5 Best Side Dish Vanilla Recipes to Elevate Your Cooking

In Vanilla Bean Recipes, Tips, and Helpful Information Blog 1 comment

Vanilla is one of the flavors that is universally loved and used widely across a huge range of cuisine and products. It is a classic timeless flavor that goes wonderfully in cakes, ice cream, scones, and drinks.

So, what is it that makes us love vanilla so much?

The aroma we know, and love is actually called vanillin, it is this that gives us that floral, sweet, creamy scent. If you’re looking for inspiration of where and how to use more vanilla in the kitchen, this article will provide you with exactly that.

Read on to see five of the best vanilla recipes of all-time.

Mint and Rosemary Lemonade with Vanilla

An extraordinary lemonade recipe that you can serve in your summer gatherings, for everyone in your family to enjoy.

This refreshing Mint and Rosemary Lemonade is flavored with vanilla seeds. While fresh vanilla takes this otherwise ordinary mint vanilla lemonade to the next level, if you do not have vanilla pods, you can use two teaspoons of vanilla extract instead.


  • 8 large lemons washed and sliced in 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 cup Sucanat Natural sugar or granulated sugar
  • 10 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary more as a garnish
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped seeds (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
  • 8 cups of cold water
  • Ice


Place medium-mesh strainer in a bowl. Set it aside.

Scrape the seeds of the vanilla and place them in a small bowl. Do not discard the vanilla pod.

Place lemon slices, sugar, mint, rosemary, vanilla seeds, and pod in the strainer.

Using your clean hands, gently massage the lemons to get their juices out and mix everything. 

Cover it with plastic stretch film and place it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, or more preferably, overnight. 

In the morning, again using clean hands, massage the lemons to get all their juices out. Strain and discard the solids. 

Pour the concentrated lemon juice into a large pitcher (or jug) and stir in 8 cups of cold water. 

Pour into mason jars filled with ice and garnish with fresh rosemary.

Rhubarb, Lemon and Vanilla Jam 

Deliciously fresh and fruity jam with a zing of lemon and a subtle hint of vanilla!

A great breakfast or teatime treat.


  • 3 Cups rhubarb chopped into ¾ inch pieces (prepared weight)
  • 3 tbsp juice & zest of a large unwaxed lemon
  • 3 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split & seeds removed


Place the rhubarb in a glass bowl along with the vanilla seeds, vanilla pod, lemon zest, sugar, lemon juice, cover, and leave overnight.

The next day place 2 saucers into the freezer.

Then place the rhubarb mixture into a preserving pan or large heavy-based pan.

Heat gently to dissolve all the sugar crystals, stirring with a wooden spoon (do not simmer).

Then bring the pan to a rolling boil (stirring with a wooden spoon continuously) and time for 7 minutes.

Put a few drops of jam on a chilled saucer and place in the fridge for about 30 seconds.

Test for a set by pushing your finger through the jam. If it’s ready, it will wrinkle and be gel-like.

If the jam is not ready, keep boiling for another 2 minutes and do the plate test until it is.

Finally, remove the vanilla pod and use a jam funnel and fruit ladle to immediately fill your hot sterilized jars and seal them with lids.

Allow to cool before serving.

Store jars in a cool, dark place (can keep for years), and once open, store in the fridge and eat within 3 months.

This recipe makes about 25 ounces of jam or about 4 – 8 ounce mason jars.


Before you start: Sterilize jars by washing in hot soapy water (or take straight from the dishwasher), fill with boiling water, empty, and then place in the oven for 20 minutes at 280°F, where you leave them until the jam is ready. Sterilize washed lids with boiling water and let them drain (if they don’t dry in time, pop them in the oven once the jars are ready, and just run the fan to dry them off for a few minutes).

If you are pushed for time, you can jump to step 3; soaking overnight helps retain fruit structure and let the flavors develop.

Creamy Fruit Salad Recipe with Homemade Vanilla Dressing

This Creamy Fruit Salad Recipe is made with Homemade Vanilla Dressing. It is the perfect summer breakfast, snack, or dessert — use whatever fruit you have! 

Creamy vanilla dressing goes with any fruit, and you can definitely use what you have on hand. It’s also excellent as a pancake or waffle topping.


  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest optional
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries hulled and quartered
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges optional 
  • 3 kiwi sliced, optional 
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks optional 
  • 1 cup red grapes


In a medium skillet, whisk together milk, sugar, and corn starch. 

Cook over medium heat, frequently whisking, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes (it won’t be thick like pudding, it is a dressing — but it will thicken considerably).

Stir in the lemon zest (if using) and vanilla extract. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, and grapes. Pour dressing over and toss to coat (be gentle — you don’t want mush!).

Serve at room temperature or chill to serve later. 

If making ahead, do not add the dressing until 3-4 hours or less before serving.


This classic French dessert is made with the simplest of ingredients. Vanilla Creme Brûlée is light, creamy, smooth, sweet but not overly so, and simple to prepare. It’s also the most impressive dessert to serve for every occasion. 

Vanilla beans are infusing flavor into your creme Brûlée. If you can’t find vanilla beans, you can use a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. 


  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 vanilla beans split lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar granulated sugar can be used here but may increase cooking time


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream, vanilla, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. 

Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat (cream will begin to steam). Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. 

Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla beans and stir into the cream. 

Rinse the empty beans and reserve them for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining granulated sugar until pale and frothy. 

While whisking, scoop 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the eggs until combined. 

Slowly add another 1/4 cup of the cream to the egg mixture to combine. (This step tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when you mix them into the cream.)

Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the cream mixture until thoroughly combined.

Arrange 6 6-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet or roasting pan. 

Divide the cream mixture evenly among the ramekins and place the baking sheet on the oven rack.

Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins (BE SURE NOT to splash any water into the ramekins....POUR SLOWLY.)

Bake the custards for 50 minutes or until just set. (They will still be a little jiggly in the center...like a cheesecake)

Cool the custards to room temperature, then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle the custard with the superfine sugar and melt the sugar with a kitchen torch until caramelized. Alternatively, you can melt the sugar by placing the custard under the broiler until caramelized.

Top with fruit, if desired. 

Serve immediately.


Custards can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator wrapped lightly with plastic wrap.

Vanilla chia seed pudding

This pudding is the perfect option when you need a quick and filling breakfast. Nutrient-rich chia seeds pudding, loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, the vanilla flavor makes it a perfect start to the day! It’s a definite upgrade from traditional breakfast cereals!


  • ¾ Cup milk of choice
  • 1 Cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds


  • Fresh berries
  • Sliced banana
  • Granola
  • Coconut flakes
  • Mixed nuts


Place the milk, yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk quickly to ensure everything is well combined.

Add the chia seeds and whisk again.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, stir the thickened pudding, then serve with your toppings of choice scattered over.


There are two types of people: those who love vanilla and those who have not tried out the best vanilla recipes, yet. After saffron, vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, and with good reason. It can enhance so many desserts and treats, and it makes an incredible homemade vanilla bean ice cream.  Aside from being great in food, vanilla also contains powerful antioxidants that are hugely beneficial for health too.

Do you love vanilla as much as we do?
Find more inspiration by reading some of our other posts, here’s the links for the best winter vanilla bean recipes, and our best spring vanilla bean recipes.



1 thought on “5 Best Side Dish Vanilla Recipes to Elevate Your Cooking

marlane johnson

Can I use vanilla beans/extract to flavor plain water? If so, can you provide a recipe? Thank you :)

February 27, 2024 at 16:14pm

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