Can drinking vanilla extract hurt you? (+5 uses)

In this article, we will answer the question “can drinking vanilla extract hurt you?”, and what are the uses of vanilla other than baking along with the health benefits of vanilla.

Can drinking vanilla extract hurt you?

No, drinking vanilla extract won’t hurt you. But when you drink it in large enough amounts, you might end up feeling uneasy and drunk. Other than that, it tastes terrible so drinking vanilla extract is not a very good idea if you care enough about your palate.

However, for some people, this may have serious consequences like

skin irritation and inflammation. Some people might end up with a headache and disturbed sleep as a result of strong exposure or drinking it in large amounts.

What is Vanilla extract made up of?

 A solution made by soaking and filtering vanilla pods in a solution of alcohol and water. The main flavor compound in natural vanilla extract is vanillin but there are hundreds of other compounds responsible for its intricate and delicate flavor. Artificially made vanilla extract is made up of vanillin only. According to the FDA, the vanilla extract must contain a minimum of 36% alcohol and 100 grams of vanilla beans per liter.

Can vanilla extract make you drunk?

Yes, vanilla extract when taken in large amounts can make you drunk. Vanilla extract contains a least 35% alcohol. The alcohol used is ethanol which is present in beer, liquor, and many other types of booze. 

This means that drinking 4-5 ounces of vanilla extract is sufficient for you to end up feeling wasted. On the contrary, drinking a tsp or a tbsp, which is typically called for in a recipe, is completely safe.

What is the difference between vanilla extract and vanilla essence?

Vanilla extract is obtained from vanilla pods whereas vanilla essence is chemically synthesized and hence cheaper. Professional bakers and chefs prefer vanilla extract over vanilla essence because of an intricate and original flavor.

There are a few tips when working with vanilla extract:

  1. When using it in custard, avoid exposing it to heat and add at the end when cooking is not required. This makes sure that you experience the complexity of the flavor of vanilla extract without losing any of it in the process of cooking.
  2. When using it to bake cakes and muffins, add it along with the eggs and beat well.

An excellent use of vanilla pods is to make vanilla sugar from them. Keep the pods in a jar full of brown sugar for a month and enjoy vanilla-scented sugar in your recipes.

Are there any health benefits of vanilla?

Acts as relaxant

The warm and exotic smell of vanilla helps calm crying babies. Its soothing smells also leave adults feeling intoxicated and can help reduce sleep apnea and startle reflexes.

Relieves toothache

The alcohol in the vanilla extract helps numb tooth pain. Apply it directly to your tooth for relief. The anti-oxidants in vanilla have healing properties.

Healthy lifestyle

Vanilla is the form of vanilla extract or vanilla sugar can be used t replace table sugar in your recipes. This helps with weight loss by regulating the sugar levels in the blood and reducing sugar cravings.

How to use vanilla extract in recipes other than baking?

Vanilla extract is a staple flavor ingredient in baking cakes, muffins, cupcakes, puddings, and many other no-bake desserts including smoothies and pies. However, there is more to vanilla other than its use in baking. Below are given 5 uses of vanilla extract other than baking.


Add vanilla extract to your barrel-aged bourbons, whiskey, and rum cocktails with notes of chocolate, cinnamon for a whole new depth of flavor and taste.

Barbeque and grilling

Add a little vanilla extract to your meat marinades, dips, and/or sauces. This brings out a very rich and complex flavor in your marinades and glazes.

Tomato sauce

Adding a splash of vanilla extract in savory dishes and sauces like tomato sauce helps balance its tangy taste and makes its flavor a lot more complex because of the vanilla hint.

Craft coffee drink

Instead of using table sugar for your morning coffee or tea, try using vanilla sugar or extract. In this way, you are cutting down on your sugar intake without missing out on deliciousness.


The sweet scent of vanilla is just what you need to complement your smoothies especially the green ones. Smoothies that have cinnamon or pumpkin go perfect with the warm and comforting flavor of vanilla extract.


In this article, we answered the question “can drinking vanilla extract hurt you?”, and what are the uses of vanilla other than baking along with the health benefits of vanilla.=


Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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