The 10 Best Substitutes For Coffee Liqueur

What can I use instead of coffee liqueur? The best non-alcoholic substitutes for coffee liqueur are espresso, instant coffee, coffee extract, and coffee-flavored syrup. Vanilla and almond extract are great for depth of flavor. For an alcoholic substitute, choose marsala, chocolate liqueur, Frangelico, or Bailey’s.

Coffee liqueur, often known by the brand names Kahlua and Tia Maria, is a chocolate and coffee-flavored alcoholic beverage based on rum or vodka. If you don’t have any coffee liqueur or want to avoid using alcohol, there are many excellent substitutes. We recommend these 10 substitutes for coffee liqueur.


The most practical substitute is espresso if you’re using coffee liqueur for its coffee flavor.

An espresso is a robust, flavorful, but tiny cup of coffee that packs a taste punch.

To substitute for coffee liqueur, brew the espresso as strong as possible, using a coffee machine or instant espresso powder. Add unsweetened cocoa powder for a rich chocolate undertone and sweeten to taste.

Substitute espresso for coffee liqueur if you need a non-alcoholic alternative when making zabaglione or tiramisu. Use equal amounts of espresso to coffee liqueur.

Instant Coffee

Another widely available substitute for coffee liqueur is instant coffee.

If you don’t have a coffee machine or espresso powder, you likely have a jar or tin of instant coffee in the pantry.

However, instant coffee on its own is not strong enough to mimic the depth of flavor of coffee liqueur and will make your dish too watery.

To replace a tablespoon of coffee liqueur, combine half a tablespoon of instant coffee and a teaspoon each of chocolate extract or cocoa powder, sugar, and water.

Use this non-alcoholic coffee mixture instead of coffee liqueur to flavor frosting, fillings, cheesecake, sponge cakes, muffins, and cupcakes.

Coffee Extract

Coffee extract is another tasty substitute for coffee liqueur.

Bakers may well have a bottle of coffee extract in the cupboard with vanilla or orange essence.

Like other flavoring extracts, coffee extract combines concentrated flavor or essence (in this case, coffee beans) with an alcohol or water base.

Coffee extract infuses an entire dish with a delightfully full-bodied, coffee-forward flavor without coffee liqueur’s added sugar or alcohol.

To substitute coffee extract for coffee liqueur, add a few drops of the extract to cakes, desserts, cocktails, or ice cream. Coffee extract is also helpful in savory dishes, adding depth to gravy and marinades.

If you want to mimic the chocolate undertones of coffee liqueur, add a teaspoon of cocoa powder or chocolate extract, and a teaspoon of sugar to the coffee extract.

Coffee Liqueur Syrup

Another non-alcoholic alternative to coffee liqueur is coffee-flavored or coffee-liqueur-flavored syrup.

These coffee syrups are usually used for flavoring beverages like milkshakes, iced coffees, or lattes and contain sugar, artificial flavorings, and colorants.

Coffee liqueur-flavored syrups are ideal as a substitute for coffee liqueur. They have a delicious aromatic coffee flavor with rum and vanilla undertones.

Use the syrup in cocktails like a White Russian, which contains other alcohol, or to inject flavor in a non-alcoholic after-dinner coffee.

You can use coffee or coffee liqueur syrup to replace equal amounts of coffee liqueur in truffles, tiramisu, whipped cream, frosting, or cheesecake.

Vanilla Extract

When your dish needs depth and aroma, rather than coffee flavor, in particular, vanilla extract makes a good substitute for coffee liqueur.

Vanilla extract or essence is a stalwart in the kitchen, enhancing flavor in most baked goods.

Good quality vanilla extract contains genuine vanilla from the plant’s tiny black seeds found in vanilla pods. Avoid the cheaper but poor-quality products that are artificially flavored and colored.

To add flavor to desserts like tiramisu or frosting when you don’t have coffee liqueur, add a teaspoon each of vanilla extract, cocoa powder or chocolate extract, and sugar.

Almond Extract

Another valuable pantry item that can replace coffee liqueur is almond extract.

Almond extract, like coffee or vanilla extract, contains the concentrated flavor of almonds, redolent of marzipan. Choose the best quality extract you can find for the most authentic taste.

Substitute almond extract for coffee liqueur by adding half a teaspoon of almond extract, and a teaspoon each of cocoa powder and sugar.

This substitution works best when you aim for rich flavor rather than coffee specifically and is good in cream, frosting, and desserts.


Marsala wine is an excellent alcoholic substitute for coffee liqueur,

Marsala is a sweet Sicilian wine, with hints of dried fruit, caramel, and nuts.

Used as an aperitif, dessert wine, or cooking wine, marsala is the original wine used in chicken or veal marsala.

Marsala may seem like an unusual substitute for coffee liqueur. Still, it should be your first choice when making tiramisu and zabaglione – it was the original ingredient before coffee liqueur became popular.

Use an equal amount of marsala to coffee liqueur in these desserts.

Crème De Cacao

If you don’t have coffee liqueur, you can try a chocolate liqueur as an alternative.

Crème de Cacao is a cocoa bean liqueur with high sugar content and a sweet, intensely chocolatey flavor.

There are two types of chocolate liqueur, white (colorless) and dark. The white variety has chocolate and vanilla notes, while the dark liqueur tastes of dark, almost bitter chocolate.

Although coffee and chocolate are completely different flavors, you can replace coffee liqueur with chocolate liqueur in many cocktails – try a White Russian or a boozy milkshake with chocolate liqueur.

Substitute chocolate liqueur for coffee liqueur in desserts that already contain chocolate, like mousse, cake, or tiramisu.


Another liqueur that you can use to substitute for coffee liqueur is Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur.

Best known by its Italian brand name, Frangelico is made with an infusion of toasted hazelnuts, giving the liqueur a characteristically nutty flavor with hints of cocoa and vanilla.

Monks originally made the golden liqueur in Piedmont, Northern Italy, over 300 years ago, explaining the bottle’s shape. The liqueur’s name comes from Fra Angelico, or brother Angelico, one of the monks.

While Frangelico doesn’t have the same flavor as coffee liqueur, it has a similarly rich, aromatic effect, making it a delicious alternative.

Use Frangelico as a substitute for coffee liqueur if you’re looking for an after-dinner beverage – serve it neat over ice, with a twist of lime.

Add Frangelico to a cup of coffee, dessert cocktails, or shooters instead of coffee liqueur.

Bailey’s Irish Cream

If you’re out of coffee liqueur, consider using Bailey’s as an alternative.

Bailey’s is an Irish whiskey and cream-based liqueur originally made by Gilbeys in 1971. It has a sweeter taste than coffee liqueur and a far creamier, more luxurious consistency.

Reach for the Bailey’s when you want a rich liqueur but have no coffee liqueur – it’s perfect served over ice, added to coffee, or even hot chocolate. Pour Bailey’s over vanilla ice cream for a luscious dessert.

Bailey’s is also a great addition to desserts instead of coffee liqueur, but you will not have a coffee or chocolate undertone. You may also want to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe, as Bailey’s is sweet.