Vanilla bean, also known as vanilla bean pod is a must-have if you’re a baker; there’s a reason why. I mean, vanilla extract is fine and it does the job just fine but if you need a stronger, more dominant flavor for your baked goods then definitely vanilla bean is the go-to for you. Vanilla is a key ingredient in almost any sweet, baked dish. It really does give the dishes a delicious, aromatic flavor.
Now that being said, real vanilla beans are not easy to find in your local grocery store, especially not around the holiday season, and not many people have them in their household. So, what do you do when you can’t find a vanilla pod? Luckily, there are some substitutes that can do the job.
Substitutes for vanilla beans are
- Vanilla Sugar
- Vanilla Bean Paste
- Vanilla Powder
- Maple Syrup/Vanilla Syrup
- Vanilla Extract/ Other Flavored Extracts
- Vanilla Bean Seed
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Lemon Juice
To find out more about these substitutes, keep on reading the rest of the article.
Vanilla Bean Substitutes
Vanilla sugar(also known as vanillin sugar) is a mixture of white sugar and vanilla powder. This granulated sugar is mostly used in the Balkan and European countries for adding some vanilla flavor to your baking recipes. People also use it to make vanilla frosting for cakes, cupcakes and even add it as a secret ingredient on top of a cup of hot chocolate as a flavor enhancer.
Vanilla sugar has a milder, sweet flavor as opposed to the vanilla bean pod which has a very intense flavor, stronger than most of the vanilla products on the market. You can use 3 teaspoons of vanilla sugar when substituting vanilla bean pods.
Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is the perfect substitute for vanilla bean pods. In fact, many professional bakers use this vanilla product because of how convenient it is. Vanilla beans are much harder to use because you have to scrape the product to extract the vanilla flavor out of them.
Vanilla bean paste is the perfect combination of pure vanilla extract and vanilla beans. It gets you that nice, pungent vanilla essence just like real vanilla beans have. Just a teaspoon of vanilla paste is enough to substitute vanilla bean pods since it has a much stronger flavor. Vanilla paste is not that common, so you may need to search for it in the gourmet markets.
Vanilla powder is a product made from ground, pure vanilla beans. You can use this product to add some vanilla taste to your baked goods or sprinkle it on top of chocolate chip cookies, pastry creams, and French toast. You can also add a tablespoon of vanilla powder to add some aroma to your pancake, waffle batter, or cookie dough.
Vanilla powder is also used for its fragrant smell and sweet taste in many beverages; cocktails, coffee, hot chocolate, and even tea. Use 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla powder as an alternative for vanilla bean pods.
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Maple Syrup Or Vanilla Syrup
Every traditional American household has this sweetener in its pantries. Even though this isn’t a type of vanilla product it can really be a decent substitute and mimic the taste of vanilla in urgent situations.
If you don’t have anything at home that remotely has the scent of vanilla then maple syrup will help you to at least get that sweet, nutty flavor. Vanilla syrup is a concentrated mixture of sugar, water, and vanilla beans.
Vanilla Extract/ Other Flavored Extracts
If you have a vanilla extract you can definitely use it as a substitute. Just a teaspoon of vanilla extract in your baking recipes will do the trick. Vanilla extract is a mixture of ground vanilla beans, alcohol content, and hot water. You can even do your own homemade vanilla extract since it’s pretty easy to make.
Now, I’m telling you that one teaspoon will get you a nice aroma and flavor but that is only if the vanilla extract is of quality, not an imitation vanilla extract.
You can also use other alternative flavors of extracts if the flavor of vanilla isn’t essential. The most common imitation extract that people use instead of vanilla is almond extract. Almond extract adds a nutty, sweet aroma and a delicious flavor to your recipes.
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Lesser-Known Vanilla Bean Substitutes
Vanilla Bean Seeds
These seeds are found inside the vanilla bean and they are extracted by taking a piece of vanilla bean and scraping the skin of the bean with a knife. These flecks of vanilla seeds are known as vanilla bean caviar and are very aromatic and bring so much flavor to any dish.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla ice cream isn’t the most convenient substitute for vanilla beans but hey, it does get you that vanilla flavoring when you need it the most. You can add it next to your favorite brownie recipes, a warm batch of cookies, and even some beverages.
If you’re really in a hurry and have nothing else to add for flavoring your baked goods/dishes then lemon juice can help you achieve at least some aroma and flavoring. You can add the juice of half a lemon to your cake or pastry recipes and enjoy the nice, lemony essence.
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Although vanilla beans and cinnamon are very different from each other they still have a similar purpose in the kitchen. They have a dominant and pungent aroma that can easily flavor any recipe. Cinnamon is considered a spice and it does have a kind of spicy, bitter taste.
Cinnamon is one of the most famous spices in the world and people always find new ways to use it. You can use it in teas, hot chocolate, baking recipes, cooking recipes, and some people even add it in soups for a more spicy, exotic flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vanilla Extract Vs Vanilla Bean Paste
The difference between these two vanilla products is that vanilla bean paste gives your baked goods a more dominant vanilla flavor and aroma opposed for the vanilla extract that has less fragrant smell and taste.
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract To Vanilla Bean
To substitute 1tsp of vanilla extract with vanilla bean you can use 1:3 ratio in your baked goods, desserts, and even some beverages.
How To Use Vanilla Bean
Simply just take your vanilla bean pod and cut it vertically split it open. Now, take a teaspoon and carefully scrape the vanilla beans from the pods. Do not throw out the bean pod, you can use it to aromatize your home, make some vanilla infused milk or cream.
You can use the vanilla beans directly into your recipes or put them in a plastic baggie and freeze them for up to a month.
Vanilla Bean Paste Substitute
Best substitutes for vanilla bean paste are vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla sugar/powder, and if you’re in a hurry and can’t find any vanilla products, use maple syrup.