Best Substitutes for Brandy in Cooking and Baking

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Alcohol is not just used as a drinking beverage. Actually, almost every kind of alcohol can be used in the kitchen for cooking purposes. By adding alcohol you are making your recipe even tastier.

Whether it is wine or a fine brandy, cooking sherry or any other types of alcohol used in a recipe will actually bring a certain touch in the taste and garnish your meal with a specific smell.  There are no limits and the creativity is up to you to make the best that you can from your recipe.

Further, Brandy is one of the types of alcohol that is commonly used in cooking. Regardless of being a beverage that many people enjoy, Brandy gives a special taste to desserts, deglazing pans or sauces. But actually what if you don’t have it at reach, is there something else that you can use?

Can I substitute brandy in cooking and baking? Yes, You can use Brandy extract, Apple juice or white grape juice as substitutes with no alcohol in them. Whereas the alcoholic list consists of Whiskey, Rum, Wine or some other alcoholic beverages that will help save some of your recipes.

Also, make sure to read what you can substitute if you are making a cake, as well as fruit cake if you don’t have Brandy.

Best Brandy Substitutes

Don’t worry if you don’t have a brandy in your kitchen, I’ll provide you with a list of substitutes that will bring out almost the same taste in your recipe.

If you are not feeling like using alcohol in your recipe, read the non-alcoholic list and choose what fits your recipe well. Whereas if you are feeling like using some alcoholic alternative, the other list will help you.  Read down and pick your alternative.



An alcoholic substitute that is similar to brandy is whiskey. The texture and flavour of the whiskey are a bit different from the brandy but it will fit very well in your recipe. Also, whiskey may have and taste more alcohol but it will only make a slight chance that you won’t even notice it. Try using equal amounts if substituting.


This is a type of alcohol that actually will make your recipe even tastier. Rum is a type of alcohol that has more sweetness than any other alcohol, especially Brandy but no need to worry because it won’t change anything in your recipe.

It will balance the taste and fit into the mixture. If you are replacing it just make sure to use equal amounts and add water if necessary to reduce the sweetness.


Just as brandy is simply a wine that is distilled, it will fit perfectly in your recipe. You can achieve a similar flavour with the wine and by using it, you will bring out the richness and strengthen the flavours of your recipe.

There are many types of wine, so whichever you choose you can’t go wrong there. Some wines are sweeter than others, but it is necessary to add a Spanish of vinegar or lemon juice in order to balance the taste.

Red wines will contribute to denser and more complex flavours, Use white wine so you’ll maintain the original colours of the brandy.

Other alcoholic substitutes:

There are many other alcoholic options that will also do the job and save your recipe. These alternatives are not that commonly used but still can do the job right.

You can always add Vodka which is flavourless, odorless and colorless which won’t affect the colour in your recipe. You can add it when baking because it will help your texture to grow.

Gin is another option which has crisp and herbal notes. Because of its taste, you have to make sure not to use it in all recipes. It is good to use it with meats.

Bourbon is one of the other alternatives that will bring slightly sweet flavours whereas Sctocth will add an intrigue smokey note to the texture of your recipe.

Non- alcoholic substitutes:

Brandy Extract

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Well, if you want to keep the brandy flavour, then the brandy extract is the closest that you can get. It is commonly used in recipes like desserts to replace the aromatic and sweet notes that the brandy gives.

You can use one part extract with four parts of water and make them into a sauce or marinade the same way as you’d use a brandy.

Apple Juice

If you don’t want to use any alcoholic based substitute, then apple juice will do the job. No need to dilute the juice, just use a few tablespoons as it calls for the brandy.

You just have to keep in mind that you need to mix it with water for larger quantities. Apple juice will fit nicely in your recipe, even though they do not taste quite the same. Apple juice will bring out the same flavour as the brandy would.

White Grape Juice

Another juice that will do the job right is the white grape juice. This is an all-purpose substitute in many recipes, especially the ones that involve pork or poultry.

Always use 100 per cent juices to avoid adding sugars in your dish and to avoid sweetening it. Just use ½ to 1 tablespoon of brandy to substitute. Also, make sure to add 1 tablespoon of water to the mixture.

Substitute for brandy in cake and fruitcake

Brandy is commonly used in desserts as well. In almost every cake you can use 2 to 3 tablespoons of brandy extract which will have almost the same taste as using an actual Brandy. Also, another option is to use the same amount of bourbon or rum. Also, you can just simply add some apple juice.

A good fruitcake is nothing without a splash of Brandy in its texture. But no worries if you don’t have Brandy, you can always use grape juice as a good alternative. Another option is the orange and the apple juice will fit good into the light and colourful fruit cake.

Another option if you decide to use something alcoholic free that will fit well in your fruit cake is to soak and dry the fruits overnight in a glass bowl. This way you’ll have natural juices and make your cake even tastier.

Related Questions:

What can I use instead of brandy in beef stroganoff?

A nice substitute for brandy in a beef stroganoff is sherry. This is a very fortified wine that will fit good in your recipe. Also, you can use whisky, bourbon or rum that would be a perfect alternative and will make it even tastier.

What does brandy do in baking?

When you use brandy in baking, this type of alcohol actually gives sweetness to the texture. Because it has a winey flavour, which means that it will fit best when making gingerbread, chocolate cake or glazes.

Why is brandy used in cooking?

When you use alcohol in cooking it actually improves your food and brings out aromas and flavors to your recipe. When you use brandy in a marinade it actually helps your meat and the seasoning mix up together. Also, when you are making sauces it makes your food smell very good and tastes even better.

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