How much vanilla extract to use? (+3 ingredients)

In this article, we will answer the question “How much vanilla extract to use?”, and how to make vanilla extract at home?

How much vanilla extract to use?

Vanilla Bean Equivalent to:Vanilla ExtractVanilla Bean paste Ground Vanilla BeansVanilla Powder
1/4 Whole Vanilla Bean¼ tbsp½ – ¾ tsp½ tbsp½ tsp
1/2 Whole Vanilla Bean½ tbsp1 tsp – 1 ½ tsp¾ tsp1 tsp 
1 Whole Vanilla Bean1 tbsp2-3 tsp1 1/2 tsp2 tsp

How to cut, open, scrape and use a vanilla bean

Things you’ll need

  • 1 Vanilla bean
  • 1 Sharp knife
  • 1 Cutting board


Take the beans out of the vial and place them on a cutting board on their flat side such that the curled tip is pointing to the left of the cutting board.

Right below the curled tip of the vanilla bean, point the tip of the knife right in the middle.

Using your left pointer finger and thumb, drag down the knife carefully so that the bottom of the vanilla bean is intact while the top is sliced

Pull apart the skin while holding the tip of the vanilla bean with your pointer finger and thumb. Place your knife in the middle such that It is at a right angle to the bean. Drag the knife down all the way from the top to the bottom of the bean to scrape it.

How to use a vanilla bean?

This vanilla pod is precious and should never be discarded. Instead, put it in the sugar jar to smell a subtle scent of vanilla whenever you open the jar. Use this vanilla-scented sugar in baked goods, pastries, and your morning cup of joe for extra oomph.

To make the vanilla pod easy to incorporate into your recipe, grind it in a pestle and mortar along with sugar. Alternatively, turn it into a paste by grinding it with water in a spice grinder. This vanilla bean sugar or paste can be added to any recipe that calls for vanilla or sugar.

How to make vanilla extract at home?


  • 5–6 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup (8 ounces; 240ml) 80 proof vodka (or bourbon, brandy, or even rum)
  • 8-ounce bottle or jar with a tight seal


  1. Slit open the vanilla beans or cut the caviar into small pieces so that It can fir inside your container easily. Transfer the beans to a bottle or jar.
  2. Pour vodka into this container using a funnel. The vanilla beans should be completely submerged. Give it a shake.
  1. Let this jar sit in a cool place away from direct sunlight or heat from the stove. It can be sued after 8 weeks of resting period. But at least 6 months are recommended for the best flavor. Storage above 12 months is perfect. Do not forget to shake the jar once every week or every 2 weeks during resting.
  1. Keep replenishing the jar with more vodka as you begin to start using your vanilla extract. Shake before use and after refilling it with vodka. If you do not have enough vodka to submerge the beans, remove the beans as they can develop slime If not fully covered.
  1. Unused aged vanilla extract lasts quite a long time. If you removed the beans from the extract, They will stay fresh indefinitely. The refilling has a limit, as the beans will lose some of their scent, intensity, and flavor after each refill. 

So you will need to replace the beans If you feel your vanilla extract is not fragrant enough. It is recommended to replace the beans after 1 year of refilling and use.

Other FAQs about Vanilla Extract which you may be interested in.

What happens when adding vanilla extract to the beer?

How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last?

What is the difference between vanilla extract and essence?

Vanilla extract is a concoction of vanilla beans in water and ethyl alcohol. During the process, the vanillin, the compound responsible for vanilla flavor,  gets absorbed into the alcohol. 

In the US, the standard for vanilla extract is 35% alcohol and 13.35 ounces (380 grams) of vanilla beans per gallon (3.8 liters) in the final product, according to the FDA. 

On the other hand, vanilla essence is composed of water, ethanol, propylene glycol, emulsifiers, and artificial flavors and colors. Hence, vanilla extract is more natural and has a more intense flavor than processed vanilla essence.

Can you substitute imitation vanilla flavor for pure vanilla extract?

Replacing vanilla extract with vanilla essence will yield noticeable flavor changes in your food product. The difference is striking for no-cook or low heat recipes like puddings, custards, pastry creams, and icings. 

In baked goods, the difference won’t be as striking. Plus vanilla essence is used twice as much as the vanilla extract due to mild flavor.


In this article, we answered the question “How much vanilla extract to use?”, and how to make vanilla extract at home?


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.