10 Best Rum Substitutes For Baking & Cooking

Rum is not only suitable for your glass at the bar. You may also use this popular alcoholic beverage in the kitchen for various cooking applications. Be it marinade, savory or tasty foods; rum is an excellent addition. Optionally, you can have it as an ingredient for drinks like coffee or tea.

This alcoholic drink adds some tanginess to your food, improving its smack. There are situations where you may need a rum substitute. Maybe, there is no rum left, or you have visitors that cannot stand alcohol in their meals.

In such a case, you need to be creative. Stick on as we give you options to use in place of rum when cooking.

Alcoholic Substitutes for Rum

If there is no rum in your liquor cabinets, go for the following options.


Rum’s versatility in the kitchen is one of its impressive qualities. As was already said, it is useful while making both savory and sweet foods. When it comes to adaptability, brandy is a beverage that is more similar to rum.

This booze is produced by distilling wine. Brandy works well with both sweet and savory foods, but especially well with the former. If you want to add a little of tanginess to sauces or soups, use brandy. It works well with meat meals since it is a wine derivative. Additionally, brandy may be used to make delicacies like cake and ice cream.


If you want an intense taste, whiskey won’t disappoint. Whiskey is a popular alcoholic drink, which many people associate with class. In the kitchen, you use it to prepare marinade, soups, and cakes.

Its bitterness will complement dishes like spicy beef. It also intensifies the aroma of your food. Bourbons give a better flavor, with a hint of caramel and nuttiness.


This alcoholic beverage has a touch of herbs, ideal for preparing veggies. It comes from the distillation of juniper berries and is popular in cocktails. When cooking, it is an excellent addition for cakes or vegetable or fruit-based salads.

Like rum, it has a distant sweetness, which can complement sweet foods. For instance, few bottle caps on a bowl of ice cream with some berries will do for dessert. Mixing gin with vinegar creates a marinate base, ideal for beef or mutton.

Optionally, add some lemon slices or rind to a cup of gin to prepare gin chicken.


This rum substitute has a sweet essence, making it suitable for seafood and cocktails. Tequila comes from the blue agave plant and has a significant association with Mexican culture. Its taste is an excellent buffer for spicy food, like those with too many chilies. Its intensity depends on the brand.

Tequila is a nice option for baking or cocktails. For best results, use brands with an alcohol percentage of 35-40%.


Beer in the kitchen? Many people will see this as a crazy idea, but it does a good job. Rum has a controlled flavor, which makes it suitable for making broth. That is the same case with beer. A bottle or two of your favorite beer brand will bring out an excellent tanginess to your food.

Some culinary pundits suggest using beer or ginger ale for spicy meat stew. It helps neutralize the intensity of the spices. When used on veggies, beer will make the stew thicker. You can use milk or oat stouts for baking, especially if you want moist or spongy cakes.

Still, on alcoholic substitutes for rum, the wine will do a good job. Red wine is ideal for meat stews, giving it an intense but manageable taste. You can add spices like rosemary and thyme leaves when cooking with wine.

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Rum

There are times when you do not want your food to have a hint of alcohol. The following are non-alcoholic rum substitutes for cooking.

Non-Alcoholic Rum Extract

This product is a derivative of rum, though it has zero alcohol content. However, it has a rich and distinctive rum flavor. This condiment will give your food the essence of rum, where you will have a hint of its sweetness. It is a great choice for teetotalers who want excellent-tasting food with no indication of booze.

There are two types of rum extract, natural, and imitation. The former uses real rum in its manufacture and may have a lower alcohol concentration. The latter uses artificial ingredients, giving a mild rum taste. Also, it is cheaper.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar is a widely used condiment, which you can have in place of this alcoholic drink. It gives food a tangy element, suitable for stews and salad. Apple cider gives a fruity touch to your meals, similar to rum.

If you are a hands-on person, you can prepare this condiment at home. You will need apples, raw honey or sugar, a clean jar, and a cloth.

Chop up the apples or skins and put them in the jar. Fill it with water and add the sweeteners.

Shake the jar to dissolve the honey or sugar, then seal it with the cloth, securing it with a rubber band. Let it rest for up to a month. You may add apple cider vinegar to the mixture to hasten the process.

Non-Alcoholic Amaretto

Amaretto is a liqueur originating from Italy. It is mainly made from almonds, though there are peach stones and apricot variations. Amaretto can go into various foods, like meats, pancakes, cocktails, and even coffee.

There are non-alcoholic versions, which you may use in cooking. They are very flavorful and will enhance the smack from your dishes. You can mix Amaretto with syrup for pancake topping.

The liqueur is also ideal if your palate prefers a nutty and distant fruity essence. Some pundits claim it has a hint of woodiness, similar to barrel-aged scotch.

Apple Juice

This is another perfect substitute that you can make at home. Apple juice has a fruity solid essence, especially if you put a little apple cider when blending it. Its slight acidity makes it ideal for broths, marinating, baking, and sauce toppings.

Try exploring your culinary creativity by spiking this juice with other ingredients. For instance, some chili powder and brown sugar give you a great marinade. Mix it with mayo and mustard to create a salad dressing.

Grape Juice

For a hint of tart and fruitful essence, grape juice is a choice to consider. You may make it in the kitchen or buy a ready-made bottle. The good thing with blending at home is that you prepare it to your preference.

Add ginger, lemon, or orange zest for a diverse tang. Like apple juice, grape juice is an excellent marinade base. If you want more savor when cooking stews, add some vinegar and salt to it.

White grape juice on chicken broth with a few spices is a remedy for cold. Furthermore, this juice will do culinary justice for ice creams and non-alcoholic cocktails.

Final Words

Rum is an adaptable condiment to use for many meals. It has a deep accent, making it perfect for enhancing even the lightest flavors.

If you do not have or want to use rum, there are several substitutes, as evident in this article. We can see there are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices, which you may pick as per your desires or availability.

Get the right condiment and boost the richness of your dishes.

Read further: Jack’s Guide To Accurate Pouring: How Many Ounces In A Shot

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