I remember making cookies with my mom as a kid. It was like magic how butter, sugar, and flour came together to make the cookie dough. If that isn't magical enough, she always put a nice dose of vanilla extract into the dough.
Vanilla extract smelled so amazing. But I always wondered why she didn't taste it. So, curiosity got the better of me one day in my childhood. And I poured myself a little tablespoon. What a surprise as to how terrible it tasted!
Despite the overwhelming smell of deliciousness of vanilla extract, the taste never measured up to the flavor. I had never encountered something where the disconnect between the aroma and concentrated flavor was so pronounced.
Much later in life, I was introduced to vanilla bean paste. It was a new item to most of us in the class. They also encouraged us to taste it.
Many of us were a bit hesitant to, as I think as people tried it and their faces indicated that it wasn't terrible tasting like vanilla extract.
It tasted like what I thought vanilla extract should taste like. It was sweet and fragrant. Plus the vanilla bean seeds are present throughout. So if you are making something light in color, it will reflect the more natural beauty of vanilla.
Back in 2016, when they first announced the price of vanilla would go up, I stocked up on some Nielsen-Massey vanilla. I bought a quart of vanilla bean paste and thought I was being spendy at $35. That same quart on amazon has become incredibly expensive.
In other words, this 2-ounce jar from Trader Joe's at $4.99 is a bargain. The quality is similar to my beloved Nielsen Massey vanilla. There are subtle differences in the ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
The following are common questions about Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Paste.
Yes, however, they only have it during the holiday season. During the rest of the year, they only sell the extract and vanilla flavoring
They can be used interchangeably for the same 1:1 ratio. However, they are a different products. While vanilla extract is usually just neutral alcohol. Vanilla bean paste is sweetened and contains a thickener as well as a large dose of vanilla bean seeds.
You can use exactly the same amount of vanilla bean paste in place of vanilla extract. So if a recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla extract then a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.
Starting in 2021 this product was offered with the label indicating it is now organic.
This product is solid. If you use vanilla extract at all in your household, this is one of those products that you should get. There is no need to be fearful of using this because it is an equal substitute for vanilla extract. So whether you need a teaspoon or tablespoon the measurements in your most beloved recipes remain the same.
Best of all, if the finished product is light enough in color you'll see those beautiful vanilla bean specks.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!
The jar of Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Paste:
The nutritional information and the ingredients:
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Paste
Product Name: Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Paste
Product Description: Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Paste is interchangeable with vanilla extract.
Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Paste is a new and seasonal offering at Trader Joe's.
- A good quality vanilla bean paste
- Affordably priced
- Seasonal item
- If you like this or think it will make a good gift idea, now is the time to stock up