Vanilla Beans: Five Ways to Preserve

Vanilla is such an extraordinary ingredient.

As basic as that little black dress in your closet, it can be pulled out time and again, bringing class, flair, and comfort every single time you wear it. Vanilla’s flavor and fragrance have come to embody comfort in kitchens worldwide.

However, given its popularity, it has been overused in unfortunate ways, like bad imitation extract and exaggerated aromatic imitators. No wonder it has tried to be replicated though, vanilla comes with a high price tag.

But here is the thing: you can make a vanilla bean go a long way. You can extend its exuberant properties and multiply its uses by flavoring other basic ingredients with it.

My favorites are salt, sugar, simple syrup, oil, and vinegar.

In turn, the resulting vanilla salt, vanilla sugar, vanilla syrup, vanilla oil, and vanilla vinegar can be used for long periods of time and in so many ways.

What’s more, making these vanilla products will not only enrobe your kitchen in its fragrance (and romance if you are aware of the legends that surround its birth), but it will make for memorable gifts as well.

As far as what to use them on, imagination is the name of the game!

I have sprinkled vanilla salt on fresh tomatoes as well as peaches ready to be grilled. Vanilla sugar is decadent baked on pies, in sweet crepes, and in tea or coffee. The vanilla vinegar and oil make fresh salads shine and cooked vegetables go nuts. Last time I baked baby potatoes, I drizzled on some vanilla oil and spooned a bit of Mexican cream on top. The simple syrup is marvelous for everything from drinks, to desserts and especially drizzled on ice cream.

p.s. Use sterilized glass jars (or run in the dishwasher) with tight-fitting lids.

p.s. 2… Feel free to double up the amount of salt, sugar, simple syrup, oil or vinegar with just a single bean.


Vanilla Bean Vinegar

Vinagre de Vainilla

Recipe Yield

1 cup

Cooking time

2 days 2 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.80 from 5 votes


  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean

To Prepare

  • Pour the vinegar into a small glass jar.
  • Using a small sharp knife cut the vanilla bean and then split the halves lengthwise. Open each half and scrape the seeds from top to bottom into the vinegar, as thoroughly as you can. Add the vanilla pieces to the vinegar as well.
  • Put the lid on the bottle and close tight. Shake it for a good 30 seconds. Leave it at room temperature. For the first couple days, shake it a couple times a day. Let it sit for at least a week before using.


16comments inVanilla Beans: Five Ways to Preserve

  1. Joseph

    Sep 23

    Hi, Pati ,,, I know about the one with sugar ,,but the others I never thought of ,,,now as far as vintagers go I did infuse a gallon with loads of fresh Basil , every Italian with or with out a garden should grow Basil , in a pot ,,,,,, now I would place that gallon in a dark place about a week ,strain ,cause basil gets very soft and looks better when removed ,,,place in small jars and store like any vinegar ,now rice wine vinegar with asian basil is another winner ,,,,He Y’all just be creative ,,,,, Bono , cook n learn If ya don’t make mistakes ta haven’t tried ,,,,,and when ya stop learning Wellllll

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 03

      I totally agree about making mistakes, Joseph…it’s how we learn!

  2. Meg McAlister

    Jul 22

    I used the vanilla sugar in a batch of your Jamaica water (hibiscus flowers) recipe and it was incredibly delicious. Thanks, Pati!

    1. Pati

      Jul 26

      Yay! So glad you like both recipes Meg.

  3. adina

    Mar 26

    I have made homemade vanilla extract. that is the only way for baked goods. xoox

    1. Pati

      Mar 27


  4. Leanne McCumber

    Mar 14

    Guess what I am making on my next day off?? Crazy Goodness! Now I am really anxious for my homegrown tomatoes to hurry up!!

    1. Pati

      Mar 16

      Fantastic Leanne!

  5. Liz

    Mar 12

    I bet I could use the vanilla simple syrup in my coffeeeeeee!!
    As always, thanks Pati! ?

    1. Pati

      Mar 13

      Yes you can! It’s delicious.

  6. diana

    Aug 01

    I just love your litte sugestions, on the vannillabean thanks. There great

  7. Denisse Kimball

    Jul 26

    What are these used for? Like baking? Are these like vanilla extract?

    1. Pati

      Jul 28

      You can use them for so many things! They are just infused with vanilla. So you use the oil as oil, and the vinegar as vinegar, it just has the exuberance of vanilla in them: for salads, for cooked meals, for drizzling on cooked vegetables. Salt and sugar also multi purpose: try fresh mango with a sprinkle of this salt! Simple syrup can be used for drrnks, desserts…

  8. Lori Williamson

    Jul 05

    Thank you Pati for the fun recipes! Can’t wait to try out Vanilla Oil, & Vanilla Vinegar =) I love Vanilla. Lori

    1. Pati

      Jul 06

      I am sure you will LOVE these!

  9. Teresa

    Jun 27

    Thank you for all that you are teaching us. What a blessing to us.
    May God bless you and your family.

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