Top 10 Desserts You Can Make with Vanilla Flavor

Quick summary: A quick no-bake vanilla cheesecake, pink vanilla bean doughnuts, or Oreo and vanilla fridge cake are some of the easiest recipes for your vanilla fewer. But you can use a few more non-baking recipes for a fast and sweet treat.

Vanilla’s natural sweetness is the perfect addition to any dessert whether fruity, baked, creamy, or frozen. It can also bring a comforting warmth and is delicious in a blend of spices. Vanilla pods are pricey but so worth it. If you need a cheaper alternative, try vanilla pastes or extracts before turning to artificial essence. 

If you splash out on getting real vanilla beans, make the most of them and use the pod to make vanilla sugar, steep in warm milk or cream to impart flavor after scraping out the seeds.

You probably already have your favorite vanilla cake, cookie, and frosting recipe, so here are the 10 best vanilla desserts to celebrate this delicious spice all year round. Not only are these recipes delicious, but they are super easy to make too!

Learn more about vanilla bean extract shelf life and how to preserve its flavor. 

1. Best Dessert with Vanilla Beans — Vanilla Gingersnap Cheesecake

There’s something charming about seeing those little black vanilla specks floating around in a creamy slice of comfort. You get the luscious mouth feel of the cheesecake, the crunch of the crust, and the opulent flavor of this superb spice. Here’s how to whip up a quick no-bake vanilla cheesecake.



  • 1 pocket crushed gingersnaps
  • 5 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons castor sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Mix all the crust ingredients together well and press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan or the dish you prefer to use for your cheesecake. You can also press the mixture up the sides if you would like a side crust. Press down firmly and evenly.


  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz Cream cheese
  • ¼ Cup sour cream
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

How to

  1. Beat the heavy cream for around 5 minutes with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  2. Separately, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until smoothly blended.
  3. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, salt, and powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture and mix well.
  4. Add the whipped cream and lightly fold it all together until evenly blended but still fluffy.
  5. Pour the mixture over the crust into your dish, smooth the top, cover, and place in the fridge for at least four hours to set.

There’s no genuine cheap vanilla on the market, so you might have wondered why vanilla is so expensive.

2. Best Fried Vanilla Dessert — Pink Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

Warm, comforting, doughy rounds glazed with sweet vanilla happiness. Let’s just get straight into it. This recipe makes around 12 doughnuts, depending on the size.

Doughnut Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
  • ¼ Cup lukewarm water
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup milk (preferably whole milk at room temperature)
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Seeds from ½ a vanilla bean
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • ¼ Cup unsalted butter (melt and let cool)
  • 3 ½ Cups Flour (all-purpose)
  • Salt
  • Canola oil for frying

How to

  1. Whisk together the yeast, water, and only 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. It should turn foamy.
  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the foamy yeast mixture with another 2 tablespoons of sugar, milk, all the vanilla, egg yolks, and butter on low speed.
  3. Slowly add the flour and salt and mix for 3 minutes. If you need to, pause the mixer to scrape down the paddle and sides to promote even mixing throughout.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few times by hand. Dust with flour if it’s too sticky.
  5. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and set it in a warm place to rise for 90 to 120 minutes. Alternatively, you can make the dough the day before you plan to use it and place it in the refrigerator overnight for 8 to 12 hours to double in size.
  6. Once your dough is double the size, roll it out on a floured counter to a ½ inch in thickness and use a doughnut cutter to cut out 3-inch doughnuts.
  7. Cover your doughnut cuts with a clean kitchen towel for 30 to 45 minutes to rise further or until doubled in size. To prevent sticking, place them on a floured, oiled, or parchment-lined tray to rise.
  8. Heat 2 ½ inches of oil in a 4 to 5-quart pot. The temperature needs to be hot enough at around 350 F for successful frying. Fry your doughnuts only a couple at a time until they are lightly browned and golden, around 2 minutes on each side, and transfer them to a paper towel to drain.

Time to Glaze

While your doughnuts are cooling slightly, make the glaze by mixing the following ingredients together until a smooth paste forms. Spoon it over the doughnuts and devour.

