There are a number of excellent vanilla extract substitutes to use if you run out of this key flavoring ingredient in the kitchen.
Vanilla Extract Substitutes
You may seek out vanilla extract substitutes for allergy reasons, or because you want to change the flavor in one of your favorite recipes. Made by processing vanilla pods, vanilla extract is a minor, yet important ingredient that pops up in a range of desserts and baked goods. Although vanilla is the key component to vanilla extract, it has many different flavor compounds and offers a deep and complex taste. Perfectly mimicking this flavor is difficult, but there are plenty of alternatives that can deliver a sweet bite to your dishes, such as vanilla essence, maple syrup, almond extract, vanilla flavored liquor, vanilla powder, and vanilla flavored milk.
This is one of your first and best options when looking for vanilla extract substitutes. Vanilla essence is made from synthetic compounds, rather than extracted from the vanilla pod, so this alternative is not as strong as the extract. Try doubling the amount to get a similar level of flavor when using vanilla essence in your recipe.
An excellent alternative to vanilla extract, maple syrup is sweet and offers a complexity of flavor that is similar to vanilla extract. You can substitute vanilla extract for maple syrup at a one-to-one ratio.
Almond extract shares some of its flavor palettes with vanilla extract, although is nuttier and not as sweet. The flavor is also stronger than vanilla extract, so we recommend using half the amount as suggested for vanilla extract. This works as a particularly good alternative in baking.
A good substitute when cooking for adults, a vanilla-flavored liqueur will give you the vanilla flavor with a warming kick, although this won’t be appropriate if preparing a dish for those who abstain from alcohol.
Vanilla powder is made from dried vanilla beans. As the source is much the same, the flavors are highly similar. However, the powder might not be suitable for all recipes due to the difference in texture. Try using half the amount of powder as extract, and increase the amount according to taste.
If you are lucky enough to come across this substitute, you will need to scrape the pulp and seeds from the bean. You can use the inside of one bean in place of one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
There is a range of vanilla flavored milk that can be used as an emergency substitute for vanilla extract, but vanilla flavored soy milk is the most common. The vanilla flavor from milk is unlikely to be as strong as the extract. You can reduce the milk down to make a thicker liquid that provides more flavor to your dish without changing the consistency.