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Why Does Almond Extract Taste Like Cherry?

A small bottle of almond extract sits among a group of almonds.
Vera Prokhorova/Shutterstock.com

If you’re not allergic to nuts, then pure almond extract can be a delicious ingredient. Adding almond extract to a variety of recipes—even the imitation counterpart—can be a great way to add a unique depth of flavor that remarkably resembles cherries.

That’s right. A lot of people say that almond extract tastes more like cherries than almonds. Why is that?

Believe it or not, it’s because almonds and cherries share a lot of similarities. They’re both stone fruits, or drupes, which means they are a fruit with a fleshy outer part that surrounds a single, hard seed.

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Pure almond extract is made from bitter almonds, which contain a compound called benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde is a natural organic compound that is also found in other stone fruits, including cherries, plumbs, and apricots.

The flavor of almond extract is largely due to the presence of benzaldehyde, which has a distinct almond-like flavor and aroma. However, benzaldehyde can also have a slightly fruity and floral taste, which is why some people may perceive almond extract as having a slight cherry-like flavor.

Not all almond extracts taste like cherry, and the perception of flavor can vary between individuals and their personal taste buds. Additionally, some manufacturers add other flavorings or enhancers to their almond extract products which can affect the taste and scent.

If you’ve ever tasted almond extract or an almond-flavored baked good and found it to taste like cherry, there’s a reason.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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