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This easy-to-use, flavorful mixture adds bold flavor and pleasant specks of vanilla to desserts. Why, how, and when should you use it, and which one is best?
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What You Need To Know
While extract, pure or imitation, is one of the most common and convenient ways to add vanilla flavor to recipes, it's not the only option. Dark and thick, vanilla paste is as easy to use as extract is (you simply scoop or pour what you need from the jar). In addition to vanilla flavor, vanilla paste adds appealing flecks to desserts. You can also get flecks from whole vanilla beans...
Everything We Tested
Our favorite vanilla paste struck the right flavor balance between mild and overpowering; tasters described it as “vibrant” and “strong,” with a “hint of nuttiness.” Cookies made with it were “pleasant” and tasted “like gourmet store-bought ones.” In pudding, this paste imparted a “very full, custardy vanilla flavor.” Tasters also liked the visible flecks of vanilla scattered throughout both desserts.
This vanilla paste was “pleasant” and “not overwhelmingly sweet, just about right.” A few tasters noted that it was “mild,” with “not a lot of vanilla” flavor as compared with the other samples. Tasters said cookies made with this paste had “balanced, buttery vanilla flavor.”
“Wow, this one kind of smacks me across the face with vanilla” wrote one taster, and many other tasters agreed. Pudding made with this paste had an “almost a medicinal amount of vanilla,” which was too much for some. Others, though, liked the “warm,” “familiar,” “sweet,” “distinctly vanilla flavor.” This “vanilla lasts on the tongue,” wrote one taster.
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.
Carolyn is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She's a French-trained professional baker.
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.