Oma's Vanilla Sugar Recipe and Substitutes 

➤ by Gerhild Fulson

This Vanilla Sugar recipe, aka Vanillezucker, is an inexpensive way to make your own flavored sugar for use in baking. 

Many times in German recipes, one ingredient is added that is so easy to make yourself. That's vanilla sugar. If you live in Germany, it's easy to buy it in the grocery stores. But, if you live elsewhere in the world, what do you do? You make your own!

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know right below.

However, there are substitutes you can use. See below for ones that you can use as well.

Make your own vanilla sugar ...

The resulting vanilla sugar, in the recipe below, is used for flavoring many German baking recipes. I usually make about 2 cups and refill as necessary. The longer it sits, the more flavorful and aromatic it becomes.

Substitutes for Dr. Oetker's Vanillezucker (Vanilla Sugar)

Instead of waiting for two weeks for the vanilla aroma/flavor to infuse the sugar in the recipe below, here's an easier way to make this. 

  1. For most recipes, 1 pouch of Dr. Oetker's vanilla sugar can be replaced with 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) vanilla extract added with the liquids.
  2. Make your own vanilla sugar by placing 1 sliced vanilla pod (with or without seeds) into a container with 1 cup (200 g) of granulated sugar. Cover and place in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks before using.
  3. A quicker way is to whisk 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vanilla extract and 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar for about 1 minute. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to dry overnight before using. Store, covered, in a dark cupboard.

Two teaspoons of homemade vanilla sugar replaces 1 pouch DR. OETKER Vanilla Sugar.

Vanilla Facts:

  • Did you know that vanilla comes from the vanilla orchids, primarily from Mexico? It is grown in various parts of the world, including Madagascar which produces the Bourbon Vanilla (aka Madagascar Vanilla) as well as in Central America and other tropical areas.
  • Being a labor-intensive crop, this results in the high cost of good quality vanilla beans and essence.
  • Artificial vanilla flavoring comes from a substance called "lignin" which is found in wood. It is much cheaper to buy (and tastes like it as well!) because it is a byproduct of wood pulp used in making paper.
  • Whenever possible, when the recipe calls for vanilla extract or vanilla flavoring, use real vanilla essence. It just tastes better! Stay away from artificial or imitation vanilla flavoring. 

Using your homemade Vanilla Sugar

  • In a recipe calling for 1 package of vanilla sugar, use 2 teaspoons of your homemade vanilla sugar.
  • In most recipes, you can replace some of your sugar (a couple of teaspoons) with vanilla sugar and omit adding vanilla extract.
  • It's great sprinkled on pancakes or improving the taste of a cup of hot chocolate!

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Where to use Vanilla Sugar?

Many German recipes call for vanilla sugar, but there is ONE recipe where vanilla sugar is a MUST!

Ready to make vanilla sugar?

Oma's Vanilla Sugar Recipe

This Vanilla Sugar recipe, aka Vanillezucker, is an inexpensive way to make your own flavored sugar for use in baking. 

If you live in Germany, it's easy to buy vanilla sugar in the grocery stores. But, if you live elsewhere in the world, what do you do? You make your own!

Prep Time

5 minutes

Wait Time

2 weeks

Total Time



Makes 1 cup


  • 1 cup (200 grams) of granulated white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean


  1. Put sugar into seal-able glass/ceramic jar.
  2. Cut vanilla bean in half (not lengthwise or the seeds will come out)
  3. Place bean sections in sugar.
  4. Close jar and place in cool, dark place.
  5. Let sit at least 2 weeks before using.
  6. You can keep refilling the jar with sugar because the beans stay potent for quite some time.


  • If you wish, you can cut the beans lengthwise ... and you'll get more aroma into the sugar. You may also get the seeds in there, but if you don't mind that, it works great.
  • If you're in a hurry, whisk 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of pure vanilla extract (no artificial or imitation) and 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar for about 1 minute. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to dry overnight before using. Store, covered, in a dark cupboard. It's ready to use immediately.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma |

11.27.2021 revision update

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Make your own vanilla sugar ... for baking and sprinkling over pancakes, etc., so easy ❤️.
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Vanilla Sugar Recipe made Just like Oma


Vanilla Sugar Recipe made Just like Oma

This Vanilla Sugar recipe is an inexpensive way to make your own flavoured sugar for use in baking. Many German baking recipes call of this. Now, you can use your own.

Ingredients: white sugar, vanilla bean,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

Words to the Wise

"Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."

Proverbs 15:2 (NLT)