Vanilla Cookies Recipe

Check out this vanilla cookie recipe for the best homemade dessert experience! Our vanilla cookie recipe will be sure to excite the kids as Christmas time comes around. Learn the best tips on making vanilla cookies here. Let us know what you think and you’re variations with this recipe!

Where Does Vanilla Come From?

Mexican vanilla comes from the trees in V. tortuosa and V. planifolia. These trees grow in the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. It’s no surprise that this south American plant was cultivated in the 15th Century. You can create vanilla flavor by soaking the beans in a bath of mixture and ethyl alcohol.

Vanilla cookies held by hands

Is Vanilla A Fruit?

No, vanilla is a botanical, but it can be grown as a houseplant like most plants. The pods on the plant are the seeds of the vanilla orchid, or plant, and can come from various species of the orchid. Orchid is not edible but vanilla proves to be a exclusion. There are well over 140 varieties of vanilla plants.

Vanilla is the scientific name for the Vanilla planifolia or Crataegus monogyna species. In Europe and Latin America, vanilla is known as vanilla planifolia, which translates to “little strawberry tree.” It’s related to strawberries and grows wild throughout much of western Africa. The vanilla plant is a tall evergreen shrub with green, hairless leaves and scented flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. Vanilla fruits are generally black, slightly swollen, and nearly seedless, with a hard shell that dissolves when the fruit is ripe. Vanilla is the fifth spice after cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

How To Preserve Vanilla

Vanilla plants are long and succulent, thus requiring general maintenance to keep the vines healthy. Preserving vanilla will help it retain its flavor for long periods of time. Personally, we recommend to keep your vanilla in a glass jar that is sealed tight. The goal is to prevent air from drying the plant.

Can I Make Vanilla Extract With Vanilla Seeds?

You can make a crude extract by grinding vanilla pods, but it is a laborious process that requires hours of waiting to achieve a smooth extract. The taste, and possibly the texture, is not as refined as a commercial extract. You can buy extracts containing vanilla without beans, but again they are relatively expensive. Vanilla beans remain unsold in most of the world. So, you need to purchase high-quality beans from a reliable source and roast them yourself.

Why Is Vanilla Extract Bad For You?

While some think it’s all in how you consume it, recent studies have found that vanilla extract is consumed with other sweetening ingredients. The essential oil is absorbed through the skin. It passes through the body intact, raising the risk of allergies and potential allergies.

Do I Have To Boil The Vanilla Beans Before Using Them?

Not necessarily. But to ensure that the beans don’t oxidize. The experts recommend removing the pods with scissors and gently rubbing them between your hands to separate the seeds, which are white or pale brown. Once the seeds are separated, they can then be used to grind them to make your vanilla extract.

plate of vanilla cookies

Vanilla Cookies Recipe

Try this homemade vanilla cookie recipe for the kids! Vanilla cookies can be done a variety of ways, but this homemade version proves the best! Let us know how yours turned out!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 dozen
Author: Nikola W.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cups all-purpose flour unbleached


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix the butter with a rubber scraper until it is light and soft. Add 1 cup of sugar and mix. Repeat with the remaining sugar.
  • Add egg, salt, and vanilla; mix to combine. Add flour bits by bits until it's fully mixed. The mixture should now be crumbly.
  • Press the dough with your hands and shape it into tablespoon balls. Place the balls onto the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch space for each. You may use a glass to flatten the cookies lightly.
  • Bake until the cookies’ edges start to brown, usually 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with milk!
cooked food on black ceramic plates

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