vanilla paste vs. vanilla extract

vs. vanilla powder?

I love vanilla.

Sometimes, I add more than my recipes say.

Lately several of my recipes have used vanilla paste (um, why do I type pasta every time there?) instead of vanilla extract. Within an hour of my last recipe publishing, I had 18 people ask me about vanilla paste. Several more questions throughout the day and days after – so I thought I’d share more here.

I order my vanilla paste online, but I have seen it in some stores. Vanilla paste is the same as (pure*) vanilla extract in strength and flavor – so you can easily substitute the same amount of vanilla extract for any recipe with paste.

*I always buy pure vanilla extract, not imitation. I don’t know what that is, but it is synthetic.

I just love vanilla, and I love products. Especially cooking and baking products, so I have to try everything. Vanilla paste is more like a gel consistency, and has the vanilla bean seeds in it:

I also use vanilla powder. I haven’t had this in a while, but I picked some up when we were in Mexico in December.

This stuff is good. Almost coconutty good.

Vanilla powder is the whole vanilla bean, ground into a fine powder. I use it to flavor liquids, from smoothies to coffee drinks.

Do you use vanilla paste? Straight bean? Powder?



    • spabettie says

      yes – I love the specks! :) the powder goes in my smoothies too, and is great in hot drinks, hot recipes – does not evaporate!

  1. says

    The only time I use imitation vanilla is when I am making a buttercream or cream cheese frosting and I need the frosting to stay REALLY white and the imitation is clear whereas real vanilla will make the whole ting tinged a bit brown. I have also bought a baking supply product that couteracts that; basically a white food dye.

    I love vanilla. I have done entire posts on it! But crazy..I have never cooked with vanilla bean paste. What am I waiting for!

    • spabettie says

      vanilla powder is harder to find… I have a baking / decorating shop I go to a lot (oooh, it is pure Heaven!) and that is the first time I ever saw it… then I restocked in Mexico! :)

    • spabettie says

      good to know I’m not the only one… I never measure it, just assuming if I add more I will like it more! :)

      • Charlotte says

        I always assume every recipe needs at least a few teaspoons more than it calls for! I really love to use the whole beans. Easier than you’d think!

        • Kristina Sloggett says

          hi Charlotte – you sound like me, I sure love my vanilla! I love scraping the bean too, these jars of paste are as close as I have found if I’m not directly using the real thing!

    • spabettie says

      hi Lisa – yes, vanilla paste is the same as vanilla extract in strength and flavor – so you can easily substitute the same amount of vanilla extract for any recipe with paste.

      • Angel says

        I hadn’t heard of vanilla paste or powder either. I, too, LOVE vanilla and they’re beautiful little brown specks. :) Gotta get some paste :)

    • spabettie says

      the powder is great for smoothies and warm drinks – it doesn’t evaporate! and it’s just fun. πŸ˜‰

  2. Natasha says

    Powder and I never heard of paste until you! I will have to look for it!

    TTY this week..Happy Spring forward…:)

    • spabettie says

      I love the paste the most. Happy Spring Forward to YOU, dear! I hope this week starts off well for you all XO

  3. says

    We make our own vanilla extract with vanilla bean and cheap vodka. I use it so much that it’s pointless to buy and so much better and cheaper to make on your own. I’ve always wanted to try the paste though. I just so stinkin’ cheap.

  4. says

    omg vanilla. There was so much of it in India. I didn’t know there was such a thing as vanilla paste! I bought SO many beans… but I’m already running low :S will need to look into this paste business, looks soooo good. You’re right, coconutty good.

    • spabettie says

      I bought a bunch of beans in Mexico last December too… and the powder… and… πŸ˜‰ paste is good – you should try!

    • spabettie says

      hi Lauren, I know I have seen vanilla paste at Whole Foods and other markets similar to WF. I think I have also purchased it at Williams Sonoma.

  5. says

    So far, I’ve always used a vanilla bean and scraped the seeds out or threw the whole thing into the blender. πŸ˜› I’ve also used vanilla sugar, but that one just has aroma, no real vanilla. And, you know, sugar … πŸ˜‰

  6. says

    I have a nice bottle of VAINilla too :) That always cracks me up. I’ve never used paste, but I’d probably love it. I over-vanilla whenever I can, too. And YES, always the real stuff–it’s worth the extra money and then some. I’d love to experiment with whole vanilla beans–I eye them every time I pass them in the grocery–but have yet to do so.

    • spabettie says

      hee, VAINilla – I loved that too. good to know you are also an over-vanilla-er πŸ˜‰ you should try the paste, I think it tastes even better! I made my own vanilla in college a couple times – besides one cheesecake that is the only time I’ve used vanilla bean – and I feel bad about that! I need to make vanilla again…

  7. Linda says

    Hello, my name is Linda, and I am a vanilla-holic. I am so bad that I even go to Juarez to get my fix. I usually triple vanilla in my baking. I have used vanilla powder, but I had never heard of vanilla paste, until now. Will definately have to try it!

    • spabettie says

      Linda, good to meet you. I share your vanilla-holicism πŸ˜‰ I always add more vanilla, LOVE my vanilla powder from Mexico, and… you MUST try the paste – it will be your new favorite! πŸ˜€

  8. Pat says

    Thank you for telling us the difference between the paste and extract. This was the best description (and picture) I found online. I too add double the vanilla extract. Maybe I need to scrape some seeds into my cookies too.

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      you are very welcome, Pat, glad you found me! I love vanilla paste and the vanilla bean, and I always use more than necessary πŸ˜‰


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