Home Home & Kitchen Best Bourbon Substitutes For Baking & Cooking

Best Bourbon Substitutes For Baking & Cooking

by The Mind Blown

Alcohol is a great way to add flavor and create your own unique taste in the kitchen. It can be used when cooking any dish, like meat or desserts. For example, the alcohol will bring out all of these dishes’ flavors while also adding its own kick, so you’re not left wanting anything else!

If you’re looking for a substitute to use when cooking with bourbon, then keep on reading. You’ll find out everything about great substitutes that will help you achieve the same result as if you were to use real bourbon.

Cooking With Alcohol Isn’t That Bad For You After All…

Americans are starting to realize the importance of eating right but still don’t know enough about cooking with alternatives like alcohol–that doesn’t have to be your case, though, since there are plenty of substitutes that are just as good as the real thing.

Cooking with alcohol might not have too many benefits. Still, it does help bring out the flavor in whatever you’re cooking, which means you’ll need to use less salt, for example. You can also leave out some ingredients if you don’t feel comfortable with them. All this is because of the properties alcohol has, so remember it when looking for substitutes!

Why Use Bourbon? What Should I Look For In A Substitute?

People tend to look for different substitutes whenever they cook with bourbon because most of the time, they want to keep their dishes healthy or don’t want any excess sugar or fats entering their systems. If that’s your case, too, then go ahead and keep on reading. You’ll find out all about the best bourbon substitutes when cooking.

What You Need To Know About Substitutes

There are a few things that make bourbon one of the best alcohols to use in your kitchen, no matter what dish you’re planning on making. Bourbon brings out the flavors in foods better than pretty much any other alcohol because it’s aged, giving it an even more powerful taste. But there are other reasons people prefer to use bourbon above others, like how smooth it is. For example, it isn’t too strong or too light, which makes it easier to consume and enjoy at the same time! All these features also make bourbon one of the fillers for many liquors drinks too!

Substitutes For Bourbon You Can Use In Your Kitchen

Wondering what some of the best substitutes are when cooking with bourbon? Well, you’ve come to the right place because you’ll find some great alternatives from brands like Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. These will definitely make some delicious dishes, whether it’s a meat dish or a dessert that you’re planning on making! So don’t wait up and go ahead and pick one of these below:

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1. Scotch

Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky 12 Year, 750 ml, 80 Proof
113 Reviews
Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky 12 Year, 750 ml, 80 Proof
  • complex and incredibly well-balanced flavor of dark fruits, sweet vanilla and signature smokiness
  • one of the world’s best-selling deluxe scotch whiskies
  • matured for 12 years for a deeper character. 80 proof
  • 2017 san francisco world spirits competition double gold medal winner
  • Alcohol content: 40.0 percent_by_volume

Scotch is a great substitute when cooking with bourbon because it’s also made from rye and has the sweet and smoky taste bourbon brings to food. If you like bourbons’ smoothness, then you’ll love scotch too, while not having to worry about putting some excess sugar in your system. Scotch also has a powerful taste like bourbon, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything when cooking with it!

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2. Brandy

E & J Distillery, Brandy 9.96 43, 750mL
130 Reviews
E & J Distillery, Brandy 9.96 43, 750mL
  • This E&J brandy comes with a screw cap for easy opening and secure closure
  • Smooth with notes of apple and toasted oak and hints of vanilla and spice
  • Enjoy straight, over ice or with your favorite mixer
  • America's most award winning brandy
  • 80 proof, 40 percent alcohol by volume

Brandy is a great alternative for bourbon because of its taste and smoothness–you’ll get a strong kick of flavor from the fruitiness of the brandy itself while also getting a smooth sensation on your throat, which isn’t too heavy either! Brandy is also made from grapes, so it has the sugars that bourbon would have, but not too much to make dishes way too sweet.

Brandies give desserts that touch of class. Substitute 2 tablespoons in place of bourbon for a delectable brandy, and you’ll be rewarded with an improved flavor profile in all your favorite foods!

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3. Rum

RumChata, 750 mL, 27.5 Proof
272 Reviews
RumChata, 750 mL, 27.5 Proof
  • RumChata begins with our own unique blend of premium five times distilled Caribbean rum
  • Blended with the finest dairy cream from Wisconsin
  • Blended with our secret spice mix
  • Perfect on the rocks or in your favorite drink
  • Perfect on the rocks or in coffee

Rum is another great alternative that has the same amount of kick flavor as well as flavor, unlike vodka–if rum isn’t your thing, though, then you can always opt-out for some whiskey which is also just as smooth and good to cook with! Rum is great for cooking because it has the sugars bourbon would also have since it’s made from sugarcane. You can replace 2 tablespoons of Bourbon in any recipe with the same amount of rum, and your food will taste amazing!

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4. Cognac

Cognac is a great substitute if you’re looking for something that’s smooth and has an incredibly strong taste to it too. Just like bourbon, Cognac brings out the flavors in any dish you make because of its properties which makes it a great choice to use when cooking!

