McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor

Here at McCormick, we take all of our flavors seriously. And when we mean serious, we mean it. We don’t add any artificial colors or flavors to the 85 different recipes in our Signature Recipe Collection; instead, we use only natural ingredients like vanilla beans and extracts to make them taste as close to homemade as possible.

But it can be tricky sometimes—with so many different types of food and parties and occasions out there—to know which flavor is best for you or your recipe. That’s why every year we take a flavor survey of more than 5,000 people (a true cross section of the American public) to find out exactly what flavors are trending.

And this year we found one clear overall winner: Imitation vanilla. In fact, it was the only flavor that showed up on our list more than once.

But why? After all, imitation vanilla might sound like a strange choice for your everyday cooking. But that’s because you’re probably thinking about vanillin—the white powder derived from petrochemicals (or byproducts of the kerosene industry) that is commonly used as a substitute for natural vanilla in processed foods or industrial products like cosmetics and perfumes.

But we don’t use vanillin in our Signature Recipe Collection. Instead, we prefer the all-natural flavor of natural vanilla, which is made from a type of orchid native to Madagascar and Indonesia. It’s one of the most expensive spices in the world (not least because it’s difficult to extract), and yields a pure, unadulterated taste that’s guaranteed to please your guests.

And there’s nothing imitative about that!  To see if you agree with us, simply look for the “Made with real vanilla” seal on your McCormick products this year. You can also head over to our blog for more insights into how real vanilla tastes. McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor.

No, I’m not kidding. This is a real product, and it has no artificial flavorings or colors. It’s also free of gluten and Potassium Sorbate (preservative) and only contains 0 calories per serving.  It is made with “pure vanilla,” so it’s not clear what the source of the vanilla flavoring is other than possible undisclosed ingredients or a proprietary extract. McCormick does provide this product to the food industry for commercial use, so perhaps this imitation product is made from vanillin from a non-petroleum source like wood pulp.

Taste the smooth, rich flavors of vanilla extracted from imported vanilla beans, one of the world’s favorite flavors. Just a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract is enough to add subtle sweetness to your favorite desserts, and is a key ingredient that pairs wonderfully with meringues, parfaits, cupcakes, and fruit. What does vanilla extract do? Where does vanilla extract come from? Discover the answers here while exploring new uses for vanilla. 

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McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor uses artificial vanillin to deliver stronger flavor and retain flavor even when cooking at very high temperatures. Artificially flavored products will last longer and not discolor. Specially made for chefs to inspire extraordinary menus and deliver consistent recipes.

McCormick Culinary® Imitation Vanilla Flavor delivers superb sweetness:

• McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor provides a delightfully sweet, complementary vanilla flavor. with a rich, dark coloring.

• Crafted especially for chefs, McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor is better at retaining its flavor at high temperatures and in baking over Pure Vanilla Extract. It delivers exceptional performance, particularly in hot beverages, and is budget friendly.

• McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor is kosher.

• There are 6/16 oz. size plastic bottles per case. Our 16 oz. size is perfect for dispensing individual drops at a time, and the flip top can easily be unscrewed to add larger amounts to any bulk recipe.

• McCormick Culinary Imitation Vanilla Flavor makes sweet foods sweeter, enhancing the flavor of chocolate, dairy products and fruit, making it the perfect ingredient in everything from baked goods and frostings to custards and desserts.

Menu Suggestions:

McCormick Culinary® Imitation Vanilla Flavor enhances the flavor of:

• Vanilla almond lattes and iced coffees

• Frosted sugar cookies

• Blueberry sour cream bars

• Classic vanilla layered cake with buttercream frosting

• Strawberry cupcakes

• Spiced honey butter

Prep Instructions:

No preparation necessary. McCormick Culinary® Imitation Vanilla Flavor is ready to use to add quick vanilla flavoring to an array for baked goods and beverage specialties. The convenient flip top closure allows you to dispense drops at a time or can be easily unscrewed to add larger amounts to any bulk recipe.


McCormick Culinary® Imitation Vanilla Flavor has a shelf life of 720 days when stored tightly closed when not in use in a cool, dry place to prevent evaporation. Avoid exposure to heat, humidity, direct sunlight and fluorescent light to maintain flavor and color.

Are McCormick extracts gluten free?

