Best Frangelico Substitute: Top Alternatives for Hazelnut Liqueur

Frangelico, a popular Italian hazelnut liqueur, adds a touch of sophistication and tantalizing flavor to cocktails and desserts alike. This sweet, nutty liqueur has won the hearts of many due to its versatility and unique taste profile.

However, have you ever found yourself in a situation where Frangelico was not available, and a suitable substitute was needed?

Fear not, as this article will guide you on the best alternatives that can step in for Frangelico, whether it’s for cocktails, cooking, or simply enjoying a drink.

We understand that a good Frangelico substitute should not only capture the essence of its rich hazelnut flavor but also imitate its smooth texture and distinct Italian charm.

This article presents various substitute options ranging from other Italian liqueurs to hazelnut-flavored alternatives, and even offers guidance on creating your own Frangelico replacement from the comfort of your home.

Additionally, we will share helpful tips for using these substitutes effectively in recipes and pairing them with your favorite drinks.

Key Takeaways

  • Substitutes for Frangelico can include other Italian liqueurs and hazelnut-flavored options.
  • Homemade Frangelico substitutes can be created with hazelnuts and alcohol.
  • Pairing suitable drink and food recipes with your Frangelico substitute enhances the overall experience.

Understanding Frangelico

Understanding Frangelico

Origin and History

Frangelico is an Italian liqueur that traces its roots back to the 18th century. The origin of this rich and flavorful drink is tied to Christian monks living in the Piedmont region of Italy.

They honed their skills in creating unique and sophisticated herbal recipes that featured native ingredients. One such flavorful concoction was Frangelico, which highlights the use of tonda gentile hazelnuts sourced from the area.

Flavor, Aroma, and Alcohol Content

Frangelico is known for its distinctive flavor that combines the sweet, earthy taste of hazelnuts with subtle notes of cocoa and vanilla. The process of infusion and blending of carefully selected ingredients imparts a warm and inviting aroma that is reminiscent of freshly roasted nuts.

The liqueur’s alcohol content typically ranges from 20% to 24% ABV (alcohol by volume), making it a relatively mild alcoholic beverage. This gentle and pleasant profile, along with its nutty appeal, makes it a popular choice for enhancing various cocktails and desserts, as well as for sipping neat or on the rocks.

Why Substitute Frangelico

Frangelico is a popular hazelnut-flavored liqueur that adds rich nutty notes to cocktails and desserts. However, there might be occasions when substituting Frangelico becomes necessary. Two primary reasons for seeking a Frangelico substitute are nut allergies and non-alcoholic needs.

For Nut Allergies

Individuals with nut allergies often need to avoid Frangelico due to its hazelnut content. A viable substitute is crucial for those who want to enjoy the same flavors without risking an allergic reaction.

When selecting a substitute for Frangelico in recipes or cocktails, opt for nut-free liqueurs with similar flavor profiles, such as:

  • Almond-based liqueurs: Although not suitable for people with all nut allergies, almond-based liqueurs like Amaretto offer a comparable nutty taste.
  • Praline liqueurs: Praline-flavored liqueurs, made from sugar and a nut-free base, can mimic the sweet, rich flavor of Frangelico.
  • Chocolate liqueurs: In some cases, chocolate liqueurs can fill the flavor gap, providing a complementary taste to the nutty essence of Frangelico.

Non-Alcoholic Needs

Another reason people may seek a Frangelico substitute is to accommodate non-alcoholic preferences or dietary restrictions. By using non-alcoholic alternatives, it’s possible to replicate the taste of Frangelico while keeping the recipe alcohol-free.

Some non-alcoholic options include:

  • Hazelnut syrup: Hazelnut-flavored coffee syrups offer a versatile option to replicate Frangelico’s nutty taste without the alcohol.
  • Hazelnut extract: A few drops of hazelnut extract can impart a similar hazelnut flavor to recipes, albeit without the sweetness or alcohol content of Frangelico.
  • Non-alcoholic hazelnut-flavored beverages: Some companies produce alcohol-free versions of hazelnut liqueur, making them ideal for recipes that call for Frangelico.
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Choosing the right Frangelico substitute depends on individual needs, preferences, and the context in which the substitute will be used. By considering factors such as nut allergies and non-alcoholic requirements, it’s possible to find suitable alternatives that preserve the essence and flavor of the original ingredient.

Italian Liqueur Substitutes

Italian Liqueur Substitutes

When it comes to finding a substitute for Frangelico, an Italian liqueur, there are a few alternatives that can provide similar flavors and profiles.

