Skip to Content

10 Perfect Alcoholic And Non-Alcoholic Substitutes For Brandy

While some people use alcohol as an after-dinner drink, other people use alcohol in cooking and baking. 

You can use pretty much any type of alcoholic and non alcoholic substitutes for brandy in cooking and baking. Common choices pertain to vodka, wine, cooking sherry, and brandy. Used right, it can complement and uplift a recipe effortlessly. 

9 Best Alcoholic And Non-Alcoholic Substitutes For Brandy In Cooking And Baking

What Is Brandy?

If you’re not familiar with what brandy is, it’s a distilled alcoholic beverage, often made from fermented wine. 

Brandy is a very popular drink, and there are many famous brands of brandy, such as is called Cognac, and is usually used solely as an after-dinner drink, rather than in cooking and baking.

There are also different types of brandy, depending on the fruit used to make it. Popular types include applejack brandy (made from applied), plum brandy (made from plums), cherry brandy (made from cherries), and apricot brandy (made from apricots).

These different varieties of alcoholic and non alcoholic substitutes for brandy are used in baking and cooking, and as a delicious after-dining drink. Using different types of fruit to make brandy ignites different flavors, and it can complement certain recipes very well.

Usually, brandy is added to a dish to add a more intense and complex flavor, and it is very popular during the winter months. 

In cooking and baking, brandy is usually paired with desserts, cakes, and sauces. If you’re using a recipe that calls for brandy, but you do not have any in your house, don’t fret.

We’ve researched the best substitutes for brandy, so your recipe can still have that extra special kick that you’re looking for. 

In our best substitutions, we’ve picked a mixture of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. We did this intentionally so that those who are unable to drink alcohol can still enjoy making creative recipes.

It’s also good if you have children, and you’re not comfortable making a meal prepared with alcohol for them. 

The best substitutes we have chosen for brandy are rum, apple juice, bourbon, whiskey, wine, vodka, gin, and white grape juice. 

Used correctly, you can transform your dish by bringing unique flavors into the recipe. 

So, if you need to substitute brandy in your recipe, we’ve got you covered. 

The Best Alcoholic Brandy Substitutes

Whether you’re looking for an alcoholic substitute or a non-alcoholic substitute, we’ve got you covered. Check below for our excellent choices.  


Rum is one of the sweetest alcoholic beverages you can find. It is notorious for being used in cooking and baking and has been used for centuries. It’s great a great replacement for baking cakes, as it’s even sweeter than brandy.

If you find that it’s too sweet for your recipe, then you can dilute the flavor by adding a little water, and tasting as you go.

If you want to replace brandy with rum, you can use the same volume that the recipe called for. You don’t need to adjust the recipe, which is another reason why rum is an excellent choice. 

How To Substitute

Substitute brandy with rum to produce a delicate spiced rum-based recipe. It gives a dark, bittersweet, and full-bodied cocktail, known as a perfect drink to bring out your inner pirate.


Whiskey has a wonderfully strong aroma. The flavors of the whiskey are rich and complex, due to the distilling process. While the texture of whiskey is far different from brandy, it is workable once cooked.

Another note is that whiskey has more of an alcoholic taste, so if you find the alcoholic note to be too pungent, you can add a drop of syrup to the recipe. 

If you want to substitute brandy with whiskey, then you’re going to want to use ½ the amount of alcohol the recipe calls for. 

How To Substitute

The alcoholic substitute of whisky is equivalent to Brandy. With different texture and flavor, it fits well to your drink. With equal amount of usage in substitution, it gives a slightly different but flavorful taste.

RELATED: 7 Cognac Substitutes For Cooking & Drinking



Another great substitute for brandy is wine. Now, there are many variations of wine, so the type you select will depend on the recipe you’re using.

Generally speaking, red wine will ignite a more complex flavor in the recipe, but it will also change the color of the dish. White wine will not change the color of the dish too much, but it will add a level of complexity to the dish. 

Usually, wine is used to substitute brandy in cooking. For example, wine pairs excellently with meat and sauces. If you plan on using wine as a substitute for brandy, then you’re going to want to use ⅓ cup of wine for every cup of brandy needed.

