Vanilla Bean Substitute

Vanilla Beans
Vanilla Beans. © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    2 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    2 min
  • Yield

Vanilla beans are more flavorful than vanilla extract, but they also happen to be more expensive. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on beans, you can usually use vanilla extract instead. Here’s how to get the substitution right.


  •  Vanilla extract


Use one Tablespoon of vanilla extract in place of one vanilla bean. If you really want to taste the vanilla in your recipe, increase the amount to two Tablespoons. Since vanilla beans average around six inches in length, this amounts to one to two teaspoons of extract per inch.

Worried the extra liquid will mess up your recipe? Just dial back one of the other wet ingredients­­ to compensate for the addition of the vanilla extract.

When to Stick with Vanilla Beans

If you like the look of those little flecks of vanilla seeds­ in your finished recipe, stick with vanilla beans. That’s something extract can’t replicate. Also consider using vanilla beans, if vanilla is the star ingredient. Beans just pack more punch than extract.

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

High quality vanilla extract comes a lot closer to replicating the flavor of vanilla beans. Learn how to make your own, and it won’t cost you any more than the imitation stuff. You can even make non-alcoholic vanilla extract, if that’s your preference.


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