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3 Vanilla Bean Paste Substitutes Every Home Baker Must Try

Ah, the exquisite aroma and flavor of vanilla – they can turn a simple dish into an experience worth savoring.

For bakers, vanilla bean paste has become a pantry staple due to its rich flavor and the lovely visual of the tiny vanilla flecks it contributes to baked goods. But what happens when you run out and you’re in the middle of a recipe?

Fear not, fellow baking enthusiasts, for I am here to guide you through the art of substitution in the realm of vanilla indulgence.

Today, we’ll explore three delightful alternatives to vanilla bean paste that ensure your treats maintain the utmost vanilla essence, without the panic of “out of stock” ingredients overpowering your baking bliss.

3 Vanilla Bean Paste Substitutes

1 – Pure Vanilla Extract

Pure vanilla extract is perhaps the most readily available and cost-effective substitute for vanilla bean paste. Though in liquid form, it stands as a stalwart in the baking world, providing the distinct vanilla flavor that we all know and love. The characteristic depth of flavor is all there, and the syrupy texture of extract won’t lead you astray in your culinary adventures.

The alcohol-based liquid carries the familiar vanilla taste with a certain sweetness. The texture is not as thick and syrupy as the paste but is more runny, ensuring even distribution throughout your batter or dough.

Usage Tips: When substituting vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste, use a 1:1 ratio and add it to the wet ingredients in your recipe. Remember that the alcohol content can affect the bake time and texture of your final product, so adjust accordingly if you’re working with delicate pastries.

2 – Vanilla Beans

Return to the source with the whole vanilla bean as a substitute. While this may demand more from your wallet, the payoff is in the quality and purity of flavor. Not to mention, there is something quite pleasing about the ritual of splitting a bean and scraping out its essence to imbue your baking with vanilla’s true form.

The bean offers an intense vanilla flavor with a bit of a smoky undertone. Its texture is oily due to the natural vanillin, which is rich and packed with flavor.

How to Extract: To substitute for a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste, split a whole vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds – this is where most of the flavor resides. You can infuse these seeds with a bit of heated cream or the liquid portion of your recipe to disperse the flavor.

Substitute Ratio: One whole vanilla bean is equivalent to about one tablespoon of paste or one tablespoon of extract.

3 – Vanilla Bean Powder

Vanilla bean powder is a versatile and robust option yet lesser-known than the paste. It provides an intense vanilla flavor and is sometimes the closest thing to the complexity of the whole bean in powder form. The texture is a fine grind, not far from that of the finest sugar, which makes it incredibly user-friendly.

The powder contains the entire bean, ground down to a uniform texture. The flavor is strong and pure, with a slight bitterness rounding off the familiar sweetness of vanilla.

Usage Tips: Like the paste, you can use vanilla bean powder as an equal substitute for the quantity of paste called for in your recipe. Ensure it’s evenly mixed to avoid clumping. Incorporate it into your dry ingredients, or even better, dissolve it in the liquid components to guarantee perfect disbursement.

Homemade Vanilla Beans Paste

Homemade Vanilla Bean Paste Recipe

This homemade vanilla bean paste is made with just three ingredients and takes only minutes to whip up. It's a great substitute for store-bought paste and can be used in a variety of sweet dishes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American, Asian, French
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 27 kcal


  • Medium saucepan
  • Knife or kitchen scissors
  • Small bowl or jar with lid


  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water


  • Using a sharp knife, carefully split the vanilla beans open lengthwise.
  • Scrape out the seeds and place them in a small bowl or jar.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the empty vanilla bean pods, sugar, and hot water.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture over the scraped vanilla seeds in the bowl or jar.
  • Stir well to ensure all the seeds are coated.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


  • Use this homemade vanilla bean paste as a 1:1 substitute for store-bought paste.
  • If you prefer a smoother texture, strain the vanilla seeds before adding them to the mixture.
  • For a more intense flavor, let the paste sit for at least 24 hours before using it. This paste is suitable for all types of baking and can also be used in sauces, custards, and other desserts.


Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 27kcalCarbohydrates: 7gFat: 0.2gSodium: 0.4mgPotassium: 0.1mgSugar: 6gCalcium: 0.3mgIron: 0.004mg
Keyword homemade vanilla bean paste
Did you make this recipe?Mention @CooksCrafter or tag #CooksCrafter!
5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Friday 22nd of March 2024

Vanilla bean paste is a staple in my baking, but it's good to know there are other options out there. Which substitute do you think works best for capturing that rich, aromatic essence of vanilla?

Andrew Gray

Friday 22nd of March 2024

Definitely! If you're aiming for that rich, aromatic essence of vanilla, I'd recommend trying out vanilla extract as the closest substitute. It retains that classic vanilla flavor beautifully in baked goods.