Homemade Vanilla Powder is pure, unadulterated vanilla bean made by grinding dried vanilla beans. Made from 100% vanilla beans, ground vanilla powder is stronger and more potent than vanilla extract and gives a rich, robust vanilla flavor that won't evaporate during baking or add a boozy bite. Simple to make with no waste. Perfect for using in baked goods, custards, pastry cream, and coffee.
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Why you’ll love this Homemade Vanilla Powder
- Pure Vanilla flavor
- Super easy to make
- No waste – uses the whole pod
- No boozy taste
- Maintains its flavor even in high heat
- No synthetic or chemical additives
- More economical to make at home
What is Vanilla Powder? What is Vanilla Bean Powder?
Vanilla powder and vanilla bean powder are terms often used interchangeably. There are two types of Vanilla Powder.
The purest form is ground vanilla beans, also called ground vanilla bean powder. The whole bean, pod and caviar, are dried and ground into a fine powder. Because alcohol is not used as a carrier, you won’t lose flavor during baking or cooking. It’s used in baking and desserts.
Another form you will find has sugar added, also called vanilla sugar. It’s used in place of sugar or to sprinkle on top of drinks and desserts. Commercial vanilla powder is often made with synthetic vanilla.
Vanilla powder for baking is a great alternative to vanilla extract when it comes to baked goods that can't handle additional liquid, or when using high-heat methods. When using in custards and creams, it won’t add a boozy bite.
What Does It Taste Like?
Pure vanilla powder made from vanilla beans has an intense sweet, rich, vanilla flavor and aroma.
Vanilla powder made with sugar has a sweeter, milder flavor because it’s diluted with sugar.
Vanilla Powder vs Vanilla Extract
Cook’s Illustrated tested vanilla powder and vanilla bean paste to see how they compared to vanilla extract and whole vanilla beans. The testers were unanimous in their preference for vanilla powder over vanilla extract in baked goods. In custards or pastry creams, vanilla paste was a very close second to the whole vanilla bean. It gives a robust vanilla flavor without the boozy bite that vanilla extract can give. Vanilla powder and vanilla paste are also perfect for people who don’t use alcohol for allergy, religious, or other reasons.
Whole vanilla beans are a luxury in the kitchen and the lovely flavor they give to custards, ice creams, and baked goods can’t be matched with extract. They are, however, very pricey and an extra step in a recipe. The amount of vanilla beans you can scrape from a pod seems so tiny compared to the cost. And when I scrape them out, I get so annoyed if I see any clinging to the cutting board or my fingers. Then there’s the pod. The pod has tons of flavor! Yes, you can stick it in a jar of sugar and wait a while for vanilla sugar. But what if you could easily use the whole pod, with no waste, and it’s just as easy to use as grabbing a bottle of extract. That’s where vanilla powder and vanilla paste comes in.
Since extracts use alcohol as carriers for the aroma, flavor is lost during the baking process as the alcohol evaporates. Vanilla powder maintains its flavor and aroma under the high heat of the oven. Vanilla powder is good to use when you want pure vanilla flavor without the added liquid or alcohol.
How to make Vanilla Powder
Homemade Vanilla Bean Powder is easy to make and far less expensive that buying it pre-made. The first step is drying out the beans. There are several ways of doing this:
*Leave vanilla beans out on the counter for several weeks.
*Bake the vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven for about and hour.
*Bake the vanilla beans in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 minutes.
*Microwave the vanilla beans for about 20-30 seconds. They should puff up and become crisp.
I personally prefer to bake the vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven. It's not so hot that the beans will easily burn, and it seems to be the quickest natural way of drying them. I don't recommend baking them in a 350 degree oven as I have burned vanilla beans using this method. They burn very quickly.
Bake vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about an hour to an hour and a half. You want them to get nice and dried out but not burnt. They will still be pliable when you take them out of the oven, but will become brittle as they cool. It's necessary for the beans to become brittle for a finely ground powder.
After they cool, cut them up into smaller pieces and grind them up in a coffee or spice grinder.
How to make Vanilla Powder with sugar
To make a vanilla powder for coffee with sugar (think Starbucks Vanilla Bean powder) for sprinkling on top of coffee, lattes, or desserts, combine the ground vanilla bean powder from 2 vanilla beans with 1 cup of powdered sugar. Whisk it together or pulse it in the grinder or food processor until thoroughly combined.
How to use vanilla powder
Use in baked goods: Vanilla Powder can be substituted in any recipe that calls for vanilla extract. Because it’s more intense, use ½ teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder for every 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Use in custards, puddings, ice cream, pastry cream: Vanilla powder adds intense vanilla flavor that doesn’t evaporate when cooking and doesn’t add a boozy taste.
Add to coffees, teas, and lattes: Just a sprinkle, stirred in with your sweetener, adds pure vanilla flavor with no boozy taste. Vanilla Powder made with sugar is a great option here.
How to store vanilla powder
Vanilla Powder can be stored in an airtight container for several months.
