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Substitute For Caramel Extract? 8 Delicious Options

You can be a baking enthusiast. Or, desserts might be your favorite item on the menu. No matter whichever it is, you enjoy anything sweet.

To compliment any dessert item, a few drops of caramel extract can add value. But we know how hard it is to find. And it gets worse when you’re craving a caramel dessert.

In this case, you might be searching for what is a substitute for caramel extract?

Well, we have lots of options. You can use caramel syrup for sweetened caramel flavor. Or you can go for caramel liquor for exact intensity and consistency. For a thicker consistency, choose between melted caramel candies or caramel sauce. For the closest taste and consistency, choose vanilla extract. And for nutty flavor go for almond extract.

It was just an insight into what the whole write-up is about. To have a detailed comparison, scroll below. 

What Does Caramel Extract Do?

Caramel extract is just another ingredient that makes your dessert taste heavenly. So putting some extract to your cinnamon roll will add a buttery kick to it. 

Adding caramel extract to any desert will bring an instant change. It will change the consistency as well as taste. For example, you can add some extract to your fruit dip. And get that intense flavor while you consume the fruits dipping on it. 

Just like this caramel extract compliments your dessert. 

What Are The Substitutes For Caramel Extract? Revealed!

By now you know how caramel extract can satisfy your tastebuds. But we hate to break it down to you. But caramel extract is not that easily available. 

But no need to get disheartened. Because we have a long list of alternatives that you’ll love to check out. So dig in-

Caramel Alternatives

We planned on starting our list with the caramel alternatives first. You may not want to compromise the flavor. Then simply choose one of the caramel alternatives.

Caramel Syrup

You can just use caramel syrup instead of caramel extract. Both of them are closely related. You might know that some caramel extracts have a thinner texture. That actually matches with the caramel syrup. 


On top of that, you can skip adding sugar to the dish as it’s already sweetened. Whether it’s coffee dressing or Cinnamon rolls, just add caramel syrup. It’ll add flavor as well as sweeten it.

And if you’re trying to make fruit syrup, add 1/4th teaspoon of caramel syrup to it. But for dishes that need thick caramel extract, double the amount of caramel syrup. But make sure to adjust the sugar accordingly.

For example, to make a fine sauce using caramel syrup, add 2 teaspoons.

Caramel Liqueur

Did you know that caramel extract is made by steeping into alcohol? If you knew that earlier then you know how compatible caramel liqueur is to the extract.

From our experience, we’ve used caramel liqueur as a substitute. And the taste was almost the same. Trust me, the taste difference between the two can even deceive a professional.              


Plus you don’t have to worry about the sweetness. Which might have been a concern with caramel syrup. 

You can take the liqueur as the same amount as caramel extract. And move on to make the dish. 

Caramel Candy

If availability was the issue, then caramel candy is your quick solution. Because you can find them literally everywhere. Or you might have some in your pantry as well.

But you might be thinking that how can a solid candy be a substitute for caramel extract. Well, it may not be at the first glance and solid form. But we can always melt it.

For that, take 8-10 caramel candies and add ½ cup water. Turn on the heat and let the water simmer. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water. 

And do not panic if the caramel gets too soft or watery. Because you can fix a too soft caramel just by cooling it a bit. And if it’s runny, heat it under low temperature for a while. And it will be fixed.

Now keep on stirring unless the candies won’t melt properly. Try to press the candies with your spatula. So that it breaks and turns easily to liquid form. 

Remember to always melt caramel candies in a non-stick pan. Otherwise, the caramel will burn.                                          


Some caramel candies are sweeter than the others. It solely depends on the manufacturer. But we found these candies to have the perfect sweetness-

  1. Tom & Jenny’s Sugar Free Soft Caramel Candy with Sea Salt and Vanilla

  2. Tara’s All Natural Handcrafted Gourmet Sea Salt Caramel

Caramel Sauce

Well, caramel sauce is the last one on the list of caramel alternatives. But do not underestimate it. 

You might have been looking for a caramel extract that has a thick texture. But haven’t found it. Then caramel sauce can be a suitable alternative. Because it’s only a bit thicker and creamier than caramel extract.

You may be looking forward to making caramel or butterscotch cookies. Then the caramel sauce will perfectly do the job. Because there’s only a slight taste difference which is almost unnoticeable. And for making cookies the consistency is not a concern. 

Because the cookie dough just absorbs any liquid in it. So all that matters here is the taste. But when you’re adding caramel sauce, try not to use peanut oil for baking. Because using peanut oil tones down the caramel flavor. So try to use oils that have a neutral flavor like canola oil.

Flavor Alternatives

We understand that you’re looking for an intense flavoring agent. That will compliment your dessert or add a nice and sweet kick to it. 

And caramel extract was your first choice. But seems like you couldn’t find one. So here’s a list of alternatives that have different flavors than caramel extract. But these are highly intense and serves the purpose. 

You may want your tastebuds to experience a flavor change in the dessert. If yes, then just go for these alternatives. And you won’t regret your choice.

Vanilla Extract

We’re starting the list with vanilla extract. If you’ve used it before then you know why. In case you don’t, then it’s the most suitable alternative for caramel extract. Because it has the same sweet flavor as caramel extract.

