DIY Sugar-Free Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla Bean Paste Using Vegetable Glycerine
I really do love that subtle, soothing, and overall delightful vanilla flavor in just about anything. And I do mean ANYTHING—barbecue sauces, broths, pasta, beverages, desserts; I don’t stop at gelato! But the thing is, there are many ways to infuse that glorious flavor into a dish. With whole vanilla beans of different grades, a variety of pastes and extracts, powders, pre-scraped seeds, and other options to choose from, how do you know which is best?
The simple answer is that there simply is no overall best choice. It really comes down to the time you have available, the dish you are making, and your own preference.
Many cooks are choosing pastes and extracts simply because of the cost of whole vanilla beans. If you are on a budget, these are great options. However, most store-bought vanilla bean paste is loaded with sugar and, with sugar-free diets on the rise, we need better alternatives. So, I created a recipe for a sugar-free vanilla bean paste that is outstanding and relatively simple to make!
Homemade Vanilla Bean Paste Recipe
Yields ¾ cup
- ½ cup food grade vegetable glycerine
- 10-15 extract vanilla beans
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (use a homemade version or try our vanilla extract)
- ¾ cup water
- Split each of your beans in half and remove the seeds. Reserve the pods, as you will be using them further down in the recipe.
- In a small bowl, stir the vanilla seeds and the vegetable glycerine together
- Chop the pods in ⅓-inch pieces and pulverize in your food processor, adding the water in one tablespoon at a time.
- Transfer the pod mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated and all that remains is a paste.
- Turn off the heat and add in the vanilla extract, mixing well.
- Using a fine, mesh strainer, strain the liquid from the pulp and into the vanilla seed and glycerine mixture. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to really push it down and remove as much as the flavorful liquid as you can. All that will remain is a brown pulp. Pushing and scraping as hard as your mesh strainer will allow, use the spatula to move the pulp back and forth across the strainer, pushing as much of the small fibers of pulp through as you can.
- Stir the mixture in with the glycerine and seeds and well.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low. Reduce until a thick paste forms. When it sticks to the back of a spoon, you know it’s done.
- Transfer your paste into a container with a tight-fitting lid.
How to store and use vanilla bean paste
Store this sugar-free vanilla bean paste in the refrigerator but try not to dip into it for at least two weeks. The longer it sits, the more potent it becomes.
Use your vanilla bean paste in place of vanilla extract in any recipe. If your recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean, use about 1 tablespoon of the paste. Keep in mind, vegetable glycerine is sweet. So, if you are making a savory recipe, you might want to avoid using the paste and opt for vanilla seeds or vanilla powder.
I absolutely love having vanilla paste on hand for baked goods and custards. It is so easy to use compared to whole vanilla beans but adds those lovely vanilla flecks that vanilla extract is missing! Plus it makes an incredible gift for your friends who love to bake!
What will you use your vanilla bean paste in?