8 Best Rum Extract Substitutes

Rum extract is a popular ingredient used for cooked and baked dishes. It is made from rum and it has a concentrated rum flavor. However, it doesn’t have such a high alcohol content, only contains a small amount of alcohol and you can even find alcohol-free versions.

It is worth keeping a small bottle of rum extract in your kitchen since it is cheap. You can store it in a cool dry place indefinitely. It also gives your dishes a nice flavor similar to rum.

The best part? It is concentrated, so you can add it to your food without disrupting the liquid balance. If you want to buy rum extract, look for the one that is labeled as “natural” because it is the pure extract.

If it is labeled as “imitation” it means it is made from artificial flavoring so it won’t have the same rich flavor as the pure extract. Rum extract can give a unique taste to desserts. You can add rum extract to your brownies, cupcakes, puddings, and banana bread.

Some savory dishes call for rum extract but it isn’t common. However, if you need rum extract for a recipe and you don’t have it at home, you can still find a way to succeed.

One of the options is to simply leave it out. You will miss that unique flavor of rum but it will still be good. 

The best substitutes for rum extract are plain rum, vanilla extract, bourbon, coffee extract, tequila, cachaca, cognac and orange liqueur.

If you want to find more detailed information about these substitutes, keep reading.

Rum Extract Substitutes

So if you are out of rum extract, this list can give you some alternatives to use instead and save your recipe.

1. Rum


Despite many people think rum extract is not identical to rum. Rum is an alcoholic drink, while rum extract is a cooking ingredient made from rum.

Most recipes suggest using rum extract but because their flavor is similar you can easily replace rum extract with rum. It works well in tiramisu and brownie recipes. Instead of 1 tablespoon of rum extract, you can add 3 tablespoons of light rum or 2,5 tablespoons of dark rum.

2. Vanilla extract

Vanilla Extract

If you prefer to use extract instead of liqueur, the vanilla extract could be a suitable option for you. It is very easy to find even in local stores. If you don’t use it too much, you can even buy it in a very small quantity for a low price.

Non-alcoholic varieties are also available. Just like rum extract, the vanilla extract also gives your food a unique flavor. It goes well with cookies, cakes, and pies. Use the same amount as you would with rum extract.

3. Bourbon


Bourbon is an alcoholic liqueur that has a very similar taste to rum. Many people like to make cocktails from it but nowadays it is becoming more popular to use it in the kitchen too.

You can add to your favorite cookies, cakes, and even brownies. But make sure to double the amount if you use it as a rum extract substitute.

4. Coffee extract

Coffee extract is a concentrated flavoring made from coffee beans and alcohol. It is great for baked goods, ice cream, cocktails, and tiramisu.

This substitute doesn’t have the same taste as rum extract but if you don’t mind that your dish has an extra coffee flavor you can easily use it instead of rum extract. You don’t need to change anything in your recipe, just use the same amount written with rum extract.

5. Tequila


Tequila is a distilled liqueur that is made from the fermented juices of a blue agave plant. It has an intense alcoholic flavor but if you like its taste you can add it to your dessert recipes instead of rum extract. It can be a good choice for energy bars, cakes, and cupcakes.

However, you have to use the double amount as you would with rum extract. And if you can, try to find white tequila for baking.

6. Cachaca

Cachaca is a Brazilian white rum made from sugar cane. You might have some difficulties in finding it near you if you are not in Brazil.

If you are lucky, you can replace rum extract with it. Its taste matches very well with lemon so it is a perfect substitute for lemon cakes. But don’t forget to put a triple amount of cachaca for the best results.

7. Cognac


Cognac is a French wine distillate used worldwide for years. It is primarily used to give a nice flavor to meat dishes, but it works well in sweet desserts too.

As a rum extract substitute, you can use cognac in chocolate cream, pudding, and punch. If your recipe says 2 tablespoons of rum extract you should add 2-2.5 tablespoons of cognac for a similar result.

8. Orange liqueur

Orange liqueur is a must-have ingredient for many different types of cocktails, but it gives a nice taste to cakes as well. As it has an orange flavor it is mostly suitable for orange or mandarin cakes.

However, it is a great alternative for rum extract too if you don’t mind the orange flavor. You will have to use a triple amount in your dessert recipes.

Related Questions

Can I use sherry instead of rum extract?

Yes, you can, but try to find cooking sherry, not dry sherry. Also, you will have to double the amount.

Can I use almond extract instead of rum extract?

Yes, however, the almond extract is harder to find and is usually more expensive. But if you have it in hand, it works well as a rum extract substitute.

What is the alcohol percentage of rum extract?

Rum extract normally has 35% of alcohol but you can also find rum extract that has no alcohol in it.

1 comment
  1. Great help. I want to make these for guests, but I don’t have rum extract nor any of the other suggestions. Relief for I have almond extract! Will add rum ex to the shopping list.
    Thank you for making time to do this.

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