How to Make Vanilla Sugar With Extract

How to Make Vanilla Sugar with Extract: Full Guide

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Lori Walker

I have a unique ingredient in my kitchen that takes my baking from average to exceptional. It’s not a rare spice or an expensive gadget. It’s my very own homemade vanilla sugar.

Vanilla sugar is a simple and delicious ingredient that can enhance the taste of your pastries. 

I remember the first time I made vanilla sugar at home; the sweet aroma and the subtle vanilla taste are like a gentle hug for your taste buds. 

Today, I’ll show you how to make vanilla sugar with extract so you can sprinkle a touch of sweetness into your life.

A Simple Guide To Make Vanilla Sugar With Extract

Vanilla Sugar

Step 1: Combine Sugar & Vanilla Extract

Mix 1/2 cup (100 g) of sugar with two tablespoons of vanilla extract. You can start with only one tablespoon and add more to taste if you like a more subtle flavor.

Step 2: Stir Thoroughly

After adding the vanilla extract, make sure to stir the mixture well. At this stage, your vanilla sugar will appear wet and clumpy.

Step 3: Spread & Dry

To remove excess moisture, evenly spread the vanilla extract-infused sugar on parchment paper. Allow it to air dry for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 4: Break Up The Clumps

Once the vanilla sugar has dried, it will become clumpy and crunchy. 

“Everybody’s got their poison, and mine is sugar.” 

Derrick Rose, American Basketball Point Guard

You can break up the clumps with a fork, or for a finer texture; you can pulse it in a food processor or a coffee grinder that has been cleaned thoroughly until it is smooth.

Step 5: Store In A Sealed Container

Transfer your homemade vanilla sugar to a shaker or glass jar with a secure lid. This will keep your vanilla sugar fresh and ready to enhance the flavor of your favorite recipes.

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What Can You Substitute If You Don’t Have Vanilla Sugar?

  1. Pure Vanilla Extract: This is a straightforward alternative. Replace vanilla sugar with pure vanilla extract using 1-2 teaspoons per 1 cup of regular granulated sugar [1], depending on your desired flavor intensity.
  2. Vanilla Syrup: Vanilla syrup, often used in coffee shops, can be a one-to-one replacement for vanilla sugar. Swap out the sugar for an equal amount of vanilla syrup.
  3. Vanilla-Flavored Milk: If your recipe calls for vanilla sugar and milk, you can combine the two using vanilla-flavored milk. Adjust the amount of milk accordingly to maintain the recipe’s consistency.
  4. Regular Granulated Sugar: If you have plain sugar, you can create a makeshift vanilla sugar by blending it with a small amount of pure vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly until the sugar takes on the desired aroma.
  5. Icing Sugar or Powdered Sugar: For recipes requiring a powdered sweetener, like frosting or glazes, substitute vanilla sugar with powdered sugar and add pure vanilla extract.
  6. Vanilla Powder: Vanilla powder, prepared from dried vanilla beans, is an alternative to vanilla sugar that can be used in cooking.
  7. Vanilla Bean Paste: Vanilla sugar can be replaced with vanilla bean paste, which has a more concentrated flavor. Replace it in a one-to-one ratio.
  8. Vanilla Pod: For a truly natural vanilla infusion, split a vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds, and mix them with granulated sugar. Seal the mixture in an airtight container and let it sit for a few days before use.

Check out these steps to make frosting with granulated sugar here.

How Long Does Vanilla Sugar Last?

Vanilla sugar has an amazing shelf life of at least two or more years, provided it is properly stored in a location that is both cold and dry. 

This extended lifespan is because sugar is a natural preservative, preventing moisture from reaching the vanilla extract. 

Keeping your vanilla sugar in an airtight container is essential to maintain its freshness. Over time, the vanilla flavor may diminish slightly, but the sugar remains safe. 

Check out these simple tips to soften granulated sugar here.

Is Vanilla Sugar Better Than Regular Sugar?

Making Vanilla Sugar

While not significantly different from regular sugar, Vanilla sugar offers some advantages as it contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than its plain counterpart.

It’s a good choice for individuals watching their sugar intake because it’s sweet and has just a hint of vanilla taste without the heavy sugar content. 

It’s important to note that the calorie and carbohydrate reduction is relatively modest, so moderation remains key. 

What Makes Vanilla Sugar Different From Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract is a concentrated flavor extract, often diluted with alcohol, that captures the essence of vanilla beans. 

On the other hand, vanilla sugar is created by infusing granulated sugar with vanilla beans, giving a subtle but delightful vanilla aroma and taste to the sugar. 

“A sprinkle of vanilla sugar is a touch of magic that makes life’s moments a little sweeter.”

Leonelli Bakery

As such, vanilla extract is primarily used to intensify flavor in recipes; vanilla sugar is a sweetener and flavor enhancer. 


How much vanilla extract is in 8 grams of vanilla sugar?

Approximately one tablespoon of vanilla extract equals 8 grams of vanilla sugar.

Does vanilla extract cause blood sugar to rise?

No, vanilla extract does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels because it contains no sugar. 

It’s a flavoring agent derived from vanilla beans and typically does not impact blood glucose levels.

But why does vanilla extract have a nasty taste?

Why does vanilla sugar cost so much?

The high cost of vanilla sugar can be attributed to the challenges in sourcing natural vanilla. 

Approximately 80% of the world’s vanilla supply comes from Madagascar, an African island facing devastating storms, deforestation pressures, and labor-intensive production. 

Find out why vanilla extract costs so much here.

Final Remarks

Making vanilla sugar with extract is a simple yet rewarding endeavor. 

As I’ve learned from my own experiences, you can elevate your culinary creations by combining sugar and vanilla extract, allowing you to enjoy that delightful ingredient in your recipes.

It is a delicious addition with a commendable shelf life of at least two years when stored correctly. 

When comparing vanilla sugar to regular sugar, the former emerges as a slightly healthier alternative, with fewer calories [2] and carbohydrates. 

So, whether you’re a professional chef or baker, consider keeping a jar of homemade vanilla sugar at hand for a flavorful twist to your dishes.


Lori Walker

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