Oatmeal platter

Substitute for Vanilla Sugar-What can I use instead?

Used as a baking and finishing sugar in Europe, Vanilla sugar is made by mixing grounded sugar with vanilla flavor from vanilla seeds and pods. It is used as a flavored sweetener when baking or in the final touch to be sprinkled on the fresh cakes’ top.

Sometimes we run short of cooking ingredients, and some go bad without expecting. For example, you had vanilla sugar in the pantry, and you get this urge for baking, only to find that your sugar has expired.

Since cooking is all about problem-solving, one ingredient cannot stop you from baking because there must be a substitute for it.

However, the substitute should not alter the taste or texture of what you are cooking. Which other product can we use in place of vanilla sugar and keep our cake’s taste and texture? Every problem has a solution, and here is our ‘lack of vanilla sugar’ solution.

Some of the products you can use in place of vanilla sugar are; Vanilla, vanilla almond milk, vanilla powder, and vanilla ice cream.

How to Make Vanilla Sugar

There is this section in grocery stores that is usually stocked with some posh food ingredients with long description names and a hefty price tag on them.

These are ingredients you can make at home, some even in less than two hours, and save over 80% of the money you would have spent on them!

Sometimes they are worth purchasing because they have additives that you cannot add when making them at home. But if they both serve the same purpose, why not set aside some two hours of your time and make them.

That said, here is a simple recipe on how to make vanilla sugar without going broke.


2 cups of granulated sugar;
1 vanilla bean with its seeds or even without;


Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise to split it. If the pod has seeds, you can choose to scrape them off with the knife and add them to the bowl with sugar or preserve them. If the pod did not have seeds, put it in the bowl of sugar and seal the bowl airtight.

Let it sit in a dark, cool place for about three weeks for the best results.

How Vanilla Sugar is used

Why vanilla sugar? Besides baking, how else can I use vanilla sugar? Is it regular sugar that has been added to vanilla extract, or why is it called vanilla sugar?

If these are some of the questions you have, the information below will help you and others who have little or no clue about what vanilla sugar is used for.

Vanilla sugar is used at the end of baking as a finishing sugar. It is sprinkled on the baked cake or cookies and dusted off for the excess to fall. Besides baking, it is used to make:

Vanilla simple syrup- vanilla is sensitive to heat, and when exposed to heat, its flavor tends to decrease. Since the flavor and taste are the most important, we recommend using a blender when making the vanilla sugar syrup. Blend one cup of vanilla sugar and one cup of water. Please do not compare it to stop tops because it will not be as thick as those, but the flavor will be top-notch.
Vanilla icing- this is an excellent use of vanilla sugar since it is not heated. Remember, we mentioned that vanilla is sensitive to heat unless you do not want to enjoy the taste of vanilla flavor. To 1 tablespoon of milk, add a half cup of powdered vanilla sugar and blend. You will not get enough of it!
Vanilla sugar- sugar cookies- how about we forget buying gifts for each other during Christmas and sit to make vanilla sugar cookies using vanilla sugar icing? Trust me; these are worth every minute of your time.

What can you use as a Substitute for Vanilla Sugar?

1. Vanilla extract

Like vanilla sugar, vanilla extract is made by deeping vanilla bean pods, but this time not in sugar, but in alcohol and water. These three are left alone for some time, and as they age, so is the vanilla flavor being harvested and made more concentrated.

From cakes to marshmallows and cookies, none of these would taste better without some vanilla extract drops in them. If you just found out that you don’t have vanilla sugar, but you have vanilla extract in your pantry, you are safe.

Before using vanilla extract as a substitute for vanilla sugar, note that you will need to add an extra teaspoon of sugar.

Every one teaspoon of vanilla extract is equivalent to 1 1/2 teaspoons of homemade vanilla sugar. For artificial vanilla sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract is equal to one teaspoon of vanilla sugar.

Follow the rest of the recipe replacing vanilla sugar with vanilla extract, and see how your cake or cookies come out tasty. Other recipes that can’t go without using vanilla extract are;

Blueberry quick bread with a vanilla source- besides the two cups of berries inside this loaf, is vanilla extract. Try serving it moist and make your family crave for more.
Vanilla and cinnamon apple latkes- these fried pancakes with some potatoes never go wrong. Some drops of vanilla extract will make them yummier.
Vanilla cheesecake- if it’s not a vanilla cheesecake, I will not enjoy it. For this one, vanilla extract is the main ingredient.

2. Vanilla powder

You might be familiar with vanilla extract, but what about vanilla powder? Like the extract and the sugar, this one is made from vanilla beans but has more flavor than the two.

Most people use vanilla powder and cinnamon to give a different taste to their almond milk cappuccinos. I also have never thought I could use it for baking until I ran short of vanilla sugar.

If your recipe requires you to use one tablespoon of vanilla sugar, use a 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla powder because it has a stronger flavor of vanilla.

Remember that unlike vanilla sugar, vanilla powder is not sweetened, so you need to add sugar for the sweetness. Ensure you store the rest of the powder in an airtight container away from moisture and extreme temperatures.

Other recipes that would go wrong without vanilla powder are;

When making vanilla puddings. You will be required to add the powder to bring out the best taste.
Your petite vanilla bean scones recipe will require you to have some vanilla powder.
To bring out the best polish vanilla cookies, please add some vanilla powder to the recipe.

3. Vanilla ice cream

Isn’t it made for eating only? Well, yes. I can eat vanilla ice cream all day. But did you know you can use vanilla ice cream for other purposes, like cooking? Probably that made you raise your eyebrows!

If you wanted vanilla sugar to make a milkshake, then here is a better option for that. Vanilla ice cream will give you the best milkshakes and frozen desserts.

Just scoop a tablespoon of it and add a cup of milk. Then add a teaspoon of the vanilla extract to a blender and let it blend for about 20 seconds. Do not fail to put a cherry on it.

Now since you know, why don’t you try it out? Do not forget to give us a review of how it goes. Other recipes that will require the use of vanilla ice cream are:

Making of banana splits- one of the most popular desserts to make with ice cream.
Brownie A LA MODE- this one will need you to add chocolate syrup and crushed nuts (which are optional). Remember to warm the brownie for the best taste.
Mango crepe- yes, it is not made entirely of mango! Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top of it will give the crepe the best taste.

4. Vanilla milk

Look for vanilla-flavored almond or soy-milk in your fridge. You don’t run short of these as often as you would run short of vanilla sugar. In case you did today, making it is effortless.

Make sure you have with you some milk, maple syrup, and pure vanilla extract. Put these ingredients in a cup and whisk or blend.

Do not worry if you do not have a whisk, a fork will do the job. Some of the recipes that will require you to have vanilla milk are:

Vanilla almond rice pudding- 2 1/2 cups of vanilla almond milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extra will make you bring the best out of this meal.
Blueberry almond milk latte- make sure you have 1 cup of vanilla almond milk with you.

Substituting vanilla sugar with other products of vanilla is easy. Depending on the vanilla product you choose, be aware of the measurements because some of them have a higher concentration compared to others.

The concentration of vanilla in vanilla powder is not the same as that of vanilla milk, and a lot of it might not bring the best taste.



See also
Substitutes for Ground Ginger - What can I use instead?

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