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Substitute for Bourbon in Cooking

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Whiskey has long been used as a culinary component to enhance tastes in dishes, and bourbon whiskey is no exception, since it is one of the most often utilized alcoholic beverages in the kitchen. It imparts a distinct taste to roasted, baked, boiled, and fried meals.

The need for a replacement may arise when you run out of this whiskey, or you may want to prepare an alcohol-free meal or dessert. Whatever the cause for your desire for a substitution, there are simple answers. There are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic alternatives to bourbon whiskey that will add mouthwatering flavors to your dishes; keep reading to learn more about them.

What Is Bourbon?

Substitute for Bourbon in Cooking

Bourbon is a whiskey associated with Kentucky’s southern area. It is an aged distilled liquor predominantly produced from maize, with the minimum quantity of corn included in a bottle being up to 51 percent. It is available in red, amber, orange, or brown. The brown hue is connected with longer aged bourbon, while the amber and red colors are associated with fresher ones.

Because each bottle was produced with a different style and component, it seems to have its own distinct taste profile. The most common tastes derived from bourbon include cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, floral, wood, and grain.

The United States Congress designated bourbon as a unique product of the United States in 1964. This made it illegal to manufacture bourbon outside of the United States. Bourbon is a distilled whiskey that may be consumed straight or in cocktails. However, like other alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, bourbon has found its way into the culinary world and flourishes in many cooked and baked dishes.

Bourbon Uses in Recipes

Substitute for Bourbon in Cooking

Bourbon whiskey has varied flavor notes in different bottles, and this unique trait works very well in providing delicious flavors whether in drinks or cooking; bourbon matches nicely with sweet potatoes, grilled pork, or smoked chicken. If you have some whiskey lying in your cabinet and are stumped as to how to utilize it, here are some dishes you may attempt.

  • Crispy Bourbon Glazed Salmon
  • Smoked Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings
  • Bourbon Balls
  • Star Hill Provisions House Cocktail
  • Bourbon Glazed Carrots
  • Bourbon Chili
  • Corn And Cauliflower Sauteed in Bourbon Butter
  • Very Merry Bourbon Alexander
  • Grilled Cheese With Bourbon Melted Onions
  • Bourbon Scallops
  • Bourbon Sweet Potatoes
  • Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels
  • Braised Brisket With Bourbon Peach Glaze
  • Bourbon Pecan Pie
  • Peach Tree Old Fashioned
  • Bourbon Milk Punch Milk Punch

Bourbon Substitutes

Because of the range of tastes contained in each bottle, bourbon whiskey is a culinary superstar; if you had one of them, it would greatly enhance the taste of your dish; it works wonders in meats, giving it a beautiful taste and a soft texture.

This whiskey is useful and necessary in many recipes, but the good news is that it can readily substituted when it is unavailable or just not required. Because it has alcoholic content, it is not usually a favored choice when preparing meals for children or certain persons. This, however, would not be an issue since there are simple alternatives that may even be in your kitchen.

Non-alcoholic Vanilla Extract

This is an alcohol-free liquid that might be used in place of bourbon in recipes, particularly baked ones. Non-alcoholic vanilla extract combines substances such as glycerine or polypropylene glycol with sugars and water, resulting in a sweeter mixture than regular vanilla extract.

It is an excellent replacement, particularly for baking, since it has a woody and smokey flavor comparable to bourbon, and the sweet vanilla flavor would merge perfectly in your pastries.

4 cup bourbon whiskey and equal parts almond extract and non-alcoholic vanilla extract may be blended and added to pastries or desserts for a sweet and nutty taste.The non-alcoholic vanilla extract may be used to taste, but as a general guideline, a tablespoon of non-alcoholic vanilla extract can be used for 1 cup of sugar.


Brandy is a fantastic alternative to bourbon; although it is alcoholic, it may still be utilized by those who desire an alcoholic kick in their meals. Brandy is prepared from fermented fruits and vegetables and has long been used in cooking.

Brandy has a fruity and oaky taste akin to bourbon and works well in both sweet dishes such as cherries jubilee and bombe Alaska and savory meals such as roasted meats and marinades, vegetable dishes, and so on. Bandy may be used in place of bourbon whiskey in the same proportions.