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How to Make Vanilla Powder
- Total Time: 1 hour
Made from 100% vanilla beans, ground vanilla powder is stronger and more potent than vanilla extract and gives a rich, robust vanilla flavor. Simple to make with no waste. Perfect for using in baked goods, custards, pastry cream, and coffee.
- Bake vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about an hour to an hour and a half. You want them to get nice and dried out but not burnt. They will still be pliable when you take them out of the oven, but will become brittle as they cool. It's necessary for the beans to become brittle for a finely ground powder. After they cool, cut them up into smaller pieces and grind them up in a coffee or spice grinder.
Use ½ teaspoon vanilla powder for every 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
You can also dry the beans by:
*Leaving vanilla beans out on the counter for several weeks.
*Baking the vanilla beans in a 350 degree F oven for about 5-8 minutes.
*Microwaving the vanilla beans for about 20-30 seconds. They should puff up and become crisp.
- Cook Time: 60
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vanilla, vanilla powder, vanilla bean
A Must make for all You Vanilla lovers ☕
Thanks! I agree!
This is so awesome! I have never thought about doing this! On my to try list! Thanks!
i have been wondering about grinding the beans but wasn't sure if I should use alcohol or oil.. I remember my mom used to buy something called vanilla essence, it was sold by the ounce and she just used a tiny bit, it was very dark and thick but when she baked the whole block could smell the vanilla. Supermarket vanilla doesn't cut it.
When grinding vanilla beans, I prepare them in two different ways. I either make a dry powder with nothing but vanilla beans as in this recipe, or if I want it in liquid form, I make a vanilla bean paste by adding the vanilla bean powder to a sugar syrup base. It is very thick and intense! And definitely the smell is awesome! I have a post on the vanilla bean paste coming up soon on the blog!
I was wondering could you dry the vanilla beans in a dehydrator, then grind them up in a coffee grinder. Plus would you need to leave them out to dry or could you skip that and just dehydrate instead.
Hi Tracy! If the dehydrator dried them enough so that they were brittle enough to be ground into a fine powder, then that would be fine. If they aren't dried out enough, they won't grind very finely. Thanks for stopping by!
Good question. I was wondering the same thing. Thank you.
Will try it out for Kenya Vanilla.
Thanks, Maryane! Hope you love it!
Thanks I will try. I love vanilla
Thanks so much, Michelle!
Thank you for the recipes, I sieving it after grinded
My pleasure! I find if it's dried well enough, it grinds into a fine powder. Thank you very much!
Doe this recipe make a good vanilla powder to sprinkle on my morning coffee?
It would be perfect sprinkled on coffee! You wouldn't even need to use that much. It has no sweetener so it's just pure, powerful vanilla. Thanks so much, Eileen!
I am baking mine now, my oven does not go lower than 170 degrees F. So, will be baking at 170 F. Do I shorten length of time for baking 45 minutes to an hour?
Yes, just shorten the time. You can keep an eye on them so they don't burn. When they are done, they will still be a little pliable, but will crisp up on cooling. If they haven't gotten brittle enough after they cooled, you can stick them back in the oven a little longer.
Thank you for the reply. It went all well. This time however, I tried at 350 F for 5 minutes and the result was very good, I will stick to this one as it is much quicker.
Happy to hear it worked out well for you, Luisa!
How much powder does one pod yield?
Hi Amy! One pod yields about a tablespoon of vanilla powder.
Thanks for a great article! Bit of a random question but when you talk about the methods for drying out the beans, are the beans you're drying out green to start with or have they already been cured (and you're just wanting to dry them out further to make the powder)?
They are the normal, brown vanilla pods you can buy in the market. I supposed that means they're cured 🙂 I'm drying them out further so they can be ground into a fine powder. If they aren't dry enough, they will stay in bigger pieces. Thanks so much, Cam!
Are you grinding the whole bean to make the powder, or just the seeds? I’m a little confused.
Hi Berda! I'm grinding the whole bean as the pods have flavor as well.
When going to grind can you just cut a piece off after you have dried the beans and leave the rest of the bean whole.
Hi Louise! Sure, that would be just fine!
can you tell me how much grams of powder 2 vanilla pods would make.... or give me the equivalent of how much powder you get when you make yours?
You would get the same number of grams as the weight of the vanilla pods after drying them, so you can weigh the two pods after they are dried and that will be the same as after ground into powder.
hello and thanks for that.
I only had 1 bean and I did it the slow way for abt 1.5 hrs. when it had cooled it still seemed a little bendy; not quite brittle enough. But I tried blitzing it anyway. it has some bigger lumps in it. do you think if I leave it in an airtight jar it will become more brittle or what should I do?
You could pass it through a fine mesh strainer. The fine powder put in an airtight container, the larger pieces you could either let air dry or put in the microwave for a short time until the pieces become brittle. Then try grinding it again. When drying vanilla beans, I usually break them after they cool to be sure they're brittle. If they're still bendy, I dry them out a little longer. 🙂
I'm SO excited to try this out. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this recipe! Right on time. I've been looking up recipes how to make my own vanilla extract without the alcohol and I don't want to use the glycerin either. This recipe is soooo perfect. Please keep sharing your talent!!
