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13 Alcoholic & Non-alcoholic Brandy Substitutes for Cooking/Baking

Alcoholic drinks aren’t just for a night out with friends. When used correctly, they are good for the body and soul. Most importantly, great for your kitchen.

Brandy is a perfect example of a versatile drink. Whether cooking or baking, brandy has your kitchen covered with its taste and flavor.

This article will tell you briefly what brandy is and recommend 12 substitutes for brandy when it’s unavailable. Grab a drink; let’s get to it!

15-Second Summary

  • In your baking and cooking recipe, whiskey, rum, bourbon, wine, vodka, and gin are alcoholic substitutes for brandy.
  • In comparison, non-alcoholic substitutes include fruit juice, apple juice, and brandy extract.

Substitute for Brandy

In Sangria



Triple Sec

Sparkling Juice

Alcohol-Free Wine


In Desserts

Brandy Extract

In Coq au Vin


White wine

In Mulled Wine


Tawny Port Wine

In Tiramisu

Marsala Wine

Dark Rum

Coffee-flavored Liqueur

In Black Forest Cake


Cherry Liqueurs

Cherry Vodka

In Beef Stroganoff




In French Onion Soup


In Fruitcake


In Peppercorn Sauce


White Wine

Brandy Extract

In Steak Diane


Madeira Wine

Dry White Wine

What is Brandy?

Brandy is an aged, distilled alcoholic drink made from fermented fruit mash. It can be dark, amber, or clear-colored. It is made from grapes and fruits like apples, apricots, cherries, and plums.


Since brandy can be made from fruits, this leads to the question, what does brandy taste like?

What Does Brandy Taste Like?

Brandy tastes sweet and fruity. It is a blend of alcohol with subtle oak flavors of whiskey mixed with the sweetness of the wine. This is a general taste.

Different brandy types have distinct tastes and flavors depending on their constituents. But the intensity of the oaky taste depends on how long the brandy is aged.

Now that we know a bit about brandy let’s see what we can use to substitute it in our kitchen.

There has to be a purpose when you substitute one item for another item. So, the list of substitutes we have curated is mainly for cooking and baking purpose.

8 Alcoholic Substitutes for Brandy



Rum is a sweet substitute for brandy in your cooking recipe. It is also ideal for baking cakes. This is because rum is way sweeter than brandy.

If it’s too sweet, you can dilute the rum in your recipe with water. Ensure you taste as you dilute.

Additionally, you don’t have to adjust your recipe when you use rum. Feel free to use the same volume of rum to substitute for brandy.



Good old whiskey! This would be the first choice of most chefs. Whiskey has a strong alcoholic flavor, so if you don’t want an alcoholic replacement that is too strong, you can add syrup to dilute.

Whiskey has dense flavors, and it differs from brandy in terms of texture, but once it’s cooked, it makes a great substitute, so there is no reason to worry.

In your recipe, replace the quantity of brandy it calls for with ½ portion of whiskey.



Bourbon is exquisite alcohol, reserved for only those with a refined palette and good taste. With an earthy, smoky, yet sweet flavor, bourbon will add delight to your meal.

However, you might want to be mindful of the quantity you use because its intense earthy flavor can consume the taste of your meal. So, substitute with ⅔ of bourbon first, taste, and add an extra ⅓ if necessary.

This gradual substitution will help you discover the strength of its flavors in your meal. Once you know this, you can use it better without losing the primary taste of your dish.

Further Reading: 12 Best Bourbon Substitutes for Cooking/Baking in Recipe


sweet wine

Your choice to use red or white wine depends on the effect the wine is meant to have on the recipe.

With white wine, your meal retains its color but has a complexity of flavors, while red wine gives the same flavor complexity but with a color change.

Wine works perfectly with sauces and meat, so in a recipe that calls for one cup brandy, substitute with ⅓ cup of wine.

Moreover, if you decide to use wine, remember it is sugary, so substitute in small amounts until you are satisfied.

If you add too much, reduce the sugary taste by adding vinegar or lemon juice pinch.

If the meal tastes too dry, add a bit of sugar to it.


orange-flavored vodka

Vodka is a fantastic substitute for brandy, so please wipe the shocked look off your face.

