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What Can I Use to Substitute Vanilla Extract?

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Vanilla extract is a popular flavoring in a variety of sweets and baked products. In a pinch, people may use a number of alternatives, although some are more suited to certain recipes than others. Pure vanilla extract is made from the pods of the tropical vanilla orchid Vanilla planifolia. The pods contain microscopic black seeds enriched in vanillin, which is responsible for the deep, rich flavor of the liquid flavoring. Vanilla extract is often used in baked products and sweet dishes. A modest quantity imparts a strong, fragrant flavor that enhances other flavors.


There are several reasons why someone would choose to use vanilla extract instead of vanilla extract. They may have ran out, prefer the taste of a replacement, or prefer an alcoholic substitute. The vanilla extract must contain at least 35% alcohol, and the flavor can only originate from vanilla beans, according to FDA standards.

There are a number of vanilla extract replacements available. While certain replacements may be OK in some recipes, others may be preferred. Because vanilla extract and its replacements have a strong flavor, apply the proper substitution ratio. Keep in mind that concentration levels might vary, particularly with handmade items.

Here are the Top Substitutes for Vanilla Extract

What Can I Use to Substitute Vanilla Extract?

1. Fresh Vanilla Bean Pods or Vanilla Paste

If you have vanilla beans on hand, this might be the greatest vanilla extract alternative since it tastes just like vanilla extract and will not alter the flavor of your dish. If you have vanilla bean paste, you may use it as a 1:1 alternative. Use half a vanilla bean seed for every teaspoon of vanilla extract called for in a recipe if using fresh vanilla bean.

2. Vanilla Powder

In a recipe that asks for 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, use 2 teaspoon vanilla powder instead of 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Because vanilla powder is generated from vanilla beans, it may be the runner-up to vanilla extract.Vanilla powder has a stronger flavor than vanilla extract. To manufacture it, vanilla beans are crushed into a fine powder. Half the quantity of vanilla powder should be used in the recipe. Use 1

3. Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is sugar that has had vanilla beans infused into it. While it might be difficult to get in the US, it is frequently used in Europe. When baking, vanilla sugar may be substituted for ordinary sugar. It’s also delicious sprinkled over freshly baked pies, pastries, and cakes. In a recipe, replace ordinary sugar with vanilla sugar and leave out the vanilla essence.

4. Pure Maple Syrup

We can use maple syrup for vanilla extract, and you may use the same maple syrup as vanilla (1:1 substitution). Because maple syrup is sweeter than vanilla extract, you may want to decrease the sugar in your recipe somewhat to balance the sweetness. You may also use maple extract instead of maple syrup, which has less sugar.

5. Honey

Honey, like maple syrup, may be used in place of vanilla extract in recipes. You would use it as a 1:1 substitution for the quantity of vanilla extract specified in a recipe! Honey, like maple syrup, may be substituted for vanilla extract. You may replace 1:1 in baking recipes. Because honey is sweet, the sugar should be reduced to balance the sweetness.

Rum, Brandy, Bourbon, or Vanilla Liqueur are all options. Rum, brandy, and bourbon all make good vanilla extract alternatives due to their somewhat sweet aftertaste. Because you soak the vanilla beans in vodka to get vanilla extract, having an alcohol equivalent in baking recipes works well, and you may use a 1:1 substitution.

Furthermore, since alcohol does not deteriorate, you may store some vanilla-flavored liqueur in your liquor cabinet, as it has a flavor profile comparable to vanilla extract in baking recipes! It may also be used as a 1:1 replacement.

6. Almond Extract

If you have almond extract, it might be a great alternative for real vanilla extract. It provides a lovely flavor to baking recipes and gives your sweet foods a somewhat nutty flavor rather than vanilla flavor, in my view, and it offers an outstanding depth of flavor.

7. Vanilla Essence

Vanilla essence is manufactured using synthetic vanilla (artificial vanilla) rather of the genuine vanilla bean from which vanilla extract is derived. As a consequence, the vanilla flavor is less intense. If you use vanilla essence, you will need twice as much. Instead of one teaspoon of vanilla extract, use two teaspoons of vanilla essence.

8. Plant-Based Vanilla Flavored Milk

You may be surprised to learn that plant-based milk with vanilla flavoring is a great alternative for vanilla extract! We may use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk for the vanilla essence. We may replace it in a 1:1 ratio (for example, if a recipe asks for one teaspoon of vanilla extract, use one teaspoon of milk).