Rum is another alcoholic substitute for bourbon; it has comparable tastes to bourbon and is best used to deglaze the pan after sautéing fish or meat. Rum is a distilled spirit manufactured from fermented sugarcane molasses or juice, giving it a caramel or caramelized sugar flavor with traces of spice. Aside from being popular in drinks, rum is also used in cuisine; it is a key component in the classic Caribbean confection known as rum cake.

Rum comes in a variety of tastes and color characteristics; aged and dark-colored rums are great for cooking since they provide savory and powerful flavors to dishes. White rum is frequently utilized in seafood dishes, but black rum is good for baking. In the same proportions, rum may be substituted for bourbon in recipes.

Peach Nectar and Apple Cider Vinegar

A tasty beverage created by combining peach nectar and apple cider vinegar may be used to replace bourbon. This combo would go well with fruit-based or chicken-based meals.

Recipes like Roasted pork shoulder or Peach salsa with pickled red onions and Serrano peppers will taste fantastic with this combination in it. All you need to do is combine equal amounts apple cider vinegar and peach nectar, then gather the needed quantities for your lunch. It’s alcohol-free and simple to prepare, but if you don’t have peach nectar, you might substitute apple juice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best bourbons for baking?

Knob Creek Smoked Maple, Blantons, Old Grand-Dad, Jim Beam, Eagle Rare, and Makers Mark are among them.

When is the best time to add bourbon to cooked recipes?

Bourbon, like fresh herbs, keeps its taste best when introduced at the conclusion of a meal.

What is the best substitute when making pecan pie?

Rum, cognac, brandy, Scotch, or Makers Mark are the finest bourbon substitutes in pecan pie.


Bourbon is a tasty whiskey that works well in recipes; if you need a replacement, consider one of the easy ones suggested in this article. When a recipe asks for a modest quantity of bourbon, you may simply replace water or any tasty option of your choosing.


What is a substitute for 1 4 cup of bourbon?

Vanilla extract that is not alcoholic

If you can locate it, it’s well worth storing up and keeping a few bottles in your cupboard for when you need to add flavor to your baked goods. Begin with a tablespoon for every 14 cup of bourbon asked for in the recipe, then adjust to taste.

What alcohol is closest to bourbon?

Brandy is a distilled wine that has been aged in wood barrels. The use of oak barrels in the production of brandy gives it its distinctive brown color and makes it an acceptable substitute for bourbon. Many of the taste notes in the two spirits are similar.

What does bourbon add to cooking?

In other words, adding bourbon to your cuisine will not only improve the tastes already there, as any alcohol would, but it will also bring some of the powerful characteristics that whiskey is renowned for, such as smoke, honeyed or caramel sweetness, and toasted nuttiness.

What can I use instead of bourbon in BBQ?

What, no bourbon? Replace it with the same quantity of your preferred alcoholic beverage or fresh fruit juice, or add a spoonful or two of jam or fruit purée. Vinegar. In this recipe, I like apple cider vinegar, although white vinegar or even balsamic vinegar may be used.

What can I substitute for 1 cup of bourbon?

Bourbon. In a recipe, a teaspoon or two of non-alcoholic vanilla extract may be used in lieu of bourbon.

What can I substitute for bourbon in pecan pie?

If you don’t want to use bourbon in your pie, use alcohol-free vanilla extract. If you want the bourbon taste without the alcohol, you might replace Bourbon Extract (affiliate link).

What is the same as bourbon?

Whiskey is always bourbon, but bourbon is not always whiskey. Bourbon differs from whiskey in many ways, including the fact that it must be created in the United States from at least 51% maize, matured in new, charred American white oak barrels, and be at least 80 proof.

What is a non-alcoholic version of bourbon?

Kentucky 74 is a non-alcoholic spirit with the typical flavors of oak, vanilla, caramel, and smoke found in fine bourbon. Kentucky 74 is fully “spiritless” and ideal for a non-alcoholic bourbon cocktail.I really like Kentucky 74.

How do you substitute bourbon for vanilla extract?

For every 1 teaspoon vanilla, use around 1 teaspoon bourbon or rum.

What does bourbon do in baking?

Bourbon complements chocolate well in these double chocolate bourbon cupcakes. Rather of combating the richness of the chocolate cake and icing, bourbon lifts and brightens it, preventing pieces from becoming too heavy.

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