And the only difference is that vanilla extract can be found in every grocery store. So you don’t have to worry about the availability. And still, get kind of similar intense flavor.

But to bring the same intensity of flavor double the amount of vanilla extract. Maybe you wanted to add 4 drops of caramel extract to your fruit syrup. So add 8 drops for vanilla extract instead. 

Essential Oils

Now essential oils are the most uncommon ingredient that you can use as a caramel extract alternative. But when you think about it, the options are endless. And each has a unique flavor, that will level up your dessert.

If you’re making a lemon cake, add 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil. And the oil itself will give the cake an intense flavor.                                     


You can even experiment with the oils by mixing 2 or 3 of them together. For example, while making the fruit syrup you can add 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil. Also, add 4 drops of strawberry essential oil. And see how the taste evolves. And apart from the added flavors, essential oils have enormous health benefits.

So another reason for you to choose them. But while adding them to your dessert make sure it’s food grade.  Because not all essential oils are consumable. 

Almond Extract

If you’re in for a nutty kick to your dessert, then just go for almond extract. Suppose you’re making chocolate chips or melting them. So adding few drops of almond extract will complement the chocolate flavor. Because you’re never wrong to experiment with chocolate and nut together.                                        


Also, you don’t need to worry about consistency, because both are the same. Only the flavor is different. Caramel extract has more of a fruity and burnt sugar flavor. But almond extract has a nutty flavor. But the sweetness is the same for both.

Butter Extract

The last one on our list is butter extract. Because it is quite different from caramel extract. But of course healthy one. It has no added sugar on it and also gluten-free. If you’re making some non-sweet dessert, you can go for butter extract.

Because it doesn’t have the sweetness. Or you can pair it with added sugars. It adds a buttery and smooth texture to the dish. And the flavor is also quite different. So when adding it to your dessert make sure to decrease the amount to half.

For example, use two drops of butter extract if you were supposed to add 4 drops of caramel extract.

Which One To Choose Among The Alternatives?

By now you know all probable substitutes to use instead of caramel extract. But it might seem hard to compare. So here’s a quick comparison for you to choose the best one.

Alternatives Flavor Intensity  Consistency  Preferred Dishes 
Caramel Syrup Low Thin Coffee dressing, cinnamon roll, fruit syrup, fine sauce
Caramel Liqueur Moderate Same as extract Cookie dough, muffin dough, dessert, or cake frosting
Caramel Candy High Thick Cake decoration, muffin decor, ice cream topping
Caramel Sauce High Thick Caramel/butterscotch cookies
Vanilla Extract High Same as extract Fruit syrup and any other dessert, dairy desserts
Essential Oils High Same as extracts Lemon cake, fruit syrup
Almond Extract Moderate Same Chocolate chips, butterscotch cookies
Butter Extract Low Same Non-sweet desserts

DIY Caramel Extract Recipe

You know how hard it can be to find caramel extract in times of need. And we’ve got a list of alternatives ready for you. But you can still want to make a batch for yourself. So that it comes in handy. If that’s the case, then we have the perfect recipe for you.

To make the extract you’ll need-

  • Glass jar
  • Funnel
  • Vodka
  • Caramel candies
  • Towel 

First, take one clear glass jar. Then add 8-10 caramel candies to the bottle. Now take a towel and dip it in warm water. After that, put the towel on a table and put the caramel jar on top of it. It will warm up the candies in the slightest amount. But won’t melt them.

Now, wait for 2 minutes. And then remove the towel. Let the bottle rest for a minute. Now fill the bottle up with vodka. Make sure to fill it up to the top.

And put the lid on. The jar should be an airtight one. It’s time to put the bottle away for 6 weeks. Do not put it on the refrigerator. Rather keep it on a shelf at room temperature. And try to keep it away from direct light.

You might want the extract to be more long-lasting. Then use a jar that’s darker in color instead of transparent. The dark color will ensure that minimum light gets inside. So it will have a longer shelf life. 

After 6 weeks, remove the candies and pour the extract into another bottle. This will make about 200ml of caramel extract. 

Make sure to strain it while moving it to another jar.

So you can either go for the alternatives or make your own batch of caramel extract. No matter what you choose just keep the recipe tips in mind.


What is the difference between extract and essential oils?

Extract is mainly steeping the ingredient in alcohol for 6-8 weeks. And then the alcohol absorbs all the flavor. But in essential oils, the flavor is directly taken from the ingredient itself. So that it can be more aromatic.

Can vanilla beans be used instead of caramel extract?

Vanilla beans are highly intense. And if you put it in a large amount, then the dessert can taste bitter. But if you can put in a perfect amount, it can be used.

What is the actual flavor of caramel extract?

tual flavor of caramel extract is sweet and fruity. When you add it to any dessert it adds up the natural sweetness as well as a slight fruity flavor.


Well, we’ve shared every bit of knowledge on the substitute for caramel extract with you. Hope it helped you to choose the right one for you.

Let us know which substitute you went for by commenting. You can share pictures of your desserts with us in the comment section.

Thank you & have a good day!

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