Fiori di Sicilia, “Flowers of Sicily”, is an herbal extract packed with flavor and commonly used in Italy.
This extract combines vanilla as well as citrus and flower essences. Fiori di Sicilia works amazingly well in cookies, cakes, pancakes, or even as a glaze for many baked goods.
Fiori di Sicilia Spritz Cookies are a great example! For those in love with something sweeter, Fiori di Sicilia works perfectly in biscotti and ice cream as a touch of flavor, or in something like a buttercream.
Substituting this rare flavor will prove to be a challenge, but one that can be overcome. In many kitchens and stores throughout the world, there are plenty of substitutes to use.
Some of these might not have the exact same flavor, but they will definitely work with any recipe asking for Fiori di Sicilia and add their own twist.
The best substitute for use in cooking is orange extract due to its versatile nature. For baking, the best substitutes are vanilla extract, millefiori extract, lemon extract, orange blossom water, and making your own through the combination of at least three already mentioned extracts. Less common substitutes are vanilla powder, herbs and spices, fruit zest, and certain types of alcohol.
The best part of these substitutes is that most are vegan and gluten-free, use no animal byproducts, and are safe to use in many recipes.
The article below will provide all the details needed to make the substitutions a fruitful process, one that will yield wonderful results so that dishes like those mentioned above always work out perfectly.
Substitute for Fiori di Sicilia
1. Orange Extract
A highly concentrated flavor of oranges, it’s made by soaking them in at least 33% alcohol, which eventually gets burned off in the process of cooking. The orange extract has a fruity orange taste, something that Fiori di Sicilia also has as its base.
Unlike many other Fiori di Sicilia substitutes, orange extract works well in cooking as well as baking.
Perfect for a hint of flavor in vegetable dishes, don’t hesitate to use it in sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, broccoli, or green beans.
Orange extract focuses solely on the taste of citrus, omitting all other flavors present in Fiori di Sicilia.
Though it’s a good one-to-one ratio substitute, it’s best to understand that any flavor left in the dish will focus more on oranges, adding a different twist. Margarita Cookies are a good example of the wonderful taste that orange extract has to offer.
2. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract, one of the most common extracts used in kitchens throughout the world, is made by soaking vanilla pods in alcohol and has many uses, especially in baking.
There are strict guidelines to the recipe to ensure it becomes pure vanilla extract with all the right flavoring. Its common usage makes it the perfect substitute for many different flavorings, even Fiori di Sicilia.
Most recipes that call for Fiori di Sicilia will not ask for much of the extract because of its strong flavor.
Vanilla extract is a one-to-one substitute in many recipes, though there’s nothing wrong with adding a little extra if you want more flavor. The flavor of vanilla extract is not as strong as Fiori di Sicilia, which makes it a little easier to work with.
3. Millefiori Extract
Literally translated as “one thousand flowers”, Millefiori has a unique flavor.
Used in Easter Pastiera, it’s going to be one of the hardest to find in a market, likely requiring an online order to be delivered before the day you plan to bake, though there might be some luck in Italian Markets.
This unique extract combination has a concentrated hint of flowers and citrus, likely the most similar to Fiori di Sicilia in taste.
If you’re able to get your hands on this small vial, it’ll be a good one-to-one ratio substitute.
4. Lemon Extract
Lemon extract, unlike lemon juice, is made by extracting the flavor of the lemon from the skin rather than the inside.
Due to this process, the lemon extract will have a stronger aroma than lemon juice, and is a good addition to many baked goods.
Mostly used in cookies, bread, muffins, pies, and even yogurt, it’s versatile enough to be a good substitute.
Of course, lemon extract won’t have the exact same taste as Fiori di Sicilia since it doesn’t have the same flower flavor, but it’ll do in a pinch. It’s best to use it as a one-to-one substitute, using the exact same amount the recipe requires.
5. Orange Blossom Water
Surprisingly powerful, orange blossom water is made from the delicate petals of the orange blossom flower.
Most commonly used in French and Middle Eastern cuisine, is it often found in recipes for baked goods.
In the United States, it’s used to make orange blossom scones and marshmallows, though it can be a good substitute for Fiori di Sicilia. This easy Orange Blossom Cake Recipe will show what this flavoring can do for a recipe.
Fiori di Sicilia has a slightly citrus taste since that is one of its ingredients, something that orange blossom water also has.
