How To Use Ground Vanilla in Recipes

Ground whole vanilla is a powerful "spice" for cooking and it tends to be under used simply because many don't know how to use it—and a little goes a very long way. Recipes generally call for only one or two teaspoons of ground vanilla powder.

Some of the best ways to use whole ground vanilla in your recipes is adding it to your cookie, cake, pancake, or brownie batter,  and of course adding to your ice cream base. It's heavenly in a compound butter with lemon or lime zest. My favorite way to use ground vanilla is making a vanilla infused maple syrup and drizzling it over toast or pancakes.  

In this quick video you'll see how St. Agnes's Holey Donuts here in Lakeland, Florida uses small amounts of ground vanilla mixed with a classic powdered sugar glaze to make an upscale vanilla glazed donut.

Basic Powdered Sugar Icing or Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners' or powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (or hot water, for desired consistency)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon whole ground vanilla

1) Sift the confectioners' or powdered sugar to remove any lumps

2) Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowel: this includes the melted butter, milk or hot water, and vanilla extract  

3) Add the wet ingredients to the powdered sugar mixture. Use a hand or electric mixer until the mixture is creamy

4) Sprinkle the whole ground vanilla on top of the glaze and mix with a hand whisk. Adding the ground vanilla at the end with a hand whisk will help prevent the ground vanilla from darkening the white glaze.

Sprinkle Ground Vanilla Over Glaze and Hand Mix

The Ground Vanilla Will Look Something Like This After Hand Mixing
Beautiful Vanilla Glaze Doughnut with Ground Vanilla Specks