Top 14 Substitutes For Vanilla Extract
Can you bake without Vanilla essence? - Top 15 substitutes for Vanilla Extract!

Top 14 Substitutes For Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract can be replaced with 14 different things. Read about the substitutes of vanilla extract.

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Do you wish to bake but no Vanilla Extract at the place? Is Vanilla extract unavailable at your nearby grocery store? If the answer is yes, you do not have to get disheartened. Here are a few available substitutes for vanilla extract that can serve as a quick hack. Let us find out what is a good substitute for vanilla extract?


Vanilla extract has a beautiful aroma.


What Is Vanilla Extract?

If you bake often, vanilla flavoring might be quite close to your heart. It is an integral part of making almost all cakes, cookies, and pastries. Vanilla extract is a mind-blowing combination of vanilla beans and alcohol. Long term soaking of these beans in alcohol gives you the desired vanilla essence. The aroma of the vanilla bean is very strong.

Many people are not even aware of the difference between artificial and real vanilla. For years, people have been using essence and thinking of it as real vanilla. People often use cheap substitutes as real vanilla extract is quite costly.

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Vanilla essence and vanilla extract are two different things.


What Can I Use Instead Of Vanilla Extract?

Real vanilla extract is expensive and not easily available. You might end up needing a substitute

You might have to search for a substitute for vanilla extract due to many reasons. Sometimes, there is no vanilla extract at your house or you want a cheaper alternative. For all such circumstances, there are several perfect substitutes available in the market. A simple swap of vanilla extract with another option can save a lot of time.


How Can You Prepare Vanilla Extract? | Recipe For Homemade Vanilla Extract

Before differentiating between vanilla extract and its substitutes, why not make it on your own? It may excite you to know that a pack of vanilla beans and some ethanol can get you the perfect vanilla extract at home.

Although it is not a solution if you are in an immediate need of vanilla essence, it’s a good recipe for future use. Adding a little ethanol to these beans can bring out the best essence. If vodka is unavailable, you can also use rum or bourbon as the last option but the flavor of the end product would vary.


Vanilla extract can be made at home as well.

Recipe For Vanilla Extract

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Take a small jar available at your place and add around 3- 4 vanilla beans into it. After that, add almost one cup of alcohol to it. Now cover it with the lid and store in a clean, dry, and cool place for almost one month. After that, you can check whether it has that powerful exotic aroma of the essence. But an important part is you need to keep shaking the jar each week while the mixture rests for around a month. This is a long procedure and if you are looking for a quicker alternative, you can make vanilla syrup as well.

Vanilla Syrup Recipe

Pick a vanilla bean and split it wide open. Inside it, you will find some sticky material. Take out that from many beans and add it to the sugar syrup. Making sugar syrup is a quick process. You need to add water and sugar in equal proportions and simmer for around 15 minutes. Add an the vanilla beans to it. This would give you a perfect substitute for vanilla essence.

If these are not your options, here are 15 substitutes for vanilla extract that you can use.


14 Vanilla Extract Substitutes

Vanilla Powder – The vanilla powder can be a perfect vanilla substitute to give the same flavor and aroma. But, it might be quite an expensive substitute. Vanilla beans are available in the market at fancy grocery stores. All you need to do is grind all vanilla beans in a normal mixer/coffee grinder and you are ready with a superb and closest substitute for vanilla extract. If you are using 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in any baking recipe, only ½ tablespoon of vanilla powder.


Vanilla powder can be used as a substitute for vanilla extract.

Vanilla Infused Milk – This is again a very good alternative to replace vanilla extract. Turn on the flame of your gas stove and add some milk with few vanilla beans to it. The quantity of beans depends on how strong flavor you must for the recipe. If you feel that the beans are giving a very strong flavor, milk can help in balancing the flavors. Now, bring down the mix to a slow flame. Once you see bubbles or foam on the top, turn off the stove and allow it to cool. At last, strain all vanilla beans from it, and your perfect substitute is ready to use. Vanilla infused milk is taken in the same quantity as an extract in your recipe.

