What’s the difference between imitation vanilla and real vanilla extract?

Besides price, what’s the difference? Will the taste be completely different if I switch to imitation when making cheesecake? I’m just curios because vanilla extract is getting extremely expensive for such small bottles while imitation is half the price for three times the bottle.

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  • 2 weeks ago

    The taste won't be "completely different", but anyone who uses vanilla regularly can certainly detect the imitation.

    I know real vanilla is expensive, but you use it in such tiny quantities that it's really worth spending the cash. Your tiny bottle will last months if not years.

    • bluebellbkk
      Lv 7
      2 weeks agoReport

      oh good! Then I'll stick with my original answer and say don't skimp.

  • 2 weeks ago

    It a very subtle but very noticeable difference. You can use the fake stuff in most recipes but for things like an ice cream you want the real stuff.  Some recipes especially ethnic recipes, the fake stuff is actually more original to recipe than the real stuff. Dominicans use the fake stuff for almost everything.  

  • 2 weeks ago

    One is the real stuff, the other is a cheap imitation.

    I would NEVER waste time and ingredients using fake vanilla.

    The human taste bud is so sensitive to the flavor of vanilla we can detect a teeny bit, something like 1 per 10 million parts.

    If you want to make inferior baked goods, go ahead and change over. If you look at the amount of money you save by dividing the number of teaspoons of vanilla or fake that you use against the cost of the bottle, you’ll probably save pennies.

    • sealamb2 weeks agoReport

      agree!!  there are some things you just do not skimp on.  sometimes people try to save money on quality ingredients then turn right around and piss away all kinds of money on fast food, fountain drinks or starbucks without betting an eye.  makes no sense.

  • denise
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    The imitation 'extract' is not as strong, so you need to use more of it.

    The 'real' stuff is only needed in smaller amounts, so it balances out the price.

    Personally I have a little bottle of 'mid priced range' vanilla, but I dont use it 'all ' the time.

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  • 2 weeks ago

    I think in baked goods 99% of the people could not tell a difference.  In an uncooked item some might be able to tell. 

    If you use an imitation use a good quality product. 

    And don't forget you can use other extracts to flavor. Using Amaretto, as part of the liquid will add flavor as will most flavored liquors. 

    • james
      Lv 7
      2 weeks agoReport

      Living in the spice islands. I can tell rest assured on that. & also often what Country the beans the extract was made from. Were grown. 

  • Byrd
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    Use the real stuff

  • 2 weeks ago

    Real vanilla extract is vanilla soaked in alcohol to take out the compounds and then concentrated. Imitation vanilla means they figured out the chemical hexadiasoluate... whatever fits the keyhole of what we register as vanilla flavor. By fitting the keyhole it turns on that cell and we think we ate the given compound.

    Nature's compounds tend to be fractal vs ridged so we know when it's not quite right. Anything imitation won't be as good but it might cost 10x less.

  • Laurie
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    The price of vanilla rose astronomically due to natural disasters in the area of the world where vanilla is cultivated; much of the crops were destroyed, so the world supply was greatly reduced.

    The difference is that artificial vanilla uses chemically-derived vanilla flavoring, instead of real vanilla. Some people use artificial vanilla all the time. Your cheesecake will be okay with artificial flavoring. It may not be quite as good, but it will be okay.

  • 2 weeks ago

    If the artificial one tasted completely different, people wouldn't keep using it. In most cases, most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If there was one cheesecake made with artificial and one made with real vanilla, and you tasted one after the other, some people could tell the difference.

  • patty
    Lv 5
    2 weeks ago

    quality. the real thing is always better then the so called fake

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