Try this Homemade Amaretto recipe instead of buying it at the store! It’s so easy to make and your cocktails will taste ten times better! If you want to learn what Amaretto is & how to make it from scratch keep on reading.
What drinks can you use amaretto in? You can drink amaretto on its own, or use it in cocktails like The Godfather, or an Island Champagne Cocktail.
What Is Amaretto?
Amaretto is a sweet liquor that originated in Italy. Originally, Amaretto was flavored with butter almonds, but these days commercial brands can be made from apricot stones, peach stones or almonds.
Amaretto can be mixed with cocktails or sipped on its own. While we have many, many different cocktails to make with Amaretto, this delicious homemade version is so delicious as an after dinner drink or aperitif.
The History Of Amaretto
The name “Amaretto” comes from the Italian word amaro which means “bitter”. A funny little fact is that cyanide is found naturally in almonds and it has to be processed out of the almonds before its use in this liquor.
A old tale tells the story of a student of Leonardo da Vinci’s students was painting a church and needed a model to paint his Madonna. The women he found became his model and lover and in turn, because of how poor she was, she gifted him a liquor that was made from apricot kernels steeped in brandy.
Why Homemade Amaretto Is Best
Typically we find modern day Amaretto to be on the sweeter side, which is one of the reasons why making it from scratch is totally the way to go. You can balance out the level of sweetness that you like and how long you let the liquor steep. This homemade Amaretto isn’t very bitter at all, which is the way we like it.
Another reason that you should try making this recipe at home is because it is much more cost effective than buying a bottle at the store. Obviously stores mark up the prices of everything, so when you can save a few bucks and make a quality product at home you should!
The basic ingredients that you’ll need to make homemade amaretto are:
- Plain Vodka
- Vanilla Beans
- Brown Sugar
- White Sugar
- Almond Extract
When you’re making a recipe like this, you should make sure that you’re ingredients are the best quality that you can get. Use good vodka, not super expensive but not the lowest end, either. Extracts come in all price points, so make sure that whatever you buy is “real” almond extract and not imitation.
How Do You Make Homemade Amaretto?
The process is easy, you start out with plain (good quality) vodka. Then you add in the flavoring – vanilla beans, almond extract and sugar. That’s basically it – and then you let it sit.
The longer you let it sit, the better it gets. But you definitely have to give it a few days or up to a week before trying it.
Once you’re ready to drink it though you can remove the vanilla bean if the flavor is right for you, or leave it in and let it flavor the amaretto some more. I took the vanilla bean out after a week since for me the flavor tasted right on target.
I’m telling you this tastes as good if not better than the expensive store bought brand – I like that it’s less sweet and also has more almond flavor.
Our Favorite Cocktails To Make With Amaretto
Christmas (or any party!) Champagne Mimosa
RumChata Toasted Almond Cocktail
More Ways To Use Amaretto
You can swap out Amaretto for most recipes that call for rum or a flavored liquor. Just keep in mind that Amaretto has a vanilla and almond flavor so if whatever you’re cooking pairs with those flavors you’ll be good to go!
- Savory dishes like Orange Chicken or Coconut Shrimp
- Desserts like Tiramisu or Bananas Foster
- Poke Cake Recipes
- Pancakes and other breakfast recipes like muffins or scones
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
This homemade Amaretto recipe is so easy to make! It will make all your cocktails taste so much better!
- 2 cups vodka
- 2 vanilla beans, split
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond extract
- Heat up both sugars with 1 cup of water in a saucepan,
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- Pour the cooled sugar water into a sealable bottle, a mason jar would work great for this too.
- Add the vodka, vanilla beans and almond extract and stir.
- Let sit for a week at room temperature then strain through a piece of cheesecloth and return to the same bottle.
- Category: Cocktails
- Method: Pour
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: homemade amaretto, amaretto recipe, vodka recipe, amaretto, how to make amaretto
How long will this amaretto last for before it is no good to drink anymore?
I don’t have the exact answer for that Dawn, but it’s almost all alcohol so it’s going to last a long time! If you’re worried about it you can always store it in the refrigerator.
The recipe says that it yields two cups but it needs a cup of water and 2 cups of vodka so wouldn’t that be three cups?
The water does reduce while cooking down the sugar, but yes closer to 3 cups.
I had some given to me as a gift and I tucked it in the back of our second fridge and pretty much forgot about it. I would clean around it and then the day before Christmas I needed more room and thought I would throw it out, but laughingly we decided to take a sip… AMAZING. Can’t remember for sure how long it was in there, but a conservative estimate would be 6 years.
That’s really funny, as my in laws would say “booze never goes bad!”
I’m seriously planning to make this recipe. Can you tell me what the alcohol content is? I know it probably depends on the sitting time, but if you could give me an idea, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
I really don’t know the alcohol content. If there’s someway that you know how I can find out let me know!