Plant-based vanilla milk – Vanilla almond milk can serve as a great substitute for vanilla extract. It is a great way to get that typical vanilla flavor without any hoops. If your recipe needs any kind of milk and water in it, use this vanilla almond milk to derive the taste and scent of vanilla extract.

Vanilla sugar – It is a quite used substitute for vanilla extract. But, it is preferred less due to many reasons. But if there are no options left at the moment, you can add it to your recipe. Talking about concentration, vanilla sugar must be 3 times the quantity of vanilla extract. Adjust your sugar levels accordingly in your recipe as this is very sweet.

Can almond extract be substituted for vanilla? – Many recipes need the addition of vanilla extract. But there are surprise substitutes to it as well. You can substitute almond extract for vanilla. It also gives a very strong whiff and you need to add it in a minimal quantity.


Vanilla extract can be substituted with almond extract as well.

Maple syrup – Along with vanilla essence, maple syrup is also a very big tastemaker. Add as much as the vanilla extract you might add. Manage your sugar quantities as maple syrup is very sweet.


Maple syrup can be added in equal quantities as vanilla.

HoneyHoney can serve as a substitute. It is a healthy and interesting option to replace vanilla extract if not available.


Honey can be used as a healthy substitute for vanilla.

Vanilla flavored liquor – Like vanilla extract, it is also made out of liquor and thus can be the right replacement. You do not need to worry about the alcohol content in this extract as it anyways evaporates while the baking process is done.

Vanilla flavored syrup – Vanilla syrups are a good sweetening agent that you prepare after proper condensation process. You need to ensure that sweetener should not be at the higher end. It is good to use this substitute for sugar syrup where you need sweetness on a higher side.

Vanilla Ice cream – Most people cannot think of this very available substitute. If you are planning to prepare any kind of frozen dessert or a milkshake, this is a good option.


Vanilla ice cream can be used as a substitute for vanilla extract in milkshakes.

Bourbon – Bourbon has an innate smokey flavor that matches vanilla and can be a great option for baking. When you are making choco rich items such as chocolate cakes or pancakes, bourbon can give it a scent like vanilla extract.


Use bourbon as a vanilla extract substitute.

Brandy – Brandy is better than bourbon for liquor addition and can give an astonishing taste to your favorite pumpkin bread or chocolate chip muffins. It can also be a great option to go with homemade butter creams.

Other spices – Vanilla extract imparts a great flavor and that is quite possible with the use of several other spices as well. What other spice can you use? Adding cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg can surely help you out on this. What about a chai spice mix? It is again a wonderful option to replace vanilla essence and add a quirky twist to the recipe.

Vanilla tea – A pinch of vanilla tea can enhance the taste of your cookies. Just team up tea powder and vanilla beans and you get this innovative substitute. Although it might not work for every recipe you can surely try out on it.

Nothing works? Omit Vanilla – You can try out other vanilla free options and make something different yet delicious. Complete omission of vanilla extract and its substitute might feel abrupt, but you can swap it for other fruity essence. As a result, using a substitute for vanilla extract is always a good idea. Try out any one of the above-stated substitute options.


If all else fails, just skip the vanilla extract.


Beware Of Artificial Vanilla Flavors

There are a lot of cheap and fake vanilla flavors available in the name of real vanilla extract. Read labels and look for authentic, reliable brands that sell vanilla extracts. Cheap substitutes of vanilla are made using harmful chemicals and can be detrimental to your health.


Beware Of Artificial Vanilla Flavors



Depending on the recipe you wish to prepare, the use and selection of substitutes will be dependent on that. There are several substitutes for vanilla extract available around you. You can either make them with some easy processes or get them from outside. This list of vanilla extract substitutes can come in handy if you run out of vanilla flavor at home.

In the end, it is an individual choice to pick the right substitute for vanilla extract. So next time if the vanilla rates are on the verge and you simply wish to cut it out, try these substitutes.


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