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Ground Vanilla and Vanilla Powder
These dry vanillas are beloved by professional bakers. We explore how, when, and why you should use them at home.
Looking for more? Check out our primer on the various forms of vanilla and how to use them.
What You Need To Know
Most home bakers are familiar with vanilla extract, but there are two lesser-known vanilla products on the market that also provide great vanilla flavor: ground vanilla and vanilla powder. The names are often used interchangeably, but we distinguish them by their ingredients. Ground vanilla is made of only vanilla beans, while vanilla powder contains additives. We wanted to learn ho...
Everything We Tested
Recommended - Ground Vanilla
Our favorite ground vanilla was “really bold,” with “pleasant,” “nutty” “notes of almond.” Pudding made with it was “creamy” and “sweet,” and one taster said it was “like the best vanilla ice cream [they’ve] ever had.” Tasters liked the flecks of vanilla it added to the cookies. The cookies were “bright and sweet, with punchy, prominent vanilla.”
The most expensive ground vanilla in our lineup was “warm and comforting”—it reminded one taster of birthday cake batter, with “very intense” vanilla flavor. This product was finer in texture than the other two ground vanillas, so its flecks were less prominent. The cookies tasted “creamy, smooth, and pleasant.” Note that although this product is labeled as a powder, we treated it as ground vanilla because it is made solely from vanilla beans.
This product had “strong vanilla flavor” with “floral” and aromatic notes. Its distinctive flavor is likely due to the Tahitian vanilla beans it’s made from; they are often touted as being fruitier and more floral than Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. Cookies made with this ground vanilla tasted “intensely vanilla, fruity, with notes of cherry.” Like another ground vanilla in our lineup, this product is also labeled as a powder. We included it here because it is made solely from vanilla beans.
Highly Recommended - Vanilla Powder
Our winning powder had a pleasant “strong vanilla that hits you up front.” Tasters noted it was “toasty,” with “slightly nutty flavor.” Vanilla pudding made with this powder was “rich, sweet, and balanced.” The vanilla also “nicely complements the cookie.”
Recommended - Vanilla Powder
More than one taster compared vanilla pudding made with this powder to creamy vanilla ice cream. It was “mildly sweet,” which “allowed the vanilla to come through.” Sugar cookies made with this powder were “sweet at first” and had “mellow vanilla flavor.”
This vanilla powder provided “solid and good flavor” in our vanilla pudding. A few tasters noted that the “vanilla didn’t come through as much” as it did with other vanilla powders. When used in cookies, the vanilla was “subtle.”
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.