I use 151 Everclear ans when you add the one cup of water and a little more then 1 cup of sugar, that will about half the alcohol content to bring it to 75 proof or 37.5 %. If you start with 100 proof vodka out will be about to proof or 25%. The proof won’t change if the bottle is sealed right.
Hi. What kind of vodka? I’ve seen some recipes that say use inexpensive alcohol. I’ve never had it before so have no point of reference.
You can buy any vodka you like that’s not too expensive like Smirnoff for example.
Excellent but won’t it be much more alcoholic than regular amaretto?
I’m not really sure about the answer to that, but I can tell you that it’s delicious!
Alcohol % drops as it’s mixed with cooked sugar, if mixed in a right amount ABV drops down as similar to the commercially available Amaretto However try using vodka which already has low ABV
Can I use imitaion almond extract? Nut allergy and I love amaretto.?
I think that would be just fine!
Can you use non caloric sweeteners to make the Amaretto?
To be honest Terry, I’m not sure. I think it might be worth a try though! Let me know if you do try it.
Hi – I just made this – and it looks like the almond extract is sitting on top rather than mixing in…. did anyone else find that? Does it integrate eventually? Thanks!
I haven’t had that problem before. Just curious though, is the extract your using pure almond extract or imitation?
I made this last year was delish. I have several request to make again. However I have 2 questions. Can I use vanilla vodka to help with flavor. And of u use light or dark brown sugar
Absolutely! I think both are fine – let me know how it turns out!
Going to make this and had same thought about using vanilla vodka
Did you try it?
Seems like a good combo
There is already a strong vanilla flavor from the whole vanilla beans, but if vanilla is you’re thing then you should give it a try!
Have you ever made this with vanilla extract?
Though vanilla bean sounds like it’d be best for flavor
You can make it with REAL, not imitation, vanilla extract, a higher quality variety would be best.
Do you think this amaretto would benefit from aging in a small oak barrel, or would that ruin it?
I’m not really 100% sure, but it sounds like a great idea to me!
Could the Brown sugar be replaced with molasses? I think I can find a substitution chart for it, but molasses would also lend a slight richness to the flavor that you just can’t get with brown sugar.
I haven’t tried making it that way but if you do let me know how it goes!
Brown sugar is actually white sugar with molasses added to it. So, I would just do the 1-1/4 cup of white sugar and then add the molasses.
It sounds YUMMY! Let me know if you already tried it.
I’ve always wanted to make something like this, so I think I’m going to give it a try. It’ll be my first time ever!
I’m confused, one website says 1 vanilla bean equals 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, while another says 1 vanilla bean is equivalent to about 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Which one do I use. I’m trying to make amaretto and I want to make sure that I use the correct amount. I appreciate any suggestion that you might have. Thank you.
I guess I can’t tell you what other recipes on other websites say but this recipe calls for 2 vanilla beans.
I made the Amaretto today. Giving it a week and can’t wait to serve it on ice or chilled!
Sounds great! Let me know how it is when you try it!
I did not have enough vodka
Can more vodka be added at a later date
Yes, add what you have now and then add the rest as soon as you can get it!
I was wondering about the steeping in canning jars. Do I use regular canning lids, etc to let it steep??
Or is there a better container, also can I double or triple recipe?
All you need is a container with a tight seal. It doesn’t have to be a canning jar at all, but you could use that if you have it.
Thanks, I will let you know how it turns out!
Great, please do!
I’m making with 100 proof rum instead of vodka… I thought I had vodka in my cupboard but turns out I didn’t. Hope it turns out as well as the first time I made it.
Hi there how did yours turn out? Ive only got dark rum on hand
Im so excited to make this for the holidays! Do you use light or dark brown sugar in the recipe?
We prefer dark brown sugar, but either will work!
To double recipe, should I also double the water (to make simple syrup)? I am assuming I should, but when I click on 2x feature, all ingredients except for water get doubled, so thought I should doublecheck. Thank you for what looks like a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it!
Yes, double the water too. Thanks for checking.
I love amaretto! Making this now. When I pour through the cheese cloth in a week, do I dispose of the vanilla beans at that time? Or, put them back in the bottle used for storing the final product? Thank you!
For a stronger vanilla finish, we like storing them in the bottle. But for a more subtle vanilla flavor you can discard them. Enjoy!
I’m gonna be making this recipe for friends & Family for Christmas. I bought some 8 oz bottles and some 32oz bottles to store it in. As it sits in the bottles with lids, will it get stronger over time. I’m also making Kahlua using Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. It’s so good! I know it really doesn’t get tasty for a few months. The flavor over time intensifies more over time so I make it now and hide it away till Christmas time!