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Best Homemade Vanilla bean paste recipe

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This Homemade Vanilla Bean Paste is made of two ingredients and delivers a concentrated vanilla flavor far more intense than any storebought version. 

I have been experimenting with vanilla lately and have made various recipes, from vanilla syrup and liqueur to vanilla butter. This vanilla paste is far more intense than any other product I created.

So if you love vanilla flavors, this recipe is for you. Moreover, it is a versatile ingredient in any recipe that calls for vanilla.

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.

What is Vanilla bean paste?

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 teabutter, 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. 

fresh vanilla beans

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.

Glycerin

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. 

cutting vanilla beans
grinding vanilla pods

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.

making vanilla bean paste

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. 

  1. Make Bourbon vanilla bean paste by adding a splash of bourbon that adds a warm, smoky flavor to the paste.
homemade vanilla 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. 

  1. 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.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste to whipped cream to add a subtle vanilla flavor. This is perfect for topping pies, cakes, and other desserts.
  3. Vanilla bean paste is ideal for adding flavor to custards and puddings. Whisk it into the mixture during the cooking process.
  4. Mix vanilla bean paste with a bit of honey or agave nectar to create a simple syrup and drizzle it on fresh fruits 
  5. Add it to your batter when making delicious vanilla-flavored treats such as chocolate bliss balls, cupcakes, or Pizookie.
How to make homemade Vanilla Bean Paste
How to store vanilla paste?

Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It is best to keep it away from direct sunlight. If kept refrigerated, it can last over six months.

Substitutes for Vanilla bean paste recipe.

If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, here are some substitutes you could use:

Vanilla Beans: What kind should I 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:

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.

Vanilla beans:

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.

Vanilla sugar:

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.

homemade vanilla paste

Other vanilla recipes you want to try:

Vanilla butter

Liqueur

Vanilla syrup

Cupcakes

Vanilla milk tea

How to use Vanilla Bean Paste?
Yield: 20 portions

Best Homemade Vanilla bean paste recipe

Best Homemade Vanilla bean paste recipe

This Homemade Vanilla Bean Paste is made of two ingredients and delivers a concentrated vanilla flavor far more intense than any storebought version. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 4 days
Total Time 4 days 20 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 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. 
  2. Mix it with glycerin. Mix the ground vanilla beans with the glycerin until well combined in a small bowl. Let it macerate for 4 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.

    Notes

    To intensify the flavor, you can adjust the vanilla bean amount and maceration time.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    20

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    Vladka Merva on May 4th, 2023

    24 Comments on “Best Homemade Vanilla bean paste recipe”

    1. Wow this came out perfect! I love using vanilla bean paste and this is one of the best recipes. It worked well…read the tips…they were super helpful!

      Reply
    2. This smells so heavenly! Making the vanilla paste was like aromatherapy. I can’t wait to use it in my baking.

      Reply
    3. I had no idea how easy it was to make the paste at home. Love baking with paste versus extract so this is incredibly handy!

      Reply
    4. My vanilla bean paste turned out so rich with natural vanilla flavor! So satisfying and impressive!

      Reply
    5. Directions say 10 minutes cooking time – no cooking time instructions. Is there cooking or not.
      How long before you can use the paste – the 4 additional days?
      Would like to try recipe but am unsure about directions completeness.

      Reply
      • No cooking required. the four days maceration is required to allow the vanilla beans to release their flavor into the glycerin.You can use it right away but it may not lead to a potent and rich in taste vanilla bean paste. After 4 days of maceration, you can use it up to six month if kept refrigerated.

        Reply
    6. I just have a question regarding longevity of the vanilla bean paste. Under “second step” it states to put in mason jar and keep in fridge up to 6 months. Under “How to store vanilla bean paste” it states to store in a cool, dry place for over a year or in the fridge for up to 2 years. I’m sure that it won’t last me more than a couple of months with all of the baking that I do but I am thinking that if I decide to give some as gifts, the recipient may want to have a more precise timeframe. Thanks for any input!

      Reply
      • Thank you Lori, since we didn’t use any preservatives in this recipe, I would not keep it longer than 6 month. If you’re giving vanilla bean paste as a gift, it’s a good idea to mention that it’s best used within 6 months.

        Reply
        • Hi Lori,
          this homemade vanilla paste combines fresh vanilla beans with glycerin that serves as a preservative and a medium to extract and infuse the vanilla flavor from the beans. The purpose of adding vanilla extract to recipes is to enhance the vanilla flavor, and this homemade paste already have a rich and concentrated vanilla flavor from the infused vanilla beans.

          Reply
        • great stocking stuffer idea – – just put in the tiny thread spool size jars. Can stack 3 and wrap or decorate as a snow man.

          Reply
    7. Hello… my last question never got addressed but I have another. I’ve looked at about a dozen recipes and all of the other ones say to add vanilla extract. I would gladly save on the expense of having to add extract if it is absolutely not necessary. Is adding vanilla to make the paste ready for immediate use?

      Thanks,
      Lori

      Reply
    8. Where should the vanilla bean paste be kept while it is macerating, in a cool dry place or the refrigerator?
      Thank you.
      Cindy

      Reply
      • HI Cindy,
        Keep it in a cool, dry place while it’s macerating. There’s no need to refrigerate it. Just ensure it’s stored in a sealed container away from direct sunlight.

        Reply
    9. Sorry it I’m totally missing this- but how much does this recipe make? I’m looking to do these as gifts, so is this for 1 jar? and what size jar (s)?

      Reply
    10. Questions . . .
      1. can I make this with corn syrup (or something else) instead of glycerin? I don’t have glycerin on hand.
      2. Don’t the ground pods leave a weird texture in whatever you use this in?
      Much more so, than with just the beans.
      Thank you!

      Reply
      • Hi Jeanette,
        I like to use glycerin for its thickening and preserving properties, but you can substitute it with corn syrup. However, glycerin has a neutral taste and corn syrup is sweet. Moreover, the texture may also differ when using corn syrup. Start with a smaller amount and adjust it to you liking. I didn’t notice any weird texture from the ground pods, but you can use just the beans if you prefer.

        Reply

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