Vanilla Extract Substitute

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

If you're out of vanilla extract, or you don't want to use it because of the cost or the alcohol content, turn to one of these vanilla extract substitutes. They'll keep your recipe on track without an extra trip to the store.


  •  Maple syrup
  • Almond extract
  • Vanilla milk
  • Rum or brandy
  • Vanilla bean
  • Vanilla Paste/Powder


Maple syrup - Replace the vanilla with an equal amount of maple syrup or pancake syrup. Any changes in flavor will be subtle.

Almond extract - Swap out the vanilla with half as much almond extract; it has a stronger flavor, so less is required. Other flavor extracts (orange, lemon, peppermint) can also be used in place of the vanilla. Just try to pick a flavor that you think will compliment the other ingredients in the recipe.

Replace the vanilla with an equal amount of your chosen extract.

Vanilla milk - Have vanilla-flavored almond or soy milk in the fridge? Use it to replace the vanilla measure for measure.

Rum or brandy - If you aren't trying to avoid the alcohol, try an equal amount of rum or brandy.

Vanilla Bean - Scrape out the seeds from half of a vanilla bean, and use them as a stand in for one teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Vanilla Paste/Powder - Replace the vanilla extract with an equal amount of vanilla paste or vanilla powder.

Which Substitute Should You Use?

If you have more than one of these substitutes on hand, choose the one that seems to be the best flavor match for the recipe that you're making.

If you don't have any of these things on hand, simply leave the vanilla out, and continue on with your recipe. As long as vanilla isn't a star ingredient, there shouldn't be much difference in taste. The amount of liquid that vanilla contributes to a recipe is usually negligible, so there's no need to replace it with anything.

Learn how to make your own vanilla extract, so you never run out again. It's ridiculously easy to do and loads cheaper than store-bought. Here's the recipe:

Looking for a Vanilla Extract Substitute because You're Trying to Avoid the Alcohol?

It's really easy to make your own non-alcoholic vanilla extract, but just like regular vanilla extract, it won't be ready to use for a couple months.

Start a batch this week. Then, use these vanilla extract substitutes until it's ready. Here's how to make a batch:

Find this substitute helpful? Then, be sure to pin or bookmark my complete ingredient substitution list before you go. It has everything you need to keep a recipe on track, when you run out of something, or need to avoid an ingredient due to allergies or personal preference. 

You may also find these alcohol substitutions useful.