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 ½ Cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 2 drops red food coloring
  • Seeds scraped from ½ a vanilla bean

3. Best No-Bake Vanilla Dessert – Oreo and Vanilla Fridge Cake

Can’t choose between vanilla and chocolate? This super easy fridge cake gives you the best of both. Chocolatey cookies, vanilla luxury, soft and velvety cream, and great crunch.


  • 3 Cups refrigerated heavy cream
  • ½ Cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Vanilla pod, scraped
  • 4 x 10 oz packs of Oreo thins or similar

How to

  1. Using a stand- or hand mixer, whisk the heavy cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla specks until stiff peaks form.
  2. Spread a very thin layer of the whipped mixture on the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan or the dish you choose to use for your dessert. Top the cream with a layer of whole cookies laid out tightly next to each other but not overlapping.
  3. Spread another layer of whipped topping and repeat until you have 3 or 4 layers of cookies.
  4. Finish it off with a last layer of whipped vanilla cream and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours (or overnight).
  5. When it’s time to serve up, garnish with crushed cookies on top for some crunch

4. Best Easy Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Cake-in-a-Mug

Cake in two minutes? Sign me up. This recipe is perfect when you just want some vanilla spongey goodness, but don’t want to tempt yourself by baking or purchasing an entire large cake. With this vanilla dessert recipe, you can make just as many servings as you need. Serve with vanilla whipped cream, custard, ice cream, or vanilla frosting for instant gratification.

This recipe makes 2 mug cakes


  • ½ Cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Simply combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl and stir to mix evenly. Spray two mugs with cooking spray and divide the batter evenly into the mugs. Microwave for 90 to 120 seconds or until cooked through. The microwave time will depend on the power of your device.

5. Best Summer Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Clouds

Light, fluffy, and slightly crunchy clouds of vanilla are the perfect summer dessert. Pair your vanilla meringues with berries, fruits, ice cream, whipped cream, passion fruit, lemon curd, mousse, or make an Eaton mess. These pockets of sweet vanilla are also perfectly great to have on their own or with a cup of coffee.


  • 7 oz (196g) Egg whites (approximately 6 large)
  • 1 Vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 ½ Cups castor sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • Piping Bag

How to

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. Whisk all the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  3. While the mixer is still running, add the vanilla seeds, pinch of salt, and slowly add the sugar. Increase the whipping speed just a little and whip to stiff peak stage.

The total whipping time will be approximately 8-10 minutes.

  1. Stop the mixer, add the vinegar and sift in the cornstarch. Whip to incorporate the ingredients.
  2. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can either form one large round or make smaller individual meringues. Make sure the outer edge of each meringue is piped slightly higher than the center, allowing you to fill it with berries or cream once baked.
  3. Bake for around 1 hour, until the exterior is dry and pale. Turn the oven off, leaving the meringues inside for another hour with the oven door slightly propped open. Make sure they are completely cool before filling or serving. 

6. Best Frozen Vanilla Dessert – Ice Cream

This one is a no-brainer, of course, it has to be ice cream. Dreamy goodness with little black specs of vanilla floating around, this vanilla ice cream is delicious on its own but also pairs well with pretty much any other dessert, fruit, sauce, or compote. Best of all you don’t need an ice-cream churner and it’s completely egg-free. 


  • 1 Can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1 Can evaporated milk
  • 28 oz Heavy cream
  • 1-2 Vanilla pods scraped
  • Pinch of salt

How to

  1. Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until well and evenly mixed.
  2. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover, and place it in the freezer.
  3. Freeze for five hours or until fully frozen.
  4. If you’ve frozen it overnight, take it out of the freezer two to five minutes before serving to let it soften enough for scooping.

Optional: Add cherries and unsalted chopped almonds to the already blended mixture when freezing to make a vanilla-cherry-almond ice cream. 

We have all the details if you’re unsure what’s the difference between French vanilla and vanilla

7. Best Winter Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Rice Pudding

Once you’ve made rice pudding with vanilla, you’ll never want it any other way again. This hearty winter dessert is a bowl of pure comfort.


