Vanilla bean is the second most expensive spice in the market, making it crucial to find some cost-effective alternatives to this classic flavoring agent.
Vanilla bean is an essential ingredient in cooking, particularly baking. It is known to be the most popular flavor in the world, with chocolate as the only possible challenger. 
However, if you don’t want to spend a tremendous amount of money on a recipe, you can try some substitutes for vanilla bean that are available and cheap.
Continue reading to explore the options you can use if your recipe calls for fresh vanilla beans.
Vanilla Bean Substitutes That You May Try
1. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is considered as one of the closest substitutes for vanilla bean due to its availability and price. It is made from the beans soaked in water and alcohol and offers an incredible aroma. 
You can use one teaspoon of vanilla extract to replace a single vanilla bean in a dish. However, you are recommended to avoid both the beans and extracts if you’re allergic to vanilla.
2. Vanilla Powder
Made by crushing the dried vanilla beans, the powder can be a perfect alternative if you want to avoid alcohol.
This dry substitute for vanilla bean is suggested to be used at 1:2 ratio (tsp to beans) to get a similar flavor. Vanilla powder is a perfect fit for the color-specific dishes and for the recipes that need high heat and an extended period to cook.
When you’re buying vanilla powder from a store, make sure they are unadulterated and do not contain artificial sweetener. Like the extract, you need to avoid the powder option as well if you’re trying to avoid vanilla due to allergy.
3. Vanilla Sugar
Another great substitute that replaces two ingredients at a time — vanilla bean and sugar. It is basically granulated sugar infused with vanilla flavor.
When using in a recipe, use two teaspoons of vanilla sugar to replace one vanilla bean. Cut back a bit on the extra sugar as this alternative is sugar-based.
4. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup can be the perfect alternative to vanilla bean if you’re allergic to vanilla. 
It brings almost a similar flavor in a dish. However, maple syrup is slightly milder than vanilla, meaning that you need to substitute it at 1.5:1 ratio to vanilla.
Dishes made with maple syrup will be a bit sticky. Avoid this option if you don’t want that.
5. Almond Extract
Almond extract is another excellent option for those who want to avoid vanilla. It’s a cost-effective option that can bring a similar flavor with a bit of nuttiness in your recipe, particularly for baking.
Replace one vanilla bean with one teaspoon of almond extract. This substitute is readily available to save you in the last minute emergency.
Using the right substitutes in the right amount can make your recipe a great one. While vanilla bean is quite expensive, using some alternatives can save your fortune.
Whether you’re replacing this spice for the price or allergy, using them in the correct ratio can help you make a perfectly flavored dish with a negligible difference.