Sugar & spice: Creating your own vanilla sugar blend

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Vanilla sugar is a delightful ingredient that adds a rich, aromatic touch to various dishes. Homemade vanilla sugar is the perfect ingredient to add to a variety of baked goods, from breads and cookies to cakes. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to make at home, allowing you to customize the intensity of the vanilla spice flavor and ensure the quality of the ingredients.

Vanilla sugar in a bowl with a spoon.
Photo credit: One Hot Oven.

This guide will walk you through the easy steps to create your own blend of homemade vanilla sugar. Making vanilla sugar with fresh vanilla beans is preferred because it imparts the best flavor and leaves those pretty vanilla bean specks. Whether using regular white sugar or opting for a different variety, the sugar retains its color, and the texture remains easy to sprinkle.

Vanilla sugar

Vanilla sugar is a sweet and aromatic ingredient used in cooking and baking. It is made by infusing granulated sugar with the flavor of vanilla, in this case, vanilla bean. If you enjoy this sugar, be sure to try this recipe for lemon sugar, which is infused with a delicious citrus flavor that can also be used in cooking and baking.


  • White granulated sugar: You can also use brown sugar, although the vanilla flavor may not be as pronounced because of the molasses present in brown sugar.
  • Vanilla beans: Select fresh, vanilla beans for the best flavor. Grade A vanilla beans are the best choice. They are long, plump and easy to cut and seed. Generally, 1 to 2 vanilla beans that are 5 to 7 inches long equals about 1 per cup of sugar.
Vanilla sugar in a bowl on a white plate.
Photo credit: One Hot Oven.


  • An airtight container to store the sugar in
  • Knife or scissors 
  • Cutting board

“Good vanilla sugar takes time; you have to slowly infuse all the vanilla essence from the beans into the sugar over a month or so, but it’s worth it. I know it’s ready when I open the jar and smell that wonderful vanilla aroma. I use it in so many of my bakes, but love adding a spoonful in my coffee or, if I’m feeling really decadent, in my hot chocolate.”

— Mandy Applegate, Splash of Taste

Prepare the vanilla beans

This spice mix will take just minutes. You will find this sugar just makes everything taste better.

Prep: Lay the vanilla bean flat on the cutting board, using a sharp knife, and make a lengthwise cut to split the vanilla bean in half. With a spoon, scrape out the tiny seeds inside the vanilla bean.  Keep the vanilla bean pod.

A white plate with a spoon and some vanilla bean pods.
Vanilla bean seeds. Photo credit: One Hot Oven.

Combine: Mix the sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl, stirring with a fork or whisk, to distribute the seeds within the sugar evenly.

Pour: Put the sugar into the airtight container. Stick the vanilla bean pods into the sugar, then seal the container. You can also use the leftover vanilla bean pod to make vanilla extract.

Infuse:  Let the sugar sit at room temperature for 2 weeks to infuse the vanilla flavor. For a more intense flavor, let the sugar sit for a month.

Vanilla sugar in a jar on a pink plate.
Photo credit: One Hot Oven.

For a smoother sugar texture, use a food processor or coffee grinder. Pulse a few times until you achieve the desired consistency.

“I love vanilla sugar. It’s a fun way to incorporate vanilla flavor into bakes. We make our own and just have a rolling jar of it, meaning we add a vanilla bean when we have one and fill up the jar with sugar when it’s running low. That way, we’re never out.”

— Laura Sampson, Little House Big Alaska

You can use other sugar, but their flavor may hide the vanilla bean flavor. If you are using a coarser sugar like coconut sugar, process the granules into a finer consistency so the sugar can absorb the vanilla flavor.

Varieties of vanilla beans

There are two types of vanilla beans to consider when making vanilla sugar. You can use either type individually or blend them according to your preference.

Grade A vanilla beans: Often known as gourmet vanilla beans, these have a higher moisture content than Grade B beans but have more of a diluted flavor because of the high moisture. However, they are easy to work with because they are long, plump and easy to cut open with an abundance of seeds.

Grade B vanilla beans: These beans are classified as extraction-grade and primarily used to make vanilla extract. They feature slender, smaller and drier pods. Despite their highly concentrated vanilla flavor, infusing the vanilla flavor takes longer than Grade A beans.

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“Vanilla sugar gives you all you need in one package, and it’s super easy to make. Once a year, I take a small jar, fill it up with sugar and stick a few broken vanilla beans in. DIY sugar forever.”

— Zuzana Paar, Best Clean Eating

When your sugar is nicely infused with that wonderful vanilla, use it to flavor your coffee, sprinkle it on top of your morning oatmeal or add it to a cake batter. There are so many uses for this spicy mixture.

Vanilla stands out as one of the most widely used spices. Explore the diverse world of vanilla beans, extracts, pastes and powders to flavor your baked goods with delightful flavors.

While you can buy vanilla sugar, making it yourself with just two ingredients is a quick 5-minute process and is more economical. This sugar enhances your cooking and baking with a touch of sweetness and allows you to experiment with various types of vanilla beans for different flavor profiles. Share your tasty creation with friends and family, and with a jar of homemade vanilla sugar in your pantry, you’ll be well-equipped to add a dash of luxury to your favorite recipes.

Jere Cassidy is the writer and recipe developer behind the blog One Hot Oven. A passion for all things food-related led her to culinary school to expand on her baking skills and now to share easy recipes for all home cooks and bakers of all skill levels. When not in the kitchen, Jere’ likes to travel far and wide to find delicious food.

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