10 Best Brandy Substitutes For Cooking & Baking

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Brandy is popular and something which has a wide number of uses in the liquor industry. It is an alcoholic drink that is made by distilling wine.

Brandy consists of 35-60% of alcohol. People often consume brandy as an after-dinner drink. However, it may be very strange to know that Brandy is one of the most common alcoholic drinks which can also be used for cooking and baking and not just as drinks.

Besides this, there are various other brandy substitute like sherry, bourbon, vodka, etc. which can be used for cooking and baking.

What is Brandy?

Brandy is a kind of distilled wine that is produced from fermented fruit. It comes with different fruity flavors like grapes, apples, apricots, peaches, etc. As a drinking alcohol, Brandy is not the most used one. Still, Brandy is considered as the foundation of several classic cocktails which are very popular in Brazil, Germany, India, Russia, and the Philippines.

But, I’m quite sure that you must have heard about Brandy as an essential ingredient in cooking and baking. Brandy is a substitute that acts as the perfect thing to raise the taste of desserts or any kind of food.

Brandy is available all over the world with different regional styles including cognac, Armagnac, grappa, and pisco.

But, when you are choosing Brandy as a substitute for alcohol in cooking, you should know about its uses very well. Otherwise, this idea can backfire on you.

How to Cook with Brandy?

Alcohol is a very important ingredient that people use in many dishes nowadays. The reason is very obvious. It can enhance the taste of foods and also add amazing flavor.

But, using alcohol in cooking or baking requires you to follow proper instructions. Especially if you are following a new recipe, you should know if alcohol would be a great thing or not. You should learn the technique as well.

In any kind of meat-based recipe, alcohol enhances the flavor and penetrates the meat. So, using Brandy for cooking gives the best result with outstanding seasoning and better taste.

In fact, Brandy is ahead of many alcohols as it is made with fermented fruit, similar to wine. Still, it is noticeably stronger than other alcohols which results in better. You can use  Brandy in any dish like seafood, vegetables, pasta, poultry, pork, and even sauces and soups.

How to Bake with Brandy?

Unlike cooking, baking with Brandy requires more strategic instructions. As I said before, alcohol increases the flavor in cooking. This statement is not only for cooking but also for baking. Alcohol does intensify and improve the flavor of the baking item.

Many people like the sweetness of wine and the alcoholic notes in desserts and add alcohol in baking. Brandy is just like those models which give wine-like notes and also a bit of spicy ginger flavor.

Brandy is truly a hack to improve the moisture and crumb the cake, cookies and pastries. If you do baking regularly and your only purpose is to bake, you should use Brandy in the process as it is the best possible substitute. You may find many non-alcoholic options. But, Brandy is the best one.

Best Brandy Substitutes (For Cooking and Baking)

1. Wines

Best Brandy Substitute

There are various substitutes for the distilled alcoholic brandy like Port wines, cranberry juice wine, red wines, etc. These wines also refine the taste of the food that they are cooked in by giving it a unique and enriching taste. There are also various kinds of white wine substitutes for brandy-like Ginger ale, vegetable broths, chicken broth, and many more. White wines are generally brought into use for the cooking of various pasta dishes and chicken recipes. What brings out the unique taste in dishes by use of these wines is the olive oil, garlic, and onion flavors.

2. Fruit Juices

Brandy Substitute For Cooking & Baking

Usage of fruit juices in cooking and baking gives food a distinct savory taste. The fruit juices which are used in cooking are mostly orange juice, apple juice, cherry juice, and various kinds of fruit mixes. The most popular dishes where brandy is substituted with fruit juices are various kinds of dishes that require this sweet and tangy hint of taste. As fruit juices contain a significant amount of sugar as their natural sweetener, they have to be used very judiciously. 

3. Bourbon

Best Brandy Substitute For Cooking

Bourbon is often used in various kinds of seafood dishes like bourbon shrimp, bourbon salmon, etc. Bourbon was traditionally used in the preparation of sweets and confectionaries but often now it is also used for the preparation of barbeque sauce which is widely popular and used in many dishes.

4. Tequila

Brandy Substitute

Tequila is quite popular as a drink that is produced from the blue agave plant and it has a sweet, fruity, and earthy texture. Tequila is a mezcal which is a distilled spirit. Tequila consists of a considerable amount of alcohol which ranges from 35-to 60%.

Tequila is also used in the preparation of various dishes like Tequila lime Shrimp, Tequila lemon chicken, and many more dishes. Tequila is something that is known for its distinct taste and addictive trait.

5. Sherry

Sherry is a kind of wine that is made from grapes that are quite fortified. It is not only consumed by way of drinks but also it is widely used in cooking various dishes like Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette, Swiss Sherry chicken, Sherry mushrooms, etc.  Sherry is considered to be tasted like a biscuit or a walnut with a chewy flavor. 

6. Gins

Best Brandy Substitute For Cooking & Baking

The substitute as Gins instead of the brandy is something that retains the originality of using brandy in dishes as it doesn’t extract the alcoholic content from the dish. Gin has a flavor of juniper berries with a considerable content of alcohol in it.