If a milkshake or smoothie recipe asks for vanilla extract, use vanilla milk or even vanilla ice cream instead!

9. Espresso Powder or Instant Coffee

Because it accentuates the flavor of the chocolate, this vanilla alternative works best in chocolate dishes! It would also work well in savory recipes. There is no need to make a 1:1 replacement since you just need a pinch. A little goes a big way!

10. Liquor with Vanilla Flavor

Because vanilla extract is created from vanilla beans and alcohol, it should come as no surprise that vanilla-flavored liquor may be used in place of vanilla extract, as the alcohol content will cook out during baking.

Use a 1:1 ratio and enjoy your bartending skills!

11. Syrup with Vanilla Flavor

Does it not work with coffee? Flavored syrups, on the other hand, are often quite sweet, therefore limit the quantity of sugar in the recipe.

This substitution works best in liquid recipes or with products like brownies, puddings, or no-bake goods since baking is exact, resulting in a wetter batter.

12. Ice Cream with Vanilla

When preparing another frozen dish, such as frozen yogurt, milkshakes, floats, or smoothies, this alternative works well. Still, we can get excellent vanilla flavor from vanilla ice cream.

Vanilla ice cream may be used as a hidden ingredient in baking to transform several staple recipes into 3-component dishes (or 4, or 5) such as blueberry muffins.

It will, of course, make the dish milky and creamy, so lactose-intolerant persons should avoid it.

Love Vanilla? Try Out These Recipes

What Can I Use to Substitute Vanilla Extract?

1. Best Vanilla Cake

There’s a reason why this vanilla cake recipe is the greatest. You achieve a powerful vanilla flavor that you can’t buy in shops by mixing creamy vanilla bean paste into the luscious, rich cake mixture. Finish with a layer of vanilla buttercream icing on top.

2. Vanilla-Glazed Ginger Scones

Gingerbread goes well with a variety of wonderful holiday baked dishes. To glaze the ginger scones, dip a fork or spoon into the glaze mixture and sprinkle it over the tops.

3. Chilean Monkey Tail Punch

The roots of this odd punch’s name are unclear. Some claim it was named after a humorous episode involving a Chilean president in the early 1900s, while others claim it was called after a bottle portraying a monkey with a long tail. Whatever the origin, the mix of coffee and spirits will keep you toasty this holiday season. It is also known as monocola.

4. Best Ever Bread Pudding

Leftover dinner rolls are the secret to creating delicious bread pudding with a soft center and crunchy borders. The rich brown sugar sauce recipe is also available, and a liberal drizzle of it raises this delicacy to new heights, making it the finest bread pudding ever.

5. Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake is everyone’s favorite blank canvas for making beautiful sweets. Serve with fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, or nutty sprinkles.

What are Some Cookie Substitutes?

Maple syrup, honey, almond extract, vanilla essence, vanilla powder, vanilla sugar, or alcohol such as bourbon may all be used to create cookies. If you don’t have any of those ingredients on hand, you may delete the vanilla extract or a replacement from the cookies completely, since the chocolate chip flavor is what makes them unique. Remember that some of the proposed alternatives, such as almond extract, honey, maple syrup, and alcohol, may change the final flavor.

In a Recipe, How Important is Vanilla Extract?

Although vanilla extract is not necessary for the structure of a baking recipe, leaving it out will change the flavor. Vanilla essence makes cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked items taste better. As long as vanilla isn’t the predominant component, there shouldn’t be much of a change in flavor. There is no need to replace vanilla extract since the quantity of liquid it provides to a recipe is generally small.

Is it Possible to Make my Own Vanilla Extract?

Yes! You may produce vanilla extract with only two components if you don’t want to utilize one of these vanilla extract replacements. However, it takes time and patience. Vanilla extract cannot be made while baking, and the vanilla bean paste and alcohol must infuse for at least one month.

What Alcohol is Best for Making Vanilla Extract?

Vodka has a neutral flavor that works nicely with vanilla flavoring. Instead, try rum, brandy, or a bottle of bourbon. It is not required to use pricey alcohol; the alcohol concentration (80 proof) is what is crucial. Because the FDA requires pure vanilla extract to be at least 70 proof or 35 percent alcohol, Vodka is a great choice for vanilla extraction. The biggest advantage of utilizing Vodka is that it is odorless and tasteless, enabling the vanilla to take center stage.

How Long does Homemade Vanilla Extract Last?

