Can You Use Honey Instead of Vanilla Extract When Baking Cookies?


When you’ve made sure to buy all the basics for cookies — flour, eggs, butter — it’s easy to forget that your bottle of vanilla in the pantry is empty. Honey will make the cookies sweeter and will give them a subtle honey taste, but won’t impart any vanilla flavor. You can use a few other ingredients to try to add flavor to your cookies in place of vanilla.

Vanilla Extract Basics

To many people, vanilla might be almost synonymous with sweet. It usually shows up in desserts like ice cream, frostings, cakes and cookies. But while vanilla goes well with sweet flavors, it’s not a sweetener. The vanilla bean on its own has a complex flavor — slightly floral and a little bitter. Vanilla extract is made by soaking the vanilla bean in alcohol. When you use vanilla extract in a recipe, it adds its distinctive flavor, not sweetness.

Substituting Honey for Vanilla

You can add honey if you would like to add honey flavor to your cookies, but it will not mimic vanilla. If you do add honey, reduce the amount of sugar you use so your cookies won’t be overly sweet.

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