Make Your Own Instant Vanilla Sugar

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Every time I go to make Alton Brown’s Crème Brulee, I don’t think far enough in advance to properly make the vanilla sugar that it calls for. I end up making the recipe with regular sugar, and it still turns out well.

Vanilla sugar is very easy to make. You simply scrape the inside of a vanilla bean into two cups of sugar, seal it airtight, and let it sit for two weeks so that the sugar gets infused with the flavorful vanilla.

I never think two weeks in advance that I’m going to want to make crème brulee, so I never have the vanilla sugar ready when I want it. I did a search to see if the process for creating vanilla sugar can be moved along. It can be. I’m not sure if the flavor is as intense as it would be if I did it the traditional way, but I found a method that works. To help intensify the flavor, I used one vanilla bean per one cup of sugar. The traditional method calls for one bean to two cups of sugar.


  • One whole vanilla bean
  • One cup of sugar


  1. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a knife. You will use both the seeds and the outside of the bean.
  2. Put one cup of sugar into a food processor.
  3. Put the seeds and the outside of the bean into the food process.
  4. Pulse several times until the seeds are all incorporated.
  5. Pour the sugar through a sieve (to remove the large pieces) into a container. Put a lid on it and store until needed.


  • Crème brulee, of course.
  • Use in vanilla-flavored cakes or puddings.
  • Put in coffee.
  • Sprinkle on fruit.
  • Use it with cocoa powder to make hot chocolate.

What other uses for vanilla sugar do you know of?