Five Foods or Beverages That Just Get Better With A Surprising Secret Ingredient: Vanilla Extract

You’re no stranger to vanilla extract. You probably use it on a weekly, if not daily, basis in various recipes. Although you might think you know every single way to use that extract sitting in your pantry, today, we’re here to open your eyes to a handful of our favorite ways to use vanilla that you probably haven’t even thought to try before. 

The Coffee Pot 

While it’s trendy to ask for a shot of vanilla syrup in your cup of to-go coffee today, there’s actually a better way to infuse your home-brewed coffee with smooth vanilla flavor. Simply add two tablespoons of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to your empty coffee pot and allow the coffee to brew. The whole pot will be instantly infused with vanilla, making a smooth and delicious drink, without the sugar you find in that coffee shop syrup. You’ll even find yourself adding less sugar than usual because the vanilla flavor will be infused in every cup. For a fun twist, add a small spoonful of cinnamon or a sprinkle of nutmeg to enhance the already vibrant flavors. 

Savory Foods 

Vanilla extract is an ingredient you know well in baking, but how often have you used it in savory dishes? For many professional chefs, vanilla is a secret weapon in the kitchen to bring out rich, subtle flavors in anything from vegetables to meats and so much more. Some of our favorites include using Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract in Pork Carnitas or Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste in Vanilla Cured Smoked Salmon. The subtle nuances in our vanilla products enhance the flavors of any savory dish, without overpowering the other ingredients.  


We bet you never thought to include vanilla your salad! Wait until you discover Pineapple and Cabbage Salad with creamy vanilla dressing. Just imagine the bright combination of fresh pineapple, grapefruit and oranges alongside savory chunks of cooked ham. When these fresh ingredients are mixed together with the smooth and creamy dressing, you’ll take your everyday salad to an entirely new level.  

Fruit salads are another side that comes alive with the addition of high-quality vanilla. Whether you add vanilla to a fruity pudding parfait or simply drizzle it directly over fresh fruit, you’ll be surprised by just how much the vanilla flavor complements any fruit you can think of. We suggest trying it with peaches, plums, bananas and strawberries.  


Smoothies are all the rage right now, whether you are a mom on-the-go, a marathon runner, a CrossFit enthusiast or you simply want to get a little healthier. It’s no surprise that smoothies are a great way to work in extra helpings of fruits and vegetables into your diet.  

It can be hard to make some smoothies taste delicious though. Take the green smoothie, for example. All those nutrients packed into one glass make for a triple dose of healthy goodness, but the taste can leave you feeling like you just drank a bland salad. Turn that vitamin and antioxidant-packed drink into something you actually want drink with a secret ingredient–Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract. The deep, spicy notes will help smooth out the flavors in your green smoothie, making it that much tastier. Just add the extract with a little fruit for sweetness (may we suggest bananas or pineapple?) and you’ll find yourself craving that green concoction daily. 

Grilled Meats 

Do ever wonder how your grill-master neighbor churns out such tender and flavorful steak and chicken every weekend? Grill gurus are known for being very guarded with their secrets but we’re here to expose a truth that will make your jaw drop: vanilla. Yes, that’s right, vanilla extract is one of those secrets you’ve been dying to know about. The magic of vanilla can be used in everything from marinades to sauces and it works with a wide variety of meats. By applying it to pork, lamb, chicken and beef, you can unlock an enticing sweetness in the finished product. 

Whether you are making a healthy green smoothie or planning to host a neighborhood barbeque, make sure you have Nielsen-Massey Vanilla products stocked in your pantry. They’re truly the secret ingredient that will make nearly every food better! 


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