The Best Vanilla Extract

Skip the artificial stuff and go natural

Cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles.
There are few desserts that don't require this very important ingredient.Unsplash/Yonko Kilasi

While artificial vanilla flavoring is a bit more economical, nothing beats the taste of natural vanilla. There’s a reason it’s a costly little product, the process of harvesting vanilla beans is no easy feat. A single dash of vanilla extract is enough to add that creamy, familiar flavor that makes cookies, cakes, and ice cream so delicious. Whether blended into batters or drizzled into drinks, if you want an intense taste of real vanilla, here are a few of our favorite brands.

Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, 4 ounces
Take chocolate chip cookies to new heights with this full-bodied option.Nielsen-Massey

Bakers will recognize the iconic Nielsen-Massey branding right away. In business since the early 1900s, this vanilla extract is known for its quality and consistency. Available in several interesting blends such as Tahitian, Mexican, and Fairtrade, if you’ve never tried this brand before, we urge you to start with the original Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to get a sense for the purest flavors.

McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract, 16 Fl Oz
Not just for desserts, a small splash gives seafood dishes like lobster and mahi mahi a boost of complexity.McCormick

It’s the kind your mom and grandma used to use. The McCormick brand goes back to 1889 and has been a trusted source for all things spiced and seasoned. Rich in color and flavor, this vanilla extract is praised for its notes of dried fruit and hints of rum.

Simply Organic Vanilla Extract, Certified Organic | 4 oz
The feel-good choice.Simply Organic

Pure, pure, pure. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly product that boasts no GMOs, no sugar, no fake color, certified organic, and certified Kosher—this is it. Not only do its production practices follow rigorous standards, this brand is committed to helping millions of food insecure individuals by providing support to make organic food more accessible through its Simply Organic Giving Fund.

Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co. Traditional Gourmet Mexican Vanilla Extract, Medium, 8.4 Ounce
Add a global taste to your pantry this unique option.Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co.

Produced with vanilla beans from Veracruz, Mexico, the Canosa family-owned vanilla has a toasty, bold flavor profile. FDA certified and zero additives to speak of, go beyond desserts and try adding it to enhance your favorite breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles.

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