Vanilla Sugar

Total Time

Prep: 5 min. + standing


2 cups

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
Vanilla sugar isn’t just for sprinkling. I stir it into angel food cake batter, cookie dough, rice pudding and fruit sauces, too. —Jackie Termont, Ruther Glen, Virginia


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean


  1. Place sugar in an airtight container. Split vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape seeds from the center into sugar; add bean. Seal container and shake until blended. Let stand, covered, at least 1 week. Use as regular sugar, discarding bean as it loses its flavor.

Vanilla Sugar Tips

What is vanilla sugar?

Vanilla-scented sugar is simply granulated sugar infused with vanilla beans. It’s an ingredient that's widely available for purchase throughout Europe, especially Germany and Poland. In the U.S., finding it in a retail shop is a little more difficult. But there is no need to purchase it when you can easily make it at home.

How long can I store vanilla sugar?

Homemade vanilla sugar can sit in your pantry almost indefinitely. Over time, the vanilla pod will dry out and it won’t add any additional flavor. You can remove it, but it’s not going to harm the sugar if you leave it in the jar.

What do you do with vanilla sugar?

While stirring vanilla sugar into tea or coffee may be your first thought, there are numerous ways to incorporate vanilla sugar into your baked goods. Look for recipes where the vanilla flavor can really come through; this means you’ll probably want to avoid chocolate recipes as it will cover up the delicate flavor of the sugar. Some recipes that allow the vanilla sugar to shine are Shortbread Cookies, Angel Food Cake, and Crème Brulee.

Are vanilla powder and vanilla sugar the same?

While they sound similar, vanilla powder and vanilla sugar are two different products. Vanilla powder, in its purest form, is ground dehydrated vanilla beans. It’s a great substitute for vanilla extract and has a very powerful vanilla flavor. Just be sure to check the ingredient list if you purchase this product. Many vanilla powders are mixed with sugar and are intended for tea or coffee, not baking.

Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla sugar?

Vanilla sugar will give your baked goods a delicate, subtle vanilla flavor but it’s not going to be intense. If you want to bump up the vanilla, go ahead and add a little vanilla extract.
Research contributed by James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor, Culinary

Nutrition Facts

1 teaspoon: 16 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 4g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.