11 Best Caramel Extract Substitute That Will Make You Surprised

Caramel extract is such a lifesaver for any bland dessert. The use of this extract in baking is so popular that it is often sold out in many stores in the US.

As with all food extracts, caramel extract influences the flavor of many desserts and sweets. The flavor of caramel is characterized by a combination of sweetness and buttery that can enhance your dishes’ heavenly taste.

That’s why people love this flavor so much that there are so many caramel products in the market: caramel extract, caramel syrup, liqueur, and sauces. Because of its high demand, caramel extract might be out of stock soon. So, what other caramel extract substitute can you use for your desserts?

Let’s find out below!

What Is Caramel Extract?

What Is Caramel Extract

People have to steep a significant amount of caramel in ethanol, alcohol, oil, or water to have caramel extract. When it is extracted, you can see a beautiful liquid with a thin texture and yellow color. In every drop of this liquid, it exudes a strong caramel fragrance.

Using caramel extract to flavor your desserts, whether cinnamon rolls, pancakes, fudge, or cookies, is a great way to create multiple layers for your dishes. With caramel extract, there is a buttery, super sweet, and sugary flavor that works perfectly as dipping sauce or seasoning to your baked goods.

Top 11 Alternatives Used As A Caramel Extract Substitute

However, the popularity of this food can make it easy to be out of stock in your local stores. So, if you can’t find any caramel extract, how to replace caramel extract? Let’s find out which caramel extract substitutes for you instead!

1. Caramel Syrup

First, on the list, we have caramel syrup as the perfect caramel extract substitute because of their identical flavor profile. However, caramel syrup might have a thicker consistency, so you need to adjust the amount of syrup when substituting for caramel extract.

Using caramel syrup also gives you the same buttery and caramel-like flavor. In addition, the syrup is also sweetened, you don’t need to have added sugar in your recipes as a result. So, how can you substitute caramel syrup for caramel extract?

For dipping fruit, use 1⁄4 teaspoon of caramel syrup for one teaspoon of caramel extract. When it comes to dishes requiring a thicker layer of caramel extract, you can add double the amount of caramel syrup.

2. Caramel Candy

If you want the perfect caramel taste, try using caramel candy to substitute for caramel extract. These firm Kraft caramels infused with strong flavor will taste amazing when they are melted into your desserts and baked goods.

So, how do you melt them?

  1. Use a non-stick pan over low heat. Prepare 8-10 candies and half a cup of water in the pan. If you want a thinner or thicker consistency, you can adjust the water accordingly.
  2. Simmer the water and stir the mixture constantly, so it is melted evenly. It can look watery or soft at first, but the consistency will improve significantly once you cool the mixture.
  3. While stirring the caramel mixture, you can use your wooden spatula to press the candies down so they can break and melt easier.
  4. Once the caramel is completely melted into a thick liquid, turn off the stove and let it cool down for a few minutes before putting it into your chocolate chips and desserts.

3. Caramel Liqueur

Caramel extract is caramel steeped into a strong solvent like alcohol content. Therefore, it is easy to find caramel liqueur similar to natural caramel extract with certain characteristics. 

Caramel liqueur has a slight caramel flavor with a sweet and strong taste of alcohol. As the alcohol notes can fade away in baking, you are left with a flavor identical to caramel extract.

Moreover, caramel liqueur is a better option than caramel syrup if you’re not a sweet lover. When substituting caramel extract, you can use the same amount in the recipe.

4. Caramel Sauce

Caramel sauce is another tasty caramel product that you can use as a caramel extract alternative. It is an amazing ingredient once it is watered down into a thinner texture like caramel extract.

In this case, you need to practice a few times to find out the right balance of water and sauce as pouring too much or too little might alter the consistency of sweetness of your dishes. Note that caramel sauce can be highly sweetened, so you should take into account the amount of sauce you put in.

5. Butter Extract

Caramel extract might be a flavorful ingredient for your dish, but it is not a nice option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance to digest. Therefore, if you avoid caramel extract for your health, you might want to look for butter extract as a great caramel extract replacement. What makes butter extract an excellent ingredient is its healthy content.

There are no dairy, sugar, or gluten percentages in butter extract. This is solely a Vegan product imitating the butter flavor. That’s why you will find no sugar or added sweetness in this ingredient. However, its buttery and creaminess can enhance your caramel-based ice cream, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate chip cookies tremendously.

6. Vanilla Extract

Along with caramel, vanilla is also one of the most used flavors in dessert dishes. The popularity of vanilla makes it such a convenient caramel substitute that you can find in any local store. When comparing caramel vs. vanilla beans, we can find several similar characteristics. In the vanilla extract, there is a sweetness in those small drops similar to caramel extract.

However, the intensity of vanilla extract is much stronger, so you need to lower the amount that the recipe asks for. Nevertheless, vanilla extract is still a fantastic substitute for caramel with a popular flavor that can satisfy any picky eaters. You can use it in many recipes, from bread puddings to your favorite coffee.

7. Almond Extract

Another extract product that you can use to substitute caramel extract is almond extract. This is an excellent ingredient to infuse the taste of natural nuts in your recipes.

Although it is not quite similar to caramel extract, the almond extract has a versatile flavor that works with sweet recipes. With a nutty flavor, sweetness, and distinctive almond notes, you can easily achieve the sweetness in caramel extract with a few drops of almond.

As it has a prominent almond taste, you should use it with a moderate amount on your caramel-based vegan-keto friendly dessert.

8. Golden Syrup

Suppose you love the caramel extract because of its natural sweetness; then golden syrup can solve your problem with a lower budget. You can find the toast-like and intense sweetness of caramel in this beautiful golden liquid. With a thin consistency, the golden syrup has all the sweetness you need for any dessert dishes you’re working on.

However, remember that golden syrup has a rich sweetness that should be added with a limited amount as it can change the texture based on your French toast or puddings.

9. Fudge

You can melt caramel candy to substitute caramel extract; it would be a shame to leave fudge out of this list because of its delicious sweetness. If you happen to have a leftover batch of fudge, this is a good time to utilize them as a useful caramel extract substitute.

As fudge is quite hard, feel free crush it into powder and sprinkle it on your desserts for an extra sweet flavor. You can also melt it into a liquid with a yellow-orange color. In case you add more water, you can use it as a caramel extract replacement or the closest substitute for caramel sauce with a thicker consistency.

10. Butterscotch cookies

Butterscotch cookies are famously known as a delicious treat with a toasty and strong sweet flavor. That’s enough to be a prominent caramel extract substitute. You can easily reuse these butterscotch cookies by melting them in a hot pan with a cup of water. You can follow the instructions I made with caramel candy for butterscotch cookies.

11. Caramel Extract Recipe

Let’s say you’re looking for an exact caramel extract substitute; why not make your own? If you have some time on your hands, you can check out my pure caramel extract recipe here.


  • 10 caramel candies 
  • One bottle of vodka 
  • Funnel
  • One glass jar 
  • One towel

How to make caramel extract?

  1. Use the glass jar to keep 10 caramel candies inside. Then, dip your water in warm water and place it under the glass jar. This would help warm the candies slightly.
  2. After 2 minutes, remove the towel and fill up the bottle with vodka. Once the liquid reaches the top, you can close the lid tightly. Leave it on the shelf at room temperature for 6 weeks, so the mixture is steeped completely.
  3. After 6 weeks, you can strain and transfer the extract into another jar and remove the candies. At this point, you can have approximately 20ml of caramel extract.


1. Where Can I Buy Caramel Extract?

Caramel extract is popular in many local grocery stores and supermarkets. You can find it on the cooking and baking supply shelf. For online shopping, where to buy caramel extract? They are available on popular platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and Naturesflavors.

2. What Is Caramel Flavoring?

Caramel flavoring is a great ingredient to create a sweet aroma of caramel. The caramel flavoring consists of salt, sugar, water, sodium benzoate, and propylene glycol.


Caramel is one of the most popular flavors for desserts and baked goods. Although the taste of caramel extract is distinctive, you can always choose a caramel extract substitute in my list to create many delicious dishes with a similar experience to caramel extract.

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