Food Substitutions - Vanilla Extract

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Substitutions for Vanilla Extract. What is vanilla extract, what are the different types and what can you substitute in a recipe if you don't have it.
Pure vanilla extract is extracted by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol. Imitation vanilla extract has a vaguely similar flavor but is entirely artificial and often manufactured from the paper industry's wood-pulp by-products.

Also known as vanilla essence (British).

If You Don't Have It

Substitute 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract with:

  • 3-inch (7.5 cm) piece vanilla bean (split or beans scraped from pod; add early in the recipe to allow the most flavor extraction)

  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons (5 to 7 mL) Homemade Vanilla Extract: Combine 3/4 cup (175 mL) vodka and 1 to 2 split vanilla beans in a large glass jar. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for at least 4 months or indefinitely. To use sooner, jump-start the mixture with 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure vanilla extract and store for at least 2 months. Remove extract as necessary, replacing the vanilla beans when they give up their flavor and the vodka begins to run low.

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) double-strength vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) triple-strength vanilla extract