Home Desserts 20 Easy Vanilla Desserts

20 Easy Vanilla Desserts

As a baker, I have a deep, deep love for vanilla desserts. I don’t know how it gets such a bad rap when it’s anything but boring!

Vanilla can be warm, sweet, spicy, and more than enough to make a dessert truly sparkle. I think the problem is, people aren’t using the right kind of vanilla.

Cream Puff Pastry with Chocolate Glaze
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I know it’s expensive, and I know the essence is so much cheaper, but it’s also a very sad alternative.

If you’re looking for a more affordable version of vanilla pods, you can get all kinds of pastes and extracts that are cheaper.

Plus, if you do splash out on the pods, you can dry and grind them up to make vanilla powder, too!

As for the desserts, vanilla is such a clean and classic flavor, and when you use the pods or pastes, you can’t beat the look of vanilla bean flecks in a creamy white dessert.

If you’re a vanilla-lover like me, you’ll want to make every one of these 20 vanilla desserts asap!

1. Perfect Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Pretty much every cake recipe you see has vanilla inside, whether it’s a yellow cake or not. That’s because the flavor just can’t be beat.

But when it comes to the perfect vanilla cupcake, it’s incredible how many fall short. It should be tall, fluffy, moist, and full of flavor even without frosting.

This cake ticks every box and then some. The secret ingredient is buttermilk, and it all but guarantees a moist crumb.

2. Perfect Pound Cake

Having a great pound cake recipe will change how you bake from now on.

Not only is this so easy to throw together, but you’ll get a fantastic buttery cake that is just as good on its own as it is served with fruit or cream.

This is moist enough to eat with a cup of coffee, or you can use it as a base for trifle or strawberry shortcake.

3. Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

You can keep your fancy flavors. I’ll choose vanilla ice cream with caramel for the rest of my life!

I love this little recipe because there are no eggs involved, which means it’s already so much simpler.

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It also makes a fabulous base if you have some brownie chunks or raspberries to swirl through.

4. Perfect Vanilla Icing

I’ve seen many icing recipes over my years, and some are far more complicated than they need to be.

The truth is, you’ll just need powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. If you want the consistency to be even creamier, use heavy cream instead.

5. Stovetop Rice Pudding

Did your grandma make rice pudding every week when you were younger? Mine, too. Every bite is like a flashback to Sunday dinners, and I just love it.

My Nan used to make it in the oven, but I love how fast this stovetop version is.

Just don’t forget to give it a good stir every 15 minutes or so to prevent anything from burning on the bottom.

6. How to Make Vanilla Fudge

Some fudge recipes are pretty simple and don’t need any fancy equipment. But for this old-fashioned recipe, you’ll need a candy thermometer.

But if you like that English-style fudge that’s crumbly and creamy and super sweet, then you’ll love this.

The key to making this kind of fudge is to have everything ready before you start, including the dish you’ll let the fudge cool in.

7. Vanilla Cheesecake

I have a small obsession with cheesecake, and if I’m being honest, there’s always a cheesecake wrapped in my freezer.

You just never know when you’ll need one!

Vanilla cheesecake is perfect. Creamy, dense, sweet, and so easy to modify. Are you a chocolate lover?

Cover it with ganache and brownies. More of a fruit-fan? Overload the top with fresh fruits and compotes.

There’s nothing a piece of cheesecake can’t fix, and this recipe is fool-proof. Make double and freeze one; you’ll thank me later.

The Best Sugar Cookies

8. Easy Sugar Cookies Recipe

In my humble opinion, sugar cookies should be chewy, soft, and melt-in-your-mouth amazing. They don’t need frosting or icing, though it doesn’t hurt!

I like to make these with half white and half brown sugar, which changes the texture to be more like chocolate chip cookies, but they’re still impressive if you stick with all white sugar.

9. Homemade Cream Puffs

Cream puffs are a thing of beauty, and although choux pastry can be a bit finicky, I promise you can do it!

The key is to bake them nice and high so they’ll dry out, and don’t open the oven to check on them!

That’s how they lose the heat and steam and end up deflated.

