Unexpected Ways to Use Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Extract


We’re not sure who coined using vanilla to describe something as boring and flavorless, but they must have been tasting the wrong vanilla! One of the most rich and complex ingredients out there, its natural sweetness can bring instant flavor to nearly any dish.

That’s right, any dish—even savory ones. We love a vanilla ice cream cone or a homemade chocolate chip cookie as much as anyone, but pure vanilla extract shouldn’t be relegated just to the baking aisle. Thanks to its ability to both enliven the flavors it’s paired with and to offer its own richness, pure vanilla extract deserves to be the secret star of dishes far beyond the occasional sweet treat.

That’s especially true when you use Spice Islands Pure 100% Vanilla Extract. Spice Islands sources only premium-quality ingredients, ensuring our vanilla is so naturally rich and sweet that it doesn’t need any added corn syrup or artificial flavoring.

Not sure how to incorporate vanilla into more of your cooking? We’ve gathered some of the more unexpected ways to use the unassuming but powerfully complex ingredient, below.

Caramelize some veggies.

Sick of the same ol’ roasted vegetables? Toss some root vegetables in a blend of vanilla, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and a fresh herb like rosemary or oregano. The vanilla will do double duty here—along with enhancing the earthy sweetness of the veggies, it will help to add a little delicious caramelization to the dish.

Go sweet and salty for breakfast.

If you love the tantalizing combo of salty sweetness to complement your morning coffee, get out your vanilla while you’re frying some bacon. Combine the vanilla with equal parts maple syrup, and brush it over some thick-cut strips of bacon as they’re cooking. The end result is a burst of complex flavor in every bite, ensuring this easy breakfast treat will be the new family favorite.

Add rich sweetness to glazes and marinades with pure vanilla extract.

Whether you like your marinades with a kick of heat or with a touch of sweetness, vanilla can help enhance the other flavors of a sauce and add its own richness. Thinking of grilling up some pineapple or pork chops? Coat them in a glaze of vanilla, spices like cardamom and aleppo pepper, and olive oil or even a spiced rum. The final product? A mind-blowing marriage of flavors that will have you licking your plate clean!

Create a simple syrup to elevate any beverage.

It’s quick and easy to make a simple syrup with vanilla—just combine a cup each of water and sugar in a pan, and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then, turn off the heat and slowly stir in one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. Once the liquid cools, you’ll have a smooth, rich simple syrup that adds instant complexity to any beverage, including coffee, teas, and cocktails like an Old Fashioned. Plus, since Spice Islands uses only 100% pure vanilla extract, you know you’re livening up your drinks with natural sweetness, free of artificial flavoring or sweeteners.

Bring out the sweetness of your homemade tomato sauce.

Ever get a nice homemade tomato sauce simmering, only to give it a try and realize this batch of tomatoes is particularly acidic? Vanilla is your secret trick to immediately cut that acidity. A heaping tablespoon of our vanilla extract, combined with a knob of butter, lets the sweetness of the tomatoes shine while mellowing the acidity to create the bright, rich flavor your bowl of spaghetti deserves.

Wake up your smoothies with pure vanilla extract.

If you’re telling yourself that you love your green smoothies every morning, but are actually kind of choking them down, add a dollop of Greek yogurt and a heaping spoonful of pure vanilla extract to the mix. Vanilla’s richness will combine with the creamy yogurt to give your smoothie a tasty natural sweetness – not to mention a delicious protein boost!

Ready to get started making vanilla one of your kitchen staples? Find Spice Islands 100% Pure Vanilla Extract in the baking aisle of your local grocery store, or at online retailers like Amazon today! Use our handy Where to Buy tool to find a retailer nearest you where you can find our Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Extract. And don’t forget to pay a visit to our Recipes section, where you’ll find a number of delicious recipes featuring vanilla that your friends and family will love.