How to Make Vanilla Sugar

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How to Make Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is expensive to buy, but ridiculously cheap and easy to make. Whip some up for yourself. Then, make more to gift. I’ve included free printable labels that you can use to dress up your jars.

What is Vanilla Sugar?

Vanilla sugar is nothing more than granulated sugar that’s been infused with vanilla beans. It’s a common ingredient in Europe, but much harder to track down in the U.S. You basically have to order it online, or buy it from a cooking specialty store. That’s a lot of hassle for something that literally takes two ingredients and a few minutes to make yourself.

How Do You Use Vanilla Sugar?

You can use vanilla sugar as a 1:1 replacement for the granulated sugar in any recipe, but it works best in recipes where vanilla is the star. If a recipe has vanilla in its name, or calls for a significant amount of vanilla extract, swapping in vanilla sugar for the granulated sugar is an easy way to amp up the vanilla flavor. Just don’t bother adding it to recipes with other strongly-flavored ingredients, like chocolate. It’ll get lost. Candy recipes that call for boiling a sugar syrup are also a no go. The vanilla seeds are likely to cause the sugar to crystallize.

Use your vanilla sugar to:

Vanilla Beans

Where to Find Cheap Vanilla Beans

Vanilla bean shortages have caused prices to skyrocket in recent years, but you can still get beans for around $1 each, if you know where to look and what to buy. My advice: skip the grocery stores and warehouse clubs, and order your vanilla beans online. Lately, I’ve been buying my beans from Vanilla Bean Kings on Amazon. They ship their vanilla beans in vacuum-sealed bags, so they aren’t dried out, like grocery store beans tend to be. To save money, I buy Grade B pods. They’re considerably cheaper than Grade A, and they’re perfect for making vanilla sugar and vanilla extract.

Jars of Homemade Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Sugar Recipe

To make the most of my vanilla beans, I first use the vanilla seeds to make a batch of vanilla sugar for gifting. Then, I use the vanilla pods to make myself a perpetual batch of vanilla sugar. Here’s my simple method.


What You Do:

Measure 2 cups of sugar into a small mixing bowl.

Cut a Slit in the Side of the Vanilla Bean

Then, cut a slit all the way down the side of the vanilla bean …

Scrape Vanilla Seeds Into Bowl of Sugar

and use your knife to scrape the vanilla seeds into the sugar.

Break Up Vanilla Seed Clumps

Now, use your hands to break up any seeds clumps, so the seeds will be evenly distributed throughout the sugar. Some tutorials instruct you to use a food processor to do this, but it’s better to do it by hand. Pulsing the sugar in a food processor will grind the sugar into a finer consistency, so you end up with castor sugar or powdered sugar. Since vanilla sugar is intended to be a replacement for granulated sugar, it’s best to avoid any mechanical grinding.

Homemade Vanilla Sugar

When you’ve broken up all the clumps, store your vanilla sugar in an air-tight container. I like to keep mine in a wide-mouth container, so it’s easy to scoop sugar out with a measuring cup or spoon.

Your vanilla sugar is ready to use right away, but will be much more flavorful, if you wait two weeks to use it.

Cut Up Vanilla Beans

To make a second batch of vanilla sugar using the vanilla pod, simply chop the pod up into small pieces …

Bury Cut Up Vanilla Beans in Sugar

and bury them in 2 cups of granulated sugar. The pods will flavor the sugar, just like the seeds. For an endless supply of vanilla sugar, just top off the sugar as you use it.

The moisture in the vanilla beans will likely cause the sugar to harden, when you first make your vanilla sugar. Just break the sugar up with a spoon, and you’ll be good to go.

Jar of Homemade Vanilla Extract

Do You Make Your Own Vanilla Extract?

After you’ve used your vanilla beans to make a few batches of extract, allow them to dry out; then, add them to your vanilla sugar jar.

Printable Vanilla Sugar Labels

Vanilla Sugar Labels

Here are some free, printable labels that you can use to label your vanilla sugar. These labels have been sized to fit the top of a wide-mouth jar. They print 12-to-a-page, which is perfect, if you plan to make up jars of vanilla sugar for gifts or party favors. Just print them on a sheet of sticker paper (i.e. shipping label sheet), Then, cut them out by hand, or punch them out, using a 2.5-inch circle punch.

Use Avery 8165, if you have an ink jet printer. Use Avery 5265, if you have a laser printer. I tend to print my kitchen labels on vinyl sheet. It’s water-proof and dishwasher-safe, so you can label your containers once; then, refill them again and again, without having to print a new label each time. If you decide to go this route, just be sure to buy vinyl that’s designed to works with the type of printer that you own. There’s vinyl sheet for laser printers and vinyl sheet for ink jet printers. They are NOT interchangeable.

Print Vanilla Sugar Labels

Many web browsers have their own built-in PDF viewers, but they tend to be buggy. If you’re having trouble printing or editing one of our printables, click here for help.

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How to Make Vanilla Sugar

How to Make Vanilla Sugar

Don’t pay a premium for vanilla sugar, when it only takes two ingredients and a few minutes to make.

  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x




Batch 1:

Measure 2 cups of granulated sugar into a small mixing bowl.

Slit open the vanilla bean, lengthwise.

Scrap the vanilla seeds into the sugar.

Use your hands to break up any seeds clumps.

Transfer to an air-tight container.

Batch 2:

Pour the remaining two cups of granulated sugar into an air-tight container.

Cut the vanilla bean pod into small pieces.

Bury the pieces in the sugar.

Top off the sugar, as you use it, for a perpetual supply of vanilla sugar.


  • You can use your vanilla sugar right away, but it will be more flavorful, if you wait 2 weeks.
  • Buy your vanilla beans online. Grocery store vanilla beans tend to be expensive, and dried out.
  • If you make your own vanilla extract, save the beans after you’ve used them to made a few batches. Dry them out; then, add them to your vanilla sugar.

Keywords: how to make vanilla sugar, vanilla sugar recipe

More Recipes to Try:

How to Make Vanilla Extract

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Bean Powder

How to Make Vanilla Bean Powder

Lavender Sugar

How to Make Lavender Sugar

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