Where to buy vanilla beans for baking?

I just used up my last two vanilla beans when I made cream cheese frosting for my carrot cake this Easter. They were in a long tube, and had a plastic plug on the end. I think they were labeled Roelle, or something similar.

I need some more beans, and I’d like them to be of similar quality, soft, supple, and easy to slice in half. Where are you getting your vanilla beans online these days?

It’s the sort of item that’s readily available in my local supermarket, so I’ve never had to look for an online source.

On the rare occasion that I’ve needed to buy a spice online, I’ve generally used this company but, as vanilla is so common I assume that the likes of Amazon would turn up a rnage of suppliers. https://www.seasonedpioneers.com/

I’ve always had good results with penzey’s. https://www.penzeys.com/search/#?q=vanilla%20bean

They used to carry both Mexican and Madagascar, but it looks like they only have Mexican now (I assume because of the problems with the Madagascar crops).

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If I plan ahead : https://saffron.com/store-shop/vanilla-beans/
(They seem to have Madagaspar in stock at this time.)

If I need it NOW then I drive to my local Penzeys.

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I bought these in the glass tube https://www.instacart.com/the-fresh-market/products/19475852-the-fresh-market-madagascar-bourbon-vanilla-beans-2-ct “in store” at The Fresh Market
If there is a Fresh Market in your area I recommend
The tube was long as were the beans

Costco has them in a 5-pack. Though I have to admit, with the price the way it’s gone, I’m using mostly extract and hoarding my beans.

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This won’t help you, but I wish I could go back in time and buy them at Trader Joe’s. They used to sell them during the holidays, a pack of two for $4. I always stocked up and they would last me the whole year. I’m doing something like Saregama now. And since even extract is a lot more expensive, I’ve been omitting vanilla altogether, especially when my other ingredients are good quality. Or I use cardamom or ginger, or even lemon zest just to see what happens. (I used cardamom for my last cream cheese frosting and loved it, but it took a day to mellow out.)

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A useless bit of differing linguistics information…in British English, we call it a pod not a bean.


From what I recall, “pod” was common here, too. I can’t remember when we switched to “bean” almost exclusively.

Google is my friend here. It tells me that the word “vanilla” is a corruption of the Spanish “vainilla”, meaning little pod.

It’s always interesting how words and usage evolve!

I still hear both, but beans more frequently in the US. In all fairness, they look more like beans to me.

I was going to suggest Costco as well. Curious to those who’ve used them - how are the Costco ones? The only other time I see them are in actual spice stores otherwise. My grocery stores are not fancy enough to carry them.