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Substitute for Vanilla Extract in Cookies

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Vanilla extract is a simple but vital flavoring agent in baked goods and desserts. Pure vanilla is extracted from tropical vanilla pods, also known as the tropical vanilla planifolia. These magic pods are responsible for the rich flavor of the liquid flavoring. Many of the baked goods and delicious recipes we all enjoy contain vanilla extract. The flavor-enhancing aroma can not be missed.

Also, Apart from the sweet sensational aroma, vanilla extract has a lot of health benefits such as providing antioxidant effects, benefitting brain health, providing antiinflammatories properties, and so on. The taste of your cookies can never be the same without the presence of vanilla extract; without it, the outcome would be a flat and bland taste.

There are so many reasons you might want to look for substitutes for vanilla extract in your cookies. For example, you might prefer an alcohol-free option, as vanilla extract contains at least 35% alcohol. You might not have it when you need it. You perhaps prefer another flavor. Other alternatives could do the trick.

What is Vanilla Extract?

Substitute for Vanilla Extract in Cookies

Vanilla extract is an essential ingredient in a lot of, but not limited to, Western desserts, especially in baked goods such as brownies, cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, which is the subject of discussion here. Pure vanilla extract contains several hundred additional flavor compounds responsible for its complex, deep flavor.

Vanilla extract is a liquid component made by soaking vanilla pods in a solution of alcohol (ethanol) and water. Of all forms of vanilla used today in cooking, drinking, and baking, vanilla extract is the most used form.

The common amount of vanilla extract used is one teaspoon when baking cookies. For one teaspoon of vanilla extract, there are several diverse milligrams of calories, protein, carbohydrates, sugar, and fat, making it a healthy solution and a wonderful addition to your baking recipes.

Vanilla extract uses in recipes

Although this article focuses on ways to substitute vanilla extract in cookies, there are so many other uses of vanilla extract. Its deep flavor and a sweet aroma make it a viable option as a sweetening agent in baked foods and custard, puddings, ice creams, etc.

  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • French toast
  • Fruits that have been baked or roasted
  • Cocktails
  • Grilling and barbecuing
  • Sauce with tomatoes
  • Other delectable sauces
  • Coffee beverages made with care
  • Cakes
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Fried coconut rolls

Vanilla extract substitute in cookies

Whether youre trying to avoid the alcohol content or you prefer another option, or you cant get a hold of vanilla extract in your cookies when you need it. Fortunately, there are other close alternatives. So lets browse through some of them.

Vanilla paste 

The term paste might lead you to think about what the texture and outcome of your cookies would be like; do not fret. It is not as think as youd think. It has the same appearance as syrup, so it is absolutely a great replacement.

Vanilla paste is a combination of the extract of vanilla, vanilla beans, and the required amount of sugar. It has a very dominant intense flavor and a smooth texture and contains the distinctive black flecks of vanilla beans. And because of its similar properties, it can be used proportionally in equal quantity as you would vanilla extract.

Vanilla powder 

This is a fine and light-colored powder made of vanilla beans. It is preferred in frostings and pale cakes. It is also intense. High temperatures may cause the vanilla extract to evaporate, making a baked good less flavorful. Vanilla powder is unaffected by high heat, meaning it retains an intense flavor.

Like vanilla extract, vanilla powder is also very versatile. It gives a good result when used with cookies and other baked foods, oatmeal, cereals, coffee or chocolate, etc. It can also be used in the same ratio as vanilla extract.

Almond extract

It is common knowledge that people use almond extract in cookies. However, you can never miss the nutty flavor of almond extract because it is way stronger than vanilla extract. However, if you use too much of it, it can change the taste of your cookies to a slightly bitter taste.

Sometimes if youre using vanilla extract in cookies and the sugar content underwhelms you, or the taste isnt as sweet as you want it, the addition of almond extract adds a great deal more flavor, elevating these sugar cookies to your taste. Also, note that it should be used in reduced quantity because of its stronger flavor.