Use 2 tablespoons of cognac in recipes as a substitute for bourbon. A lot more forgiving when it comes to alcohol, this liquid gold also goes well with many dishes and beverages!

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5. Whiskey

Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, 750 ml, 80 Proof
403 Reviews
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, 750 ml, 80 Proof
  • Every drop of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey savored in more than 170 countries around the world is crafted in one place - a little town called Lynchburg, Tennessee.
  • We let our whiskey slowly drip through 10 ft of hard sugar maple charcoal so it comes out with its distinctive smoothness. It's a costly, time consuming process and if it sounds extravagant, well, it is.
  • We're the only major distillery in the United States to craft our own barrels. A barrel is more than a container for whiskey. It's an ingredient. That's why we've always insisted on making our own.
  • We don't know a whole lot about Mr. Jack Daniel's life. He never thought to record it. However, we do know how he made his whiskey and the one guiding principle he left us to follow in the making of it: "Every day we make it, we'll make it the best we can."

If you’re not familiar with whiskey, then it’s time to learn because this is one of the best substitutes for bourbon you can use in your kitchen! Whiskey has the same flavor as bourbon, so there won’t be any issues when cooking. Its strong taste makes it easier to cook with if you don’t have experience cooking with alcohol. It’s also just as smooth too, so no need to worry about that! Whiskey is also made from rye, just like bourbon, so it won’t change the taste of your dish too much. When substituting whiskey for bourbon, you can use it one for one in your recipes.

Non-alcoholic Substitutes For Bourbon You Can Use In Your Kitchen

1. Ginger Beer

Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer, 6.8 Fl Oz 4 count
2,733 Reviews
Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer, 6.8 Fl Oz 4 count
  • Instant Smell Of Fresh Ginger
  • A Distinct, Fresh Ginger Taste Predominates. It Is Refreshing And Clean Tasting Without Being Overly Sweet
  • A Smooth, Silky Texture Created By The Small, Perfectly Formed Bubbles And Ingredients

Ginger beer is a great substitute for bourbon because it has the same flavor as well as smoothness. If reduced, it can be used one-for-one with bourbon – but keep in mind that this will increase both sweetness and fizziness! If you’re trying to make a recipe using ginger beer as the alcohol, reduce it first and then replace one for one with bourbon. You’ll end up with more of that delicious zesty flavor in your final product!

2. Non-Alcoholic Almond Extract

Watkins Pure Almond Extract, 11 oz. Bottle, 1 Count
10,338 Reviews
Watkins Pure Almond Extract, 11 oz. Bottle, 1 Count
  • Pure Extract is perfect for baking, flavoring drinks and more
  • Made from natural oils—100% Pure
  • No Artificial Colors or Flavors
  • Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Corn Syrup Free, Kosher
  • Crafted in the USA

If you’re not a fan of alcohol in general, then bourbon isn’t the only substitute that has an alternative! You can always opt out for non-alcoholic almond extract, which is just as good to cook with and still brings out the flavor in whatever dish you’re making. It’s also sweet too, so it won’t be hard to make some delicious foods either!

Almond extracts are great for adding depth and flavor to your cooking; however, some people like the consistency of using almond extract, while others want it light. If you have trouble making up with water alone or find that replacing one for one doesn’t work out well in recipes where there’s an emphasis on texture, such as ice cream, then consider substituting half percent instead! When mixed together, vanilla beans will also make a bourbon-like substitute if not exact enough already.

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3. Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Extract

McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 fl oz
3,695 Reviews
McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 fl oz
  • Premium pure vanilla bean extract with a deep, rich taste and color
  • Each batch blended for consistent flavor in every bottle
  • A baker’s best friend — even balances meat and seafood dishes
  • No corn syrup, gluten-free and Non-GMO
  • Perfect addition to fruit cake, holiday cookies, apple pie and other holiday desserts

Vanilla extract is another alternative that’s just as good to cook with. Whether you want to make sure no one gets drunk or worry about putting too much sugar in your system, this is always an option you can choose instead. It has the same flavor and smoothness, so it’ll be easy to create whatever dish comes to mind using this bourbon substitute!

Some people recommend using a one-to-one switch with vanilla extract. Still, others mention cutting it by adding just enough water so that you can get the same amount of liquids and flavor. If strong is what your preference happens to be, then go for full strength; however, those who prefer only hints or less intense tastes could probably do well in halfling their recipes accordingly.

