What Is the Best Vanilla Extract Substitute?

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Vanilla essence, along with flour and sugar, is perhaps the most often used baking ingredient. It compliments a wide variety of other tastes and is great in practically any sweet dish or baked good: caramel, cinnamon, fruits, chocolate, almonds, and citrus, to name a few!

The popularity of this flavour can only indicate one thing: vanilla extract is used in recipes all the time.

So, what happens if you run out of vanilla essence in the middle of a recipe? Or maybe you have it on your buying list and go to the store only to find that it is sold out owing to the baking mania that seems to strike everyone in masse during the holidays!

We’ve gathered all of the greatest vanilla extract alternatives here, so whether you’re at the market searching for an alternative or looking for a last-minute stand-in in your own kitchen, we hope you’ll discover the right solution.

What is Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla beans were given the bean moniker due to their long and slim bean-like form, although they are not truly beans at all! Vanilla beans are the fruits of a certain type of orchid, and as one would imagine from anything originating from a flower as gorgeous and complicated as an orchid blossom, they have a highly fragrant taste.

Although entire vanilla beans are delicious in cooking, they are quite costly and might be difficult to locate. As a result, vanilla extract is an excellent method to include vanilla bean flavor into your dishes without breaking the budget! Vanilla extract is prepared by soaking entire vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water, which draws the vanilla flavor from the pods and into the liquid.

Pure Vanilla Extract vs. Imitation Vanilla Extract

When it comes to vanilla extract, there are two types to look for: pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract.

The only components in pure vanilla extract should be vanilla bean, alcohol, and water. Since this product is manufactured from genuine vanilla and contains no synthetics, it will have a more powerful vanilla flavor and give a complex flavor as near to that of the entire beans as possible.

Fake vanilla taste, often known as vanilla essence, is made from laboratory-created replicas of the same flavor molecules found in genuine vanilla. The taste is not exactly the same as the genuine thing, as with most fake flavorings. Genuine vanilla extract has a stronger flavor that is closer to the scent and flavor of the entire beans, while fake extract tastes vanilla-y but not as flowery or delicate as the genuine kind.

Moreover, the alcohol concentration of fake vanilla extracts may vary and may even include additional sugars. As a result, fake vanilla extracts may occasionally have a sweeter taste than genuine vanilla extract.

What is Vanilla Extract Used For?

It comes as no surprise that vanilla extract is most often used in sweet dishes! Vanilla extract is used to enhance the vanilla flavor of vanilla-flavored desserts such as vanilla ice cream and cake, as well as to create a flowery backdrop for sweets with other prominent tastes such as eggy French breakfast, Cinnamon Coffee Cake, or fruit-based desserts and baked goods.

Vanilla is sometimes assumed to be the polar opposite of chocolate and that the two should never be combined, but it is really an excellent compliment to chocolate dishes of all kinds! Vanilla enhances the rich cocoa taste in chocolate cake, hot cocoa, and chocolate sweets.

If You Need a Vanilla Extract Substitute, Look No Further!

This collection of vanilla extract alternatives has you covered.

We’ll start with other vanilla items. That may seem apparent (after all, that is where the extract originates from!) but some of these vanilla goods you may not think to check for. You may be shocked to find one in your cupboard or refrigerator!

No concerns if you don’t have any vanilla-flavored goods. We’ve also provided several vanilla extract alternative possibilities.

Vanilla Derived Substitutes for Vanilla Extract

Whole Vanilla Beans

If you have a whole vanilla bean on hand, it will most likely be your finest vanilla extract replacement! Since vanilla extract is manufactured by soaking entire beans, consider this a way to bypass the middleman and go right to the source of flavor.

Whole vanilla beans split lengthwise, so run a tiny (but sharp!) paring knife along the length of the pod to create two equal-length pieces. Next, slide the flat side of your knife, or a spoon if you like, down the insides of the pod halves to observe the little black, sticky seeds accumulating on the edge.

Remember that the main difference between whole vanilla bean and vanilla extract is that vanilla extract will blend nicely into a dish, while fresh vanilla beans would have visible particles. In most circumstances, this is not a problem, and it may even look nice, but in other recipes where you don’t want any specks, you may not want to utilize this option.

How Much to Use:

You may replace the contents of 1 entire fresh vanilla bean for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in a recipe that asks for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. This is readily adaptable to lesser amounts as well. Note that 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon, therefore if your recipe asks for 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence, use roughly a vanilla bean!

Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla bean paste is another excellent replacement for vanilla extract since it includes vanilla extract. Vanilla bean paste is often marketed in jars, but you may have also seen it in tubes. Although the precise components vary depending on the producer, vanilla paste often contains vanilla beans, vanilla extract, sugar, and stabilizers that aid to give the paste a consistent and easy-to-work-with consistency.

Vanilla bean paste is an excellent method to include those distinctive vanilla bean flecks into your recipes without the effort or cost of dealing with entire vanilla beans (vanilla bean paste is lot cheaperhooray!). This substitution, like vanilla extract, will be visible in your recipe, so if you like to keep the canvas clean, go on to one of the other substitute choices.

