10 Best Calvados Substitutes


Calvados is a popular apple brandy and it comes from the region of Normandy, France. And besides being a delicious brandy to enjoy with your friends and family, it also makes a great ingredient for many dishes.

It can offer a fruity flavor to many recipes, with a delicious tint of alcohol. But if you don’t have this brandy in your kitchen, don’t fret! You have plenty of alternatives to choose from and you will still end up with a tasty dish!

Now, let’s learn more about each substitute below!

Best Substitutes For Calvados

Choose your substitute carefully so it will match not only your recipe but also your personal preference.

1. Another type of brandy


Since Calvados is a brandy, you could still prepare your dish with a different type of brandy that you can find in stores. It will help you to use a brandy-based on apples and pears to obtain a similar flavor, but ultimately, any brandy will work in your recipes.

This substitute will work best in different drinks and cocktails. However, you can also use it in desserts and stir-fries as long as you respect the quantity. Keep the same ratio you would use for Calvados, regardless of the brandy you replace it with.

2. Apple juice

apple juice

Apple juice can also substitute Calvados especially in desserts and sweet dishes and even in some savory recipes, you might want to prepare.

You can find it in almost all grocery stores and we recommend you to go for the unsweetened option so you can get a flavor that is as similar as possible to the original dish.

It is a great alternative if you are looking for a non-alcoholic option but if you want some alcohol in your recipe, you can always add some rum or vodka or even cognac.

3. Apple cider

Apple cider can come with or without alcohol. And it can replace Calvados in almost all recipes. It is a great ingredient for cocktails as well as other recipes and you can use it in the same quantity as you would use Calvados brandy.

If you want to keep the flavor as close to the original recipe, use an apple cider that is rich in alcohol, especially for cooked dishes. Once you make your dessert or meal, the alcohol will not taste so strong anymore.

4. Pear cider

Pear cider has a fruity-pear flavor that compliments many ingredients and it is a great alternative to apple brandy or Calvados. You will find pear cider with or without alcohol. They are both just as good when you use them as substitutes to Calvados.

Use this product in different drinks, creams, or desserts and even to make delicious, fruity sauces that will complement your dishes.

5. Apple essence

Apple essence is collected during the production of apple juice. Therefore, it has a strong fruity flavor to it that will enrich the taste of any recipe you use it in.

It is going to offer you a similar taste with Calvados but without the alcohol which makes it a great alternative if you prepare a dessert for children.

Taste your apple essence before you use it as they come in different apple concentrations and some are stronger in flavor than others.

6. Apple butter

Apple butter

Apple butter has a strong apple taste but it also comes with a mild cinnamon flavor.

You will not be able to use apple butter in your cocktails or drinks but you can use it successfully in baked cookies and other desserts to enrich their flavor and substitute the Calvados.

Some recipes will require you to melt the butter before using it and you can do that easily on the stovetop. Apple butter is not the first alternative you will find in stores. But if you do get it, know that it can work miracles for many sweet dishes.

7. Pear brandy

Pear brandy, just like pear cider, can replace Calvados in all your dishes. It will give your drinks or other dishes a pear taste and even if it is not the original apple flavor that you love, it is still as delicious.

When you use pear brandy, you can respect the same ratio. However, chances are that if you like the pear taste you will add more. Just don’t add too much of it since it has alcohol too.

8. White wine

Cooking White Wine

If you can’t find any of the options above, you can try replacing your Calvados with white wine. Try to find a white wine with a similar concentration of alcohol. Furthermore, use it in the same quantity as you would use Calvados.

But keep in mind that wine has a different taste than this brandy so your final dish will not have the apple flavor you want. It is still going to taste great so you can save almost any type of dish with this alternative.

9. Red wine

Red wine

Red wine could substitute any type of brandy if you don’t mind the red color that will alter the color of your dish. This alternative will have a fruity taste but also a grape taste to it and it can come in different levels of sweetness.

Choose a sweet red wine if you use it in desserts as it is more suitable. However, ultimately, you can choose the red wine that you prefer and you will not regret it. 

10. Plain apple vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple vinegar can be a good substitute for Calvados in savory and salty recipes.

It will not work for cocktails or desserts but it can be delicious in salads and sour soups as well as different sauces that you can use as toppings or marinates.

Apple vinegar can have a strong flavor and smell so you want to add a lot less than you would add any other type of brandy. Start by adding 1 tablespoon of it and increase the quantity according to your preferences.

Related Questions

What liquor is similar to Calvados?

If you want to replace Calvados in cocktails, you will need a similar type of brandy so your taste stays fairly similar.

Cedar Ridge, Armagnac, or Somerset cider brandy would provide similar results. They have a fruity taste and a similar level of alcohol. Therefore, you can use them in the same ratio as you would use Calvados. 

Is Calvados the same as brandy?

Calvados is a type of brandy made only in Normandy. It has the status of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC).

This brandy contains a small percentage of pears but it is mostly made as an apple cider, before the fermentation phase. Makers of Calvados only use apples that grow in Normandy, being the sweet, bittersweet, bittersharp, or bitter. 

So, while Calvados falls into the brandy category, it is quite a special type of brandy that you will not find in all stores worldwide.

Is Calvados similar to applejack?

Calvados and applejack are quite different, even if they are both made of apples.

Applejack was initially considered a brandy in the 1900s. However, later it became qualified as a whiskey. This drink is not as strong in terms of apple flavor which is why it might not be the best alternative to Calvados.

Final Thoughts

Calvados is definitely one of those ingredients that will add a special taste to your recipes. But even if you don’t have this drink, you can still use one of the substitutes in our guide to make sure your end result is as delicious as possible.

Let your imagination run free and don’t be afraid to try new flavors and new ingredients in the kitchen and you will not regret it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like