Wine is very potent, and it contains a lot of sugar, so it is best to start with a small amount, and increase the volume if needed. If you find that the wine is too sugary for your dish, add a pinch of lemon juice or vinegar.

Likewise, if you find that the dish has become too dry tasting, then add a pinch of sugar. 

How To Substitute

Wine gives the same complimenting flavor as your taste for Brandy. Bringing out the same richness and strengthening your flavor, add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to balance the taste.


Next on the list of substitutions for brandy is bourbon. 

Bourbon is a very popular alcoholic beverage, reserved mainly for those who have a fine pallet. It has a delicious smoky flavor, with a residue of sweetness. Due to its earthy flavor, it’s best to not use equal parts of bourbon as you would brandy.

Instead, I would recommend starting with ⅔ of the amount that the recipe calls for. That’s due to the earthiness of bourbon, which may consume too much of the flavor in your dish.

If you find it is not strong enough, then you can include the extra ⅓. That way, you keep the integrity of the dish, and it’ll help you understand the complex flavors. 

How To Substitute

Bourbon gives a slight sweet flavor and a smokey twist to your recipe. You can easily substitute Bourbon with brandy in dessert recipes to replace the sweet and aromatic notes as brandy gives.


Another fantastic replacement for brandy is vodka.  

A lot of people are surprised to find that vodka is frequently used in cooking and baking, due to its potent taste. In actuality, vodka works wonderfully in cooking and baking. It is neutral alcohol, so used sparingly, it should not affect the taste of your dish. 

One reason it is popular in baking is that it can improve the texture of baked goods, and it is also colorless. If you find that the vodka is too dry, and you need an extra bit of sweetness, add the smallest dash of sugar. 

How To Substitute

You can always substitute colorless, flavorless and odorless vodka with Brandy. It can be useful in baking as it helps to improve the texture. It also does not help affect the color of the recipe.


The next great replacement for brandy is gin. 

Like vodka, gin is neutral alcohol. If you’ve ever compared the taste of both, you’ll notice that gin has more of a kick, so you’re going to want to use less than you would with vodka.

When using gin as a replacement for brandy, you’re going to want to pour a small amount of gin in at a time, to ensure you do not overpower the dish. 

Gin is used mostly for cooking, rather than baking. It works great with fish, pasta, meat, and poultry. This is due to its crisp and herbal flavors. However, the great thing about gin is that you can often find it infused with other flavors.

Popular infusions pertain to orange, rhubarb, honey, and vanilla. Depending on the recipe required, you can also use infused gins to compliment the flavors of the dish.

Just be mindful of what you select, a honey gin would pair great with meat, but a vanilla gin would not work as well. 

How To Substitute

With its herbal and crips notes, Gin is a good substitute for Brandy. Before adding it, make sure it will work with your recipe. When used with meat, it is especially effective.

The Best Non-Alcoholic Brandy Substitutes 

White Grape Juice 

White Grape Juice 

Our first non-alcoholic substitution for brandy is white grape juice. 

The great thing about white grape juice is that it gives a delicious kick of flavor without needing any alcohol. The only issue with using juice is that the level of sugar can drastically change the recipe.

Due to this, you have to be much stricter with the ratio (no guessing, and drinking as you do so). For every tbsp of brandy, use ½ tbsp of white grape juice, and ½ tbsp of water.

By adding water, you’re diluting the strength and taste of the sugar, protecting the delicious taste of your recipe. 

White grape juice is usually used in cooking, rather than baking. It’s very much enjoyed with pork and poultry. 

How To Substitute

White grape juice can be substituted with Brandy. There are many dishes that can be made with white grape juice, but it is typically used in dishes containing pork and poultry.

RELATED: 10 Best Rum Substitutes For Baking & Cooking

Apple Juice 

Our next non-alcoholic beverage is apple juice. 

Apple juice is a wonderful substitute for brandy. For recipes that only require a couple of teaspoons, you can use equal amounts of apple juice that you would brandy.

If it’s a larger recipe, then you’re going to want to mix the apple juice with water. This avoids the recipe being dressed in the taste of apples and from being overwhelmed by the sugar content. 