The following are three viable options: Amaretto, Sambuca, and Nocello.


Amaretto is a well-known Italian liqueur with a sweet almond taste, made primarily from apricot pits or almonds. Some brands, like Disaronno, are popular for their rich flavor profile. It can make a good substitute for Frangelico as it shares a nutty flavor profile.

Keep in mind that the main difference between Amaretto and Frangelico is that Amaretto has an almond base while Frangelico has a hazelnut base. To substitute Frangelico with Amaretto, simply use an equal amount in your recipe.


Sambuca is another Italian liqueur that could be used as a substitute for Frangelico. It features a unique licorice flavor, which comes from star anise.

While the flavor profile is quite different from Frangelico’s hazelnut essence, Sambuca can still be used as an alternative if you’re looking to add a different twist to your recipe. The licorice flavor of Sambuca can be a refreshing addition to some cocktails and desserts.

When substituting Frangelico with Sambuca, use the same amount as you would use for Frangelico for a bold licorice taste.


Nocello is a walnut liqueur that can be an excellent substitute for Frangelico. Like Frangelico, Nocello also has a nutty base but derives its flavor from walnuts instead of hazelnuts.

This Italian liqueur is frequently used in recipes for its smooth and distinctive taste. In addition to walnuts, Nocello may also contain a combination of almond and hazelnut extracts, similar to ratafia. To use Nocello as a substitute for Frangelico, just replace it in equal amounts in your recipe.

By opting for one of these Italian liqueur substitutes – Amaretto, Sambuca, or Nocello – it’s possible to create diverse cocktails and dessert recipes while retaining the essence of the original Frangelico-based creation.

Hazelnut-Flavored Substitutes

Hazelnut-Flavored Substitutes

Hazelnut Syrup

Hazelnut syrup is a versatile and popular substitute for Frangelico, as it possesses a similar hazelnut flavor. While not alcoholic like Frangelico, the syrup can be added to various beverages, both hot and cold, to achieve the desired authentic hazelnut taste.

Available on the market, many brands offer hazelnut syrup options. Some popular choices include Monin, Torani, and DaVinci, each with their unique characteristics in terms of sweetness and consistency. Use the syrup in recipes that call for Frangelico by adjusting its intensity to mimic the liqueur’s taste.

Hazelnut-Flavored Coffee Syrup

Hazelnut-flavored coffee syrups offer a delightful and aromatic alternative to Frangelico. With an intense hazelnut profile, these syrups are designed to enhance coffee beverages, without overshadowing the coffee’s natural flavors.

Hazelnut-flavored coffee syrups can be mixed into other beverages, such as hot chocolate or tea, and can even be drizzled over desserts to add a rich, nutty taste. Brands such as Starbucks, Ghirardelli, and Nespresso provide high-quality hazelnut-flavored coffee syrups that can closely resemble the flavor of Frangelico.

Hazelnut Paste

A thicker and more concentrated option for a Frangelico substitute can be found in hazelnut paste. Often used in baking and confectionery applications, it provides intense hazelnut flavor without adding additional liquid to a recipe.

Hazelnut paste is usually made with sugar, vegetable oil, and roasted hazelnuts, creating a solid base for incorporating the nutty essence into various dishes. When a stronger flavor is desired, hazelnut paste can be used in desserts, confections, and frostings as a natural fit for a Frangelico replacement.

Other Popular Liquor Substitutes

Other Popular Liquor Substitutes

Coffee Liqueur

Coffee Liqueur is a versatile choice when looking for a suitable Frangelico substitute. It carries the robust flavors of coffee and a sweet, aromatic touch. Kahlua and Tia Maria are two popular examples.

These liqueurs blend well with alcohol like vodka or Irish whiskey, creating delicious cocktails such as White Russian and Black Russian. However, the nutty aspects of Frangelico might not be as prominent when using coffee liqueur.

Almond Liqueur

Almond Liqueur can be another great alternative to Frangelico. Its smooth and sweet almond taste closely resembles the hazelnut component of Frangelico, making it an ideal substitute.

Amaretto is a popular example of almond liqueur—made from apricot pits or almonds infused with alcohol. This option is fantastic for adding depth to cocktails, dessert recipes, or even hot beverages like coffee.

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Praline Liqueur

Praline Liqueur is a southern classic, capturing the essence of caramelized pecans or almonds. Its sweet, nutty flavors provide a similar profile as Frangelico, making it a fitting choice. While less common in comparison to coffee or almond liqueurs, Praline Liqueur can be a delightful substitute in recipes calling for Frangelico.