They are per their gluten free allergen statement: “McCormick does not add any gluten ingredients to our products. The wheat-derived alcohol, binder and dextrose in our extracts are produced through a process of distillation from wheat starch and are handled in a separate facility from gluten-containing ingredients. However, trace amounts of gluten may be present due to shared manufacturing processes. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician before consuming these products.”

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Are McCormick extracts Kosher?

We do not sell kosher extracts. We believe that there is no need to make a kosher extract when the ingredients are Kosher. I am not aware of any companies in our industry who sell Kosher extracts. I would suggest contacting the manufacturers directly for answer to your question. Our customer service department will be happy to help you find the contact information for any of our competitors if you wish to contact them yourself.


Is McCormick imitation vanilla extract gluten free?

This product does not contain wheat or gluten ingredients. It does however, contain dextrose which is derived from wheat. Also there are trace amounts of gluten present in the USP and NF grades as a result of shared manufacturing processes. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician before consuming these products.


Are McCormick imitation vanilla powders gluten free?

Yes, the powders are gluten free. However, there are trace amounts of gluten present in the USP grade as a result of shared manufacturing processes. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician before consuming this product.

Are McCormick imitation vanilla extracts kosher?

No, they are not kosher. The extracts are produced in a facility where they are exposed to non-kosher products and equipment. Of course, this is true of almost all food manufacturers because our nation relies on shared manufacturing facilities and equipment. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician before consuming these products.

The above information is based on the latest product information provided by McCormick and/or their suppliers at the time of this writing. McCormick does not test for gluten except as it applies to their certified gluten-free labeling program.

Which vanilla extract is gluten free?

“Vanilla extract is gluten-free (if prepared in accordance with package & label directions; with no added xanthan gum or other gelling agent used during preparation). See the Gluten-Free Fact Sheet for more information. “

Since 2005, McCormick has been the proud sponsor of Taste of Home® Cooking School, where chefs and cooks of all skill levels can learn how to create mouth-watering recipes from McCormick kitchen experts. The Signature Collection, available exclusively through tasteofhome.com, features a huge range of authentic “flavor reference” products that pair with Taste of Home recipes for delicious tasting results.


Is McCormick vanilla flavor the same as vanilla extract?

Yes, vanilla extract does have a higher alcohol content than imitation vanilla flavor. Vanilla extract is prepared in a different manner, though that method is not something that is universally accepted. Vanilla extract can be defined as “an alcoholic solution of vanilla flavoring (or essence) in alcohol.” The difference is between sweetening and flavoring. The flavoring comes from actual vanilla beans and extracts them into alcohol, while the sweetening comes from a combination of other ingredients such as dextrose.

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How do I use McCormick Imitation Vanilla Flavor?

This product works great in iced coffee, on ice cream and in baked goods such as brownies and cakes. This product can also be added to your smoothie, milkshake or coffee. You can also use this to flavor buttercream frosting when you are making a cake. This is the perfect product if you want to add flavor and not color or alcohol content to a food item. Since McCormick Imitation Vanilla Flavor has zero calories and only one gram of carbohydrates per tablespoon (1 teaspoon) it makes an ideal addition to so many recipes!

Does McCormick vanilla extract contain gluten?

Vanilla extract does not contain wheat or gluten ingredients, however it does contain dextrose which is derived from wheat. Also there are trace amounts of gluten present in the USP and NF grades as a result of shared manufacturing processes. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician before consuming these products.

Where are McCormick extracts made?

The extract is made in the USA, though it can contain ingredients that are not. We do not know where all our ingredients come from, and we do not ask. If they tell us they are extra pure, then we believe it. We can assure you that since McCormick manufactures our own extracts (and we hope all of the other major brands), we do our best to make sure there are no other ingredients in the extracts that the label does not make reference to.

Of the major brands of vanilla extract, McCormick is the only company that could present a statement saying their vanilla is gluten-free. This means that you may use McCormick vanilla in recipes that call for “pure” or “real” vanilla without compromising taste, gluten content or your health. Their vanilla does not contain wheat gluten, casein (a dairy product), soybeans or soy lecithin. Unfortunately, the issue of gluten and other allergens in extracts is not one that is simple. Every manufacturer has its own process of preparing its extracts and many use shared manufacturing facilities where they all come into contact with each other’s ingredients during production.