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Challenge Accepted: Vanilla Bean Paste vs. Vanilla Extract

Ding, ding, ding! 

Have you noticed there is difference between Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Vanilla Ice Cream? It has to do with the difference between vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract. Even though vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract are interchangeable for one another in almost all recipes – with a conversion of 1:1 – don’t be fooled! Vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract are not the same. In fact, their distinguishing characteristics make them extremely unique in design. 

Round 1:

Vanilla bean paste is known for its visual flair and is a blend of vanilla bean powder and vanilla bean extract. It has the consistency of glue and was introduced in the 1990s. The paste actually consists of seeds that are scraped from vanilla bean pods which explains the black specs in vanilla bean ice cream, vanilla bean Frappuccino’s, and plenty of other desserts. Vanilla bean paste offers a classic, rich, authentic vanilla taste and therefore should be used in recipes where it is the star ingredient and does not have to mix well with others. It is particularly great for frostings, milkshakes, custards, and ice cream – where it can take center stage and sweep you off your feet. 

Round 2:

Vanilla extract is a dark liquid and is the most popular vanilla option because it is the easiest to find and a usual household pantry item. It’s created by macerating vanilla beans in a mixture of water and alcohol. Vanilla extract provides an intense flavor and, contrary to vanilla bean paste, has the ability to distribute well in batters and mixes. Vanilla extract is best used in simpler baking recipes, such as chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cakes, where it does its job from backstage and the black specs are not necessarily crucial.  

Round 3:

Overall, their differences in ability have proven them to be equally important in the kitchen. They resemble two peas in a pod and are both “household pantry favorites.” Be sure to pick yours up today through Native Vanilla!

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