Vanilla Sugar Made From Scratch

Vanilla Sugar Made From Scratch

Vanilla Sugar is a common baking ingredient all around Europe. It usually gets used instead of vanilla extract. Unfortunately it is not available in every country. Vanilla sugar is a great way to add flavor to your bakes, coffee, tea and many other dishes an absolute must have during the holidays!

Vanilla sugar is an ingredient that we always have in our pantry ready for the next baking project. It is a very popular ingredient all around Europe. You can imagine how surprised I was when I tried to bake my typical Swiss Christmas cookies in the US 2 years ago and could not find any vanilla sugar in the store! It is funny how little ingredients that are so normal to you are not common in other countries! That is why I love it so much getting to know other cultures and how they cook and bake! I found out that one of my favorite ingredients is only “normal” in European regions and in most other countries it is hard to find. Usually you can only order it online or find it in specialty stores for baking there.

Anyways, back then I simply mixed my sugar with vanilla extract. Not the best way to be honest. Adding the extract changes the consistency of the sugar due to the added moisture but also changed the color. Back at home I checked what is in vanilla sugar and started trying to replicate it.

What is vanilla sugar?

Vanilla sugar might sound super fancy but is simply regular white sugar infused with vanilla beans. In Europe it is a common baking ingredient always laying in your pantry. Basically it get used instead of vanilla extract especially in holiday baking.

It is a very special ingredient that can be used in so many ways. Just like vanilla extract it will elevate your recipe with the sweet vanilla flavor.

What makes the homemade version so good?

My family always bought theirs at the store. Ever since I started making a homemade version after my US trip I have not bought a single package at the store anymore.

Want to know why homemade vanilla sugar is better than store-bought? Let me tell you:

  • Ingredients: Making it fresh lets you decide how much vanilla goes into your sugar and what bean gets used.
  • Flavor: Whenever you open your jar of homemade vanilla sugar you get hit with the sweet aroma of vanilla. You never get such a strong smelling.
  • Taste: Just like most homemade versions this just tastes better by far than the store-bought product.
  • Availability: If it is out of stock or you just can not get this wonderful ingredient then this will be your solution! No more stressing out trying to find some!
  • Basically effortless: The process of making this tasty ingredient could not be any easier.
Vanilla Beans

What you need for vanilla sugar

This recipe only needs two easy available ingredients:

  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is typically used and also brings out the vanilla flavor the most.
  • Vanilla Bean

Choose the right vanilla bean:

There are so many different vanilla beans to choose from. All ranging in source of origin, flavor and cost.

Two very popular choices are Madagascar (a dark, smoky flavor) and Tahitian (rich floral flavor) vanilla beans. The good quality ones we can get at the store here are the Madagascar Bourbon-Vanilla beans which are the ones I am using.

You can use both grade A and grade B vanilla beans for this recipe. The grade B vanilla beans are typically used for extracting. The downside of the grade A vanilla beans is that they contain more moisture and therefore can clump up your sugar over time. Just like with brown sugar you simply have to shake your jar to loosen it again.

Equipment needed:

  • Food processor: A food processor is not required for the success of this recipe. However, it makes the process easier. Alternatively you can use a blender, a chopper, a coffee grinder or whatever else you have that can pulse together the two ingredients. If you do not have any of the above you can go with a whisk and simply mix the sugar and vanilla seeds that way. The flavor will be not as good that way tough.
  • Jar or container: You can use any container that you use for the storage for normal sugar. It is important that the container is tightly sealed to preserve the flavor and freshness. The jar I used in the photo had space for about 5dl

How to make vanilla sugar?

This recipe is super easy and fast to make. With only a few steps this wonderful ingredient will be ready in less than 10 minutes. There are 2 easy ways to make this at home:

  • By hand
  • With a food processor

All you have to do is mix the 2 ingredients together. This is how it’s done:

Place your sugar in a food processor or a bowl.

Next cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Scrape out the vanilla seeds using the back of a small paring knife. Reserve the empty vanilla pods.

Add the seeds to the sugar.

Depending on what technique you use pulse or mix the mixture until the seeds are broken up and well incorporated with the sugar. When using a food processor be careful to not pulse the mixture to long, else you will have powdered sugar.

Add everything to a jar with a good seal.

Now you can cut the vanilla pots in half and submerge them in the sugar mixture. This is not a must. However, I highly recommend it as it intensifies the flavor over time and we do not want to throw away the expensive vanilla pod.

Close the jar and give it a quick shake.

You can instantly use the vanilla sugar. The longer you let it sit the better the flavor will be. A wait time of about 2 weeks will give you the best result. Keep the sugar in a dark cool spot.

Storage and shelf life:

Vanilla sugar can be kept indefinitely when stored in an airtight container or jar. in fact, the vanilla flavor will get stronger the longer you let the mixture sit just like it does with vanilla extract. For the best flavor, allow the sugar to infuse for at least 2 weeks.

The good thing about homemade vanilla sugar is that you can keep filling it up. As your supply diminishes you can top the jar off with new sugar and mix. Whenever you have new vanilla beans add them to the jar and submerge them in the sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Recipe Notes:

Can I reuse the vanilla pots for homemade vanilla extract?

