Vanilla Sugar Recipe

Many ingredients in Arefi’s various recipes are homemade, sometimes even the sugar, which in this case contains natural vanilla beans for added flavor.

From "Sweeter Off the Vine"
June 2016

  • Vanilla beans on a bowl of sugar
    Packaged in a jar with a nice label, this sugar makes a lovely gift.
    Photo by Fotolia/daffodilred
  • "Sweeter Off the Vine" by Yossy Arefi
    Photo courtesy of Ten Speed Press
  • Vanilla beans on a bowl of sugar

Yield: Yields 4 cups (800g)

Using natural and simple ingredients, Yossy Arefi presents a collection of heirloom-quality recipes for pies, tarts, ice cream, preserves, and other sweet treats in Sweeter Off the Vine (Ten Speed Press, 2016). She cherishes the fruit of every season and celebrates what’s fresh and vibrant any time of year, enhancing fruit’s enticing sweetness with bold flavors like rose and orange flower water inspired by her Iranian heritage, and whole-grain flours like rye and spelt. With desserts for all seasons, treats to suit every taste, and visually-stunning photography in Arefi’s signature, earthy style, Sweeter Off the Vine is sure to delight not just in the spring recipe featured here, but throughout the whole year.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Sweeter Off the Vine.

This simple vanilla sugar can be substituted for granulated sugar in any recipe that might benefit from a bit of additional vanilla flavor. As you use the vanilla-infused sugar, top off the jar with fresh sugar and the pods of spent vanilla beans. Spent vanilla beans are vanilla beans that have been used one time (to make ice cream, for example) but that still have a lot of vanilla flavor and are perfect for this use.


• 4 cups (800g) sugar
• 2 vanilla beans
• Two 1-pint (480ml) jars or one 1-quart (1L) jar


1. Use the tip of a knife to slice each vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.

2. Combine the vanilla seeds and sugar in a bowl and use your fingertips to work the vanilla seeds evenly into the sugar.

3. Divide the scented sugar into the jars, along with the vanilla bean pods. Use the sugar immediately or store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

More from Sweeter Off the Vine:

All-Butter Pie Crust Recipe
The Simplest Strawberry Tart Recipe
Cornmeal and Ricotta Cake with Cranberries Recipe

Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi. Buy this book from our store: Sweeter Off the Vine.

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