Its unique taste pairs nicely with alcohol such as vodka or Irish whiskey, enhancing both classic and innovative cocktail creations.

Creating a Frangelico Substitute at Home

Frangelico is a sweet and nutty flavored liqueur made with hazelnuts, cocoa, and vanilla. It is widely used in various cocktails and desserts. However, there might be instances where you don’t have it on hand, or you may prefer a non-alcoholic alternative.

In such cases, you can create a Frangelico substitute at home using simple ingredients. There are a few methods you can try, such as using almond extract, vanilla bean and lime, or hazelnuts and sugar.

From Almond Extract

Almond extract is an excellent alternative to Frangelico as it provides a sweet and nutty flavor, similar to amaretto, another popular hazelnut liqueur.

To make this substitute, follow these steps:

  1. Combine 1 part almond extract with 1 part water.
  2. Add a pinch of sugar to the mixture and adjust the sweetness according to your preference.
  3. If desired, you may also add a small amount of cream for a richer flavor.

With this substitution, you’ll still achieve the distinct nutty and sweet taste of Frangelico.

From Vanilla Bean and Lime

The combination of vanilla bean and lime also makes for a delicious Frangelico substitute. The vanilla bean provides the sweetness while the lime adds a hint of citrus flavor to balance it out. To create this concoction, use the following recipe:

  1. Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Measure out 1 teaspoon of vanilla seeds.
  2. Mix the vanilla seeds with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Add the juice of half a lime to the mixture, stirring until well combined.

This alternative will give your recipes a similar sweet and nutty flavor with a subtle hint of citrus.

From Hazelnuts and Sugar

If you want to replicate the original hazelnut flavor of Frangelico more closely, this method is an excellent option. You’ll need hazelnuts, sugar, and water to create this homemade substitute. Follow these steps:

  1. Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts in a skillet until fragrant, and then let them cool.
  2. Blend the cooled hazelnuts in a food processor until they become a fine powder.
  3. In a small saucepan, dissolve 2 cups of sugar in 2 cups of water over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, add the ground hazelnuts.
  4. Allow the mixture to simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Then, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids.

The resulting syrup will resemble the sweet and nutty flavor of Frangelico and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Using Frangelico Substitutes in Recipes

Frangelico substitutes can be successfully used in various recipes to capture that desirable sweet, hazelnut flavor. In this section, we will explore using these substitutes in desserts, cocktails, and cooking.

In Desserts

Desserts are one area where Frangelico substitutes can shine. Many sweet recipes call for a hint of hazelnut flavor to enhance aromas and taste. One option is using hazelnut paste, which provides a rich, nutty flavor. It can be an excellent addition to cakes, cookies, and other baked goods.

Another substitute to consider is a combination of vanilla bean and ground almond pits. This mixture adds a distinct, nutty aroma to your dessert recipes and pairs well with chocolate or fruit-based sweets.

In Cocktails

When it comes to cocktails, Frangelico substitutes can also be made to work. To achieve a similar taste and avoid sacrificing that unique flavor, consider using nut-flavored liqueurs such as Amaretto or Drambuie.

Another excellent option for cocktails is orgeat Italian soda syrup, known for its rich, almond taste. It is a popular choice for tiki drinks and can be mixed with a variety of spirits like rum, gin, or whiskey. Another possibility is using star anise liqueur, which adds a soft, aromatic note to your favorite cocktails.

In Cooking

Incorporating Frangelico substitutes into your cooking is a chance to experiment with flavors. The use of these substitutes can elevate dishes by adding a depth of aroma and delivering that unmistakable nutty taste.

When a recipe calls for Frangelico, such as a sauce for a dessert or a glaze for a meat dish, consider utilizing an alternative like almond or hazelnut extract.

These options can still provide a flavorful result. Additionally, using crushed hazelnuts in your cooking is an easy way to introduce natural, nutty flavors while retaining the texture and essence of the Frangelico liqueur.

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In conclusion, Frangelico substitutes can be versatile in various recipes, from desserts and cocktails to savory dishes. By choosing the right alternative, you can maintain the sweet, nutty flavors in your cooking and enjoy delicious results.

Pairing Drinks with Substitutes

Pairing Drinks with Substitutes

With Chocolate

Frangelico substitutes pair well with chocolate, enhancing the sweet flavor and creating a harmonious blend. For instance, Amaretto, a popular substitute, complements dark chocolate with its rich almond and marzipan notes.

