This Homemade Vanilla Bean Paste is made of two ingredients and delivers a concentrated vanilla flavor far more intense than any storebought version.
So if you love vanilla flavors, this recipe is for you. Moreover, it is a versatile ingredient in any recipe that calls for vanilla.
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What is Vanilla bean paste?
This Vanilla bean paste is made of vanilla beans and glycerin. It has an intense vanilla flavor and thick, dense consistency, unlike vanilla syrup, which has a runny and syrupy consistency. Homemade vanilla bean paste adds a pure vanilla flavor to any dessert or recipe with vanilla flavor. In fact, most bakers use vanilla bean paste in place of vanilla extract if they want a strong vanilla flavor.
Why make this homemade vanilla bean paste?
- The homemade paste has a rich, intense natural vanilla flavor that store-bought vanilla bean versions cannot compete with.
- This vanilla bean paste with glycerin is sugar-free. This makes an excellent option for those looking to limit their sugar intake or avoid added sugars altogether. The natural sweetness of the glycerin complements the vanilla flavor. It makes a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional vanilla bean syrups that contains vanilla sugar, agave or corn syrup.
- It is a simple, easy, and effortless process.
- You can adjust the strength and flavor.
- It is a great way to preserve vanilla beans. While I love using them in milk tea, butter, or muffins, this paste lasts for several months, and you can use it whenever you need a vanilla flavor.
- Cost-effective as buying vanilla beans in bulk is cheaper than buying small paste jars.
- This recipe is natural and doesn't use any thickeners like xanthan gum that most runny products do to keep the vanilla bean suspended in the syrup.
- No waste - with this recipe, you can use leftover vanilla pods that would typically throw them away after using the seeds; empty pods still have tons of flavors. You can also use dried vanilla pods with seeds that lost their moisture. This is a great way to reduce waste and create a lasting concentrated vanilla flavor.
Ingredients in Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla Beans: What kind should I use?
You will need a bunch of fresh vanilla pods. They contain a natural compound called vanillin, which gives them a delicate flavor and scent that other artificial flavorings cannot replicate.
Whole Vanilla pods contain thousands of vanilla bean flecks you can scrape from and turn into a paste. Bourbon vanilla beans, also known as Madagascar vanilla beans, are rich and creamy, whereas Tahitian vanilla pods have a unique floral flavor and aroma. In general, you can use any best quality vanilla beans to make vanilla bean paste as long as they are fresh and have a strong, aromatic fragrance.
Where to buy vanilla beans?
You can purchase Vanilla beans in natural food stores, gourmet markets, or online retailers. I like to use Mountain Rose herbs for their high-quality organic ingredients.
I use glycerin for making vanilla paste because it is a natural, clear, and odorless liquid that helps to preserve the vanilla flavor and extend the shelf life of the paste. Additionally, glycerin has a slightly sweet taste that complements vanilla's natural sweetness and can create a smooth and creamy texture.
How to make homemade Vanilla Bean Paste
First step: Make vanilla powder
Cut the entire beans into small pieces and place them into a food processor or spice grinder. You don't need to dry them before. Pulse the chopped vanilla beans until they are ground into a fine powder.
Second step: Mix it with glycerin
Mix the ground vanilla beans with the glycerin until well combined in a small bowl. Let it macerate for four days to allow the vanilla beans to release their essence into the glycerin. Transfer the mixture into a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Note: To intensify the flavor, you can adjust the vanilla bean amount or exceed the maceration time.
Variations of vanilla bean paste recipe.
This vanilla bean paste uses just two ingredients; therefore, adding a unique twist to the flavor profile is easy.
- Make Bourbon vanilla bean paste by adding a splash of bourbon that adds a warm, smoky flavor to the paste.
2)Zest of an orange or lemon adds a zesty twist and refreshing taste.
3)Add cocoa powder or melted chocolate for a rich and indulgent twist to chocolate desserts.
4)Pinch of cinnamon adds a warm and spicy flavor which works great for fall-inspired desserts.
5)Add some syrups like agave syrup, sugar syrup or honey to adjust the consistency and sweetness to your liking.
How to use Vanilla Bean Paste?
Use it every time the recipe calls for vanilla flavor.
- It adds a rich and intense vanilla flavor to homemade vanilla ice cream. Stir in the paste during the final stages of churning for best results.
- Add vanilla bean paste to whipped cream to add a subtle vanilla flavor. This is perfect for topping pies, cakes, and other desserts.
- Vanilla bean paste is ideal for adding flavor to custards and puddings. Whisk it into the mixture during the cooking process.
- Mix vanilla bean paste with a bit of honey or agave nectar to create a simple syrup and drizzle it on fresh fruits
- Add it to your batter when making delicious vanilla-flavored treats such as chocolate bliss balls, cupcakes, or cookies.
Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It is best to keep it away from direct sunlight. If stored properly, it can last over a year. You can also refrigerate it to extend its shelf life up to two years.
Substitutes for Vanilla bean paste recipe.
If you don't have vanilla bean paste, here are some substitutes you could use:
Pure Vanilla extract.
Use the same amount of vanilla extract as the amount of vanilla bean paste. For example, 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste equals 1 teaspoon extract.
Vanilla powder is made from grinding whole vanilla beans. The best practice is to use half the amount of vanilla powder as the amount of vanilla bean paste.
If you have whole vanilla beans, you can scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pods and use them as a substitute for vanilla bean paste. Use one whole vanilla bean for every tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.
I don't recommend substituting with Vanilla sugar as it contains a small amount of vanilla flavor and cannot replace fully the strength of vanilla paste.