Vanilla extract manufactured from vanilla beans and alcohol has an infinite shelf life. Purchased vanilla essence or fake vanilla extract will last no more than two years. Homemade vanilla extract will last the same length of time as pure vanilla extract since it is created with the necessary quantity of pure alcohol. Depending on storage conditions, whether created or bought, pure vanilla extract should last 510 years.

Why would you Substitute?

People replace vanilla extract for a number of reasons. They could run out of vanilla essence in the midst of a baking project, or they might love experimenting with other components. To avoid using vanilla extract, which contains at least 35% alcohol, some individuals choose to utilize alcohol-free substances. When producing light-colored cakes or frostings, bakers may select a colorless vanilla extract substitute. While vanilla extract may color light batters dark, vanilla powder has a more subtle impact.

How can you Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Allow at least a month for the beans to infuse. For the greatest results and a more powerful flavor, wait a few months. Vanilla extract, like wine, improves with age. It is not necessary to use quality liquor; a low-cost 80 percent proof would work. Keep vanilla extract in a cool, dark place.

Feel free to try various flavor extracts with your vanilla! Some of our favorites include peppermint extract, orange extract, lemon extract, and almond extract. When it comes to entire vanilla beans, almost any sort will suffice! You may also mix various beans together to produce a more varied flavor. Aside from baking, use vanilla extract in a range of dishes! Vanilla is a fantastic addition to drinks, grill marinades, savory sauces (BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, and so on), coffee, and even smoothies!

Is it Okay to Use Imitation Vanilla?

Vanilla essence, often known as imitation vanilla flavor, is less costly than pure vanilla extract. You may be thinking whether spending more for pure vanilla extract is worth it. For dishes where vanilla is the major flavor component, such as pound cake or ice cream, many chefs think that pure vanilla is the only way to go. Pure vanilla extracts include hundreds of chemical components, including vanillin, tannins, and polyphenols, that contribute to its rich, powerful flavor character. Pure vanilla is valued for its antioxidant content and putative therapeutic effects, however most of the study on this topic is older. When using vanilla as a secondary flavor component, or if imitation vanilla is all that is available, a 1:1 substitution for pure extract should sufficient. Visit Substitute Lemon Juice for Lemon Extract for more detail.


Vanilla extract gives many foods and baked items a unique, nuanced flavor. People may use a replacement because they have ran out of vanilla extract, prefer the flavor and texture of another choice, or want to avoid alcohol. It is vital to utilize the proper substitute measurements and to confirm that the substitution is appropriate for the recipe. People may play around with different combinations and ratios, altering the quantities as needed. View more at Dairy-Free Substitute for Half and Half


Can I replace vanilla with anything?

After vanilla, almond extract is one of the most often used extracts in baking. You may use almond extract for vanilla extract in a 1:1 ratio. That is, for every 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vanilla extract used in the recipe, substitute it with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of almond extract.

Can I use maple extract instead of vanilla?

Use half the amount of maple extract as vanilla extract. This works well in pancakes, waffles, french toast, blondies, and oatmeal cookies.

Can I use pancake syrup instead of vanilla extract?

The taste of maple syrup is close enough to that of vanilla extract that it may be substituted for an equivalent quantity of vanilla extract. Pure maple syrup is preferred, although pancake syrup may suffice as well. Any taste differences will be slight, although maple syrup contains more sugar than vanilla.

Can I use sugar instead of vanilla extract?

To replace 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar with vanilla extract, use the same quantity as 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar. Can vanilla sugar be used in place of vanilla extract? Yes, particularly in sugar-laden dishes. Vanilla sugar is a simple 1:1 substitute for vanilla essence.

What is a healthy substitute for vanilla extract?

Almond extract is a natural replacement for vanilla, which is another favorite pantry extract. Its nutty undertones would undoubtedly enhance most vanilla flavors; nevertheless, it is far stronger in taste than its mellower version, so decrease the quantity required in the recipe by roughly half.

Is vanilla extract important in recipes?

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.

Does maple syrup taste like vanilla?

It has a golden tint and a delicate maple taste, with traces of vanilla. People who anticipate a strong maple taste in other grades are typically surprised by the subtle flavor of this grade.

How do you make natural vanilla extract?

Place each bean in the bottle, lengthwise.
Fill the bottle with one cup of vodka (or other alcoholic beverage of your choosing).
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!

Can you substitute maple syrup for extract?

In most recipes, maple syrup may be used in place of maple extract. It is a natural sweetener derived from maple tree sap that tastes similar to maple extract but is less concentrated.

What happens if I don’t use vanilla extract?

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

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