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4. Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Extract

OliveNation Bourbon Whiskey Extract 8 oz.
224 Reviews
OliveNation Bourbon Whiskey Extract 8 oz.
  • OliveNation Bourbon Whiskey Extract, Water Soluble Flavoring from Bourbon Whiskey & Natural Flavors for Baking, Cooking, Beverages has highly concentrated flavor use in baking and cooking recipes
  • Made from Real Bourbon Whiskey Extractives for Authentic Taste & Aroma
  • PERFECT FOR Creating Delicious Sauces, Frosting, Cakes, Cupcakes, Fillings, and Beverages
  • Amber-Colored Water Soluble Flavoring Lasts up to 3 Years When Stored Away from Direct Sunlight and Heat
  • Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan - Contains Glycerin, Bourbon Whiskey Extractives, Water, and Natural Flavors

You can’t really go wrong with this one. Bourbon extract is a great substitute for bourbon, and it has the same flavors – almost identical to boot! You’ll find that its intensity depends on your personal preference; some people like their drinks strong while others prefer them not so much (we’re in between). The best thing about using the stuff? It works just as well whether you want something sweet or salty-tasting…or both at once if we’ve got any hangovers going around.

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5. Nectar Mixed With Apple Cider Vinegar

Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar With the Mother– USDA Certified Organic – Raw, Unfiltered All Natural Ingredients, 16 ounce, 2 Pack
23,785 Reviews
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar With the Mother– USDA Certified Organic – Raw, Unfiltered All Natural Ingredients, 16 ounce, 2 Pack
  • BRAGG APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: The Bragg ACV Vinegar is made from organically grown apples, and offers various health benefits. To easily incorporate ACV into your diet, you can take a daily 2 oz shot, pour it over your salad, drink in a morning elixir with water and lemon, or add it to your hot tea.
  • ORGANIC INGREDIENTS: The Bragg ACV is raw, unfiltered, and crafted from organically grown apples. It is USDA certified organic, Non-GMO Verified, and Kosher certified.
  • MOTHER OF VINEGAR: The ‘Mother’ consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product its murky appearance. The ‘Mother’ is used for its natural cleansing qualities.
  • APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HEALTH BENEFITS: Drinking a daily dose of Bragg Organic ACV offers many health benefits. ACV can help support a healthy immune system, aids in maintaining a healthy weight, delivers prebiotics, and helps you maintain normal glucose levels.
  • The Bragg Difference: Our ingredients always come from the land, not a lab. It’s our vital difference. With Bragg Live Food Products Seal of Authenticity
Looza Peach Nectar, 33.8 oz
406 Reviews

If you’re looking for something that’s not alcoholic but will still give off the same flavors of bourbon, then you can always try nectar mixed with apple cider vinegar. It’s just as sweet and delicious as well as giving off the same kick flavor as well!

The three parts nectar to one-part vinegar is a great substitute when you want the bite of bourbon in your recipes without using alcohol. If consistency isn’t an issue, then apple cider will do just fine as well!

Frequently Asked Questions about substitute for bourbon

What is Bourbon?

Bourbon is an American whiskey. It can be made anywhere in the United States as long as it’s 51% corn and distilled under 160 proof. The bourbon must then be barrel-aged for at least 2 years to be able to call itself bourbon.

What can you cook with bourbon?

Bourbon can be used in a wide variety of Southern dishes, for example, pork chops, fried chicken, collard greens, mashed potatoes with gravy.

What does cooked bourbon taste like?

Bourbon has a very distinctive flavor, so it will retain many of those flavors when it’s cooked. The alcohol also cooks off, so you are left with much more sweet flavors.

How much bourbon do I use for cooking?

When you cook with bourbon, there is no general rule of thumb. However, we recommend about 1/2 cup for 4 servings.

substitute for bourbon

What does bourbon go good with?

Bourbon goes great with fruit pies, brownies, chocolate cake, and pecan pie, just to name a few items that are traditionally paired with bourbon.

How long can you keep cooked bourbon?

If you have some leftover bourbon that has been cooked, then store it in a container and refrigerate.

Why would you substitute bourbon?

If you are trying to incorporate more healthy food into your diet by cutting out the alcohol, if you cannot have alcohol for personal reasons or if you simply want something different.

What is Bourbon Extract?

Bourbon extract is an imitation cooking extract that resembles whiskey but contains no alcohol and has all of its flavor components intact without altering the taste or aroma. It is made from water, sugar, ethanol (alcohol), artificial flavors, and caramel color.

Is Bourbon A Flavoring?

Bourbon, like most alcohols, is a flavoring when it comes to cooking. It gives the food cooked with it that particular taste.

Can you bake with bourbon?

Yes, Bourbon can be used in baking and cooking to add a distinctive flavor. It will give your recipes that particular something, whether it’s sweet or savory.

Does bourbon burn off when cooking?

This depends on the heat applied to whatever is being cooked. If alcohol is heated up to boiling, then it will burn off. However, if you are cooking something where the temperature doesn’t get that high (like a slow cooker), then it won’t fully be able to burn off.


Cooking is fun, but when you want to add your favorite liquors in order to make your dishes even tastier, it can get complicated, especially if you don’t know what alcohol substitutes for cooking are out there! That’s why we recommend using any one of the substitutes mentioned above–you won’t be disappointed by their results.

Last update on 2022-06-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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