Is Amaretto Liqueur Gluten Free? Info and Recipes

  • Amaretto is an Italian liqueur. 
  • It is known for its sweet taste and almond flavor.
  • Most Amaretto brands use non-gluten ingredients to make it. 
  • The gluten-free status of Amaretto depends on its content and manufacturing process. 

Is Amaretto liqueur gluten free? For a drinking lover, this is a legitimate question to ask if you need to avoid gluten in cases where you have celiac disease. In this guide we will go through what the drink is, and if it’s safe for consumption.

Is it dessert? Is it an alcoholic beverage? It’s both! We are talking about Amaretto liqueur, the exquisite drink with a sweet-and-bitter taste.

Flavored with almonds, this liqueur has a beautiful sweet taste to die for! This exclusive drink, with a nutty aroma of almonds, is enjoyed by the world.

But is Amaretto liqueur gluten free and safe for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance?  

The exquisite drink captures the spirit of Italy and is believed to have originated many centuries ago.

A liqueur with a base made from drupe seeds, with the flavor of almond, Amaretto’s production is not dependent on gluten.

It is naturally gluten free unless there’s cross-contamination. Some brands also use grain spirits or put additives in their recipe. It’s a good idea to check the label to know more.  

Is Amaretto Liqueur Gluten Free?

Among alcoholic beverages, a liqueur is popular because it is beautifully sweet and flavored.

There are different kinds of them, including the bean or kernel liqueurs, and one of the most celebrated among the kernel liqueurs is Amaretto. It is a beverage that has a distinct flavor of almonds. 

Amaretto originated in Italy, one of the leading producers of almonds in the world. The original liqueur was flavored with Prunus dulcis var. amara, i.e., bitter almonds.

In fact, the name itself means, “a little bitter”. Interestingly, though, it is not necessarily made of almonds. 

The base of this liqueur, often made of neutral alcohol, is now flavored with apricot or peach stones.

Almonds may or may not be used in making this cordial, but the sweet liqueur is always infused with the nutty richness of almonds. That’s because almond flavor comes from benzaldehyde, which is present in all three. 

However, the question is, does Amaretto liqueur contain gluten? If you know anything about gluten protein, then the answer should come to you easily.

No, Amaretto liqueur should be naturally gluten free. The base of Amaretto liqueur is made from the seeds of drupes. These are free from gluten. 

Gluten is a plant protein that comes from grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Fruits do not contain this protein, and therefore, Amaretto does not contain this protein as its ingredients are naturally free from gluten.

Thus, if you have celiac disease or gluten allergy, you can enjoy the dessert drink. 

Possibility of Gluten Content in Amaretto

But remember that some brands of Amaretto use herbs and spices in this liqueur.

Do you know that this is a common way of infusing any liquor with flavors? Plus, don’t forget the caramel used to give this liqueur a distinct color and some added hint of sweetness.

It is possible for these additives to contain gluten, thus adding the protein to the cordial.

Another factor to consider here is that many brands use a base of grain spirits made of wort.

So, if the wort used turns out to be a gluten grain, i.e., wheat, barley, or rye, the Amaretto liqueur, in turn, will end up with gluten.

If the absolute alcohol used as the base is derived from wheat, it can add residual gluten to Amaretto, unless it is distilled to separate the liquor from the gluten.

It is to be noted that, like all foods and beverages, Amaretto, too, has the possibility of cross-contamination.

During different stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging, or storing, the cordial or its ingredients may come into contact with gluten grains.

As a result, the Amaretto liqueur will end up with small amounts of gluten. 

How to Be Careful about Gluten in Amaretto

Unless you have a rare case of severe gluten sensitivity, you won’t suffer from allergic reactions due to such undetectable amounts of trace gluten.

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You can still speak to your physician about it in case you already have a history of reacting to trace gluten. Otherwise, try a small amount to test it.  

The best way to handle this is to look at the label to find out about the contents of the Amaretto bottle you’re planning to buy.

In general, people with gluten allergy or celiac disease drink Amaretto without any fear of allergic reactions. They trust brands like Ciroc, Hiram Walker, or Disaronno.

Disaronno claims that it’s 100% free from gluten, and most people enjoy it without any problem. However, there are a few reported cases of allergic reactions as a result of consuming Amaretto.

If you’re skeptical, testing a small amount of it is a good idea. You can also try other brands. 

Other Allergens in Amaretto   

Since Amaretto has a distinct flavor of almond, which prompts the question: can it trigger allergic reactions in people with nut allergy? The answer is “no”.

The first thing to note here is that Amaretto’s flavors come from almonds or apricot or peach pits. Technically, none of them are nuts. 

These are seeds that come from drupes, i.e., fleshy fruits, just like most of the culinary nuts that we commonly use.

The extract of almonds, apricot seeds, and peach pits all have the same almond flavor. So, there is no possibility of experiencing allergic reactions in people allergic to nuts.

But what about almond allergies? As mentioned earlier, many brands of Amaretto don’t even use almonds for the flavoring, like Disaronno Originale.

