Is Vanilla Extract Keto-friendly?

This is a question that many keto followers have asked. So, we’ve researched to find out if the vanilla extract is keto-friendly or not.

Vanilla extract can be used in recipes and desserts because it can help enhance flavors, but it’s important to note that it may contain sugar alcohols which are carbohydrates.

The carbs in the vanilla extract will depend on the type of alcohol used as an ingredient, such as glycerin or sorbitol, so make sure you know what kind you’re using and how much when cooking with this ingredient.

So let’s dive right in to figure out, it is keto-friendly or not.

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Is vanilla extract keto-friendly? (Quick answer)

The short answer is YES. But how much you eat is dependent on the food and the recipe. Vanilla extract is a popular ingredient in keto diet recipes, but there are some caveats to keep in mind.

It contains about 12 grams of net carbs per tablespoon or less if you use pure vanilla extract without sugar but can be higher in sugar alcohols if you use imitation vanilla extract.

Vanilla extract contains sugar alcohols which aren’t technically carbs because they don’t convert into glucose and can affect blood sugar levels differently than regular table sugar does.


So the carb count for vanilla extract varies depending on how many grams of sugar alcohol is used in the recipe.

For example, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pure vanilla extract contains 12 grams of net carbs while ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) has 4 grams net carbs – and most ketogenic recipes call for at least one tablespoon per serving!


So its carb count can be significant and depending on the recipe.

The more considerable concern with vanilla extract is not its carbs but in how much you eat because it does contain alcohol which has 35 calories per tablespoon (15 ml), according to the MyFitnesPal website.

So please keep track of how much you use for your keto meal and whether or not it affects you.

The more detailed answer

The ingredients in Vanilla Extract are Alcohol, Natural Flavor(s), Water, Caramel Color, and less than 2% sugar. 

Alcohol can be one of the worst things for your body because it is a toxin that causes damage to the liver.

Isolated alcohols such as ethanol or methanol can be used in the body for energy, but they are converted into acetic acid and acetone, which leave the body through respiration. Acetone is a byproduct of ketosis, so it’s okay to have them as long you get rid of it soon after. 

However, the same can’t be said about esters as they don’t get converted into another form of energy. Instead, they are turned into triglycerides and stored as fat in your body.

So it’s important to know what kind of alcohol is used when cooking with vanilla extract because some types contain lower levels of carb or sugar alcohols.

What exactly is a vanilla extract?

Vanilla extract is a common staple in many kitchens, but what exactly does it do?

Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol and water. It is a commonly used ingredient in desserts, which can be used as an ingredient or flavor dishes such as coffee or ice cream.

The most popular use of vanilla extract seems to be in baking sweet desserts like cookies, cakes, pies, and muffins.

It’s derived from vanilla beans with alcohol added to make it more potent. The flavor of vanilla brings a sweet aroma and taste to many foods, offering up a unique flavor that can enhance food without adding sugar or fat.

While there are so many reasons that people might want to bake keto desserts with vanilla extract, the main reason is the rich flavor it provides.

In the next section, we will also focus on how you can use vanilla extract when cooking keto dishes and discuss some of our favorite recipes using this versatile ingredient!

How many types of vanilla extract are there?

There are two types of vanilla extract: pure and imitation.

Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating (soaking) vanilla beans in ethyl alcohol and water solution for several weeks.

During this time, the flavor components in the beans infuse into the liquid and any sugar or other natural sweeteners. The solution is then filtered, mixed with more alcohol and water to make it less dense, and packaged for sale.

Pure Vanilla Extract versus Imitation Vanilla Extract

Another way to produce vanilla extract is by using imitation vanilla flavoring, which contains some different chemicals that give it the appearance and flavor of natural vanilla extract but aren’t actually derived from the vanilla plant.

The real problem with imitation vanilla extract is that it contains synthetic vanillin, which can irritate your kidneys or cause cancer.

In addition to the above, there are 2 other kinds of vanilla extract available: pure natural and artificial. 

  • Pure natural vanilla extract is the same as pure vanilla extract except that it doesn’t contain any sugar. However, it has a slightly different flavor and is much more expensive than the pure vanilla extract that contains sugar.
  • Artificial vanilla extract can be made by using synthetic vanillin (as mentioned above). It could also use an alcohol-based solution of wood pulp treated with ammonium hydroxide to affect its flavor and aroma.

Many people think that the type of vanilla extract doesn’t matter because it’s all made from vanilla beans anyways, but they are wrong.

Depending on which kind you use, a single teaspoon can contain as much as 2 tablespoons or more sugar!

Caramel Color is used to make vanilla extract appear darker. On its own, it does not affect blood sugar.

How to use vanilla extract in your keto meal?

