Best Vanilla Extract

Baking By loo.cakeface Updated 3 hours ago by MBalaska

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loo.cakeface Posted 11 Aug 2019 , 5:45pm
post #1 of 20

Hi, as the price of decent Vanilla extract has skyrocketed, I am looking for a cheaper viable alternative to Neilsen Massey. 

Any tried and tested suggestions? 

Thanks! 

19 replies
ThatCakeDude42 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
ThatCakeDude42 Posted 11 Aug 2019 , 6:39pm
post #2 of 20

I use McCormick for general baking and homemade for special things.

Cook's Illustrated recently tested a bunch of vanillas, real and imitation.  https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/1345-in-search-of-the-best-vanilla

The overall winner was the super cheap Baker's Imitation Vanilla Flavor. I just can't bring myself to use it.

They said the top pure extract is the Simply Organic brand. I've tried this one, and thought it was flavorless.

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 11 Aug 2019 , 6:50pm
post #3 of 20

I think one great idea is to pray for good weather and a hearty crop — a cyclone hit Madagascar last year and demand has been increasing anyway with manufacturers trying to be more responsible with using real ingredients — no es bueno 

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SandraSmiley Posted 11 Aug 2019 , 11:43pm
post #4 of 20

The best alternative that I've found is plain, ole McCormicks, but it sure isn't cheaper!  After trying several different ones, I bit the bullet and order the quart bottle of Neilsen-Massey.  I had to use four times as much of the other brands, which made it just as expensive anyway.

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lyndim Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 1:30am
post #5 of 20

K8memphis, so that’s reason for the crazy prices. Will pray for better weather in Madagascar!

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-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 3:05am
post #6 of 20

yes it is, lyndim — and ironically right after I posted I saw a tv commercial for beer of all things really pushing the “no artificial anything”  slogan — not that they use vanilla in beer but actually it might be an improvement hahaha

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Holiver Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 11:17am
post #7 of 20

I  don't know whether you guys get it across the pond but I have found Dr Oetkars vanilla bean paste great for sponges and fillings. Go careful on decorative frosting through as it does leave the buttercream speckled.



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Holiver Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 11:17am
post #8 of 20

I  don't know whether you guys get it across the pond but I have found Dr Oetkars vanilla bean paste great for sponges and fillings. Go careful on decorative frosting through as it does leave the buttercream speckled.



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Freckles0829 Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 12:32pm
post #9 of 20

I have always used McCormick, but one day when I was going to buy two bottles at my local grocer I saw a bottle by Morton & Basset Spices.  The M&B Spices bottle was a few dollars less expensive than 2 bottles of McCormick for the same amount of product so I figured I would give it a whirl.  Haven't really been able to tell the difference between the two types of extracts in my finished products which is nice.  But as a Maryland gal it is just down right hard not to use McCormick since the company was founded in Baltimore.

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SandraSmiley Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 6:15pm
post #10 of 20

I know everyone thinks Neilsen-Massey is very expensive, but the first time I ordered it, I compared the price to the big bottle of McCormicks I had in the pantry and - surprise, surprise - the McCormick was four times more per ounce!  That settled it for me, so I order the NM by the quart.

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ThatCakeDude42 Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 8:57pm
post #11 of 20

Where do you buy your Nielsen-Massey?

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SandraSmiley Posted 12 Aug 2019 , 11:19pm
post #12 of 20

I ordered it from King Arthur Flour.  I used to buy it from Chef's, but they are no longer in business.

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ThatCakeDude42 Posted 13 Aug 2019 , 6:11am
post #13 of 20

Thank you.

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 13 Aug 2019 , 10:18am
post #14 of 20

right now two pints, a qt, of mccormack is $70 — 

a nielsen massey  quart of unspecified vanilla is is $109 on amazon

king arthur is $129 for a quart of madagascar vanilla amazon is is $139 —



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cakefan92 Posted 13 Aug 2019 , 4:18pm
post #15 of 20

I've never been impressed with Nielsen Massey (I know, that's not normal) and I prefer powdered vanilla flavoring anyway.  I was looking on Amazon at the prices of different powders and it seems that the average price is somewhere around $3.00-3.50 an ounce with some as low as $.59 an ounce. Except for Nielsen Massey - theirs is $13.00+ per ounce. Definitely not worth the exorbitant price as far as I'm concerned.

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SandraSmiley Posted 13 Aug 2019 , 4:43pm
post #16 of 20

I did pay $135.00 ($4.20 per ounce) for my quart of Neilson-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla from King Arthur Flour.  The comparison I made was years ago, when the same bottle was $35 dollars and my McCormick came from Food Lion.  It was literally four times as much, per ounce, at the time.  I don't have any McCormick's for comparison currently.  I also have part of a 32 ounce bottle of Sysco Imperial Pure Vanilla Extract, which I purchased from a restaurant supply store for around $80.  It is not worth a fig!  Has practically no flavor at all.

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MBalaska Posted 16 Aug 2019 , 8:03pm
post #17 of 20

Double fold (double strength) Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla

it's expensive, the different brands have been all good so far.  As I bake to please myself to my own taste, I'm contented to pay the enormous price. Especially when people say, "my stuff never taste this good and I used that same recipe."  Well, yes.  However they don't use the same expensive ingredients either.

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MBalaska Posted 5 hours ago
post #18 of 20

Just to confirm my absolute favorite vanilla extract...………….  I was running out of the expensive 'Penzys'  Double fold (double strength) Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla.  It's now about $50 for 4 ounces. 

So I bought some 'Loran' Double fold (double strength) Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla, less expensive and should be the same. $32 for 4 ounces. 

It's not as flavorful.  No matter what I've purchased nothing compares to the 'Penzys' vanilla.  You'd have to make your own homemade vanilla to get the strength and intensity that you get with Penzys.   It may not be that noticeable in anything other than frosting, but It's superb in SMBC and really makes a big difference. 

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MerMadeBakedGoods Posted 3 hours ago
post #19 of 20

MBalaska .... I completely agree. Penzeys is all I use. Expensive but i try to factor that in to pricing. The double strength vanilla is the best I’ve even tasted and it makes a huge difference. I think you can even taste the difference in the cake as well. 

But I don’t know how widespread Penzeys is..... 

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MBalaska Posted 3 hours ago
post #20 of 20

at $50 for a half a cup (4 oz.) of extract, I doubt that it's too popular or well known.  Not too long ago I was paying that much for 16 oz. 


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