I am out of vanilla extract… What should I do? You do not have to make an extra trip to the store if you are out of vanilla extract. There are numerous substitutes for vanilla extract that you can use without losing the quality and flavor.
Cooking is all about discovering new things. Its beauty is in making things devastating and finding ways to fix the issues. We usually take numerous staples for granted, like molasses, baking soda, and vanilla extract.
Just imagine, one day you have decided to make a cake for your friend, spouse, or siblings to give them a birthday surprise. Suddenly, you realize that you are out of vanilla extract, a crucial constituent for baking products, including cakes, brownies, cookies, bread, etc. It will be a shock for you if you do not have any solution in mind.
Top 8 Substitutes for Vanilla Extract
Thus, we have prepared this list of vanilla extract substitutes to help you in such extreme situations.
- Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is ready to use as a substitute for vanilla extract. It performs a great job in replacing vanilla extract with a similar sweet flavor and aroma. You can use the same amount of maple syrup that the recipes asks of vanilla, and you cannot even notice a slight difference.
- Almond Extract
Another great substitute for vanilla is to use almond extract instead. Keep in mind that almond extract is more potent than vanilla. However, you will get the same flavor if you are using a small amount as a light flavor enhancer.
You should use half as much almond extract than of vanilla. Be mindful of the nutty flavor you get at the end. In my opinion, it is absolutely perfect in cookies and cakes.
- Vanilla Powder
Vanilla powder is produced by crushing vanilla beans in powder form. Firstly, the beans are dehydrated and then ground finely. You can take the same amount of vanilla powder, or a bit less, to substitute vanilla extract in any recipe. You will get similar outcomes.
- Vanilla Paste
Vanilla bean paste is an amalgam of sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and natural thickeners to maintain its smooth texture. This paste has a slightly shorter life span, but you can use it to substitute for vanilla extract. For example, you can exploit it in your recipes if you are short of vanilla extract in 1:1, i.e., one tablespoon of vanilla paste for one tablespoon of vanilla extract. It gives a similar visual flair, but its flavor is slightly more robust.
Cinnamon is a varied spice used in various products, including cosmetics, perfumes, and cleaning products. It is a classic favorite already in use for many dishes, sweet and savory. Cinnamon is definitely more pungent in aroma and taste. For this reason, it’s great for recipe where you need a pop of flavor.
Substitute one tablespoon of vanilla extract with half a tablespoon of cinnamon. You can change the quantity depending on the pastry or dessert, you are preparing. Just add it directly to the mixture, slowly and bit by bit, until it smells or tastes better.
- Citrus Zest
When you are out of vanilla, you can also go for citrus zest instead of vanilla extract. Citrus zest is produced by scraping or cutting from the peel of unwaxed citrus fruits, including orange, lime, lemon, and citron, etc. Zest is a food ingredient that is usually used to add flavor to foods.
You can use all kinds of citrus zest to substitute for vanilla extracts, such as lime zest, lemon zest, or orange zest. You need to add the same amount of zest, either lemon, lime, or orange, for substitution. For example, you can add one tablespoon of citrus zest to one tablespoon of vanilla extract.
You can also use citrus extract as a substitute for citrus zest. However, it is good to substitute lemon extract for lemon zest due to lemon’s strong aroma rather than lemon juice. Usually, you can replace two tablespoons of lemon zest with one tablespoon of lemon extract.
So, you can use both lemon extract, in fact, citrus extract, and citrus zest as a substitute for vanilla extract, but keep in mind the quantities must be accurately determined.
7. Vanilla Flavored Milk
You can go for vanilla-flavored plant-based milk as a substitute for vanilla extract. This is one of my favorite tricks that works beautifully in a pinch. You can use any milk, like almond, coconut, or soy.
If you are making a sweet dish, the amount of sugar will not be an issue. However, the sweetness of milk might be distracting for you when you are preparing meat or a savory dish. Therefore, use unsweetened vanilla milk for savory dishes. Replace liquids in your recipe such as water, unsweetened milk, etc. with the vanilla milk
Usually, vanilla is used as a booster of fragrance and flavor in numerous recipes. Though vanilla is considered a chief ingredient, you can use other ingredients for a similar purpose in a recipe.
You can replace vanilla extract with different spices such as cardamom, cloves, chai mix, nutmeg, etc., according to your taste. The most beloved spice in bakery products is cardamom.
However, you can select other surprising spices like rosemary that add a peppery and woody taste to your bake’s products. You can also go for coriander, basil, cumin, mint, or pepper to carry on your recipe. Do not add much, just a pinch of spice to enhance the flavor of your recipe when you are out of the vanilla extract.
Vanilla extract is an essential ingredient of numerous bakery products, which adds flavor and fragrance. However, sometimes you need to take different steps and replace vanilla extract when you do not have it at home and have no one to bring it from the store.
You can use any of the substituents mentioned above to replace vanilla extract without losing the taste and aroma of your recipe.
More Baking Substitutes
Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.
Also please leave a star rating ;-)
Need some encouragement on your Healthier Steps journey?
Join our Facebook groups, sharing lots of delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes, health tips, etc., from our members. Please join us and invite your friends to Gluten-Free and Vegan For Beginners and Vegan Recipes With Love.