What’s the Best Type of Vanilla Extract?

updated May 1, 2019
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Q: I love to bake, and vanilla extract is a necessary (and wonderful) ingredient in almost every recipe. I always use pure vanilla extract (the artificial smells plastic-y to me), but I’m wondering what the best brand and type (Mexican? Madagascar Bourbon?) is for the highest-quality vanilla?

Is it worth it to splurge on something like Nielsen-Massey — or will Trader Joe’s or McCormick taste pretty much the same and give similar results in baked goods?

Sent by Katy

Editor: I’m with you on using pure vanilla extract over the artificial stuff; it’s simply much better quality. We talked to some baking experts last year, and they also felt very much the same about using pure vanilla extract.

Kitchn readers, do you have a favorite brand or type of vanilla extract? Do you think it’s something worth splurging on for higher quality?