When it comes to baking, one of the most popular and versatile ingredients is vanilla extract. But did you know that you can easily make your own vanilla bean powder?
Vanilla bean powder is made by grinding up dried vanilla beans. It has a very strong vanilla flavour and you can use it in all the same applications that would call for vanilla extract.
Because vanilla is one of my favourite smells and flavours of all time, I love this easy and healthy recipe for Homemade Vanilla Bean Powder. And I am so excited to share this recipe with you too!
✨ Why Make Your Own Vanilla Powder
If you’re a fan of vanilla, you’re going to love this homemade Vanilla Bean Powder recipe.
Most shop-bought vanilla extracts contain sugar, alcohol in the form of ethanol, and are diluted in water – including those labelled “pure vanilla extract”.
Even shop-bought vanilla powder will have added cornstarch (maltodextrin) making it very difficult to find vanilla products that you can enjoy on a candida diet.
This is probably the number one reason to make your own vanilla powder, but that’s not all! Here are some more of the benefits of making your own vanilla bean powder:
- Making your own powder can give your vanilla pods a far longer shelf life. In powder form you can store it for months or even years.
- It is zero waste. Because the recipe calls for the entire vanilla pod to be used, it is completely waste-free.
- It has a stronger flavour than vanilla extract, so you can use less of it.
- You can enjoy the various health benefits of vanilla. For one, vanilla bean powder is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is also a great source of antioxidants, fibre and micronutrients. Finally, vanilla bean powder can help to boost your mood and fight stress. This is thanks to the natural compound vanillin, which has been shown to have antidepressant effects!
- It is one of the most diet-flexible ingredients as it is
- The vanilla bean powder can be used as a substitute for any recipe that calls for vanilla extract or essence and will enhance a number of dishes – see the end of this post for some tasty recipe suggestions.
- And finally, it makes your house smell amazing!
I will admit it can be a little expensive to make, but then again so is the shop bought stuff which is filled with unfavourable added ingredients. Also, its potency means that a little goes a long way.
So, if you're looking for a powerful flavour boost in your baking, then consider making up a batch of homemade vanilla bean powder.
This recipe is as straight forward as they come as it only uses one ingredient – vanilla bean pods! When shopping for your pods, be sure to select Fairtrade and ethically sourced pods.
The method for making homemade vanilla bean powder is so easy and is as follows:
1. Dry Out the Pods
Dry out whole vanilla pods in either the oven or a dehydrator. It’s better to cook the beans slowly on a low heat - I recommend 50°C or 120 °F which will take a few hours. This step is important as you don’t want to risk burning the beans and compromising the flavour.
As a bonus, when drying out the beans your home will be filled with the lingering sweet, soft aroma of vanilla. Heavenly!
2. Break the Pods up Into Small Pieces
The next step is to break your beans up into smaller pieces. This is to allow them to move around the food processor more easily and not get stuck in the blades.
The beans will still be slightly bendy straight out of the oven so you will need to allow them to cool completely before you try and blend them. If you have taken the beans out of the oven to cool and come to realise that the pods aren’t in fact dry and brittle enough, don’t worry, you can just pop them back in the oven for a little while longer.
3. Blend Into a Fine Powder
Grind your dried vanilla pods in a coffee grinder, with a pestel and mortar or in a small food processor until it has the consistency of a fine powder. I can blend as few as 2 vanilla bean pods in my nutribullet. Just be sure to do this in short-sharp bursts and not to over-blend.
4. Storing Your Vanilla Bean Powder
Best practice is to store homemade vanilla bean powder in an airtight glass container, in a cool dry place. It will keep for up to 12 months similarly to your other dried herbs and spices. Just remember, do NOT refrigerate it. Storing in a glass jar over a plastic container is important as the plastic will tend to absorb some of the delicious vanilla flavour.
It is also a good idea to let your vanilla bean powder “breathe” sporadically. If you are using the vanilla bean powder semi-regularly, this is happening naturally every time you open the jar. But be sure to enable this every couple of weeks if not.
Storing the vanilla bean powder correctly in this way will ensure that the powder will stay fresh and aromatic for as long as possible.
For vanilla pods to stay fresh for as long as possible you need to keep them away from air and moisture. Packaged vanilla pods are usually stored in vacuum sealed packets for a reason, which is to keep out the air. You should keep them in a cool dark place, such as your pantry, until needed and if possible, avoid storing your fresh vanilla bean pods unnecessarily.
Excessive heat or cold is not good for vanilla pods. Vanilla is one of the few ingredients that does NOT like being stored in a fridge or freezer, as it can grow mould in this environment.
How Do I Know if My Vanilla Beans Have Gone Off?
If you see a white crystals on your fresh vanilla beans, this does not necessarily mean that they have gone off. Vanilla pods can grow a substance called vanillin crystals on the outside of the pod, which is perfectly safe, edible, and delicious. If, however, the beans smell “off” or you can see what is clearly mould over the pod then you should throw them away.
Can I Make Vanilla Bean Powder Out of Empty Pods?
The short answer is yes. If you’re using scraped vanilla pod seeds in a recipe that calls for a more intense vanilla hit such as in baked goods, be sure to save the used pod shells as you can then combine them with whole pods to bulk up your homemade vanilla powder.
The pods still contain so much flavour that it would be a crime to waste them! Use a ratio of 3:1, so for every 3 empty vanilla pods you use, you want to include at least 1 whole pod (with seeds) as well.
Note that to store the empty vanilla pods to use in powder, you will need to dry them out first too.
✨ Substituting Vanilla Bean Powder in Recipes
If you’re following a recipe that calls for vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, use the following substitution:
½ teaspoon of whole vanilla bean powder is the equivalent to 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
✨ Recipe Ideas
So now you have your deliciously pure, fine, zero waste vanilla bean powder. Here are some ideas for how you can use your Homemade Vanilla Bean Powder:
- To flavour plant milk
- To make chia puddings
- In baking such as cakes, cookies and pancakes
- Use in oatmeal
- Add to homemade chocolate
- Add to your homemade granola mix
- Use in no-bake energy balls
- Add to smoothies and hot drinks
- To add a sweeter flavour to plain diary-free yogurt without the need for sugar
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate and leave a comment below, and tag @anti_candida_kitchen on Instagram with the hashtag #anticandidakitchen. Happy cooking!
Homemade Pure Vanilla Bean Powder
- Fairtrade vanilla pods 100%
- Bake in the oven for 3 hours at 50°C. The pods are cooked once they appear dry and brittle.
- Allow the baked pods to cool completely. Allowing the pods to properly cool is essential as any moisture remaining in the pods will make it difficult to grind as well as affect the shelf life of the powder.
- Break the pods into small pieces and then grind into a fine powder using a pestel and mortar, coffee grinder, or high speed blender. I was able to grind as little as two pods in my Nutribullet, however, this needed to be done in short bursts.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to one year as you would other dried herbs and spices. Do NOT refrigerate.
½ teaspoon of pure vanilla powder is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract