Both almond extract and almond flavoring are utilized in cooking and baking to provide a flavor that is reminiscent of nuts (almonds to be precise).
Almond extract is made by soaking whole almonds in an alcohol-based solution and removing all remaining solids, whereas almond flavoring typically does not include whole almonds in it’s processing.
These two almond based flavor products are so similar in flavor that they can be used interchangeably in many recipes, and only those with the most discerning palates will notice a difference.
What Is Almond Flavoring and Almond Extract?
Almond flavoring typically lacks an alcohol base and is made without real almonds. Instead a chemical called benzaldehyde is used to create it’s flavor.
Almond extract, on the other hand, is made by soaking whole almonds in an alcohol-based solution and removing the solids through cold pressing or squeezing.
The alcohol is then evaporated until only a syrup remains that contains residual flavoring from the almonds’ skin and pulp.
What Are The Similarities and Differences Between Almond Extract and Almond Flavoring?
There are many similarities between almond extract and almond flavoring.
Both varieties are used to provide a nutty flavor in baked goods, ice creams, and fillings.
With almond extract, a little goes a long way. The strong flavor of almond extract is used much like vanilla extract. Where as little as a half a teaspoon can provide enough flavor for an entire recipe.
The strength of almond flavoring varies depending on brand. I’ve used varieties about as strong in flavor as almond extract, as well as many that were not as potent.
The primary difference is that almond extract is made by soaking whole almonds in an alcohol-based solution, while almond flavoring does not use an alcohol solution or real almonds, and has it’s flavor derived from artificial flavoring.
Therefore, almond extract is best suited for recipes that undergo heating (due to the alcohol base) while almond flavoring can be used in heated or non heated recipes.
Which Should You Use?
Almond extract’s primary use is in baking. Whereas almond flavoring can be used to provide an almond-flavored taste to non cooked dishes and beverages.
Both of these ingredients can be used to provide a nutty flavor to all sorts of recipes.
They are often combined with other flavorful ingredients for a more complex and interesting taste that cannot be achieved with standard flavors alone (such as just using whole almonds).
Extracts and flavoring pack a big flavor punch, so they are great options for adding complex flavor notes to your dish.
And while there is decent overlap in what recipes you can use each of these ingredients in, they do have best use situations to keep in mind.
Best uses for almond extract
- Baked goods and other heated recipes
Best uses for almond flavoring
- Beverages and other non heated recipes
If you need to substitute one of these for the other, keep in mind that while almond flavoring can be used in cooked or uncooked recipes, almond extract should primarily be used in dishes that are heated.
Based on the similarities between almond extract and almond flavoring, it is safe to say that both can be used interchangeably to provide a nutty flavor in baked goods and other heated dishes.
For example, almond extract can be used to add a subtle nutty flavor in muffins or breads and almond flavoring can be used to provide an almond taste to cakes and cookies.
But when it comes to making a recipe that doesn’t undergo heating, go with almond flavoring instead of extract.