Marple Syrup 

Pure maple syrup has a thick, sweet flavor profile, making it an excellent vanilla extract alternative. It can also add moisture and binding properties to your cookies and other baked goods. However, be careful not to use the imitation syrup though, as the flavor is quite different from vanilla extract. It can be used in the same proportion as well.


People usually add a bit of honey to vanilla extract in cookies, mostly likely to beef up the sweet taste and help with enhancing the aroma. It can also be used alone if you dont have vanilla extract. It adds a bright, floral sweetness to your cookies and enhances the cookies texture. Using it in the same ratio would give you the perfect outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is vanilla extract necessary for cookies?

Vanilla extract is not necessary for the structure of a baking recipe. However, but leaving it out of a recipe will change the flavor.

Can I use honey in place of vanilla extract?

You certainly can. Honey is a great substitute but make sure you reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe.

What does vanilla extract do in baking cookies?

It enhances and upgrades other flavors in the recipe. Without it, your cookies would taste flat, and you wouldnt like it at all.


When baking cookies, vanilla extract is a vital flavoring ingredient; it makes your cookies come out good with great flavor and taste. Not only that, it has numerous nutritional benefits as well. So if you want to opt for another close substitute for whatever reason, there are so many of them that you could use and still wouldnt miss that savory flavor.


Is there a substitute for vanilla extract in baking?

After vanilla, one of the most common extracts people use in baking is almond extract. You can replace vanilla extract with almond extract at a 1:1 ratio. That means, replace every 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vanilla extract in the recipe with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of almond extract.

Can you leave out vanilla extract in cookies?

Vanilla extract is not necessary in terms of the structure of a baking recipe. However, leaving it out of a recipe will change the flavor. Vanilla extract enhances the flavor in cookies, cakes, and muffins and other recipes.

What does vanilla extract do in baking cookies?

The role of vanilla in sweet baked goods is like the role of salt on the savory side: it enhances all the other flavors in the recipe. Without it, cookies and cakes tend to taste flat and bland. Forget to add the vanilla once, and you’ll probably never do it again!

Can you use vanilla flavor instead of vanilla extract for cookies?

Vanilla flavor is still made from pure vanilla beans and is not imitation vanilla. How to Use Vanilla Flavor: Vanilla flavor can be used 1:1 in any recipe where you would use vanilla extract.

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

As far as substitutions go, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract is equal to one 2-inch piece of vanilla bean, so 1 typical vanilla bean will equal 3 teaspoons extract.

Why do you need vanilla extract in baking?

The reason why vanilla extract is used in baking is that it enhances the flavours of other ingredients like sugar, milk, etc. Vanilla’s most crucial role is to take the edge off the smell of raw eggs. This is why anything made remotely of raw eggs must have a splash of vanilla extract.

What to do if you forgot to add vanilla extract?

If you have forgotten to add vanilla extract; you can always make a vanilla flavored glaze and brush it over the cake while the cake is still warm. Give the cake repeat brushings over the following 24 hours to build up a good layer of flavour.

How to make vanilla extract?

Slice each bean lengthwise and place in bottle. …
Pour one cup of vodka (or alcohol of your choice) into the bottle. …
Shake once or twice a week.
Wait at least 8 weeks, but 4-6 months is ideal. …
Presto, your alcohol has turned into delicious homemade vanilla extract!

Can vanilla extract be left out?

Vanilla extract is best stored at a cool to moderate room temperature (60-80°F) and in a dark environment. Kitchen cupboards are usually a great place to keep your vanilla extract, as long as you do not store it over a stove or near a heat source.

How much maple syrup to substitute for vanilla extract?

Maple Syrup

Like imitation vanilla, imitation syrup doesn’t have as strong of a taste as pure syrup does. Since the flavor of maple syrup is slightly different than vanilla, start with a 1:1 swap. To up the maple flavor, try 2:1 instead.

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