The almond or peach seeds in such Amaretto varieties mimic the aroma of almonds, and the herbs and spices complement the flavor further. 

Even in the case of Amaretto that actually uses almonds, the amount of almond proteins in the final product is so small that even people who are allergic can tolerate it easily.

The same goes for people who are allergic to apricots. Besides, if these are added before distillation, they will not cause any allergic reaction, and the presence of allergens becomes irrelevant.

So you can say that the possibility of allergic reactions from Amaretto is remote.

If you have a history of reacting to trace allergens, you can contact the manufacturer and find out more. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can test-drink Amaretto in small amounts under close observation.

Amaretto Liqueur – A Brief History

Amaretto liqueur is an exotic beauty born in Italy. It is so old that there are legends of romance and art associated with it.

Sounds interesting, right? The most popular one says that the liqueur was developed in the 16th century. It was a token of love and gratitude of a widow for a painter. 

Amaretto is believed to have come from Saronno. The story of Amaretto’s birth in Saronno says that in the 16th century, the church commissioned an artist named Bernardino Luini to paint frescoes in the church sanctuary.

While looking for inspiration for Madonna, a young widow caught his mind. 

She became his model, and they fell in love. This young woman wanted to give her man a gift to show her love and gratitude.

As a woman of limited resources, all she could manage was a beautiful potion. She used brandy and infused it with the flavor of almond. Needless to say, Luini was touched.

Years later, her recipe was turned into the famous Disaronno. It’s hard to tell if this is history or just a legend. But who wouldn’t love to believe that this mysterious drink is actually a product of affection?

Whether you drink it straight or with something else, the legacy of love will add a special flavor. 

Another story says that the Lazzaroni family invented this drink. They created the Amaretti cookies, or Amaretti Di Saronno, back in 1786.

They claim that almost a century later, in 1851, they also invented the Amaretto liqueur. Lazzaroni’s Amaretto liqueur continues to be a celebrated one. 

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How does Amaretto Taste?

Can we say the Amaretto tastes like sweet love? Sure! It is sweet, with hints of cherry, along with the distinct taste of almond. Traditionally, it’s also slightly bitter.

The degree of sweetness and bitterness will vary from one brand to the other. Many people compare Amaretto with Marzipan.

The layers of flavors in Amaretto give it a rich taste. Some find the taste of straight Amaretto a little too thick and overpowering, almost medicinal.

So, it is often paired with something else, be it alcohol or non-alcoholic – or just ice. It’s a popular dessert beverage. It is also mixed with coffee or desserts.

Amaretto Liqueur in Foods and Drinks

Amaretto’s sweet-and-bitter taste makes a great team with a wide range of flavors. Fruits, coffee, dairy, and other alcoholic drinks – everything becomes a little better with Amaretto.

A number of decadent cocktails and non-alcoholic concoctions have been developed with Amaretto liqueur.

In addition, it is also used in cooking and baking. It is used in making cookies and tiramisu cakes to give the batter an extra dimension of flavor.

It is also drizzled on ice cream and added to whipped cream to add a rich taste to it. You can even give your pancake batter a rich taste of almonds.

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Another unusual way of using this liqueur is in meat and vegetable recipes. Recipes for poultry and fish find a unique almondine kick when you add Amaretto liqueur to them.

You can also add it to vegetable-based recipes for a nuttiness that will completely transform any savory dish that you cook.  

Gluten Free Amaretto Recipes

As you can see, Amaretto liqueur can be used in many recipes. So, let’s take a look at some beautiful gluten free dishes, desserts, and cocktails with Amaretto liqueur in them. Plus, a bonus that you will love! Check them out now! 

a) Gluten Free Amaretto Biscotti Recipe

Is Amaretto Liqueur Gluten Free
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Here’s a gluten free twist to the lightly toasted biscotti – with the magical touch of Amaretto liqueur. 

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (large): 2 pieces
  • Maple syrup: ¼ cup
  • Vanilla paste: 1 tsp
  • Almond extract: 1 tsp
  • Amaretto liqueur: 2 tbsp
  • Melted coconut oil: ⅓ cup
  • Almond flour: 3 ½ cups
  • Baking soda: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon: 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg: ½ tsp
  • Almond slices: ½ cup
  • Salt: ⅛ tsp
  • Melted Chocolate: To garnish
  • Sea salt: To garnish

Instructions:

  • Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. 
  • Take a large bowl and put all the dry ingredients into it. Mix well and set the bowl aside. 
  • In another bowl of medium size, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk them together. 
  • Next, add the wet mixture to the dry mix in a large bowl. Use a spatula to mix everything and form a sticky dough. 
  • Now, roll out two logs of 4 inches, with a thickness of 1 inch.  
  • Bake these for 20-25 minutes until you notice that the edges have become golden-brown.
  • Bring the logs out of the oven and let them sit on the rack to cool down. Meanwhile, bring the oven down to 300 F. 
  • Then, cut the logs into half-inch slices. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them for another 20-30 minutes. Flip them halfway through the time.  
  • Remove the biscotti and let them cool for 20 minutes on a cookie rack.  
  • To finish them, dip them in melted chocolate. Then, sprinkle some sea salt on the top. 