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 Cup uncooked rice
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 Vanilla bean, scraped
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle

How to

  1. Bring the milk to a boil on the stovetop, add rice and stir well.
  2. Place the lid ¾ of the way over the pot, allowing steam to escape while cooking. Cook for 40 to 60 minutes over medium heat and stir every 15 minutes.
  3. After 20 to 30 minutes add the scraped vanilla seeds as well as the actual seed pod to infuse throughout the mixture.
  4. Add the sugar to taste at the end of the cooking time and stir to dissolve.
  5. The rice should be soft, creamy, and the mixture thickened.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.
  7. Sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon on serving if desired.

8. Best Vanilla Dessert Drink – White Vanilla Hot Chocolate

Real vanilla and good-quality white chocolate takes this recipe to a whole new level of deliciousness. Just try not to drink the entire batch yourself in one go.


  • 4 Cups milk
  • 1 Cup chopped white chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • Pinch of salt

How to

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on the stove. If you are using a vanilla bean, add the bean itself after scraping out the seeds as well since this will impart more flavor. Stir continuously while heating until all the chocolate has melted into a smooth mixture. Do not let the mixture boil. 
  2. Remove the bean pod.
  3. Pour into mugs and serve with marshmallows, chocolate shavings, or sprinkles.

9. Best Vanilla Fruit Dessert – Vanilla Spiced Pears

Vanilla pairs beautifully with most fruits, fresh or baked. These sweet baked vanilla pears are a real treat. If you prefer to tone down the sweetness, serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a touch of tang.


  • 4 Bartlett or Bosc pears 
  • ½ Cup maple syrup
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional toppings: Toasted and crushed pecans and Greek or vanilla yogurt.

How to

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). 
  2. Cut pears in half lengthways and core out the seeds. Arrange pears on a baking sheet facing upwards. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. Whisk the maple syrup and vanilla extract together and drizzle it over the pears. 
  4. Bake the maple-drizzled pears for 25 minutes until soft and golden on the edges.
  5. Serve warm with granola, chopped nuts, Greek, or Vanilla yogurt.

Read more on vanilla syrup and how best to use it in desserts. 

10. Best Whipped Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Mousse

Mousse is popular for any season and any occasion. Although chocolate mousse is the general go-to, this version may just have you switch to the other side of the fence. Pair it with berries, fruit compote, or even chocolate to get the best of both worlds.


  • 1 ½ Cups heavy cream for whipping
  • 1 Vanilla bean, scraped
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

How to

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Add the powdered sugar and seeds scraped from the vanilla bean. Mix on low for 10 seconds to blend evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Here’s how to use vanilla powder in cooking and how much you should put in your recipes. 

Vanilla Desserts FAQ

Do you need to refrigerate rice pudding?

Yes, you should refrigerate rice pudding leftovers. However, make sure it is completely cooled down before refrigerating. 

Does the alcohol in vanilla extract cook out during baking?

Yes, alcohol from vanilla extracts will evaporate during cooking.

Can you put vanilla in coffee?

Yes, you can put vanilla in coffee. A few drops of vanilla extract in coffee gives it a lovely aroma and flavor. You can also use vanilla sugar instead of regular sugar to flavor your coffee or scrape out a vanilla pod to infuse with your coffee beans. 


Vanilla is timeless and pairs well with almost any sweet dessert flavors. It adds a luxuriousness to the most simple cakes, cookies, mousses, or creams without being overly rich. This unique spice takes years to get from the vine to the table which makes it a much prized and very special ingredient. 

Happy cooking!

Recipe Sources:

1. Best Dessert with Vanilla Beans – Vanilla Gingersnap Cheesecake

2. Best Fried Vanilla Dessert – Pink Vanilla Bean Doughnuts 

3. Best No-Bake Vanilla Dessert – Oreo and Vanilla Fridge Cake

4. Best Easy Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Cake-in-a-Mug

5. Best Summer Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Clouds

6. Best Frozen Vanilla Dessert – Ice Cream (own recipe)

7. Best Winter Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Rice Pudding

8. Best Vanilla Dessert Drink – White Vanilla Hot Chocolate

9. Best Vanilla Fruit Dessert – Vanilla Spiced Pears

10. Best Whipped Vanilla Dessert – Vanilla Mousse

*image by Steidi/depositphotos

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