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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Using Vanilla Paste

    I would like to use vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract. Please can you tell me how to convert the extract amount to a paste amount? Thank you.

    From the nigella team:

    Vanilla paste is a thicker form of vanilla extract which also contains some of the seeds from the vanilla pod (bean). The paste is usually thickened with a natural thickener called gum tragacanth, so it is not necessarily more concentrated than a liquid extract. The advantage of using a paste is that you will get flecks of vanilla seeds in the dish you are making, usually most effective in desserts where you will see the seeds.

    The conversion of extract to paste will to some extent depend on the brand of paste you are using but one of the largest  good quality manufacturers is Nielsen-Massey and they recommend a direct substitution of paste for extract for their paste (ie use 1 teaspoon of paste for 1 teaspoon of extract). We suspect this is a good rule of thumb for other products but do check the guidelines on the packaging. Nielsen-Massey also suggest that 1 tablespoon of paste is the equivalent of of 1 vanilla pod.

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