How Much to Use:

The vanilla extract to vanilla bean paste ratio is 1:1.

Vanilla Powder

There are two kinds of vanilla powder available in the globe. They are easily distinguished because one is dark brown and the other is light brown or beige. The former is created from pure dried and powdered vanilla bean pods, resulting in a powder that includes both vanilla bean seeds and bits of the tasty pod itself. The lighter vanilla powder is made out of vanilla extract and a fine sugar powder like dextrose.

Any of these alternatives will give your dish a comparable vanilla taste and may be used in lieu of vanilla extract. While dealing with the lighter-colored, sweetener-based vanilla powder, keep in mind that you will be integrating more sweetness into the recipe where traditional vanilla extract would not have. To compensate, you might lower the amount of additional sweets in the recipe.

How Much to Use:

Try a 2:1 mixture of vanilla extract and vanilla powder. Hence, for every 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence called for in a recipe, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder.

Other Vanilla Flavored Products

This may seem to be a ridiculous proposal, but when it comes to finding a vanilla extract alternative, it pays to explore around and think outside the box! You may be shocked at how many vanilla-flavored goods you have in your home. Vanilla ice cream, vanilla almond milk or other plant milk, vanilla coffee creamer, or vanilla syrup might all be substituted for vanilla extract in a recipe.

While making the replacement, keep in mind any extra sweetness that the vanilla-flavored product will offer. Vanilla syrup, which is often used to flavor coffee beverages, is quite concentrated and will thus add a significant quantity of sugar to your recipe.

How Much to Use:

Since the degree of vanilla flavour in each of these items may vary greatly, start with a 1:1 ratio and work your way up. If your dish lacks flavor and the addition of more liquid will not be a problem, go ahead and double or treble the quantity asked for in the recipe.

Alternative Substitutes for Vanilla Extract

Liquor or Liqueur

Since vanilla extract is manufactured by soaking vanilla beans in spirits, alcohol is an ideal vanilla extract substitute. Nevertheless, not just any liquor will suffice; it would be absurd to substitute smokey mezcal for vanilla essence in your recipes.

Use sweet and flowery spirits like brandy or rum, which will taste different than pure vanilla extract but are pleasant and aromatic in the same manner. Much better if you have vanilla flavored liquor or vanilla vodka on hand! Vanilla liqueur is eerily identical to vanilla extract and makes an excellent vanilla extract alternative.

How Much to Use:

Utilize a one-to-one ratio. You may substitute an equivalent quantity of liquor or liqueur for the amount of vanilla extract called for in a recipe.

Maple Syrup

Despite being derived from a plant family that is so far apart from blooming orchids of the vanilla family, maple syrup has a delightful taste that is eerily similar to vanilla extract. Although maple has its own particular taste, its influence on recipes is comparable to that of vanilla: flowery, woodsy, and naturally sweet.

Just use 100% pure maple syrup; this is not the time or place for artificially flavored pancake syrup. Since maple syrup can add sweetness to your dish, you may want to decrease other sugars in your recipe to compensate. Additionally, maple syrup is an excellent alcohol-free option for vanilla extract!

How Much to Use:

Begin with a 1:1 ratio of vanilla extract to maple syrup, but feel free to add more if your meal lacks scent and flavor.

Other Flavored Extracts

You don’t have to abandon your recipe because you don’t have vanilla extract or other vanilla flavorings. There are several additional flavor extracts to pick from, some of which may strike a similar chord to vanilla extract, while others may follow an entirely other, but as delightful flavor profile route.

If you don’t have maple syrup, you may use maple extract. This would deliver all of the aromatic, rich maple taste without the extra sweetness. Almond extract is another excellent choice since it imparts a flowery, nutty taste. Cinnamon extract might also be utilized if it seems to compliment the other components in the recipe.

Whichever flavor extract you pick, consider how it will interact with the other components and use your best judgment, but don’t be scared to try something new!

How Much to Use:

Begin with a 2:1 ratio. Use half the quantity of another flavored extract in place of the vanilla extract. This lesser amount is particularly significant for certain extracts since the almond taste in almond extract is more intense on the tongue than other extracts like maple flavor.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

There’s no excuse for running out of store-bought vanilla extract when you can make your own! The only issue is that it takes around 2 months to infuse, so don’t expect to have homemade vanilla extract anytime soon. Are you ready to stock up on vanilla extract for the future? Use this easy DIY vanilla extract recipe.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

You simply need three ingredients to make DIY vanilla extract: a container, alcohol, and entire vanilla beans.

A well sealed 8-12 ounce glass jar or bottle is the ideal sort of container to use. When it comes to alcohol, vodka is the most popular option since it produces the most comparable results to store-bought extracts. Nevertheless, if you want to spice up the taste even more, you may add something like bourbon or brandy. Lastly, for every 8 ounces of extract you wish to manufacture, you will need 4 vanilla beans, but feel free to spend on additional beans if you want a more powerfully flavored extract.

