Is pure vanilla extract paleo?

The Paleo diet has been a much-favored one because it allows most kinds of foods. This diet closely resembles what our ancestors ate centuries ago, which researchers have concluded to mainly consist of whole foods. Several studies suggest that the paleo diet can lead to major improvements in overall health and weight loss. However, it strictly does not allow processed foods, grains, and sugar. Taking all this into consideration, the question arises, is pure vanilla extract Paleo? 

Pure vanilla extract is made using a natural process. It is made by soaking vanilla bean in a solution of water and either ethyl alcohol or invert sugar. This process uses only natural ingredients. The only processed food that is added to this is sugar, but it is of such a small quantity, that it is considered insignificant. The sugar does not change the nutritional value of the product. Many companies, like Goodness Vanilla, use invert sugar in vanilla extract. This is more natural than processed sugar, and can thus be used sparingly. 

If the extract being used is natural, there will be a small amount of alcohol present in it. The alcohol is used to extract the flavor and scent from the beans, and evaporates or dissipates when the vanilla is cooked. There is not enough alcohol in a teaspoon of vanilla to make a difference to the health benefits even if added to recipes that do not require it to be baked. 

Since most extracts contain a minuscule amount of alcohol, the inclusion of vanilla in your paleo diet is debatable. There are also alcohol-free vanilla extracts available, like those from Goodness Vanilla. Vanilla extract is usually consumed in very tiny amounts and these amounts do not make a significant contribution towards it being health adverse, as long as it is in its natural form. The decision to use it or not use it really comes down to it being a personal choice, as someone being fully into Paleo might choose to avoid it, versus a person just concerned about their nutrition would embrace it. 

What is a pure vanilla extract?

Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla pods in a solution of alcohol and water. Various brands use ethyl alcohol for the extraction process, but some others use grain or cane alcohol is used. Pure vanilla extract differs from vanilla essence because it uses natural vanilla pods and processes in its production. However, vanilla essence is an artificial flavor, and cannot be a part of a paleo diet at all. 

For a product to be certified as pure vanilla extract, it must contain about 13.5 % of vanilla bean extractives. The rest of the product contains vanilla seeds, sugar, and distilled water. The amount of alcohol present in this extract is usually so minimal that it evaporates during cooking. As mentioned before, some companies, like Goodness Vanilla, do not use alcohol in their extraction process. 

Where can I use pure vanilla extract?

Pure vanilla extract is extremely flavourful and makes baked goods, raw Paleo desserts, and smoothies taste much better. It can be included in a salad, to enhance the flavor, as well. Some people like to use vanilla extract when grilling vegetables and fruits, and in homemade sauces that serve as condiments. 

Best vanilla extract paleo recipes to try

There are quite a few Paleo-friendly recipes that use a vanilla extract from popular websites.  

Caitlin’s vanilla custard from  


1 can of coconut milk

2 ripe bananas

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


First, make sure your fridge is set to the coldest setting. 

Blend all the ingredients.

Garnish it with whichever fruits you like- strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, apples, grapes, etc. 

Then pour it into serving bowls that can be refrigerated and set in the fridge. 

Et voila…a tasty dessert is ready for you!

Krista's Homemade Almond Vanilla Granola from 


2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoon of coconut oil, melted {or butter}

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. To get started, preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  2. In a large bowl, toss old-fashioned oats, sliced almonds, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients, melted coconut oil {or butter}, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and toss to coat everything.
  5. On a baking sheet, place either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Then spread the granola mixture out across the entire pan.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until granola is slightly browned. {I did 35 minutes and it was perfect} You will want to turn the granola every 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn. 
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.

Trina's Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting Recipe from


Dry Ingredients (Mix together in one bowl): 

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice + 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

Wet Ingredients (Mix together in a separate bowl):

4 eggs whipped slightly

1/3 cup of pure maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut oil

3/4 cup of canned or puréed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)

1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup of palm shortening

1/4 cup of raw honey

3 tbs of tapioca flour

1 tbs coconut flour

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl
  3. Whisk together thoroughly to form a batter
  4. Line the bottom of an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper (recommended to prevent sticking)
  5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and even out into a layer
  6. Place on center rack of 350º F oven
  7. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes (IMPORTANT: Oven cooking times and temperatures always vary. Just be sure and stick a toothpick into the center of the cake to test doneness…if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready.)
  8. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the frosting

Simply combine all the frosting ingredients and mix well – I used a stand mixer to make sure it comes out nice and smooth

Layer frosting on top of cooled cake

Sprinkle with a few dark chocolate mini-chips if desired

TIP: Place frosted cake in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to allow the frosting to harden a bit before serving.

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator

The above recipes are all used from their respective websites in all their entirety. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. More Paleo-friendly recipes may be found on these websites and they are great for someone who wants to get started with Paleo, or are well on their way and need some new recipes. 

For those looking for some Indian delicacies, there are some amazing cooks out there who will be of great help. Check, for a wonderful recipe for coconut laddoos, and for some gravies, bread, and desserts. 

Where can I buy pure vanilla extract? 

Using the right vanilla extract is key to getting these recipes right. Since there are so many questions regarding the inclusion of vanilla extract in your paleo diet, it is imperative that the vanilla extract come from a reputed manufacturer. 

Some of the best brands are available online, and can be bought from their respective websites, or from platforms like or

Goodness Vanilla is alcohol-free and all-natural, with no preservatives used. The most recommended place to get Goodness Vanilla from is It is also available at many reputed supermarkets and stores across the country and online portals like

Most supermarkets and hypermarkets stock pure vanilla extracts. So, getting good quality vanilla extract is not as difficult as it used to be before. It would be a good idea to purchase a well-known brand, after checking the ingredients. 

The recipes in this post have been adapted from

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