Baking is one of the best ways to use vanilla extract.

Try experimenting with different types to see which ones you like best: clear or double-strength, alcohol or water-based?

Richly flavored extracts include natural bourbon and cognac. Vanilla Sugar can also be an excellent topping for cakes.

Vanilla extract is an expensive product to purchase, especially if you’re using it regularly, so make sure that when cook with this ingredient, try not to use more than half a teaspoon per drink/dish (depending on the recipe).

Often, limited choices in grocery store items might have vanilla extract mixed into other things like soup base called broths.

Some of the things to watch out for when using vanilla extract are sugar alcohols found in some brands of vanilla extracts; you don’t want to add those additional carbs into your meals or treats.

Vanilla extract contains glycerin or sorbitol, which are carbs since they come from alcohol, so the carbs will depend on which type you’re using and how much when cooking with this ingredient.

Eyeball it at about 7 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon even if the label says zero because retailers often include every last bit by weight whether it contributes anything or not. Each tablespoon has around 14g of carbohydrates.

The other ways to use vanilla extract in a keto diet is paired with apple cider vinegar for a tangy-sweet taste or mixed into coffee or tea for an afternoon pick-me-up without the added sugars.

Make sure to buy pure vanilla extract without sugar because you can always add sweetener on your own, but it’s hard to remove sugar from a recipe once it has been added.

The benefits of using vanilla extract in your keto diet

The benefits of using vanilla extract in your keto diet are many. The most obvious is that it tastes delicious. But the more you learn about this ingredient, the more reasons you will add to your low-carb recipes.

Some studies have proved vanilla to have positive effects on mood and cognitive function and treat digestive issues like constipation due to its natural fiber content and ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

It also contains antioxidants that can help fight free radicals, which cause cell damage, aging, and disease.

Tips for using Vanilla extract when following the Ketogenic Diet

It can be difficult to get the flavor in your keto diet, especially when following a strict ketogenic diet.

However, using vanilla extract is an excellent way of adding flavor without any extra carbs or calories.

Vanilla extract is made from the beans of an orchid plant and has been used for centuries as a flavoring agent for food. The good news is that all you need is one teaspoon per day to reap the benefits! 

Below are some other tips on how to use vanilla extract:

  • Add it into a coffee creamer
  • Bake with it
  • Add it into yogurt and more!

There are so many different ways to enjoy this simple ingredient while still sticking with your keto plan.

Recipes with Vanilla Extract that are Keto-Friendly

I’m so excited to share with you all these delicious recipes with vanilla extract that are keto-friendly! I know how hard it can be to find a sweet treat on the Keto diet, but I’ve got you covered.

From brownies to cookies and everything in between, this list has something for everyone. With so many different flavors of extract available, like French Vanilla and Mexican Chocolate, there’s no reason not to indulge every once in a while.

Vanilla extract is keto-friendly, but make sure to use it sparingly.

Start by adding just a teaspoon of vanilla extract to your recipe and increase the amount gradually until you find the perfect flavor.

Here are some Keto-friendly recipes using a vanilla extract that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Vanilla Brownies With Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Brownies With Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting is super delicious!

Brownies are one of the best desserts out there, and this keto-friendly takes it to a whole new level. The frosting is also incredible.

This recipe uses vanilla extract, which can be used on your keto diet in moderation! This is perfect for anyone with cravings that crave traditional sweetened desserts that have been part of their diet for years now.

Vanilla Fudge Fat Bombs

Vanilla Fudge Fat Bombs consist of three layers – creamy center layer of delicious fudge mixed with a whipped topping made from heavy whipping cream and cocoa powder; middle layer which is just whipped heavy cream; an outside layer that is crushed unsweetened 100% cacao wafers without any oil or chocolate in them. They taste like a cookie instead!

Vanilla Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

These are the perfect little cookies for when you’re in the mood for something chewy. They’re a twist on your regular cream cheese cookie that I know you’ll love!

Every time I make these, I think of my grandma and all the beautiful memories we would have baking together. These cookies bring back all those memories for me. It’s nice to indulge every once in a while, doesn’t it?

The cookie part is made from coconut flour and almond flour which are both keto-friendly options but use these cookies sparingly because of high in calories.


So you’ve got the answer for question “Is Vanilla Extarct Keto Friendly?”.

Yes, Vanilla extract is a popular keto-friendly additive that can be used in many recipes. If you’re on the keto diet and looking for ways to add flavor without sugar, vanilla extract might be a great option.

It’s important to realize the benefits of using vanilla extract and how it can fit into your ketogenic lifestyle, so we hope these tips will help you decide what kind of meals are best with this delicious addition.

Share your favorite recipe or meal ideas below for adding more vanilla flavor!

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