Skip to Content

What exactly is vanilla extract?

Let’s dive right in… what is vanilla extract?

Vanilla extract is produced by submerging vanilla beans in ethanol and water. If you utilize several vanilla beans, you usually end up with a mix. The standard or authentic kind of vanilla extract is made with 35% alcohol. Water and vanilla bean are the last ingredients in the remainder of the preparation.

When you make your own vanilla extract, you can make adjustments to fetch your own distinct flavors


In order to complete the task, one should split open two vanilla beans and place them in a glass jar with a cup of unflavored vodka. When you are creating a drink, use the finest quality vodka feasible. Put the bottle in a cold, dark location for approximately two months, and it will become good and strong. Occasionally shake the bottle, at least every 14 days. You will finish up with your own vanilla extract after 60 days.

Not so simple… there’s extract, vanilla oil and flavoring… what are the differences?

Or are they the same thing? That brings up the question of vanilla flavour, doesn’t it? Vanilla oil and pure vanilla extract are both created by using vanilla beans. Vanilla beans are combined with oil when they are used in cooking.

It is used in a manner similar to perfume when applied to the skin. Additionally, vanilla oil is edible, but not intended to be consumed. Vanilla oil is not for cooking, it’s used as aromatherapy due to the sweet and calming scent.

“Vanilla flavoring” appears on a food label when vanillin is produced instead of actual vanilla bean.

See also  13 Sausage Varieties

What does vanilla extract do for baking?

Vanilla extract adds flavor to dishes by stirring in alcohol and vanilla bean. It is good to add vanilla extract in the beginning of a recipe. The flavors combine as they bake together creating a delicious, sweet, & creamy baked good.

Does vanilla extract improve taste and flavor?

That’s alright, but do you actually need it? Really? One teaspoon of extract is a drop in the bucket when it comes to making a significant impact on the outcome of a large batch of brownies. The truth is, it matters. Most professionals in the baking industry agree that vanilla extract is a must.

While it is common for a vanilla-based treat to enhance the flavor of the item that it is added to, such as a cake, brownie, cupcake, cookie, or similar sweet, it does not necessarily mean that the food tastes vanilla-flavored. The end result is an enhancement of all the other ingredients in the recipe. Vanilla, for example, brings out the chocolate flavor, and helps sweeten the dish with its own sweetness.

In addition, bakers claim that using pure vanilla extract is always the greatest choice due of the distinct flavor differences. There are a few minor exceptions, though. In most recipes, it’s permissible to use imitation ingredients, but it’s always a good idea to try the real thing, just to be sure. You may want to splurge for the actual vanilla if you’re preparing anything with a strong vanilla taste.

Vanilla extract alternatives

You may feel stranded if you run out of vanilla extract and you can’t acquire any at the store. For the most part, this component is found in most baked goods recipes. However, there are a few simple substitutions you may use in place of vanilla extract if you need to.

See also  Do Deer Eat Raspberries? How to Prevent?

Although bourbon can function as a suitable replacement for vanilla extract, we recommend for best results to use vanilla extract. Vanilla-based liqueur is created by adding sugar to alcohol. The combination of brandy and vanilla also works as a substitute for vanilla extract.

Alternatively, you may use maple syrup because it’s really made of vanillin, the same chemical compound that is found in fake vanilla extract.

When vanilla extract is sold out, you may want to try alternative extracts. Almond is often found in grocery stores, but peppermint and lemon essence are available as well. You may replace any of these extracts for vanilla extract and still get great results, but the extract you choose will affect the flavor of what you’re making.

If you can’t find extract, a small amount of plain vanilla milk can be used in its place. It will accomplish the task of adding a vanilla taste while doing the same purpose as vanilla extract.

Can vanilla extract go in the oven?

Yes, it can be used on foods that will be cooked at high temperatures such as soufflés or baklava. Because it contains alcohol, it can hasten cooking and remove moisture from desserts too.

How long does vanilla extract last until it loses flavoring? Does vanilla extract go bad?

Since vanilla extract is alcohol-based, it should be stored in a cool, dark place like a cabinet. The shelf life is about 2 years. Vanilla extract does not go bad, but the flavor will fade.

Should vanilla extract be refrigerated?

It should not be refrigerated. It’s best to keep it in a cool, dark place so the flavor doesn’t fade.

See also  Do Raspberries Have Seeds Inside?

Is vanilla extract gluten free?

While vanilla extract is gluten free, it contains alcohol, so be sure to check the label.

Can I use vanilla extract as sugar?

No, because it contains alcohol which will dehydrate the baking process.

Related: What is a baking extract?