How to Know Which Vanilla Extract To Use

How to Know Which Vanilla Extract To Use

One of the most common questions I am asked is which vanilla should I use. There are many vanilla extracts to choose from, Watkins now has five types of vanilla; pure vanilla, baking vanilla, clear vanilla, vanilla bean paste, and alcohol-free vanilla. Keep reading to help you determine the best vanilla to use in your recipes.

Here’s a handy chart explaining how to know which vanilla extract to use depending on what you are baking or the recipe you are making. Below you can learn more about each one in more detail.

Which Vanilla Extract is best for your recipe?


When To Use Pure Vanilla Extract.

For recipes that do not require high heat or freezing use pure vanilla extract.  Pure vanilla has the highest alcohol content (35%) and some of the flavor is lost along with the alcohol when it evaporates. Some uses for pure vanilla are in icing or frosting, add it to fresh fruit, berries and fruit salad, uncooked desserts, chocolates, candies, and in cooked puddings or sauces after cooking. When used for baking cream the pure vanilla with the shortening or butter portion of the ingredients, helps prevent the flavor from volatilizing in the baking process. Watkins offers you both organic pure vanilla extract and pure vanilla extract in a variety of sizes to fit your needs.

Watkins new baking vanilla extract

When To Use Original Baking Vanilla or Watkins Orginal Double Strength Vanilla

For almost all your recipes Watkins Baking Vanilla is your best choice because it’s the most versatile and a great value. This is Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla which has just been renamed. Watkins hopes the new name All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla will reduce the confusion, especially for people who are just being introduced to our products. This vanilla has been the home baker’s favorite for over 100 years so I don’t want my current customers to be confused either!

Watkins brews a pure vanilla extract and then fortifies it with vanillin and other ingredients to retain the flavor even when your recipe calls for heat or freezing. This also makes it double strength so it’s more economical and you’ll save money by only using half the extract called for in most recipes. The very low alcohol content of 8-1/4% helps make this vanilla more heat and freeze-resistant so you can enjoy the real vanilla flavor in your frozen desserts, baking, and cooking. Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla is available in a variety of sizes to suit your usage needs.


Watkins new clear baking vanilla

When To Use Clear Vanilla

For recipes that need to be pure white such as cakes, icings, meringues, and whipped cream use clear vanilla. It has the same bake-proof, freeze-proof, double-strength flavor as Watkins original baking vanilla. This imitation flavor is the vanilla often used for white wedding cakes.

When to Use Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla bean paste can be used in equal measure in place of pure vanilla extract. Vanilla paste has a syrup-like consistency and is a blend of vanilla extract and vanilla seeds mixed into a paste. Vanilla bean paste is less expensive and easier to use than vanilla beans. Perfect for vanilla cakes, ice cream, custards, and desserts with black flecks of vanilla bean seeds.

Watkins vanilla bean paste and alcohol-free vanilla

When to Use Alcohol-Free Vanilla

Alcohol-free extracts are made with glycerin instead of alcohol; you won’t be able to taste the difference. You may notice that alcohol-free extract doesn’t have as strong a scent straight from the bottle. If you or someone you are preparing food for has an allergy to alcohol this is a good choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vanilla.

Is Watkins Vanilla Extract Gluten Free? Yes, the alcohol used in all Watkins extracts and flavors including vanilla is sugarcane ethanol.

What is the alcohol content of Watkins Vanilla extract? Pure vanilla has 35% alcohol, Original Baking Vanilla 8.25%, and Clear Baking Vanilla 8.75%.

How is vanilla extract made? Vanilla extract is made by percolating or soaking chopped, cured vanilla pods in a mixture of alcohol and water.  Next, the extract is aged to develop optimum flavor. The alcohol helps to fully extract the flavor and increases pure vanilla extract’s shelf life.

Can I get Watkins vanilla extract by the gallon? Yes, you can purchase pure vanilla extract, original baking vanilla, and clear baking vanilla all in gallon-sized bottles.

Can I get organic vanilla? Yes,  pure vanilla extract, original baking vanilla, vanilla bean paste, and alcohol-free vanilla all come in organic versions.

How many calories are in vanilla? One teaspoon of vanilla has approximately 10 to 12 calories and 0.53g of carbohydrates.

See All Watkins Vanilla Here!

I hope you found this helpful, if you have any questions about vanilla please don’t hesitate to ask! In order to be completely transparent, you should know I’m an Independent Watkins Consultant and when you purchase through my links I’ll earn a commission. Thanks in advance, your support is very much appreciated.




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1 Comment

  • mike
    26 May 2023

    Comment what vanilla do u use making home made t ce cream?

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