Vanilla extract vs vanilla essence are both products of the vanilla bean.
However, they’re actually very different from each other in terms of what they’re made from and how they’re used
The Difference Between Vanilla Essence Vs Vanilla Extract
Essence is a flavor – it’s generally either synthetic or derived from natural sources like spices and herbs.
With a water-like consistency that can be added to food and drinks for flavor.
But doesn’t necessarily provide any additional taste beyond its flavoring properties.
Vanilla essence is often found as an ingredient in ice cream, baked goods, candy, beverages,etc.
It’s also sometimes called “liquid vanilla” or just “vanilla.”
Extracts are liquids containing the concentrated flavors extracted from certain foods.
Through either a cold-pressing or boiling method.
They are generally made with an alcohol base, which enhances the flavors of vanilla or other foods.
Making them more intense than essences.
Extracts are often added to baked goods, desserts , sweets , etc.
But they can also be added to savory dishes like meats and vegetables.
You need only a very small amount of extract for it to flavor your dish.
Therefore adding too much will give you food that’s overly sweet and not balanced.
The history of extracts
Since vanilla extract is made with alcohol , it’s considered to have an indefinite shelf life.
But vanilla essence has a much shorter shelf-life.
This is because pure vanilla extract is made using the whole vanilla bean.
Which contains thousands of tiny flavor components that give it its rich taste and fragrance.
Along with these components are other parts of the plant that have antioxidant properties.
That help preserve this delicious liquid .
However, essential oils, which are used in essence production, don’t contain any antioxidants.
This means that they’re much more likely to spoil quickly than the extract form.
The Difference Between Extracts and Imitation Vanilla
Vanilla essence can be either artificially or naturally produced.
While real vanilla involves using a cold-pressing method to squeeze the flavor out of the vanilla bean.
Essence is made by using chemical compounds that mimic what you’d get if you used real vanilla beans.
This is because it’s too costly and time-consuming to produce real vanilla in large quantities .
Vanilla extract, on the other hand , involves soaking whole vanilla beans in an alcohol base for a few months.
Until their flavors are fully absorbed into the liquid , which makes it more natural than essence.
Vanilla extracts can be artificial or natural like real vanilla; however, they’re always produced with an alcohol base.
That means that they cannot contain sugar , corn syrup, gluten , etc., which are found in some commercial essences.
It also means they don’t contain any added water, which
Vanilla Essence vs Vanilla Extract – Which One Is Better?
That depends on what you’re making.
Essence and extract are both products of the vanilla bean; however, they’re made using totally different methods.
So which one should you choose?
Well, if you want pure vanilla flavor without any additional flavors (like alcohol) mixed in, then an essence will probably work best for you.
If you’re baking something (and you want your dessert to taste like vanilla), then using an extract is usually considered better by most people.
Because it doesn’t leave the subtle taste of alcohol in your treats.
In addition, extracts are generally stronger than essence and can make foods taste even more flavorful.
On the other hand, if you’re making a beverage or cooking savory dishes , then using an essence is probably better.
Because it will give you a purer vanilla flavor that isn’t influenced by the strong flavors in the alcohol base.
Furthermore, most essences don’t contain any sugars.
Which means they won’t add any additional sweetness to your food or drink unless you manually add sugar to it .
In general, both extract and essence have their pros and cons depending on what you want out of them.
In fact, there are some recipes where both essences and extracts work well.
For example, you can use vanilla extract in baking to enhance the flavor of certain recipes.
While also adding essence for its flavoring properties. Vanilla extract is also often added to smoothies.
But adding essence can make your drink taste weird or overly alcoholic.
If you prefer intense flavors that aren’t influenced by what’s used to produce them.
Or if you’re cooking savory dishes, then vanilla extract will probably suit your needs better than essence will.
However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to choose between the two.
Because vanilla extract and essence can actually be used in conjunction with each other.
Vanilla Essence Vs Vanilla Extract
However, both are unique types of products made from vanilla beans, but having different properties.
Vanilla extract is a liquid product generally made with an alcohol base.
That includes the concentrated flavor of vanilla or other food such as cinnamon, clove, almond , etc.
It enhances flavors of the dish you’re cooking and gives it more intense taste.
On the other hand, essence is a flavor derived from spices and herbs.
Which has a consistency like water; it only adds vanilla flavoring to your dish without influencing its taste.
If you are baking, then using vanilla extract is recommended because it gives more intense flavors.
However, for making savory dishes , essence is best to use.
Since it doesn’t have alcohol added to it which can alter the taste of your dish especially if its savory.
Also, vanilla extract’s alcohol base makes the flavor stronger than essences.
However , both products are not substitutes to each other so they can be used together in certain recipes.
Vanilla extract enhances flavor while essence only adds vanilla flavoring.
This means you can combine them in some cases e.g.
When cooking a creamy dessert with lots of cream and flavorings like coffee or chocolate.
Then add vanilla extract for enhanced flavors and add essence afterward when serving your cake.
This will add more vanilla flavoring without altering the taste of your dessert.
In conclusion, while there are many differences between essence and extract.
They can be used together to enhance flavor in certain recipes.
Yet, if you’re looking for a product that only adds vanilla taste.
Without influencing your dish’s flavor then an essence may be a better choice for you.