How To Substitute

Apple juice is an excellent substitute for brandy, and it works particularly well in recipes that originally called for the use of apple brandy. It doesn’t need to be diluted beforehand, and it can be added to your dish in the same quantity as you would use brandy.

Extra Brandy Substitutes 

Brandy Extract 

If none of the substitutions on the list thus far suit your needs, you can also use brandy extract. It’s a great way of getting the taste of brandy, without having to whip out the bottle of alcohol.

It’s usually used in desserts, but it is also used for sauces and marinades. You should use 1 part extract with 4 parts of water to replace brandy itself. It’s very potent, so definitely keep in mind that brandy extract is small but mighty. 

How To Substitute

Brandy extract adds a brandy flavor to your recipe by using alcohol. The sweetness of this flavoring means that it works especially well in deserts. Aside from this, it can also be added to marinades or cooking sauces.


Okay, look — broth does not taste like brandy. However, you could use broth to replace brandy in a recipe, depending on the desired use.

If you’re making a sauce or a marinade, and you’re looking for something to give it an extra dash of flavor, the broth could work in your favor.

It’s traditionally used with meat and vegetables anyway, so it’s likely that it will compliment your recipe. Just don’t use broth while baking, because that’s a sure-fire way to create a disaster. 

How To Substitute

Using broth is a better way to add flavor to foods instead of using water. However, the trick is to add flavorful stock to the stew to give it your desired taste instead of using just any type of broth.


That brings us to the end of our wonderful article on the 7 best substitutions for brandy. I hope that you’ve found our article helpful and that it has inspired you to be creative in the kitchen.

Whether you plan on using an alcoholic alternative, or a non-alcoholic alternative, we’re sure that your recipe will turn out just great. If you have any substitutions for brandy, comment below — I’d love to hear what you recommend. 

As always, thank you for reading! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Use Does Brandy Have In Baking?

Some people are surprised to find out that brandy is used in baking. Brandy can add sweetness to a recipe, and depending on the volume used, an alcoholic kick.

It’s traditionally used with winter recipes, such as gingerbread and Christmas cake. It’s also used in the chocolate cake, though, and many people make glazes with brandy. 

What Use Does Brandy Have In Cooking?

Likewise, some people are surprised to find out that brandy is used in cookery.

Using alcohol in cooking helps bring forth the flavor of the ingredients, in most cases, the alcoholic punch is ‘cooked’ out, so you’re left with the lovely flavor of the alcoholic beverage. In the case of brandy, it can add a sweet and smoky flavor. 

I Can’t Drink Alcohol. Will The Non-Alcoholic Substitutions Be Just As Good?

If you can’t drink alcohol for whatever reason, you can still use a great non-alcoholic substitution. In most cases, it tastes just as great, albeit different — depending on how important brandy was in the recipe.

If it was a recipe that was solely based on brandy, then the substitutions might not be as ideal, but it doesn’t mean you can’t alter it to make it just as delicious. You do not need to use brandy in your recipe if you cannot drink it.

Does Brandy Extract Contain Alcohol, Or Is It A Non-Alcoholic Substitute? 

Brandy extract does contain alcohol, so it is not suitable for those who are unable to drink alcohol. 

If you are able to drink alcohol, then you may be interested to know that while it does contain alcohol, it is a very small percentage, therefore it generally does not give an alcoholic taste in cooking or baking. 

I Want To Make A Fruit Cake, But I Don’t Have Brandy. What Should I Do?

Brandy is traditionally used in fruit cake and Christmas cake, but if you can’t drink alcohol, or you don’t have any brandy on hand, you can use one of the alternatives on the list. 

For example, white grape juice is an excellent replacement for fruit cake. You could also use a different kind of juice, depending on what you plan on putting in the mixture, e.g., orange juice. 

9 Best Alcoholic And Non-Alcoholic Substitutes For Brandy In Cooking And Baking

Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


Brandy is a distilled spirit made from wine or other fermented fruit juice. Find out what you can substitute for it here.


  • Rum

  • Whiskey

  • Wine

  • Bourbon

  • Vodka

  • Gin

  • White Grape Juice

  • Apple Juice

  • Brandy Extract

  • Broth


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith