Make vanilla sugar

Vanilla sugar is super simple, just add table sugar to vanilla beans and wait a few weeks. An occasional shake helps expose all the sugar crystals to vanilla goodness. Vanilla speckled sugar makes a great compliment to a homemade vanilla extract gift box — and it can be made from “waste” vanilla beans.

Here are three vanilla sugar recipes:

  1. I always put sugar in empty vanilla bean packaging. There’s a bunch of great vanilla flavor stuck to the bag — especially if the beans were vacuum packed. Shown here on the left.
  2. Beans already used to make extract still have plenty of flavor to make vanilla sugar. Dry post-extract beans for a few days, then cover them with sugar in a zip-top bag. Shown here on the right.
  3. You can also use whole or chopped new vanilla beans, but method 1 and 2 are more economical.

Remove the beans from the sugar before using. I find the best way is to put it through a colander and shake.

8 comments

  1. What do you use vanilla sugar for?

  2. What do you use vanilla sugar for? Thanks!

  3. A more appropriate question, Tracy, would be “what DON’T you use vanilla sugar for?” Seriously, vanilla sugar is useful stuff. I usually just stick spent beans down in my sugar canister and flavor/scent ALL of my sugar with them. That sugar gets used in everything, including priming my homebrew for bottle conditioning!

  4. I let my beans dry for a few days and put them in with the sugar, but when I went to check the sugar, it was kind of clumpy like there was still some moisture in the bag. I know the vanilla sugar I got from Penzey’s was the same, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to dry it out a little more, or if I just have to try to use it up really fast. (I used a whole 5 lb. bag of sugar).

  5. Sounds like a great sugar to use in home brewed root beer. I can’t stand the alcohol-based vanilla extracts, nor the fake stuff.

    I do like the flavor of A&W root beer, which supposedly uses aged vanilla. Wouldn’t mind trying to replicate their recipe. The pre-made root beer extracts just don’t do it for me.

  6. What ratio of beans to sugar would you use? Does it change if the beans were previously used to make extract?

  7. Hi Elle – I don;t use a specific ratio, I just add sugar until it look right. Sometimes it’s too strong and needs to be diluted, sometimes it’s too weak and needs a second round of beans.

    Here’s a great tip: use a colander to separate the sugar and beans.

  8. You say it’s more economical to use beans after they’ve been used to make extract.

    What about the other way round? Make vanilla sugar with whole beans, then cut up for extract? Is there a difference?

    I expect a whole bean is rather easier to separate from a bag of sugar than macerated, eviscerated and chopped post-extract beans – but if you do the sugar first, are you compromising the flavour of your extract?

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