Unlike Fiori di Sicilia, orange blossom water has a slightly bitter taste as well so it’s best to start with a 2/3 substitute than what the recipe asks for.
6. Make Your Own
One of the last resorts, if you’d like to try and get the flavor of Fiori di Sicilia as close as possible without having the exact extract in hand, is to make it yourself. The process is simple.
Combine the following ingredients into a bowl:
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ a teaspoon of lemon extract
- ½ a teaspoon of orange extract.
Mix these three extracts thoroughly until they are combined. You can use this substitute as you would any other flavoring.
This substitute will be one-to-one for Fiori di Sicilia since you are essentially attempting to recreate it.
Of course, Fiori di Sicilia is a unique extract common to Italy, and it’s unlikely it’ll be recreated at home exactly, but the flavors of these three extracts will work perfectly as substitutes for any recipe.
7. Vanilla Powder
Highly concentrated, this powder is made from finely ground vanilla beans.
An uncommon ingredient, it works best in baked goods such as cookies and pale cakes. Without the brown tint of vanilla extract, it doesn’t change the color of the recipe.
Vanilla powder, with its high concentration, doesn’t evaporate like vanilla extract when exposed to high heat.
Manufacturers suggest a one-to-one ratio for a vanilla extract which means the same would apply when substituting for Fiori di Sicilia. Use the same amount as what the recipe asks.
8. Herbs and Spices
When presented with no other option, combining herbs and spices might end up working as a decent substitute for Fiori di Sicilia.
Certain flavor palates present in Fiori di Sicilia are also present in spices around the kitchen.
In place of Fiori di Sicilia, it’s possible to use around 1 to 2 tablespoons of chai spice when baking cookies. Chai works as a good substitute for vanilla extract when baking sweets.
For a hint of flowers, add a small pinch of lavender to dishes such as yogurts or oatmeal. Even cinnamon and cloves will work in more savory dishes, giving them a certain amount of depth.
9. Fruit Zest
Various fruit zests, or the outermost layer of the fruits’ skin, work as a vanilla extract substitute and are more likely to be present at home. Citrus fruits work best:
When substituting in baked goods, salads, or sauces use 1 to 2 tablespoons of any zest.
This will prevent any additional liquid or too much tartness from entering the recipe. If acidity doesn’t bother you, or the dish, you can even use 1 tablespoon or lemon juice.
In a pinch, you can use certain liquors as a substitute since they already have a certain depth of flavor.
Brandy, rum, or bourbon work best as a substitute for vanilla extract, which could work for Fiori di Sicilia.
The key is to use alcohol that has at least 35% alcohol content since alcohol evaporates at higher temperatures.
Using this as a substitute will be purely based on taste. Start with a tablespoon or two and work your way up.
This is to ensure that too much liquid doesn’t enter the recipe, but gives it enough flavor without evaporating.
Easy to Follow Recipe to Make Cookies
Recipes for making cookies with Fiori di Sicilia are some of the best and most flavorful. Take, for example, this quick recipe for Fresh Citrus Macaroon with Fiori Di Sicilia.
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
The instructions are just as easy as the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or lightly grease if no paper available)
- Combine egg whites with Fiori di Sicilia and beat until peaks form
- Slowly add sugar and continue beating until peaks form
- Fold in citrus zest and the coconut
- Drop onto the pan by a heaping teaspoon about 2 inches apart from one another
- Bake for 12 minutes
Is Fiori di Sicilia Vegan?
Yes, is the simple answer. Fiori di Sicilia, or Flowers of Sicily, is an extract made from vanilla and other flowers and citrus fruits.
There are no animal byproducts in this extract and can safely be used by vegetarians and vegans.
It’s a versatile extract that packs a punch of flavor to any dish, including most baked goods and even salads.
What Are Common Uses for Fiori di Sicilia?
Fiori di Sicilia is an extract used mostly in Italy, though many recipes around the world ask for it now.
This extract offers a unique flavor of citrus and flowers which is a nice addition to any recipe.
Aside from baked goods, it’s used in cooking and some even use it around the house. People have been known to use the strong aroma as a perfume, or as a substitute for essential oils used to add a nice scent to the home.
Fiori di Sicilia is an extract full of aroma and flavor which cannot be replicated specifically by anything else.
There are plenty of substitutes that will help enhance a recipe asking for the Flower of Sicily, without compromising any delicious dishes.
Some of these substitutes many kitchens will have on hand, and some will require more forethought, but they are all useful in their own way.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.