandy, it can blend flavors without becoming overly sweet. If you are concerned about the sweetness, you can dilute the rum with a small amount of water. The heavenly aroma of rum can also enhance the sensory experience of your recipe.

5. Vodka

Vodka is a neutral spirit that can be used as a substitute for brandy when you want to enhance flavors without changing the overall taste. It is colorless and odorless, making it an ideal choice when you want to maintain the original flavor profile of your recipe. Vodka can improve the texture and moistness of your dishes while allowing the natural flavors to shine through. Substitute vodka for brandy in equal parts in your recipes.

6. Fruit Extract

For those looking for non-alcoholic alternatives, fruit extracts can be a suitable substitute for brandy. Since brandy is made from fermented fruit, using concentrated fruit extracts can mimic its fruity flavor. Apple, grape, apricot, peach, and cherry extracts are excellent options that can add a similar depth of flavor to your dishes. Use one teaspoon of fruit extract for every two tablespoons of spirit called for in your recipe.

7. Brandy Extract

Brandy extract is a flavoring that replicates the taste of brandy without the alcohol content. While some brandy extracts may contain trace amounts of alcohol, they are generally considered non-alcoholic substitutes. Brandy extract closely mimics the taste of brandy and can be used in the same amount as called for in your recipe. However, it is important to note that brandy extract may not provide the same texture and consistency benefits in baking.


If you find yourself in need of a brandy substitute for your cooking or baking endeavors, there are several options to choose from. Whiskey, wine, gin, rum, and vodka are excellent alcoholic alternatives that can enhance the flavors of your dishes. For non-alcoholic options, fruit extracts and brandy extracts offer a flavor profile similar to brandy. Experiment with these substitutes to find the perfect match for your recipes and enjoy the flavorful results.


Can I completely replace brandy in my recipe with a substitute?

Yes, you can replace brandy in your recipe with an appropriate substitute. The key is to choose a substitute that complements the flavors and characteristics of the original recipe.

Will using a substitute change the taste of my dish?

Yes, using a substitute may change the taste of your dish to some extent. Each substitute has its own unique flavor profile, so it’s important to choose one that matches the intended taste of your recipe.

How do I determine the amount of substitute to use?

The general rule of thumb is to use the same amount of substitute as the brandy called for in the recipe. However, it’s always a good idea to start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste, as the intensity of flavors can vary.

Can I use nonalcoholic substitutes instead of alcoholic ones?

Yes, you can certainly use non-alcoholic substitutes if you prefer, or if you want to avoid alcohol altogether. Fruit extracts and brandy extracts are excellent options that can provide a similar flavor profile without the alcohol content.

Are there any substitutes that work better for certain types of dishes?

Yes, certain substitutions may work better in certain types of dishes. For example, whiskey and rum are often used in savory dishes, while wine and fruit extracts are often used in both sweet and savory recipes. Consider the flavor profile and characteristics of the substitute when choosing the best option for your dish.

Can I use more than one substitute in the same recipe?

Yes, you can experiment with combining different substitutes to create a unique flavor profile. However, it’s important to taste and adjust quantities accordingly to maintain a balanced and harmonious flavor in your dish.