What Is Vanilla Powder?

A Guide to Buying and Using Vanilla Powder

what is vanilla powder

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You’re familiar with vanilla extract, but what about vanilla powder? Made from vanilla beans, vanilla powder has a more intense vanilla flavor than vanilla extract and can be used not only in baking recipes but as a natural sweetener.

The purest form of vanilla powder comes from vanilla beans. The beans are dehydrated and finely ground. But you’ll also find another type of vanilla powder on the market, where sugar is added. This type, called vanilla sugar, is popular in France and Mexico and used as a substitute for regular sugar in some recipes.

How To Cook With Vanilla Powder

Most recipes call for a teaspoon or less of vanilla powder. Pure vanilla powder made from vanilla beans can be sprinkled on baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, doughnuts, or toast for sweet, fragrant flavor. Add it to coffee, or use it to infuse your homemade pancake or waffle mixes.

Vanilla powder is a great alternative to vanilla extract when it comes to baked goods that can't handle additional liquid, or using high-heat methods.

what is vanilla powder
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what is vanilla powder
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What Does It Taste Like?

Pure vanilla powder made from vanilla beans has an intense sweet, rich, vanilla flavor and aroma. Vanilla powder made with sugar has a sweeter slightly milder flavor.

Vanilla Powder Substitute

Pure vanilla extract is the easiest substitute for vanilla powder. It’s more commonly available, but because vanilla powder has a more concentrated flavor use 1 teaspoon of extract to every ½ teaspoon of powder. 

You can also substitute vanilla bean paste or vanilla beans, although they aren’t as common as the extract. Use 1 teaspoon of the paste to replace ½ teaspoon of powder or 1 bean to replace ½ teaspoon of powder. 

Vanilla Powder Recipes

Use vanilla powder in recipes that call for powder or extract (using the substitutions above).  

Where to Buy Vanilla Powder

Real vanilla is expensive, and so is vanilla powder. On average expect to pay $10 or more per ounce. It can also be hard to find. Some specialty food stores and larger grocery stores will carry it, and it’s also widely available online. If you regularly use vanilla beans, you can make your own vanilla powder. Simply save the bean pods, dehydrate them (you can do this in your oven if you don’t have a dehydrator) and grind them up in a very clean coffee grinder to avoid transferring odors.


Vanilla powder will last for up for two years in cool, dry place, out of light.