There are many reasons why you might need a substitute for vanilla extract. Luckily, there are lots of options! Vanilla adds depth and a wonderful floral flavor to desserts and bread. If you run out of vanilla extract or want to try something in its place, you have some great choices.
What is vanilla extract?
Vanilla beans are the seed pods from orchids grown in Africa, Indonesia, and Mexico. They all have different flavor profiles and the extract is very popular for adding to desserts.
You can buy extract from vanilla beans at the grocery store, online, at specialty stores, or you can make your own. It can get pretty pricey to buy from the store, so you may want to use a substitute for vanilla extract or make them yourself.
What can I use as a substitute for vanilla extract?
There are quite a few options you can choose from to replace vanilla extract. Here are some great ones.
Vanilla extract imitation
Imitation vanilla is less expensive to buy, but the flavor isn’t as great as pure vanilla extract. You need to use more to match the strength of the pure stuff which defeats the purpose. It’s made with artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors and isn’t the best substitute for vanilla extract.
Vanilla powder is dried and powdered beans and works great as a replacement for the extract. You can buy it online or at specialty stores. Just a little goes a long way so a small jar lasts for a while.
Vanilla beans are the seed pods from the flowers. They are pliable and moist. To use them, slit the bean open with a knife and scrape out the fragrant seeds inside. You can use these potent seeds as you would vanilla extract. The pods are expensive to buy, however, to use the beans when you really want a strong, rich vanilla flavor.
Vanilla bean paste
Vanilla bean paste is the scraped-out beans in a jar. The advantage of buying it this way is that you don’t need to split and scrape the pods yourself, which is time-consuming. You can just open the jar, dip in a spoon, and add it to your dish.
Vanilla sugar is a fun way to use vanilla beans and stretches it out so you can use it in more dishes. To make vanilla sugar, mix white granulated sugar with vanilla bean paste. Use this sugar in cookies, drinks, bread, brownies, or anything you would add vanilla extract to.
This natural sweetener is a wonderful substitute for vanilla. Many people claim that maple syrup smells like vanilla because of its floral scent. Since the flavor is strong, you don’t need to use a lot to get just a hint of the flavor in your baked goods.
Honey is also a natural sweetener and has many different flavor profiles, most of which are floral. It’s widely available and inexpensive. You can find it at most grocery stores, online, and from specialty whole food stores. Because of this, it works as a great substitute for vanilla extract.
Almond extract is made from almonds instead of vanilla beans. It’s a liquid that you can buy in a small bottle from the grocery store. It’s a tasty substitute for vanilla extract and can be used anywhere vanilla is used. You may even find you like the flavor of almond extract even better than vanilla.
Almond paste is the paste of almonds. It’s stronger than almond extract and you can buy it in a bottle or small tube. You may be able to find it at the grocery store but might be easier to find online.
Bourbon, brandy, rum
Vanilla extract is made with vodka, so a natural substitute is a dark liquor like bourbon, brandy, or rum. The caramel flavors of these drinks are an excellent replacement for vanilla extract. Since you’re only using one teaspoon for the entire dish and then it’s cooked, you don’t need to worry about being affected by the alcohol.
Instant coffee granules are a wonderful complement to chocolate and can be used in place of vanilla in cookies, cakes, and brownies. Coffee highlights and brings out the other flavors in the dish.
Why would I need a substitute for vanilla extract?
There are many reasons why you might need or want to substitute vanilla extract for something else.
Price: A small bottle of vanilla extract can be pretty expensive, especially if you use it often. You might want to try another option if this is the case.
Alcohol content: Vanilla extract is made with vodka, and ff you want to avoid all contact with alcohol, there are some other great options you can use.
Ran out: Maybe you ran out while in the middle of baking. In this case, you’ll most likely have honey, maple syrup, or instant coffee on hand.
What can I use vanilla substitutes for?
You may be wondering what you can use vanilla substitutes with? Some delicious options include:
Conclusion: What to substitute for vanilla extract
Vanilla extract is a delicious, floral ingredient that is used in many baked foods. If you don’t have any on hand or want to try something different, there are some excellent substitutes. These include maple syrup, honey, bourbon, vanilla paste, almond extract, and many others. Whatever the reason, you’ll find lots of tasty options.
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