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How to make Vanilla Sugar

vanilla beans in sugar

One of the tastiest things you can keep in your kitchen is vanilla sugar. With the sweetness of sugar and the flavor of vanilla, it is good on oatmeal, on fruit and is delicious in tea. It is even better when substituted for plain sugar in baked goods, because almost every single one – with the possible exception of some savory items – can benefit from the boost of flavor, either in the batter/dough or sprinkled on top.

To make it, all you need are some vanilla beans and a container of sugar (I use a large plastic tupperware-type box for mine). The vanilla beans can be fresh, but making vanilla sugar is a great way to give new life to used beans. Once you have taken them out of your custard/sauce, pat them gently dry and place them directly in the container of sugar. Any vanilla specks that have not been scraped out can be scraped into the sugar. After a few hours, the vanilla beans will be completely dry and a quick shake of the container will break up any clumps of sugar that formed. The same process applies with fresh beans, which should be split before you add them to the sugar. The sugar can them be stored indefinitely, replenished with fresh sugar or additional vanilla beans as necessary to make more.

Some specialty stores carry it (I once found some at Ikea), but making the sugar is quick, easy and inexpensive. You can always replenish your supply, ensuring that you have enough for any baking project, and you’ll never have to feel like you’re “wasting” a vanilla bean after it has been used to infuse a custard, pudding or ice cream.

vanilla sugar

Vanilla Sugar
1 vanilla bean (spent or fresh)
1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar

Add vanilla bean – if using a fresh vanilla bean, split the bean – and the sugar into an airtight container. Shake occasionally to combine. Replenish as necessary with additional vanilla beans and sugar.

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  • moonablaze
    May 24, 2007

    vanilla sugar is pretty much the best thing ever. try using it to make shortbread or sugar cookies… AMAZING.
    for the holidays, I make little baskets with jars of vanilla sugar, cinnamon sugar and cookies to give as gifts. they always get rave reviews.

    vanilla splenda also works pretty well for those watching their weight or who are diabetic.

  • May
    May 25, 2007

    Yes! I too make my own vanilla sugar. I split the pod, disperse the tiny flecks in the sugar and then bury the pod deep in the sugar. Your sugar not only takes on the heavenly aroma but the visual clue that your sweetener is extra special!

  • Swan
    May 31, 2007

    Wow, so simple, but so smart! I can’t wait to use my next vanilla bean! Thanks for the tip!

  • yolande luka
    November 6, 2009

    i have been searching site on to buy/make vanilla sugar. i will be tring this recipe. thank you

  • yolande luka
    November 6, 2009

    how long will the sugar take for fdlavor to develop.

  • Thourehen
    March 25, 2010


    If youre a seller on ebay, have you ever listed an item for sale and it just not show up in your active selling or on ebay anywhere? I listed an item yesterday and have yet to see it at all. any suggestions why or advice on what to do?

  • julie lindroth
    May 27, 2010

    This is very interesting using granulated sugar. I am Swedish and was always taught to use powdered sugar, by my Swedish Mamma. I was taught one cup powdered sugar with the vanilla bean split open and buried in the sugar. Must wait 2-3 weeks before using.

  • Serinitee
    October 1, 2011

    You think this would work with brown sugar? Just saw a recipe for Pumpkin Donuts on BunsInMyOven’s and I’d like to experiment…

    Maybe brown sugar would be too moist, but I’m sure it would still be tasty to substitute vanilla sugar for the regular sugar in the recipe

  • Djfig
    November 30, 2012

    Can you make vanilla sugar with pure vanilla extract?

  • Warwick Newport
    September 3, 2015

    I’ve never even heard of vanilla sugar before. I’m gonna give this a go

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