Difference Between Vanilla Extract And Vanilla Essence???

Many people have a vanilla preference, and although there are many specific types of vanilla preparations, it can be difficult to distinguish between them. Here is a primer on the most common types of vanilla preparations so you know what to order when you go out for ice cream.

Vanilla vs. Vanilla: Types of Vanilla Preparations

Vanilla ice cream has been around for centuries, yet we still find ourselves searching for the right type of vanilla preparation. Although we all love our scoop or two of sweet pastry cream topped with a swirl or three, different preparations yield varying flavors and textures that can make it even harder to choose.

Vanilla extract is the most popular form of vanilla preparation. However, using vanilla extract can also be quite confusing. The flavor and intensity varies greatly between brands and, even more importantly, between vanillas made from Madagascar and Mexico beans.

Here is a brief primer on the different types of vanilla preparations available:

Vanilla Extract

The most common form of vanilla preparation is pure vanilla extract which is made by steeping ground vanilla pods in a solution alcohol and water (usually 4:1). Mexican-style and Madagascar style are the two main varieties found stateside; they have their distinct flavors and textures that make it important to choose carefully. For example, Mexican-style has a lighter texture than its Madagascar counterpart. Mexican-style is also less expensive than Madagascar.

Virtually all pastries are topped with a little vanilla frosting or a drizzle of vanilla glaze, and that’s because vanilla really goes well with just about anything. Vanilla extract gives baked goods a rich, warm flavor and is especially good when paired with chocolate or coffee-flavored cakes and desserts. Most importantly, vanilla extract is used in making custards, creams and sauces.

Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla paste (also known as pure vanilla bean powder) is an extremely concentrated puree of both the pod and the seeds of the vanilla bean pod. It must contain at least 35 percent alcohol (the rest is water). This is all that’s needed to make an easy homemade vanilla extract, which can be whipped into butter, cream or a mix of both to give them a beautiful vanilla flavor.

Vanilla bean paste is usually made from ground beans and the sweet taste comes from the seeds. No one will mistake it for the real thing (barring your own homemade), but it still tastes wonderful when used as part of a dessert such as tiramisu or a plain vanilla cupcake. The taste can also be soaked into rum-based drinks so that any sweetness becomes infused into the drink.

Pure Vanilla Extracts

The two main types of pure vanilla extracts are Bourbon and Bourbon/Armagnac. Bourbon is the most common type and is made from the seeds of both vanilla orchid beans and some other species (Jack, Tahitian and Mexican) as well. Bourbon has a very light color, but it’s not as easy to work with as the pure version. It needs to be chilled before being added to a recipe.

Bourbon is also usually blended with other types of whiskey so that consumers can tell that they are purchasing pure vanilla extract rather than another type of alcoholic beverage. Bourbon vanilla can be used straight out of the bottle although you’ll want to store it in an air-tight container because it tends to develop an oily texture in warmer temperatures.

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What is the difference between Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Essence

With 120 years of experience in producing vanilla, the Queen team knows a thing or two about what makes a good vanilla. In this article, we shed light on one of the most topical questions in baking- what is the difference between Vanilla Essence and Vanilla Extract? We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you’ll find below!

There’s no flavour in the world quite like vanilla. It’s rich, creamy and warm, and impossible to imagine baking without it. But when it comes to adding vanilla to your recipe, which vanilla do you choose?

You’re certainly not alone if you’re a little confused by the difference between vanilla extract and essence. Is it real, is it stronger, how is it made? These are just a few of the questions we get asked on a regular basis. So, how do you wade through the choices and choose the right vanilla for your baking?

With nearly 120 years of experience in vanilla, from growing and curing to extracting and bottling, we are here to share our knowledge and hopefully make things a little less confusing next time you’re shopping (or baking!).

So what’s the difference between the two? Given the two products are often talked about as if they’re the same thing, it can get a bit confusing. In general, extract is a natural product, whereas essence is synthetic. As a result, you will usually find that extract is less processed and provides a stronger and more pure vanilla flavour when compared to essence.

Vanilla extract is usually made by soaking vanilla pods in alcohol and water – with flavour taken up by the liquid ingredients

Vanilla essence is a synthetic – so it’s made using artificial flavours and colours

Since it’s manufactured, you will often find vanilla essence contains very little or no real vanillin. As a result, it’s sometimes high in additional additives (e.g. colouring, flavouring, sweeteners, preservatives.

How are vanilla essence and extract made?

Queen Organic Vanilla Essence and Natural Vanilla Extract are both made with our traditional and time-honoured methods by extracting vanilla from carefully selected organic beans. With nothing artificial added, these products are 100% natural and perfect for an extensive selection of recipes.

Both our extract and essence are created using the highest quality pure vanilla beans. Both products are rich and thick with a strong vanilla flavour and aroma. While our natural extract is ideal for non-bake recipes, our organic vanilla extract-essence is perfect for everyday cakes, slices and batter-based recipes.

Queen Organic Vanilla Essence-Extract Ingredients

Extract of Pure Organic Vanilla Beans

[Water, Organic Alcohol (35% vol.), Organic Vanilla Bean Extractives]

Organic Sugar

Queen Natural Vanilla Extract Ingredients

Invert Sugar Syrup (from cane sugar)

Glucose Syrup (Corn)


Extract of Pure Vanilla Beans

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Preservative (202)

Contains alcohol (<1% by vol.)