Thanks so much, Irene! You really made my day!
So you grind not only the caviar, but the stem a bean cover??
Hi Chuck, yes I grind the entire bean, the caviar and the pod.
Do you have any tips on storing the powder form of this? I just extracted about 30-beans worth from homemade extract recipe (one vodka and one bourbon) and would love to grind the beans into vanilla powder for even more use out of them. I anticipate I will have a lot of powder from 30 beans! Thank you for the recipe!
Hi, Jenny! That's a lot of beans! I would store it in an air tight container and since it's such a large amount, I might keep it in the freezer to stay fresh for longer. I'd love to hear how the powder turns out - if it still has a good vanilla flavor after being used in extract.
Hi! How did yours turn out? How did you dry the spent pods once removed from the extract? I just started 27 beans in vodka for extract and want to make powder when I pull the spent beans out and your post is intriguing! Thank you for any advice.
I just finished grinding 2 ounces of vanilla beans after using them for vanilla paste and then I dried them out. I was surprised how fine the powder came out using a coffee bean grinder. After taking the beans out of the vanilla paste mixture, I just used my fingers to get as much of the paste off as possible then just dried the beans. They do take longer to dry after they have been in extract or paste. I haven’t used the powder yet. Reading these comments it seems like a lot of people think that it is the caviar that holds most of the flavour. Not true. The beans themselves have all the flavour.
So after you dry it you grind the pod and beans?
Yes, I grind the whole thing - the pod and beans.
What type and grade of vanilla beans are best when making vanilla powder?
Hi Jamee, I just use grade B beans since I am drying them anyway.
I want to use my large amount of vanilla powder to make paste, not extract, to preserve and make much smaller volume to store in dark place.
Something must be mixed with vanilla powder to preserve and provide long storage life. The only thing I know of to do that is alcohol, or more specifically ethanol food grade.
Pure ethanol would have a better preservative effect than same volume of commonly used vodka which is only about 45 % ethanol max. and most vodkas are less.
I have three questions about using ethanol:
1. Will ethanol only absorb into vanilla powder to perverse without some added water ? Or is it not required for ethanol to absorb into vanilla powder to preserve but only to envelope.
2. What is the smallest percentage of ethanol to vanilla powder to provide long storage life ?
3. Would the addition of some water to ethanol add anything to vanilla powder paste preservation and/or flavor ?
Hi Charles. I haven't tried to preserve the vanilla with alcohol. I do make a vanilla paste by mixing the vanilla powder with a sugar syrup that contains a little corn syrup. This would preserve it for quite some time. I'm hoping to share my recipe for vanilla bean paste soon.
Can I set the whole dried vanilla bean stalk on fire? Can I put it in direct fire, cause my wife and I are camping right now and I was just wondering?
It probably wouldn't taste very good after that!
I bought vanilla paste at the store, but it's not very potent. I thought about adding vanilla powder to the jar of paste. Do you think one ground up bean would be enough?
Hi Sue, I'm sure that even one vanilla bean would boost the flavor. You could always try adding one and seeing if is strong enough for you, then add another if you feel it's needed.
Hi Kelly, maybe I missed this part but I m curious how I can store my vanilla powder and how long can keep it? Thank you in advance
Hi Athina, sealed in an sirtight container the vanilla powder lasts for several months.
John / Kitchen Riffs
Really interesting -- we use a lot of pure vanilla extract, but haven't used vanilla powder. Should try making our own and see how it goes. Thanks!
I like it especially in things that aren't cooked because it doesn't leave a boozy aftertaste. Thanks, John!
Hi Kelly, does Vanilla Paste or Vanilla Powder need to be kept in a dark place like Vanilla Extract? Also, if Vanilla Powder isn't used up can that older powder just be poured into my Vanilla Extract. Or should I just throw it out? BTW thank you so much for your helpful website & posts.
Hi Marion, yes, I keep my vanilla bean powder in a dark cupboard like extract. I would definitely use the old powder instead of throwing it. Thanks so much!
Hi, I have a pack of 100 beans. I was wondering how many I should dry out at a time? Is there a limit?
Hi Chelsea, There isn't a limit to how many you can dry at a time. However with that many beans, I would dry them in a low oven. That's a lot of money to risk scorching if they're all done at once. I might also do a first batch with some of them and if you're happy with the results, do the rest.
thank you for all the advise. I have been making vanilla extract and plan to use the used beans (I have alot!) to make vanilla powder and vanilla sugar. My question is, I have alot of caviar with the beans. Can I also use that as it dries out with the beans?
Hi Linda, yes I dry the beans whole, pod and caviar, then grind it all together.
I’m drying the beans right now in a 170 oven.
I’m wondering I the convection oven would be of
Any help in doing this.
I signed up for your sight. I am really enjoying it.
So happy you're enjoying it, Jeanne! I haven't tried drying them in a convection oven. Since a convection oven runs hotter than a conventional oven, I would lower the heat in a convection oven by 25-30 degrees or dry them for less time. Thanks so much!