Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Sugar © 2015 Sue Todd.

Vanilla Sugar © 2015 Sue Todd.

For the great baking nation that it is, England doesn’t make enough of vanilla sugar.  I just adore the smell of it and use it all the time for cakes, crumbles, ice cream and deserts.

We have a large jar of vanilla sugar in the larder cupboard in our kitchen, which we simply top up as we use it. The smell is just divine, it evokes child hood memories of standing on a chair in the kitchen to help my mum make cake, licking the bowl out afterwards.  I remember when our children came along and the joy of baking with them being turned to dismay when I realised I’d have to hand the bowl over to someone else to clean out, even if it was my offspring!  Bad mother!

You can either buy vanilla sugar in the supermarket at vast expense for a ‘tiny’ amount OR you can make your own vanilla sugar by simply infusing sugar with the scent and taste of vanilla from vanilla pods.  Buying it ready done is to my mind a waste of money and would make regular use prohibitive.

It is utterly simple to make though and while vanilla pods are not cheap its well worth it for the taste and the aroma it brings to your cooking and your kitchen.  Oooh!! and did I mention the smell when you take the lid off the jar?  I sometimes like to steal past the cupboard and do that just because it smells sooooo good.

You could use granulated sugar but we prefer unrefined castor sugar if you must have sugar at all.

Castor sugar and vanilla pods © Sue Todd 2015.

Castor sugar and vanilla pods © Sue Todd 2015.


  • Unrefined castor sugar
  • 2-4 Vanilla Pods
  • One large air tight glass container


Simply fill your glass container with castor sugar, or at least enough sugar to bury your Vanilla Pods.

Add your Vanilla Pods, just poke them in to the sugar and leave to infuse.  Some people crack the pods open and remove the seeds, either adding them to the sugar as well or using them in a separate recipe and just pop the pods into the sugar.  Many people recommend keeping the vanilla sugar in a cool dark place.  I can do dark, but having finally come to live in a house with an AGA none of my few cupboards in the kitchen could be considered cool, however I’ve had no issues with keeping it in a warm, dark, kitchen cupboard either.

Making Vanilla Sugar © sue Todd 2015.

Making Vanilla Sugar © sue Todd 2015.

I tend to just fling in whole pods, my hands don’t do fiddly things and it works just the same.  In a couple of weeks you will have fine tasting vanilla sugar for the use of.  Enjoy!

As you use your sugar up, simply top it up and give the jar a shake to keep the joy going.  Once a year or so replace your vanilla pods, but don’t throw them away, use the old ones in a custard or some such.  The old waste not, want not, mentality coming through there.

You can also fill little jars adding home-made labels to use as lovely stocking fillers at Christmas or for other present giving times.

To use your vanilla sugar:

Just use your vanilla sugar generally where ever and when ever there’s a call for sugar.  Its fab in cakes, pancakes, literally almost everything that requires sugar.  Our eldest doesn’t much like it in his tea, but then as I say to him, who wants sugar in tea? Really?  Apparently a good mother would buy him white granulated sugar for this purpose.   Sadly for him, this is the mum he has, so vanilla sugar or preserving sugar or maple syrup is what we have!

Recipes from the English Country Cooking Blog that use vanilla sugar:

2 thoughts on “Vanilla Sugar

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