7 Ways With Vanilla

Vanilla beans and extracts lend a much-loved flavor to sweets, but there are just as many savory uses for this exotic fruit.

  • A Teaspoon of Flavor
    Photo: Beau Gustafson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

    A Teaspoon of Flavor

    Use vanilla to add rich flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. Use it in your regular poundcake recipe and you'll see the difference, then try it in salad dressings, marinades, custards, and dessert sauces.
  • Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
    Photography: Karry Hosford

    Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

    Steeping a vanilla bean in the milk used to make the custard, and scraping seeds from that bean into the milk, gives this easy brûlée a wonderfully intense vanilla flavor. If you don't have a blow torch, check out our simple stovetop sugar topping.
  • Fish in Paper Parcels with Leeks, Fennel, Chives, and Vanilla
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Fish in Paper Parcels with Leeks, Fennel, Chives, and Vanilla

    Entertain in style with this show stopping make-ahead entrée. Snapper (or any white fish) gets nestled into parchment paper along with thinly sliced vegetables, seasonings, and whole vanilla beans. It couldn't be simpler, and the flavors are stunning.
  • Vanilla Custard Crumble with Mixed Berries
    Photography: Karry Hosford

    Vanilla Custard Crumble with Mixed Berries

    While the custard is made with a vanilla bean, the crumble topping is a simple mixture of crushed vanilla wafers, butter, egg white and vanilla extract. It's easy to make up both in advance and then add berries or any seasonal fruit.
  • Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake

    Made with cake flour and a dozen egg whites, this moist cake is fragrant with vanilla. That's because the sugar for the cake is infused with the seeds of a whole vanilla bean before being added to the batter.
  • Vanilla Balsamic Chicken
    Howard L. Puckett

    Vanilla Balsamic Chicken

    As they roast, chicken thighs are infused with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, orange, and a whole vanilla bean. Rather than stand out, vanilla harmonizes and complements the other flavors. Substitute chicken breasts if you'd like.
  • Mixed Salad with Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Mixed Salad with Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts

    Once you try this fat-free pear vinaigrette, you'll be using it on just about everything. It's that good. Even better, it's a snap to assemble with canned pears, honey, white wine vinegar, and a splash of vanilla extract.
  • Vanilla Cream Sauce

    Vanilla Cream Sauce

    Drizzle this easy cream sauce over fresh berries, bread pudding, or any dessert that needs a special finishing touch. It's a slam-dunk over chocolate ice cream, and the fact that it's made with vanilla extract keeps things simple.
  • Scraping Seeds from Vanilla Bean

    How-To Video: Vanilla Beans

    Watch this video and learn how to scrape the seeds from fresh vanilla beans.
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