9 Alternatives for Brandy in Cooking and Baking

A distilled alcoholic beverage known as brandy is often created from fermented wine. Cognac is the most popular brandy kind. Eaux de vie or fruit brandies are alcoholic drinks made from fruit other than grapes. Some of these are cherry brandy, applejack (made from apples), apricot brandy, plum brandy, and plum brandy (from cherries).

Although brandy is often served as an after-dinner beverage, many people use it to flavor cooking and baking recipes because of its distinctive flavor, which can make even straightforward meals look more complicated. You don’t have to worry about running out of brandy in your baking or cooking since we have gathered 9 alternatives!


Whiskey is typically made from fermented grain mash. It has a strong aroma with rich and complex flavors that come as the result of how it’s distilled. Brandy can be substituted for whiskey in cooking by using half as much alcohol when reducing liquids or sauces to thicken them. Whiskey also pairs well with desserts like pecan pie or apple crisp since they have similar spice notes.


Rum is a type of alcohol that will make your recipe even better! Rum has been used in cooking for centuries, and it’s sweeter than any other alcoholic beverage on the market. But don’t worry because nothing changes when you use rum; there’s no need to alter your proportions.

Simply replace one ingredient with another equal-sized amount of rum to enjoy all its deliciousness without altering anything else about the dish.

Adding water is acceptable only if you want to reduce the sweetness.


If you want to keep the flavor of your dish intact, but don’t want all that sugar in there, then add a splash of wine instead. Wine is sweeter than most alcoholic beverages on the market and it can also be used as an ingredient for other dishes like sauces or soups! Substitute one cup with one-third cup of white wine if needed.

If you opt to use wine, it will enhance the richness and strengthen the flavors of your dish. There are red wines with denser flavors that can be used for different types of dishes or white wines which keep the original colors of your meal just like when adding brandy.

A type I have not yet tried but would enjoy trying out at some point as well as experimenting on my own would be sake-it has an earthier taste than other varieties so if this style appeals most to you then go for it!


Vodka is neutral alcohol that won’t affect the flavors of your recipe. Use it to make cocktails, infusions, or sauces for desserts.
If you are using vodka and want a sweeter taste, add sugar as needed but only very small amounts at a time.

To measure the desired amount use teaspoons and tablespoons so you can get an exact measurement instead of guessing by eyeballing it which may lead to over-sweetened dishes (not good!).

You can also mix different kinds of vodkas together if you are looking for flavor combinations such as cranberry and ginger ale.


Gin is another neutral alcohol that can be used in almost any dish. It has a slightly stronger taste than vodka so it will stand out more, but if you would like to use gin then go for it!

Mixing with other ingredients and adding sugar as needed are the same methods you could apply to using vodka or sake.
Just keep in mind that gin may overpower some of your dishes so make sure not to have too much added at one time (especially when baking).


Honey-infused Gin: Honey pairs well with vanilla which creates a smooth flavor combination. Add honey into the infusion jar instead of water and add some vanilla beans while steeping on low heat for 12 hours before straining through cheesecloth.


Bourbon is another alcohol that can be used in cooking and baking. It has a smoky, slightly sweet flavor so if you’re looking for something to replace the flavors on your dishes then bourbon may be perfect for you! The best way to use it with other ingredients would be as an addition or mixer because of its strong taste. Just remember not to add too much at one time (especially when baking).

Bonus: Apple Cider Bourbon Caramel Sauce

This recipe involves adding apple cider into the saucepan while mixing well before slowly pouring bourbon over top. Bring back up to simmering temperature and allow the mixture to reduce by about half until thickened, stirring occasionally. Once cooled enough, whisk in butter followed by sugar. Add a bit of vanilla extract if you prefer your caramel with that extra flavor!

Brandy Extract – a non-alcoholic option

The brandy extract is a popular substitute for the real thing, particularly in dessert recipes. You can use one part of the extract with four parts of water to replace an equal amount of alcohol and then add it to sauces or marinades just as you would brandy.

This extract is often used in desserts to add a sweet and aromatic flavor.

Brandy Type Extract, Natural Flavor Blend - 4 fl. oz. bottle
  • Brandy Type Extract, Flavor, Flavoring
  • For Baking, Beverages and Ice Cream
  • Natural, Water Soluble, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free
  • Kosher
  • Contains No Brandy or Ingredients Derived From Brandy

Apple juice – a non-alcoholic option

Choosing a substitute for brandy in your recipes can be tricky, but apple juice fits nicely into most of them. The dilution with water will help bring out the same flavors as you would get from using something else like vodka or rum instead!

White grape juice – a non-alcoholic substitute

White grape juice also works well as an alternative to brandy in your cooking and baking recipes. This will give you that extra flavor without the alcohol! You might want to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe, though, because this substitution is sweeter than using apple juice. To deal with that, just add a tablespoon of water.

It is important to avoid adding more sugar.

White grape juice is mostly used in recipes with pork or poultry.

Why do people use brandy in cooking?

Alcohol is a true culinary gem. When used in cooking, it not only helps bring out the flavors and aromas of your dish but also improves them! For example, when you use brandy as an ingredient for marinades or sauces they will smell better than ever before and taste even more delicious on top of that. Alcohol really does make every meal so much tastier!

Final thoughts

We will be honest with you. Nobody likes to run out of brandy, but we can help! If your recipe calls for a liquor that isn’t in your cabinet and you are not willing to make an emergency trip to the store, there are plenty of substitutes available.

This list includes nine different alternatives that range from boozy (whiskey) to non-alcoholic options like apple juice.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with substitutes for your recipes or meals to level up their flavors even more. We know everything can be overwhelming when cooking but these tips should help make food prep less daunting!

Have you tried using other alternatives of brandy? Let us know what the result was!

Leave a comment

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