Creating vanilla sugar at home is super easy and fun! All you need is some granulated sugar and vanilla beans. Once you make it, you can use it instead of regular sugar in your coffee or tea or add it to your cooking or baking recipes.
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I love using vanilla sugar in my cooking and baking—it just adds a rich, aromatic kick to different dishes. Making it at home is a breeze, and the best part is you get to control how much vanilla spice flavor you want. This sugar is perfect for jazzing up your homemade bread, cookies, or cakes! And, an added bonus, vanilla sugar makes a great gift.
What Is Vanilla Sugar
Vanilla sugar is a sweet and aromatic ingredient used in cooking and baking. It is made by infusing granulated sugar with the flavor of vanilla, in this case, vanilla bean. If you enjoy this sugar, try this recipe for lemon sugar, which is infused with a delicious citrus flavor that can also be used in cooking and baking, like in this lemon bundt cake recipe.
To make your own vanilla sugar, follow these easy steps. It literally takes minutes. Using fresh vanilla beans is the way to go for the best flavor and those beautiful specks of vanilla bean seeds. Whether you use regular white sugar or something different, the color and texture will still be on point. So sprinkle away!
Vanilla Bean Sugar Ingredients
- White granulated sugar: You can also use brown sugar; although the vanilla flavor may not be as pronounced because of the molasses in brown sugar, you will still get the touch of sweet vanilla flavor.
- Vanilla beans: Select high quality, fresh, whole vanilla beans for the best flavor. Grade A vanilla beans are the best choice. They are long, plump and easy to cut and seed. Generally, 1 to 2 vanilla beans that are 5 to 7 inches long equals about 1 per cup of sugar. I use the Native Vanilla Tahitian vanilla beans for the best flavor.
- An airtight container to store the sugar in. I prefer a glass jar, and I find this Weck canning jar holds two cups of sugar, which is perfect for what I need.
- Knife or scissors
- Cutting board
“Good vanilla sugar takes time; you have to slowly infuse all the vanilla essence from the beans into the sugar over a month or so, but it's worth it. I know it's ready when I open the vanilla sugar jar and smell that wonderful vanilla aroma. I use it in so many of my bakes, but love adding a spoonful in my coffee or, if I'm feeling really decadent, in my hot chocolate.”
— Mandy Applegate, Splash of Taste
How To Make Vanilla Bean Sugar
This spice mix will take just minutes. You will find this sugar just makes everything taste better.
Prep: Lay the fresh vanilla pod flat on the cutting board, using a sharp knife, and make a lengthwise cut to split the vanilla bean in half. With a spoon, scrape out the tiny vanilla seeds inside the vanilla bean. Keep the vanilla bean pod.
Combine: Mix the sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl, stirring with a fork or whisk, to distribute the seeds evenly within the sugar.
Pour: Put the sugar into an airtight container like a mason jar, or use a resealable bag. Stick the vanilla bean pods into the sugar, then seal the container. You can also use the leftover emptied vanilla pods to make pure vanilla extract.
Infuse: Let the sugar sit at room temperature for two weeks to infuse the vanilla flavor. For a more intense flavor, let the sugar sit for a month.
When your sugar is nicely infused with that wonderful vanilla, use it to flavor your coffee, sprinkle it on top of your morning oatmeal or add it to a cake batter. There are so many uses for this spicy mixture.
Try this - For a smoother sugar texture, use a food processor or coffee grinder. Pulse a few times until you achieve the desired consistency and you will get more of a vanilla powder.
Always keep your sugar in an air-tight, sealed container. It doesn't have to be anything fancy; it just needs to seal well.
Jere's tip - You can use other sugar, but their flavor may hide the vanilla bean flavor. If you are using a coarser sugar like coconut sugar, process the granules into a finer consistency so the sugar can absorb the vanilla flavor.
Varieties of vanilla beans
There are two types of vanilla beans to consider when making vanilla sugar. You can use either type individually or blend them according to your preference.
Grade A vanilla beans: Often known as gourmet vanilla beans, these have a higher moisture content than Grade B beans but have more of a diluted flavor because of the high moisture. However, they are easy to work with because they are long, plump and easy to cut open with abundant seeds.
Grade B vanilla beans: These beans are classified as extraction-grade and primarily used to make vanilla extract. They feature slender, smaller and drier pods. Despite their highly concentrated vanilla flavor, infusing the vanilla flavor takes longer than Grade A beans.
“Vanilla sugar gives you all you need in one package, and it’s super easy to make. Once a year, I take a small jar, fill it up with sugar and stick a few broken vanilla beans in. DIY sugar forever.”
— Zuzana Paar, Best Clean Eating
Why Make Vanilla Sugar
While you can buy pre-packaged vanilla sugar, making it yourself with just two ingredients is a quick 5-minute process and is more economical. This sugar enhances your cooking and baking with a touch of sweetness and allows you to experiment with various types of vanilla beans for different flavor profiles. Share your tasty creation with friends and family, and with a jar of homemade vanilla sugar in your pantry, you'll be well-equipped to add a dash of luxury to your favorite recipes.
- I love this hot cocoa, and sometimes, I skip the marshmallows and add a teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Mmm, try it.
- Pair vanilla and ginger together and roll these ginger cookies in vanilla sugar before baking.
- When I bake pies, I like to sprinkle sugar on the unbaked pie crust, including sprinkling these unbaked cherry hand pies with vanilla sugar. It will add a sweet, crunchy topping.
“I love vanilla sugar. It's a fun way to incorporate vanilla flavor into bakes. We make our own and just have a rolling jar of it, meaning we add a vanilla bean when we have one and fill up the jar with sugar when it's running low. That way, we're never out.”
— Laura Sampson, Little House Big Alaska
Try These Recipes Next
Vanilla stands out as one of the most widely used spices. Explore the diverse world of vanilla beans, extracts, vanilla bean paste and powders to flavor your baked goods with delightful flavors.
How To Make Homemade Vanilla Sugar
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- 1 glass jar with a lid 16 ounces
- kitchen scissors
- Medium-sized mixing bowl
- Clean, sanitize, and dry a sealable storage jar that will hold two cups of sugar. A mason jar works great for this.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the granulated sugar.
- Cut the vanilla bean pod open. I find it easiest to up the pod with a pair of kitchen scissors, otherwise, lay the pod flat on the cutting board, using a sharp knife, and make a lengthwise cut to split the vanilla bean in half. With a spoon, scrape out the tiny vanilla seeds inside the vanilla bean. Keep the vanilla bean pod.
- With a spoon, scrape out the tiny vanilla seeds inside the vanilla bean and place them in the bowl of sugar. Keep the vanilla bean pod.
- With a spoon,or small whisk, stir the sugar until the vanilla beans have been dispersed throughout.
- Pour the vanilla sugar into the storage jar. Stick the scraped vanilla bean pods into the sugar. If they are too long, cut them in half. This will further infuse the sugar with more vanilla flavor.
- Seal the jar and let the flavor infuse for two weeks before use. Let it sit even longer for a more intense flavor.
- As long as the sugar is sealed well, it will last for a long time.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.
This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.