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Do You Cook With Vanilla Beans?

At the Food Fête party this week after the Fancy Foods Show, a representative from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas handed me a kit sealed with a vanilla bean. She suggested that if I didn't want to cook with it, I could take advantage of its pleasant fragrance.

"Oh, don't worry — I'll cook with it," I reassured her. Although they're rather expensive — pods cost around $5 each — cooking with vanilla pods, in my opinion, imparts a more natural flavor than using vanilla extract. I like to use them in everything from cakes to vanilla-flavored hot chocolate. What about you?

Join The Conversation
live-4-gossip live-4-gossip 8 years
@articamy you read my mind. I get organic fresh vanilla beans on ebay they are super cheap I think last time I got 25 beans for 10 bucks! I have used the same co a few times and am always happy so if you want to try using real beans at least you are not out a fortune!(no,I don't sell them online I swear!)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
not yet...
hboogie hboogie 8 years
Costco sells a pack of 10 vanilla beans for around 11 dollars.
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 8 years
I don't normally cook with them but I make my own vanilla extract and vanilla sugar.
NatashaAlexis NatashaAlexis 8 years
I love vanilla bean, but it's so expensive.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
no - i've always been of the extract generation. i know that there's value behind using the bean, but it's expensive and it takes more time to use and sometimes i'm just trying to bake something rather quickly.
arcticamy arcticamy 8 years
ebay has some fantastic deals on vanilla beans. Ive used them and they are great.
girlwparasol girlwparasol 8 years
i agree that is a great site, but i still don't use vanilla beans often. when i make things like cakes and cupcakes, i use extract in the mix, because none of my friends or relatives would notice a difference. for frostings and more custard-like desserts, though, i'll use them for the enhanced flavour.
a-geek a-geek 8 years
$5/bean is insane- I order from which is local to San Francisco and delivers great quality beans. $20 yields > 120 beans. Check it out at They keep for a long time in a jar of sugar (and you end up with great vanilla sugar as well). There's no comparison between beans and extract.
cupcakekelly cupcakekelly 8 years
I bought a pound of vanilla beans in bulk for less than $30, including shipping. I use them in everything... homemade frosting just looks so much more declicious with vanilla bean flecks :)
lisabarn lisabarn 8 years
well, for Vanilla Bean ice cream, there is nothing else!
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
Hell no! It was like $12 for 3 beans! No no no nooooo!
digigirl digigirl 8 years
I use them in applications where it's going to really make a difference that I am using high quality beans and not extract - i.e., custards, ice cream, etc. If I'm doing a cookie with 3 different add-ins, I'll definitely use the extract instead. Or, when I'm doing a special gift or occasion, I'll pull out the real deal.
otaku otaku 8 years
oh... sugar... i feel like an idiot. haha XD
AmberHoney AmberHoney 8 years
Of course and I'm using them in the buttermilk, sour cherry scones I'm making right now :encore:
eludington eludington 8 years
I bought a bunch of vanilla beans on eBay a year and a half ago and they're great! I poured some bourbon into a jar with six or so and have the best homemade vanilla extract. Another few went into a jar for vanilla sugar. I highly recommend checking out eBay before shelling out major bucks for beans!
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I use the real stuff for special, special occasions. The real vanilla beans are very hard to find here. And when you can find them, they are really expensive!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I use them for flan and dulce de leche, but otherwise I stick with the extract because of the expense.
partysugar partysugar 8 years
otaku: I don't think they are frozen, I think they are coated in sugar. That being said, I love to use real vanilla bean for homemade ice cream.
otaku otaku 8 years
...why are your beans frozen?
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