Chambord, another popular substitute with a raspberry-cherry profile, elevates the taste of milk chocolate treats, providing a fruity contrast.

With Coffee

Coffee lovers can enjoy frangelico substitutes by incorporating them into their favorite beverages. Amaretto and kahlua have a natural affinity for coffee, offering sweet and nutty undertones. Adding a splash of these liqueurs to hot or iced coffee creates a delightful and aromatic experience.

For a unique twist, combing apricot brandy with coffee provides a fruity and slightly tart taste, which balances the boldness of the coffee.

With Food

The versatile nature of frangelico substitutes allows for pairing with various food items, particularly baked goods and desserts. Here are a few pairing suggestions:

  • Amaretto: Its almond and marzipan essence works beautifully with almond-based pastries and fruit tarts, providing an additional layer of flavor.
  • Kahlua: The sweet coffee notes make it an ideal partner for tiramisu or complementing chocolate-based desserts.
  • Chambord: This raspberry-cherry liqueur pairs well with fruity desserts and can even be drizzled over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a touch of elegance.

Replacing frangelico with suitable substitutes allows for endless culinary possibilities, ensuring different flavor profiles are explored while maintaining the original spirit of the dish or drink.


When looking for a Frangelico substitute, there are several alternatives available that can mimic the sweet and nutty flavors of this hazelnut liqueur. Each substitute has its unique characteristics, but all can provide a similar taste profile to Frangelico, making them suitable for use in various recipes and cocktails.

The most common Frangelico substitutes include Amaretto, Nutella, Hazelnut syrup, and Hazelnut extract. Amaretto is another nut-based liqueur with a slightly more almond-oriented flavor, while Nutella offers a rich, chocolatey taste in addition to the hazelnut component.

Hazelnut syrup provides a more concentrated flavor without the alcohol present in liqueurs, as does Hazelnut extract – a versatile option for adding hazelnut notes to both sweet and savory dishes.

For those seeking a non-alcoholic alternative, there are options such as Vanilla extract and a simple syrup infused with toasted hazelnuts. Both can provide a hint of sweetness, yet lack the alcohol content found within Frangelico.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all Frangelico substitute; the choice will depend on personal preferences and the specific recipe being prepared. However, by exploring different substitutes, it is possible to achieve a similar taste and texture to that of the original liqueur.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some alternatives to Frangelico in cocktails?

There are a variety of alternatives to Frangelico in cocktails, such as Amaretto, Disaronno, and hazelnut syrups. These substitutes can provide a similar nutty flavor and enhance the taste of your cocktails.

Experimenting with different alternatives can help you find the perfect balance in your drinks.

Can Amaretto be used as a Frangelico replacement?

Yes, Amaretto can be used as a Frangelico replacement in some cocktails. Although Amaretto is made from almonds, it can provide a sweet and nutty flavor similar to that of Frangelico.

When substituting Amaretto for Frangelico, be aware that the taste might be slightly different, but the overall essence of the cocktail should be preserved.

How does Disaronno compare to Frangelico?

Disaronno, an almond-flavored liqueur, has a unique taste that is distinct from Frangelico. While Frangelico offers a rich hazelnut flavor, Disaronno adds a sweet and fruity almond flavor to cocktails.

The difference in flavor profiles may slightly change the taste of your drink, so it is essential to consider these nuances when substituting one for the other.

What non-alcoholic options can replace Frangelico?

Non-alcoholic options for replacing Frangelico include hazelnut syrup, hazelnut extract, and non-alcoholic hazelnut liqueurs.

These alternatives can provide the distinct hazelnut flavor found in Frangelico without any alcohol content, making them suitable for those who want a non-alcoholic cocktail or dessert.

Could Sambuca be a substitute for Frangelico?

Sambuca, a licorice-flavored liqueur, has a different taste profile than Frangelico. While it is technically possible to substitute Sambuca for Frangelico, it may not be the best choice due to the flavor differences.

Using Sambuca as a substitute for Frangelico might result in a drink with a more licorice-forward taste, which might not be desirable for some.

Is there a hazelnut syrup that can replace Frangelico?

Yes, there are hazelnut syrups available that can replace Frangelico in cocktails and other recipes. These syrups typically provide a sweet and rich hazelnut flavor, closely mimicking the taste of Frangelico.

Hazelnut syrup is a versatile and non-alcoholic option, making it an excellent choice for those looking to recreate the essence of Frangelico in their beverages and desserts.