Substitutes for Alcohol in Cooking

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We have compiled a list of nonalcoholic substitutes for recipes that call for various wines, spirits, and liqueurs. Do remember alternatives won't necessarily mimic the flavor of the original ingredient. The intention is to add some acidity and contrast as well as intensify flavors.

A General Note About Ingredient Substitutions

Substituting ingredients takes a lot of trial and error practice. If this is for your day-to-day cooking, have fun experimenting. If you are cooking for guests and special occasions, then you may be better served by making an extra trip to the store to get the proper ingredient. If using alcohol in cooking is simply not an option, then experiment with these nonalcoholic suggestions.

For more ingredient substitutions, browse our Cooking Dictionary of Ingredients and Substitutions.  Our cooking dictionary includes over 1800 cooking ingredients and culinary terms. Terms include a description, a picture, ingredient substitutions, and equivalents as well as *nutritional facts. When possible, we include links to recipes and "where to buy" and more information. *Nutritional data not available for every item.

Alcohol Substitutions Chart
Beverage General Substitute Measured Substitute Alternate
Amaretto Non-alcoholic almond extract; orgeat Italian soda syrup; or marzipan. For: 2 tablespoons amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur, substitute: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract For an alternative with alcohol and a different flavor variation try substituting equal amounts of hazelnut liqueur, chocolate liqueur OR coffee liqueur.
 Aperol
Use Sanbitter OR Crodino (both alcohol free).
Use equal amounts of Sanbitter or Crodino to replace Aperol.
 Compari
Applejack or apple brandy Unsweetened apple juice concentrate; apple juice; apple cider; or apple butter. Per tablespoon of Apple Brandy (applejack) you can substitute 1 tablespoon Cognac OR pear Brandy OR any Brandy.
Apricot brandy Syrup from canned apricots in heavy syrup; or apricot preserves. Per tablespoon of Apricot Brandy  you can substitute 1 tablespoon Cognac OR pear Brandy OR any flavored Brandy of choice.
Bailey's Irish Cream
If using as a beverage you can combine heavy cream with chocolate syrup and espresso powder to taste.

If using in cooking you may substitute Irish Cream flavored creamer OR Irish Cream syrup by Torani,  again, depending on the recipe.
   
Beer or Ale Chicken broth, white grape juice, or ginger ale  
Bourbon Non-alcoholic vanilla extract. Champagne and other sparkling wines: Sparkling apple cider; sparkling cranberry juice; or sparkling grape juice. For 2 tablespoons bourbon, substitute the following: 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract You can substitute equal amounts of brandy, rum or cognac.
Brandy Raspberry extract, brandy extract 2 tablespoons brandy, substitute the following: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon brandy extract OR 2 tablespoons water, white grape juice or apple juice  
 Calvados
Apple juice concentrate OR apple butter
   
Champagne Ginger Ale or Soda water and Champagne extract  
Cherry liqueur or brandy (Kirschwasser) Syrup from canned cherries in heavy syrup; Italian soda cherry syrup; or cherry preserves. (Not suitable for fondue)  
Cognac Juice from peaches, apricots or pears.  
  Coffee liqueur Espresso; non-alcoholic coffee extract; or coffee syrup. 2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee or chocolate- flavored liqueur, substitute the following: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chocolate extract plus 1/2 to 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water  
Cointreau Orange juice, or frozen orange juice concentrate.  
Creme de Cacao Powdered white chocolate mixed with water; non-alcoholic vanilla extract and powdered sugar.  
Creme de Cassis Black currant Italian soda syrup; or black currant jam.  
Creme de Menthe Mint Italian soda syrup; or non-alcoholic mint extract. or Spearmint extract or oil of spearmint diluted with a little water or grapefruit juice  
Gewurztraminer White grape juice mixed with lemon juice, water, and a pinch of powdered sugar  
Kahlua
Chocolate extract, 1 teaspoon per 2 tablespoon of Kahlua. Or 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder per 2 tablespoon of Kahlua  
Kirsch (Cherry) Syrup or juice from black cherries, raspberries, boysenberries, currants, grapes or cherry cider.  
Licorice or anise flavored liqueur Anise Italian soda syrup; or fennel.  
Mirin White grape juice mixed with lemon juice or zest.  
Muscat White grape juice mixed with water and powdered sugar 1/2 cup white grape juice with 1/2 cup of water and 1/8 to 1/4 cup powdered sugar.* adjust sugar to taste depending on your recipe.  
Orange liqueur (Grand Marnier)or brandy Unsweetened orange juice concentrate; orange zest; orange juice; or marmalade For 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange- flavored liqueur, substitute the following: 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 2 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice concentrate  
Pear Brandy Syrup from canned pears. OR use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pear extract per tablespoon brandy.   Any other flavored brandy such as Apple Brandy.
Peach brandy Syrup from canned peaches in heavy syrup; or peach preserves  
Peppermint Schnapps Mint Italian soda syrup; non-alcoholic mint extract; or mint leaves  
Port Concord grape juice mixed with lime zest; or cranberry juice mixed with lemon juice  
Riesling White grape juice mixed with water and a pinch of powdered sugar.  
Rum Non-alcoholic vanilla or rum extract. OR Pineapple juice or syrup flavored with almond extract. For 2 tbsp rum , substitute the following: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon rum extract OR 2 tablespoons water, white grape juice or apple juice  
Sake You can substitute equal parts of white grape juice with one to two teaspoons of a low acid vinegar such as rice vinegar fresh lemon juice    
 Sauternes
Sauternes are sweet dessert wines. 
You can substitute equal parts of apple juice, depending on the recipe.
 