At Queen, Natural Vanilla Essence is Vanilla Extract

Our original Queen vanilla recipe was established in the early 1900s and was called ‘Vanilla Essence – Extract of Vanilla Beans’. Historically, the term ‘Essence’ meant a highly concentrated form of pure extract. If you look closely at one of our very old labels, the ingredients are alcohol, sugar, flavour (extract of vanilla beans), water added. As the name suggests, vanilla extract is extracted from real vanilla bean pods by macerating vanilla beans in a mixture of alcohol and water.

This recipe became the signature Queen blend that is now our iconic ‘red label’ bottle ‘Natural Organic Vanilla Essence’.

History has paved the way

If vanilla essence is a true vanilla extract, why do we still call it vanilla essence? The word ‘essence’ has been kept on the label over the decades as many old and loved Australian recipes call for it. It’s that simple!

With the passing of time, modern recipes started to call for simply vanilla ‘extract’ and so we added the words ‘flavouring extract’ to the label to reassure Aussie bakers that Queen Natural Organic Vanilla Essence is indeed the real deal. So, Queen Natural Vanilla Essence is Vanilla Extract. Taking a journey back into our long vanilla history, even our old print ads featured our pure, natural vanilla essence. Aren’t they wonderfully retro!

Here’s a few of our old bottles too, do you have any of these at home? We’d love to see them!

So there you have it, next time you’re baking with a family recipe that has been passed down through generations, you can smile knowing that the vanilla ‘essence’ your recipe calls for is Queen Vanilla Essence after all! And it’s a perfectly natural vanilla extract (even if it is a little old-fashioned!).

Can you substitute vanilla essence for vanilla extract?

Vanilla essence and vanilla extract are both great ingredients for adding in to your favourite recipes. They do have subtle differences, however, so you might want to try them both to see which you prefer!

Vanilla essence is synthetically produced and won’t always contain the same quality or quantity of vanillin as real vanilla extract – so it won’t always give the same flavour kick.

Vanilla Essence can be added to:

• Custard based puddings and cake fillings.

• Homemade ice cream. • Homemade desserts, yogurts and cheesecakes. • Rice pudding, custards and baked custards. • Sponge puddings (popular in the UK). • Vanilla beans can also be added to cold water or milk, and then boiled for use in a recipe such as crème brûlée or custard.

• Add cream of tartar with vanilla essence to make the ultimate vanilla ice cream!

• Vanilla essence can be used in replacement of real vanilla extract because it’s easier to measure when pouring. It’s also good for adding into liquids, however, it doesn’t have the same flavour properties as real vanilla extract does.

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Vanilla extract is made from soaking real vanilla pods in alcohol so it will usually be stronger than essence (which tends to be artificially produced).

How much vanilla extract is equal to a vanilla essence?

Vanilla extract is not a pure extract of vanilla, so it does not have the same flavour strength as an essence. It’s often suggested that you can mix 1:1 with ‘real’ vanilla extract to get the same flavour. That said, there are many people who prefer essence to extract because, in addition to its easier measuring and mixing, it retains more of the flavour.

Do I need both?

Essence is perfect for recipes that don’t call for real vanilla extract and are looking for a subtle vanilla flavour boost. If you are aiming to get a more intense vanilla flavour, use extract.

How do I store vanilla essence?

Vanilla Essence should be stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and direct sunlight.

Queen Vanilla is the brand that so many of us have come to love over the years. A classic Australian brand, Queen Vanilla at one time used only Australia grown beans and produced in Australia. It was one of the first brands to introduce premium quality organic vanilla beans and extracts into Australia. Queen Vanilla is an innovative company that has seen the need for quality food ingredients worldwide, and was ready to invest early in order to produce only premium natural products that were pure and genuine.

What is the difference between vanilla extract and paste?

Pure vanilla extract is made when dried vanilla pods are soaked in a mixture of alcohol and water. Vanilla paste is made when the same process is applied but with more intense heat, so that the water evaporates faster. Vanilla paste has a more intense flavour than vanilla extract, however it’s just as versatile, and often used in recipes that use real vanilla pods or whole beans.

Vanilla beans are the long, thick and black seeds taken from an orchid native to Mexico. French missionaries discovered the seed pod growing on vines in 1702 and brought it to Europe where it was planted by noblewomen who would use them for their perfume.

The vanilla bean has always been a treasured ingredient. It is the world’s second most expensive spice after saffron, thanks to closely controlled production and labour costs associated with hand-pollination of orchids.

Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking these beans in alcohol and water. Vanilla paste is made by extracting the same content but with more intense heat, evaporating the water faster leaving a more concentrated paste ready for use in baking and other recipes where it’s not practical to add whole beans.

If you are looking for a pure, natural vanilla extract, then Queen Natural Organic Vanilla Essence is the one for you. It’s made from Australian grown beans and pure vanilla essence – just like the Victorian era recipes called for in the late 1800s! It’s perfect for adding to custards and puddings, crème brûlée or even ice cream! In the UK, many of us use vanilla paste as a substitute because it’s just as potent but less hassle.