Spice Mixes | Tips and Tricks

How to Make Vanilla Sugar {Vanillin Zucker}

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Vanilla sugar is a versatile ingredient that is popular in Europe. It adds amazing flavor to baked goods and is incredibly easy to make.

Vanilla sugar in storage jars.Pin

Although you can buy vanilla sugar in specialty stores, you will be glad that you made your own. The flavor is so much better than the bought stuff. This recipe will walk you through how to make vanilla sugar at home.

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What is vanilla sugar?

Vanilla sugar is just regular granulated sugar that has been infused with vanilla. As previously stated, it is popular in certain regions of Europe, in Germany it is vanillin zucker, for making cookies, cakes, desserts and all forms of baked goods.

Opened jar of vanilla sugar.Pin

We always bought vanilla sugar. You can find it in gourmet shops and high end grocery stores. Dr. Oetker’s is a very popular brand but it gets increasing difficult to find and is quite expensive. So a few years ago I set out on a mission to make my own. If I had known how easy it is, I never would have bought it.

How can you use vanilla sugar?

Vanilla sugar is perfect in baked goods. In fact, the original recipe for Hildabrötchen contains it and we always used to substitute vanilla extract because vanilla sugar was hard to find. It’s also great to use in your coffee, tea, iced tea or coffee. Use it for pound cakes, angel food cake, vanilla cakes or cupcakes, sugar cookies, shortbreads and the like.

Substitute vanilla sugar in a 1:1 ratio for regular sugar in your favorite recipes. There is no need to reduce the amount of vanilla extract in your recipe. The product will just have more vanilla flavor.

This infused sugar makes a great holiday or hostess gift. Grab some pretty bottles or jars, place a sticker on them and gift them!

What you need

  • sugar
  • vanilla bean pod
Ingredients for vanillin zucker - vanilla, sugar.Pin

How to make it

  1. Slice vanilla bean lengthwise. Open.
  2. With the back of a knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod.
  3. Add vanilla seeds to sugar in a bowl large enough to stir.
  4. Blend the seeds around into the sugar to incorporate. You can use your clean hands, or use gloves. (you can also pulse a few times in a food processor or stir it with a spoon.)
  5. Place the beans into sugar. Store in an airtight container or jar that is air tight. We like to shake the jar for the first few weeks to distribute the moisture in the beans in the sugar so that it doesn’t clump together.
Process photo collage. See details in recipe below.Pin

Sugar can be used immediately but is far superior if left for a month or so to the develop more flavor.

How to store vanilla sugar

Store sugar in a covered container or jar indefinitely. The sugar will last forever, in theory but it will never last too long.

Vanilla sugar in storage jars.Pin

What exactly is a vanilla bean and why is it so expensive?

The vanilla “bean” is actually not a bean. It is the fruit from a specific orchid from the genus Vanilla.

The expense comes from two main factors. This genus of orchid only grows in a few areas of the world, so with the demand so high and supply so limited, the cost is driven up.

The other reason is that the production of this product is very labor intensive. All aspects of the process are done by hand. This drives the price up even further. Here is an interesting article from Bon Appetit.

What type of vanilla bean to use

There are three main types of vanilla beans. They all have slightly different notes of flavor.

  • Madagascar vanilla beans (otherwise known and bourbon vanilla)- rich and creamy (Madagascar produces 80% of the vanilla in the world.)
  • Tahitian vanilla beans – has a slightly floral aroma and sweet fruity flavor
  • Mexican vanilla beans -bolder, smoky flavor

Any of the above vanilla varieties will work. Because the flavors are different, one may work for different applications than another. Opinions are mixed on which is best to use. I have used both Madagascar and Tahitian and found both delightful.

The one thing that I will note is that there are different grades of vanilla as well, grade A and grade B. Grade A is much more costly and is moister than grade B.

It is much easier to incorporate grade B vanilla beans into the sugar. So buy grade B. You save some money and it works even better.

Gold spoon scooping out sugar from jar.Pin

Can you use vanilla paste or extract?

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is that it is way more work to make this vanilla sugar with either. They are both quite moist, so they will make the sugar clump up.

The sugar needs to be spread out on baking sheets and thoroughly dried so that you can store it. Once it dries you can break up any clumps with your hands or with a few pulses of your food processor.

In my environment in upstate NY, the humidity is usually quite high so drying out the sugar is really not practical, although it can be done.

My best advice is to use the whole beans.

Decorative jars for gifting

What to make with this sugar

Jars of infused sugar with pink dish towel.Pin

Make your own homemade vanilla sugar. You’ll save yourself a ton of money and the taste is so much better than commercially produce.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

Binky's signature
Vanilla sugar in canning jar with lid.Pin

How to make Vanilla Sugar {Vanillin Zucker}

Vanilla sugar is a versatile ingredient that is popular in Europe. It adds amazing flavor to baked goods and is incredibly easy to make.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: how to, pantry item
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 8kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans


  • Slice vanilla bean lengthwise.
    2 vanilla beans
  • Open with the back of a knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod.
  • Add seeds to sugar in a container large enough to stir.
    2 cups sugar
  • Work the seeds around into the sugar to incorporate. You can use your clean hands, or use gloves. (you can also pulse a few times in a food processor.)
  • Place the beans shells into sugar.
  • Store in a container or jar that is air tight.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!


Sugar can be used immediately but it is best to let the flavors infuse into the sugar for at least month. I’ve found it is best after 2 months.


Serving: 1teaspoon | Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 2mg | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
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