Savory Dinners w/ vanilla extract

Hello everyone,

I’m new here. I started making my own vanilla extract and I was wondering if anyone has ideas for use with it OUT side of baking. Maybe a savory dish or recipe you could share? Beef,Chicken, pork, fish anything that the extract will add a little something “extra” to but not over power the protien. I wouldn’t mind side dish suggestions either if anyone has some. Thank you all!

Welcome to the forum.

I’ve had vanilla in restaurant savoury dishes on a couple of occasions. I really didnt like it and, if possible, would actively avoid it in future. Fine with it in sweet dishes.

Welcome! Interested to know how you make your extract. Personally I’m more familiar in using vanilla pods and seeds in sweet dishes.

@naf I use 1oz of vanilla pods to 8oz high quality spirit. Either vodka, Rum or bourbon. The FDA standard for “pure extract” is about 8oz spirit to 1oz vanilla bean. I have 4 oz of beans, i slice my beans in half and I actually dropped them directly into a 12oz bottle of Titos vodka and a 12oz bottle of Bacardi superior whit rum. The higher the quality the spirit the better the extract will be. I order my beans from a vanilla bean Co-Op. Called vanillpura. You get high quality beans at a decent price. You can get tahitian beans at $11/oz

Thanks and interesting. How long should one let the extract sit before it is ready to be used? Do you keep the seeds when making the extract?

So it can take anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on if you slice the pods or not. If you slice the pods the seeds tend to come out of the pods and float around in the extract. Slicing the beans make it more difficult to reuse the pod. You actually can use the beans twice for extract. Once you are done with the first round, don’t toss them, stick them in another 8oz and start over. I also herd of people using the pods To make vanilla sugar after making the extract. The website is actually very informative and there is a Facebook group for then as well.

Also the longer you let it go the better it becomes. It will continue to develop up to a year maby more

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Beef or lamb stew take really well to vanilla.

As does mashed potatoes, surprisingly.

And roasted squash (butternut, Kurobuta, etc.) take really well to a bit of vanilla, really highlights the sweetness of those vegetables.

Grilled lobsters with vanilla sauce
Backstory for lobster and vanilla
A bunch of ideas here


Now, that would be very much a matter of opinion (see my earlier post}.

I’ve had vanilla in savory dishes in restaurants a few times (duck, pork, chicken). I was not at all impressed and like John @Harters would avoid ordering such again.

If one of my friends in Tonga where to ship me a bunch of vanilla beans I’d buy an ice cream machine.

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Like many herbs and spices, extraordinary subtly is necessary to use vanilla and other strong flavors. i.e., kiss, don’t ravish.

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@pilgrim , your link for grilled lobster with vanilla sauce was the first thing I thought of l as well.

I had a dish similar to that at either Jasper White’s Summer Shack in Cambridge, MA or the late Cuchi-Cuchi, also in Cambridge. It didn’t seem like it would work, but only MY, it did!


I third lobster with vanilla butter. I don’t always use it in the butter but it’s nearly the only reason vanilla is in the kitchen.

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Same with me. I had a roasted chicken with vanilla at a fancy French restaurant and I disliked it.

I had a first date at Marche in Chicago (in the now very gentrified Fulton Market area). We shared the seared scallops with a vanilla-scented sauce and surprisingly, I liked it. Being in my 20’s and very broke, I felt quite sophisticated. Don’t know what 2021-era digga would think.


One of our meals at L’Arpege in the previous Millennium included an immaculate piece of lightly cooked cod, salted and peppered, flavored with lemon zest and a hint of vanilla. “Sweet and sour” definitely altered, even elevated.