4 Ways to Use Ground Vanilla Beans

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Have you stumbled across this ingredient? Ground vanilla beans are exactly what they sound like — whole vanilla beans, processed into a slightly moist powder. Able to withstand higher heat than vanilla extract, this is a forgiving and versatile ingredient you’ll want to keep in your pantry! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Substitute ground vanilla beans for vanilla extract, but use half as much. They’re especially suited to recipes that will be exposed to high heat for prolonged periods, such as cookies, rice pudding, or tapioca, or if you just want pretty specks of vanilla in the finished product, as in an ice cream or sabayon.
  • Add a teaspoon to ground coffee before brewing. Most off-the-shelf flavored coffees use artificial flavors and extracts, but when you do it yourself, you know exactly what’s in your cup of joe. Add cream and sugar to really bring out the vanilla flavor.
  • Make beautiful and super-easy DIY gifts of vanilla sugar or vanilla fleur de sel. Use a quarter teaspoon of ground vanilla beans per cup of sugar or salt, mix to combine thoroughly, and funnel into half-pint jars. Stick a label on the side, add a pretty ribbon and a gift tag, and you’re golden.
  • Did you miss the lobster and vanilla craze of the mid-to-late 90s? No, I’m not making this up, and don’t worry, it’s never too late to catch up! Substitute ground vanilla beans for the scraped vanilla bean in any of these recipes: Roast Lobster with Vanilla Sauce, Savory Lobster Bread Puddings with Vanilla Chive Sauce, or Lobster Ravioli with Vanilla Butter Sauce.

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