Unlike red wine, which can change the taste of your food, vodka is neutral alcohol, so it won’t affect the taste of your dish when used sparingly.

Vodka is a great ingredient that improves the texture of your baked foods. On the plus side, it’s colorless. If your batter tastes dry, add a dash of sugar. Vodka is a fantastic brandy substitute for baking.



With other substitutes, you get a fruity, oaky flavor, but with gin, it’s different.

Gin has a herbaceous alcohol bloom because it’s made from malt or grain.

Additionally, unlike the other options, it is not aged in vessels. But you might notice a citrus flavor and scent because citrus peels are used in the making process.

Gin pairs perfectly with chicken and game meat, so you might want to use it more liberally in those recipes.

Despite the difference in making gin and its ingredient, this replacement works perfectly in meat recipes that call for brandy.

When you use gin in baking, be mindful as its strong flavor can overpower the taste of the baked goods.

Grand Marnier

grand marnier

Grand Marnier is a fantastic substitute for brandy. It is made up of cognac, triple sec, bitters, and sugar.

The flavor of this delightful drink is fruity, and oaky undertones with a dash of vanilla. Usually, Grand Marnier adds that orange kick to your recipe.

Grand Marnier can be used for crêpes and other baked foods. It is also famous for making margarita delicious.

Further Reading: Top 10 Grand Marnier Substitutes in Baking/Margarita/Cooking



Can Sherry be substituted for brandy?

Sherry is made from white grapes and sometimes blends with other grapes such as red or black grapes to produce dark sherry. It can be a substitute for Brandy in cooking and baking.

5 Non-alcoholic Substitute For Brandy

If alcoholic drinks are not your thing, you should try out these non-alcoholic brandy substitutes.

Brandy Extract

brandy extract

Suppose you want to retain the brandy flavor with a less alcoholic vibe; brandy extract is your best bet.

In your desserts, you can use brandy extract to give aromatic and sweet notes similar to brandy.

Apple Juice

apple juice

Apple juice makes an acceptable brandy substitute because it will give the same flavor brandy gives. Although the taste might differ, it works all the same.

Feel free to use the same quantity of apple juice as a substitute in your recipe. Mix apple juice with water to make up the volume for larger quantities.

White Grape Juice

white grape juice

White grape works perfectly in poultry and pork recipes. It’s sweeter than apple juice and gives extra flavor without the taste of alcohol.

If you choose white grape as a substitute, adjust the sugar in your recipe because of its sweet taste. You can add a teaspoon of water to the recipe.

Fruit Juice

fruit juices

You can use fruit juice as a brandy substitute for cakes and fruitcakes. It may not taste like alcohol or possess the flavor from the fermentation of yeast, but it works just fine.

Substitute fruit juice for brandy in the same proportion your recipe requires.

Further Reading: Can You Juice Frozen Fruit/Vegetable in a Juicer Safely?


vegetable broth

Yes, we know the broth isn’t brandy, but it works as a substitute.

We recommend broth to give your marinade or sauce some “extra sauce” and flavor. Use broth for your meat and vegetables. It’ll work magic, not alcohol, but it’ll still be good.

The broth only works as a cooking substitute, so please don’t use it in baking recipes; it’ll be a disaster.

We are confident that you won’t feel the absence of brandy in your meal with these substitute options.

Here are answers to a few questions you might have about brandy.

FAQs About Brandy

What’s the best applejack brandy substitute?

For something similar without the bite, try apple juice with a drop or two of bourbon or cinnamon.

Why do I have to use Brandy in my cooking?

The use of alcoholic drinks in cooking is optional, hence the non-alcoholic substitutes. However, to bring more life and improve the taste and aroma of your meals, brandy or any alcohol is the gem you need.

What is the best Brandy substitute in beef stroganoff?

We recommend Sherry, a fortified Spaniard white wine. You can also use rum or whiskey; they would enhance the taste.

What is a substitute for Brandy in Sangria?

Our best recommendation is Rum. This is because it’s a well-balanced drink and gives sangria a sweetened taste.

How long does Brandy Melville take to ship?

Within 3-5 business days, it might take longer to process orders during festive periods, thus extending the time.

Final Words

Food flavors, aromas, texture, and taste are limitless. With brandy, you get an enhancement of all four qualities.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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