Sherry Apple cider; non-alcoholic vanilla extract; coffee; or coffee syrup 2 tablespoons sherry, substitute the following: 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons orange or pineapple juice. To substitute sherry in a marinade: for 1/2 cup sherry use 1/4 cup vinegar + 1 tablespoon sugar + 1/4 water OR1 tablespoon vinegar, plus chicken stock or water to make 1/2 cup.  
Vermouth Apple cider; or apple juice mixed with lemon juice and water.  
Vodka Water; apple cider or white grape juice mixed with lime juice Substitute 2 tablespoons of aquavit, tequilla or white rum.
Wine, Red Note: add water, white grape juice, apple juice, or broth, if necessary, to get the specified amount of liquid called for in the recipe. OR Grape juice; vegetable stock; cranberry juice; tomato juice; or concord grape jelly. 1/4 cup or more red wine, substitute the following: equal measure of red grape juice, cranberry juice, apple cider, chicken broth, clam juice, flavored vinegar, or nonalcoholic wine. If you use nonalcoholic wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar to cut the sweetness  
Wine, White White grape juice; apple cider; apple juice; vegetable stock; or water, verjus 1/4 cup or more white wine, substitute the following: equal measure of white grape juice, chicken broth, vegetable broth, clam juice or nonalcoholic wine. If you use a nonalcoholic wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar to cut the sweetness  
Wine, White, Dry Water, chicken broth, bullion or consommé, ginger ale, white grape juice, diluted cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, liquid from canned mushrooms.  
Wine, Heavy For 1/4 cup or more port, sweet sherry, rum, brandy, liqueur, substitute the following: equal measure of unsweetened orange juice or apple juice plus 1 teaspoon of corresponding flavored extract or vanilla extract.  

Wine Substitutions

If alcohol is not an issue, then Vermouth makes a good substitute for white wine in a recipe as long as the amount needed is not more than a 1/2 cup or so.

Nonalcoholic Substitutions

For soups and pan sauces use extra broth and add red or white wine vinegar or lemon juice right before serving using the following ratios:

To replace 1/2 cup wine use:

1/2 cup broth + 1 teaspoon wine vinegar
1/2 cup broth + 1 teaspoon lemon juice

How Much Alcohol Burns Out After Cooking?

There is no exact way to know if all alcohol has been burnt off during cooking because there are simply too many variables such as cooking method (roasting, simmering, baking, etc.) and cooking temperature and duration. According to the USDA Data lab, 5% of alcohol still remains in a dish that has been simmered for over 2.5 hours.

If you are hosting guests that need to abstain from alcohol, it is best to simply design your menu accordingly and avoid using alcohol at all. If this is not possible, then you should inform the guest(s), so they can steer clear of any questionable foods.

General Marinade Substitutes

Substitute 1 cup of alcohol called for in the recipe with:
  • 1 cup of citrus juice, lemonade, pineapple or orange juice.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice or orange juice.
  • 1 cup of tomato juice diluted by 1/4 with water or vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup of light soy sauce and 1/2 cup of citrus juice.
  • 1/2 cup of light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.
  • 1 cup of teriyaki sauce
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.