Vanilla extract is something that every baker or dessert enthusiast should have in their pantries. That is if they want their desserts(cookies, cupcakes, pies) to smell and taste exquisite.
But, sometimes it happens to the best of us to just run out of essentials in the house just before you really really need them.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of substitutes for a vanilla extract that I’m sure you already have around the house so don’t just run out to the store yet.
Substitutes for vanilla extract are
- Maple Syrup
- Almond Extract
- Vanilla Powder
- Vanilla Sugar
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Cinnamon Powder And Other Herbs And Spices
- Maple Extract
- Vanilla Bean Paste
- Vanilla Syrup
- Fresh Vanilla Bean Pods
- Vanilla-Flavored Milk
- Fruit Zest
- Vanilla-Flavored Almond Milk
If you want to know more about these substitutes then keep on reading this article
Substitutes For Vanilla Extract
Maple syrup is one of the most used vanilla extract substitutes. I have done this trick a couple of times in my life as a baker and I must say, I think people didn’t notice the difference at all.
The sweetness of the maple syrup can easily mimic the vanilla taste even though it can’t really mimic the aroma very well. Now, when substituting vanilla extract for maple syrup take notice that you’re changing the calorie content of your baked good.
Maple syrup has a high sugar content and can act as a sweetener in many dishes including adding on top of pancakes, French toast, etc. Be careful not to make your baked goods too sweet.
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Another favorite of mine is almond extract. Now, almond extract is a little bit harder to find than vanilla extract so I don’t think that this is the most available option for you guys. But, if by any chance you have this aromatic extract you can absolutely use it as a substitute for vanilla extract.
This extract is made from almond oil, usually from bitter almonds. The taste is a bit more dominant and bitter, opposite of the flavor of vanilla extract, which is sweeter. But the great thing is that both extracts have that nutty flavor that just goes amazing in sweet recipes.
Vanilla powder is made from pure vanilla bean and makes everything that you’re baking so much more flavorful. Vanilla powder is basically, is pure ground dried vanilla beans(the beans are found inside the vanilla pod). When you’re substituting vanilla extract with this powder use half the amount that you would vanilla extract.
For example, if the recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla extract, use half a teaspoon of vanilla powder. The vanilla flavor is so much stronger.
My grandma didn’t really believe in adding the extract to make your sweets more flavorful and aromatic so instead, she used vanilla sugar. This is exactly what you think it is, it is sugar with the sweet flavor of vanilla.
Alcoholic beverages that you can find in your liquor cabinet like Brandy, Bourbon, Vanilla Liqueur, or Rum can help you achieve a nice smell and taste to your recipes. You can even use this substitute in savory recipes like stir-fry, steak, and pasta recipes.
The Rum especially, really can achieve that vanilla-like taste in your recipes. Be careful with how much alcohol content you’re adding to your recipes because it can make your recipes bitter if over-used.
Other Herbs And Spices(Cinnamon)
There are some herbs and spices that are a suitable substitute for vanilla extract. Take for example cinnamon powder.
Even though cinnamon has a different, stronger flavor than vanilla and tends to be a bit bitter, it still giver your baked goods an amazing aroma and leaves your whole house smelling like Christmas cheer.
So before you’re making that extra trip to the store, see if you have some ground cinnamon in your cabinet.
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Maple extract adds a sweet flavor to your baked goods and it’s used exactly like the vanilla extract. It is also used as a substitute for maple syrup on pancakes, French toast, and even bacon. Use one teaspoon of extract if instead of a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Vanilla Bean Pods
Never, by any chance, throw away fresh vanilla pods. Instead, you can make your own homemade vanilla extract. It’s pretty easy to make and this way you’ll get your whole house to smell amazing for days. All you’re going to need is just some alcohol and some vanilla bean pods.
Other Descent Substitutes For Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is a sweet ingredient that is used for flavoring cakes, cookies, baked goods, iced cream, and other dishes. Vanilla bean paste is made from pure vanilla extract and vanilla pods.
This vanilla paste is actually more preferred amongst bakers and dessert specialists rather than the extract because it’s so much more flavorful and aromatic.
If by any chance you have vanilla syrup lying around your house, feel free to use it as a substitute for any type of extract, not just vanilla. It really can give an amazing vanilla essence, and sweeten any dish in question.
In the really desperate moments when you’re seriously in need of a vanilla taste and you don’t have any other vanilla extract substitutes, just use some vanilla-flavored milk. It is easy and goes well in baked, and chocolate recipes, making them tender and moist.
Fruit zest(lemon zest, orange zest, lime zest, etc…) can help you get an aromatic flavor that isn’t much like vanilla but still gets the job done. You can also add lemon juice or orange juice if you’re not scared that it will compromise the texture since it’s a liquid ingredient.
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Vanilla-Flavored Almond Milk
If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can simply just use this type of milk with almond flavor and a subtle hint of vanilla. You can add vanilla almond milk for a depth of flavor into coffee, pound cake, etc…