Yes, you can. Instead of adding the pods in the sugar you can simply submerge them in alcohol to make vanilla extract. Here is a post explaining you how to do that. However, as there are no more seeds in the pods it is recommended to wait at least 12 months. Without the seeds the alcohol will need that long to extract the vanilla flavor.

Can I use a different kind of sugar instead of granulated sugar?

You can try different kinds of sugar. If you choose a coarser sugar such as coconut sugar, then make sure you process it so it is much finer as smaller granules do absorb more vanilla flavor. I have only tested granulated and coconut sugar. If you try any others I would love to hear how it went. However, I do not recommend using brown sugar as it does have a very strong taste of its own.

Can I Make Vanilla Sugar with Vanilla Paste or Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla paste or extract both would add moisture and color to your sugar. Especially the moisture will affect your recipe and might even completely mess up your baked good. I strongly recommend using only the beans.

Can I make a gift out of it?

Absolutely! If you love thoughtful homemade gifts this will be something to put on your list! It is so simple but will improve so many recipes. Whoever you gift it to will love it! I recommend letting it sit for at least 2 weeks so the vanilla flavor will hit them when they open their gift.

How Can I Use Vanilla Sugar?

What is all the fuss about it tough? How can you use vanilla sugar?

There are so many ways to use vanilla sugar. You can use it in basically any recipe you want to get some flavor inm.

  • European recipes: As it is a commonly used ingredient in Europe just search for European recipes. Especially baked goods will definitely use our favorite flavor ingredient! There will be many Christmas Cookies coming on the blog soon that do use vanilla sugar.
  • Sweetener: Use it as a sweetener for your coffee or tea.
  • 1:1 replacement for regular granulated sugar: You can easily replace normal granulated sugar with the vanilla sugar in any recipe as long as the prominent flavor is vanilla. If a strong flavor is used that would overpower the vanilla it is not worth wasting your special ingredient. Vanilla beans are not cheap!
Vanilla Sugar

Homemade Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Sugar is a common baking ingredient all around Europe. It usually gets used instead of vanilla extract. Unfortunately it is not available in every country. Vanilla sugar is a great way to add flavor to your bakes, coffee or tea and an absolute must have during the holidays!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine European
Servings 1 jar
Calories 1572 kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor (optional)
  • Jar

Ingredients
 
 

  • 400 g granulated sugar
  • 1-2 Vanilla beans

Instructions
 

There are 2 different ways to make vanilla sugar at home. You can use the food processor method or if you do not have one use a whisk.

    Food processor/mixer method:

    • Place your sugar in a food processor or a bowl.
    • Next cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Scrape out the vanilla seeds using the back of a small paring knife. Reserve the empty vanilla pods.
    • Add the seeds to the sugar.
    • Then pulse the mixture on low until the seeds are broken up and well incorporated with the sugar. Be careful to not pulse the mixture to long, else you will have powdered sugar.
    • Add everything to a jar or container with a good seal.
    • Now you can cut the vanilla pots in half and submerge them in the sugar mixture. This is not a must. However, I highly recommend it as it intensifies the flavor over time and we do not want to throw away the expensive vanilla pod.
    • Close the jar and give it a quick shake.
    • You can instantly use the vanilla sugar. The longer you let it sit the better the flavor will be. A wait time of about 2 weeks will give you the best result. Keep the sugar in a dark cool spot.

    Whisk method:

    • Put your sugar into a bowl.
    • Next cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Scrape out the vanilla seeds using the back of a small paring knife. Reserve the empty vanilla pods.
    • Add the seeds to the sugar.
    • With a whisk whisk the mixture until the seeds are well incorporated with the sugar.
    • Add everything to a jar or container with a good seal.
    • Now you can cut the vanilla pots in half and submerge them in the sugar mixture. This is not a must. However, I highly recommend it as it intensifies the flavor over time and we do not want to throw away the expensive vanilla pod.
    • Close the jar and give it a quick shake.
    • You can instantly use the vanilla sugar. The longer you let it sit the better the flavor will be. A wait time of about 2 weeks will give you the best result. Keep the sugar in a dark cool spot.

    Notes

    • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is typically used and also brings out the vanilla flavor the most. You can try different kinds of sugar. If you choose a coarser sugar such as coconut sugar, then make sure you process it so it is much finer as smaller granules do absorb more vanilla flavor. I have only tested granulated and coconut sugar. If you try any others I would love to hear how it went. However, I do not recommend using brown sugar as it does have a very strong taste of its own.
     
    • Storage and shelf life: Vanilla sugar can be kept indefinitely when stored in an airtight container or jar. in fact, the vanilla flavor will get stronger the longer you let the mixture sit just like it does with vanilla extract. For the best flavor, allow the sugar to infuse for at least 2 weeks.
     
    • Reusing: The good thing about homemade vanilla sugar is that you can keep filling it up. As your supply diminishes you can top the jar off with new sugar and mix. Whenever you have new vanilla beans add them to the jar and submerge them in the sugar.

    Your Notes

    Nutrition

    Calories: 1572kcalCarbohydrates: 402gFat: 2gSodium: 4mgPotassium: 8mgSugar: 399gCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
    Keyword Easy, Homemade, Quick
    Did You Try This Recipe?I can’t wait for you to try this recipe. I’d love for you to leave a star rating. You can also share a picture with me by mentioning @ohsweetcultureshock or tag #ohsweetcultureshock!
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