How Can I Make Plain Yogurt Taste Like Vanilla?

by M.T. Wroblewski
Vanilla extract is made with chopped vanilla beans, ethyl alcohol and water.

Vanilla extract is made with chopped vanilla beans, ethyl alcohol and water.

It’s always a happy day when your favorite grocer puts your favorite plain yogurt on sale. Yogurt teems with protein, as well as calcium, vitamin B, potassium and magnesium. If you’ve stocked up on plain yogurt and want to add vanilla flavor, you can do so in two ways – one that will literally cut to the heart of what makes vanilla such a distinctive flavor.

Reach for Vanilla Extract

Scoop ½ cup of plain yogurt into a bowl. Regard this as your “test sample,” which will allow you to taste the yogurt as you hone in on the amount of vanilla extract to add to a container of yogurt.

Begin by adding a quick dash of vanilla extract to the bowl of yogurt. Stir the extract into the yogurt vigorously. Pure vanilla extract will produce a more robust vanilla flavor than imitation vanilla extract. Experiment with both types.

Add a little cinnamon, a cinnamon-sugar blend or powdered sugar to the yogurt, if you like. These additions will not sweeten the yogurt much, but will complement and enhance the vanilla extract.

Taste the yogurt and add more flavoring, if needed.

No Match for the Bean

Place the long, thick vanilla bean – sometimes called a pod – on a cutting board. Slice off each end with a paring knife. Carefully slice through the vanilla bean lengthwise, but only halfway through the depth, to reveal the tiny black seeds inside.

Scrape some of the seeds into the plain yogurt and stir thoroughly. In general, a 2-inch segment of vanilla bean equals 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Add a little honey and sugar to the yogurt, if you like. Or add fresh fruit, such as strawberries or blueberries, to complement the vanilla flavor.

Items you will need

  • Bowl
  • Vanilla extract, pure or imitation
  • Cinnamon or powdered sugar, optional
  • Vanilla beans
  • Cutting board
  • Paring knife
  • Honey, sugar or fresh fruit, optional


  • If it’s easier for you to handle, cut a vanilla bean in half and work with one-half of a pod at a time.
  • Wrap unused vanilla beans in plastic wrap or wax paper and store them in an airtight plastic or glass container.

About the Author

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images