The Best Almond Extract, as Chosen by Our Test Kitchen
Our pros sampled 10 brands to find the best almond extract. Is it the bottle you have in your pantry?
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Searching for the Best Almond Extract
Vanilla extract seems to get all the hype when it comes to baking, but a really good almond extract is what makes so many recipes sing. Almond extract is what gives these Italian rainbow cookies, cheesecake bars and almond braids their personality.
But before you break out the mixer, make sure you’re stocking the best almond extract in your baking cupboard. Your bakes will taste even more amazing when you use the good stuff.
How We Tested Almond Extracts
Each brand was sampled stirred into a bit of fresh whipped cream; the identities of each were kept a secret until scores were tallied. Each extract was scored according to the following:
- Value: Extracts can be expensive. It’s important that these products deliver value and flavor.
- Aroma: A good almond extract should smell tempting with notes of sweetness and warmth. Acrid or offputting smells are no-gos.
- Flavor: The best almond extract should taste strongly of almonds without any lingering aftertaste.
In the end, our team found four options that they consider to be the best you can buy. Here’s a preview, but read on for complete reviews.
Penzeys Pure Almond Extract
Serious bakers, you’re going to want to get yourself a bottle of Penzeys Pure Almond Extract. This brand was universally praised during our taste test.
The flavor of this extract is warm and inviting and makes you want to get into the kitchen and bake. According to Mark Neufang in our Test Kitchen, “This extract has great almond flavor—and not too much alcohol.” Extracts of all kinds are made with alcohol as a base; only the good ones get that balance between base and flavor just right.
Mark goes on to say, “I really like this one and would use it in any of my baked goods.”
365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Almond Extract
This option, available exclusively at Whole Foods, is wonderfully mellow with a touch of warmth to it. It’s a bit more subtle than other brands in our lineup, but this is not an issue if you ask our pros. Almond extract can easily overpower a recipe.
So measure carefully and enjoy this extract in this Test Kitchen-approved cherry streusel tart.
Best Budget-Friendly Extract
McCormick Pure Almond Extract
The price of extracts and flavorings can add up when you’re baking. We’ve got good news for you, though: You can get a really good almond extract at your local grocer for less than $5—McCormick Pure Almond Extract.
And that 2-ounce bottle will last you for a good while; there’s enough inside to make two dozen batches of these reader-favorite almond spritz cookies. That’s some serious bang for your buck!
This flavoring is about so much more than value, though. According to the Test Kitchen’s Catherine Ward, “this one has a bold aroma and great almond flavor.” It definitely will deliver in any recipe that calls for a hint of nutty flavor—including this cranberry almond pound cake.
Best Supporting Flavor
Spice Islands Pure Almond Extract
As Mark noted in this test, “With almond extract, a little goes a long way.” For almond flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients in your bakes, our Test Kitchen recommends Spice Islands Pure Almond Extract.
According to Mark and our team of testers, Spice Islands’ extract is lovely and subtle. This is the sort of extract our pros recommend you reach for when your recipe calls for almond as more of a supporting player rather than the star. It would work well in these top-rated cherry hand pies, peach tart or cranberry bars.
Originally Published: September 14, 2023