The delicious biscotti with the delightful touch of almond is ready! 

b) Gluten Free Amaretto Chicken 

Is Amaretto Liqueur Gluten Free
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An exotic chicken recipe with a unique almondine flavor, this chicken recipe will be an instant hit! 

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast (boneless, skinless): 24 oz
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Pepper: ¼ tsp
  • Curry powder: 2 tsp
  • All-purpose gluten free flour blend: ¼ cup
  • Butter: 2 tbsp
  • Mushroom slices: 3 cups 
  • Garlic: 1 clove (minced)
  • Amaretto liqueur: 3 tbsp
  • Lime juice: 2 tbsp
  • Chicken broth (low sodium, gluten free): 1 cup

Instructions:

  • Cover the chicken with a dry rub of salt, pepper, and curry powder. Then lightly coat the pieces in the flour blend, keeping aside the excess flour. 
  • Set a skillet on medium-high heat and melt the butter in it. Start browning the chicken pieces on all sides. 
  • Next, put the mushrooms into the skillet and give it a quick stir. Add minced garlic, along with lime juice and amaretto liqueur. Stir everything properly and cook them for a minute. 
  • In a bowl, put the chicken broth and the remaining flour blend. Whisk them together to form a thick mix and put it in the skillet with the chicken and mushrooms. 
  • Put the lid on the skillet and bring the heat down to low. Then, let everything simmer for half an hour before removing the chicken from the heat.
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Your Amaretto chicken is ready! Serve it with rice – and everyone will be asking for more!

c) Amaretto Toasted Almond Cocktail

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If you love coffee, you” love the flavors in this fantastic drink. 

Ingredients:

  • Coffee liqueur: 1 oz
  • Amaretto liqueur: 1 oz
  • Cream: 2 oz

Instructions:

  • In a shaker, add all three ingredients. 
  • Shake properly to combine everything. 
  • Take a rocks glass and fill it with ice cubes. 
  • Strain the mixture in the shaker into the ice-filled glass. 

Your Amaretto Toasted Almond Cocktail is ready to be enjoyed!

d) Amaretto Cranberry Kiss

Here’s a famous and celebrated cocktail in which Amaretto liqueur is teamed with other alcoholic drinks and fruits to bring out a different side of it.  

Ingredients:

  • Cranberry juice: 1 cup
  • Vodka: ½ cup
  • Amaretto liqueur: ¼ cup
  • Orange juice: 1 ½ tbsp
  • Clementine oranges: To garnish

Instructions:

  • In a pitch, put all the ingredients and mix. 
  • Take a part of the mixture in a shaker with ice and shake well. 
  • Take a martini glass and strain the mix in the shaker into the glass.
  • Garnish the drink with slices of orange.

Sounds like a wintry delight, doesn’t it?

BONUS: Homemade Amaretto Liqueur Recipe

Yes! You can make your very one Amaretto at home and ensure that it’s gluten free and safe. Take a look:

Ingredients:

  • Water: 1 ½ cups 
  • Apricot kernels (from inside the pits): ½ cup
  • Dried apricot: ¼ cup
  • Raw almond: ¼ cup
  • Fennel seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Allspice berry: 1 piece
  • Cardamom: 1 pod
  • Vodka: 1 cup
  • Brandy: 1 cup
  • White sugar: 1 cup (caramelized)
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Instructions:

  • Start by coarsely chopping the apricots before soaking them in a cup of warm water. Leave them overnight to rehydrate. 
  • Crack open the pits of apricot to get the kernel inside, which you’ll need for the recipe. 
  • Chop the kernels and the almonds. 
  • Break the spices in a mortar with a pestle. Don’t grind them finely. 
  • Take a large bottle and layer its bottom with the drained apricots. Add a layer of the spices, and add the chopped almonds and kernels. 
  • Pour the brandy and the vodka into this bottle.  
  • Place the bottle in a cool and dark place for a month. Bring it out occasionally and shake it. 
  • With the help of a strainer, separate the solids and the liquid. 
  • Pass the strained liquid through a coffee filter to get a clear liquid. The process will be slow. 
  • Place the clear liquid in a fresh bottle.
  • In a saucepan, caramelize the sugar over medium heat. Keep stirring until it browns.  
  • Simultaneously, boil half a cup of water in a different pot. Once boiled, add this water to the sugar slowly to make a simple syrup.  
  • Once ready, let it cool. Then, pour it into the amaretto mix to reach your desired sweetness.
  • Finally, add the vanilla extract. Let the bottle rest for a week before drinking from it. 

Your homemade amaretto liqueur is ready! Store it in an airtight bottle. It will last for 6 months at room temperature.

Conclusion:

The gluten free status of Amaretto, the almond-flavored Italian liqueur, depends on the base, caramel, and spices used in making it.

The key ingredients, i.e., almonds or the seeds of apricot or peach, are free from gluten.

But if a grain-derived base is used in making the liqueur or the caramel or flavoring agents contain the protein, the liqueur will not be safe for you.   

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.