Step 2: Prepare the Extract

Split the vanilla beans lengthwise with a tiny, sharp knife to enable the alcohol to more easily extract flavor from the seeds itself. If your container or jar isn’t tall enough to hold the whole length of the vanilla bean halves, split them in half widthwise. Fill the jar with all of the vanilla bean fragments and 8 ounces of alcohol. Make certain that the beans are thoroughly immersed. Close the cover and gently shake the container to blend.

Step 3: Allow the Extract to Infuse

All that stands between you and homemade extract now is time! Let the mixture to remain in a cold, dark area for at least 2 months (such as your pantry or spice cupboard), shaking the jar every so often to disperse the components. You can absolutely start using your extract after 2 months, however the taste will continue to improve the longer you let it soak.

Step 4: Remove the Vanilla Beans (Or Don’t!)

After you’re happy with the taste of your vanilla extract, you may remove the vanilla beans to make it easier to use in the future. If you wish to leave them in and soak for a longer period of time, be sure to add a touch more alcohol each time the vanilla beans get exposed to air, since this will protect the beans from rotting.

What to Do With Leftover Vanilla Bean Pods

Have leftover vanilla bean pods after scraping the seeds out to use in a recipe or extract making? Don’t get rid of them just yet! Even though they were used to manufacture extract, the pods still have taste to offer.

One of our favorite uses for leftover vanilla pods is to nestle them into a jar of granulated sugar after allowing them to dry if they have been in liquid. Toss the pods in the sugar and cover with a lid. There is no need to wait for the flavor to permeate, but this tiny stash of vanilla sugar is a perfect addition to your morning coffee routine or iced tea.

You may keep adding leftover vanilla pods and new granulated sugar to the mix to make the scented sugar even more delightful.

Vanilla Extract Substitute: Bottom Line

As you can see, there are several vanilla extract substitutes available! If you run out of vanilla extract, look in your refrigerator and cupboards for additional vanilla goods. Whether you find entire vanilla beans or vanilla flavored soy milk, you’ll have a perfect option on hand.

If you don’t have vanilla, feel free to use a similarly sweet and fragrant liquor, maple syrup, or another form of flavor extract. Who knows, your substitute could even result in a new favorite dish where you forgo the vanilla extract in the future. Accidents may sometimes be pleasant accidents.


What is 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract equivalent and substitute to?

That would be fantastic in a vanilla or pound cake! To begin, substitute 1 tablespoon honey for 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. If you want to fully taste the honey in your dish, consider substituting part of the sugar with honey as well.

What is the same as vanilla extract?

Vanilla Extract

It is a suitable substitute for whole vanilla beans since it has a strong vanilla taste and the appearance of vanilla beans. How to Prepare Vanilla Paste: Replace vanilla extract with vanilla paste 1:1, or use 1 tsp vanilla paste in lieu of 1 vanilla bean pod.

How to make vanilla extract?

Place each bean in the bottle, lengthwise.
Fill the bottle with one cup of vodka (or other alcoholic beverage of your choice)….
Once or twice a week, shake.
Wait at least eight weeks, but 4-6 months is preferable.
Voilà, your booze has been transformed into delectable homemade vanilla extract!

Is it OK if I don’t use vanilla extract?

Vanilla extract is not required for the structure of a baking recipe. But, omitting it from a dish will alter the taste. Vanilla extract improves the taste of cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.

Can you skip vanilla extract in a recipe?

Remove it.

If you don’t have any of the suggested alternatives, just leave out the vanilla extract and continue with the recipe. There shouldn’t be much of a change in flavor as long as vanilla isn’t the main component.

What is the imitation vanilla flavoring?

Imitation Vanillin is used to make vanilla (the primary flavor component of vanilla). Vanillin is made from a chemical known as guaiacol. Petroleum accounts for the majority of the world’s guaiacol supply. A liquid, usually alcohol or propylene glycol, is used to dilute the vanillin.

What is natural vanilla flavoring?

Natural vanilla flavour is made from vanilla beans and contains very little to no alcohol. Typically, the greatest quantity of alcohol contained is about 2-3%. As a result, it cannot be labeled an extract under FDA restrictions.

What does vanilla extract do in baking?

Vanilla extract is used in baking because it improves the flavors of other components such as sugar, milk, and so on. Vanilla’s most important function is to mask the odor of uncooked eggs. This is why anything resembling raw eggs must have a dash of vanilla essence.

What alcohol makes the best vanilla extract?

What is the best kind of alcohol to use while making vanilla extract? You may use any kind of alcohol as long as it is at least 80 proof. Vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum are the greatest and most popular options. Because of its neutral taste, vodka is the most adaptable.

What is two ingredient vanilla extract?

Vanilla beans and vodka are the only two materials needed to make homemade vanilla extract. Let the vanilla beans to infuse the vodka for as little as 8 weeks, but for the best taste, wait at least 6-12 months. Homemade vanilla is less expensive than store-bought vanilla.

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