When vanilla extract, vanilla flavoring and vanilla beans are nowhere to be found in the pantry, choose from a few other options to replace the vanilla. Recipes also can stand alone without vanilla or a replacement ingredient.
When vanilla is included in a recipe as a primary flavoring, substitute another type of extract to flavor it. Almond extract, lemon extract and coconut extract are just a few of the options. Because these extracts will provide a noticeable change in flavor, only use one if its flavor will blend well with the other flavors in the recipe.
Substitute an equal amount of maple syrup for vanilla extract in any recipe, according to Diana’s Desserts. The syrup provides concentrated flavor and sweetness that complements most recipes. Although pure maple syrup is best, imitation pancake syrups are often flavored with vanilla, caramel and other flavors so they will work as well.
Because vanilla extract is alcohol-based, substitute another flavored alcohol for the vanilla in a recipe. Some possibilities include rum, coffee-flavored liqueur, amaretto, orange liqueur and framboise, although you can use another type of liquor if its flavor profile fits with the recipe.
References and ResourcesDiana's Desserts: Tips: Ingredient Substitutions
OChef: Is There a Simple Substitute for Vanilla?