10. Copycat Starbucks Vanilla Bean Scones

I crave two things from Starbucks: the fudge brownie and the vanilla bean scones. Sometimes, I even get both. Don’t judge me.

This recipe will give you 18 little scones that are lighter than air and tender on the inside.

But the icing is what we all love, right? Don’t skimp! Cover the tops and let it run over the edges.

11. Homemade White Hot Chocolate

Full disclosure: this recipe is dangerous. I swear, I make a batch and drink it all in one night!

If you’re a fan of warm hot chocolate or a glass of eggnog, then this one is the perfect middle-ground.

It’s creamy, sweet, and loaded with undisturbed vanilla flavor. You HAVE to use real vanilla for this baby.

As well as real vanilla, be sure to use good quality white chocolate; otherwise, you’ll be disappointed.

12. Favorite Vanilla Buttercream

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made flavored cupcakes, only to have the vanilla ones go first.

They’re classic for a reason, and with this vanilla buttercream, they’ll fly off the plate.

And don’t worry, there’s no hot sugar syrup or water baths involved here.

It’s just butter, powdered sugar, a touch of cream, and, of course, vanilla.

13. Triple Cream Vanilla Semifreddo with Raspberry Sauce

This dish is like a gorgeous mix between ice cream, gelato, and frozen custard. It is ultra-creamy and deliciously rich.

The triple creams include ricotta, mascarpone, and heavy cream, which come together like a velvety frozen cheesecake.

I think this looks spectacular on a plate with nothing but a streak of raspberry sauce, but you could add fresh fruit or chocolate ganache, too.

14. 4-Ingredient Vegan Vanilla Popsicles

Creamy, sweet, and vegan? These popsicles are as good as they look.

It’s unbelievable how cashews can become so much like cream cheese once they’re soaked and pureed.

When you mix that with some plant milk and maple syrup, they’re just like milk pops you used to eat as a kid.

I like to dip mine in dark chocolate and sprinkle them with some chopped nuts or freeze-dried berries.

15. Maple Vanilla Baked Pears

Baked pears are already super flavorful, so it’s best not to overwhelm that natural sweetness with too many spices.

Because I’m such a fan of vanilla, I don’t even add the cinnamon to this. I don’t think it needs it, and I always serve it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

16. Quick Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Not all shortbread cookies are created equal, and I find myself passing on those recipes that have lots of ingredients.

All you’ll need is butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla. You won’t need eggs or cream, just the basics.

Be sure to cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, and always sift your flour for lighter cookies.

17. Vanillekipferl (Austrian Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

There’s a reason you’ll see these on every Christmas cookie list. They’re light, buttery, and absolutely irresistible.

The crescent shape is traditional, but this dough will be just as tasty in a regular cookie or as a thumbprint cookie with raspberry jam.

18. Best Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake is something I make when I’m feeding a crowd. It’s super light, mild-flavored, and goes well with pretty much anything.

You can throw it in trifles, top it with ganache, or cube it up and dip it in chocolate.

But since it’s made using egg whites, the vanilla is so important.

It adds a depth of flavor that takes it from being just a sweet cake to being a tasty, sweet cake.

19. Very Berry Vanilla Cake Trifle Recipe

Speaking of trifles! Since I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, I figured I should pop a trifle recipe on the list.

You can use either the vanilla pound cake or the angel food cake for this.

I like to add vanilla to my whipped cream to get those gorgeous flecks in every bite.

20. Vanilla Mousse with Chocolate

When I was young, my other grandma used to make milk Jello. She used regular flavored jello, but instead of hot water, she used hot milk.

When it set, it was silky smooth and so delicious.

For this recipe, you’ll have an amazing layer of milky Jello flavored with vanilla (that is incredible on its own), and you can top it with chocolate or fruit Jello if you want something colorful.

20 Easy Vanilla Dessert Recipe Collection

These vanilla desserts are anything but boring! From cupcakes to ice cream to cheesecake, vanilla makes these treats flavorful, delicious, and so enjoyable!


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a vanilla treat in 30 minutes or less!
Vanilla Desserts

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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