The $11.99 Costco Baking Staple I Always Have in My Pantry|Recipes Spots

  • on August 18, 2023
The $11.99 Costco Baking Staple I Always Have in My Pantry

Costco Storefront
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

As a professional baker and recipe developer, I use pure vanilla extract in recipes multiple times each week. I’m constantly testing dessert recipes for the ideal flavor and texture, and sometimes that means baking the same cake a few times or making multiple batches of cookies.

Just about every recipe for baked goods and desserts calls for vanilla extract on the ingredients list. Vanilla plays a key role, even just by mixing in one teaspoon. It adds flavor to simple sugar cookies, enhances the brown sugar notes found in chocolate chip cookies, and balances out the cocoa flavor of a chocolate cake.

Because vanilla is such a small but crucial ingredient, I’m a firm believer that pure vanilla extract is always best. The problem? Pure vanilla is a premium (i.e. expensive) product compared to imitation vanilla.

It’s made by soaking vanilla beans in a solution of alcohol and water to extract its flavor. The beans are tricky to grow and harvest, which is what gives pure vanilla its steep price tag of about $4 per ounce. At some stores, I’ve even seen it as high as $8 per ounce. That’s really expensive! Luckily, I’ve found the ultimate solution at Costco.

Pure Vanilla Extract, Kirkland Brand
Simply Recipes / Costco

I’m Never Without Costco’s Pure Vanilla Extract

My household is small, and I don’t shop at Costco often for pantry items, frozen foods, produce, or meats. The one thing that’s worth my membership and always worth stocking up on is the Kirkland brand pure vanilla extract found in the baking aisle.

Costco’s vanilla extract is sold in a 16-ounce plastic bottle for $11.99, making it less than $1 per ounce. The only things on the ingredients list are vanilla beans, water, and alcohol, just like other premium pure vanilla extracts I’ve spent far more on in the past.

I’ve compared Costco’s vanilla with a number of other popular brands. This option brings great flavor to any baking recipe and continues to shine for a fraction of the cost. I love that it still allows me to use pure vanilla extract in every single recipe at a much lower price point, and it’s in a small enough bottle to easily keep a few stashed away in the pantry so I never run out.

Tahini chocolate chip cookies
Simply Recipes / Tara Omidvar

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