You need vanilla extract for a lot of baking recipes so today we bring you some substitutes in case you ran out of it in your pantry. It is true that vanilla maybe our all-time favorite but there are ways of adding a hint of subtle flavor with other ingredients. This does not mean that you will overpower or shadow any other flavors you are trying to achieve, but they will add that extra depth we are looking for.
Substitutes For Vanilla Extract
First of all, we need to know that vanilla is a spice, although we do not generally think about it in that way. Vanilla is also the flavor we relate to “plain” desserts and that we add as a default to almost every preparation. It is almost like a basic sweet note in the back of every sweet. Nevertheless, we can exchange it for other flavors that will serve the same purpose.
Of course, you can choose to go directly to the source and add some vanilla bean into your dessert. This will elevate the flavor profile of any sweet confection but it is definitely more expensive and harder to get. It is also not the most common ingredient to have readily available in your pantry. To use it, you need to scrape out the seeds. These can be added directly to your batter. You can also use the bean itself to flavor preparations that need to be boiled. In this case, remember to remove afterward!
In some households, we can commonly find vanilla milk, whether it is cows milk or another type of milk substitute. You can find this type of substitute like almond or soy milk pre-flavored like vanilla. You can use these in your recipes instead of regular milk. In this case, you will not need to add any extract. It is very convenient.
Vanilla Paste or Powder
These two types of vanilla flavorings are derived from the vanilla bean itself. The paste is made mixing the mashed up beans with sugar and water to create a sort of syrup. Meanwhile, the powder is usually made by mashing up dried vanilla beans. Use the same amount of these as you would regular vanilla extract.
Vanilla Essence or Vanilla Flavouring
Many people think they are one and the same, but vanilla essence is not the same as vanilla extract. Actually, it has more to do with vanilla flavoring. Vanilla essence is a chemically produced, artificial way of achieving vanilla flavor in your preparations. In turn, vanilla extract is made by soaking real vanilla beans in an alcoholic solution. Although it is artificially made it can save you if you are in a pinch. Would you like to learn how to make your own? If so, tell us in a comment and we will create an article just for you! If not, you can check out this article from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
You can choose to add a different extract, although this will definitely change the flavor profile of your dish. Almond extract is a great one to choose as it has similar qualities to vanilla. Do not go overboard with it, though, as it can be very potent. Pick a flavor that compliments the rest of the recipe and you will be fine.
Whether you have pure syrup or plain pancake syrup, you can add the same amount you would vanilla extract to your recipe instead. Their flavor profiles are very similar to vanilla so they are a great way of achieving the same effect.
Try Leaving it Out
You can also choose to leave it out! I promise it will not change the recipe too, too much.
So? What replacement have you chosen as a substitute for vanilla extract?