Gins are not merely a drink that could be enjoyed by gulping it but they can also be used in various dishes to enhance its taste. It is found that various chefs use gins in their dishes in different kinds of ways. Gins are also widely used in various portions of pasta to make it tastier and more flavourful.

7. Peppermint Schnapps

Peppermint schnapps is one of the wonderful and flavourful liquors which is often used for gifting purposes. They do not consist of high alcoholic content like that of brandy but it can be considered as quite a great Brandy substitute. They have a peppery flavor which is extracted from peppermints and grain alcohol. Peppermint Schnapps can also be used in cooking by using it for the preparation of various dishes like Hot Chocolate, white chocolate, and various cocktails.

8. Vodka

Best Brandy Substitute For Baking

 Vodka is a neutral spirit that doesn’t have an aroma of its ad also it is clear in color which makes it come in various flavorings and innovations. Vodka is blended with various other drinks to make it taste better.

Vodka, as used as drinks, is also used in the cooking of various dishes like Pasta Alla Vodka, easy Vodka sauce, Vodka rigatoni, and many more other dishes. Vodka is often blended with pasta to enhance the taste of the Pasta sauce. 

9. Rum

Best Brandy Substitute For Cooking and Baking

Rum Cakes are something war as a food dish consisting of Rum as its main ingredient. The other dishes consisting of rum as its main ingredient are Caribbean Rum punch, Rum sauce, Bacardi Rum balls, and Rum snickerdoodles.  Rum has this distinct flavor which makes it easier to blend with various ingredients and results in various innovative dishes. Rum has originally a sweet flavor but that is curbed by the distillation process. Rum is often consumed with various kinds of other drinks like Rum and Coke, Rum and soda, etc.

10. Whiskey

Best Brandy Substitute For Cooking & Baking

Whiskey is a kind of alcoholic beverage that is known to be made from grain mash and it is quite widely consumed among alcohol consumers. The most common ingredients used in the preparation of whiskey are Rye, Corn, Barley, and wheat. One may find many people around you who are frequent whiskey drinkers due to its strong and aromatic taste. Whiskey can not only be used for drinking but also can be incorporated into various dishes to make the taste of those dishes better. The dishes where whiskey is used are Whiskey cake, Whiskey barbecue sauce, Whiskey cocktails, maple whiskey turkey, and many other dishes.

Substitutes For Brandy in Cooking and Baking

Adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of brandy while baking a fruit cake is simply a hack. Using brandy in recipes is becoming a vital ingredient nowadays. So, don’t miss adding a few drops of brandy to the cake mix.

But, I found many people who don’t like the scent and flavour of brandy and searched for alternatives. Fortunately, you will get so many substitutes for Brandy like Whisky, rum, wines (red wines), fruit juices, sherries, and even bourbons.

You are also free to use different fruit juices while cooking or baking. Apple juice, orange juice, grape juice, etc. can be some effective substitutes for Brandy. So, you can be choosy here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What can I use instead of brandy in beef stroganoff?

You can use sherry as brandy substitute in beef stroganoff. Sherry is definitely a fortified wine and is perfect for the recipes. Some alternative options are whiskey, bourbon or rum. All these things make the recipes more delicious and tastier.

2. What does brandy do in baking?

Brandy brings sweetness to baking. The winey flavour is the main reason behind it. It will work amazingly when you make gingerbread, chocolate cake or glazes.

3. Why is brandy used in cooking?

If you want to make the dishes full of amazing flavour and aroma, you must use alcohol while cooking. It also helps to make the marination perfect. In the case of any kind of meat, brandy makes the marination fabulous and the seasoning mixed up together. You can also use brandy in the sauce. It enhances the flavour and taste tremendously.

4. How can you substitute for Brandy in beef stroganoff?

In beef hamburger stroganoff, sherry is an amazing and decent brandy substitute. Sherry is obviously a highly braced wine that will enhance the taste and the flavour of the food. Apart from Sherry, you can also use Bourbon, Whiskey, or rum which are comparatively attractive to make the recipes considerably tastier.

5. Are Sherry and Brandy the same thing?

Though Sherry and Brandy both are alcoholic drinks, these two are not exactly the same thing. Though you will find some same characteristics between them, there are some major differences here. Sherry is a comparable wine delivered in Spain. But, brandy is an alcoholic drink extracted from wine or aged fruit juice.

6. What is the difference between Brandy and cognac?

Cognac is made especially in the Cognac area of France. But, brandy can be made in any area of the world. Both of these drinks are made with grapes and white wine. But, Cognac is the most seasoned one here which is the output of different mixed fruits.


Many people ask the same question again and again, “ Why should you use Brandy for cooking and baking?” Well, Brandy is a great source of sweetness that makes the meals and bakeries awesome. It helps to bring an appealing taste and attractive flavour.

Do you know any other substitutes for Brandy? Maybe I missed those here. If there is any, let me know in the comments under this post.

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