We Scoped Out Ina Garten’s Favorite Brand of ‘Good Vanilla’ (So You Can Feel Good About Splurging)
What Ina Garten says, we do. Wear oversize chambray? Cook a brisket that feeds eight but then serve it just to Jeffrey? Buy only “good” vanilla? Check, check and check. But Ina, how can we be sure our “good vanilla” is good enough?
Lucky for all of us Barefoot Contessa superfans (call us Ina’s Angels), the kitchen queen’s website features a comprehensive guide to her favorite gadgets, ingredients and brands. On the list, of course, is her go-to brand of vanilla, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract. While our trust for Ina’s word knows no bounds, we can also confirm that it’s a high-quality extract (“good,” if you will) that will add a delicious je ne sais quoi to your cookies, cakes and shortbreads. It’s also widely available at grocery stores, specialty food stores (like Williams-Sonoma) and of course Amazon Prime.
You can buy the vanilla in bottles as small as two ounces (and up to 128 ounces), and while prices fluctuate, it’s usually about $7 per ounce. Yep, we know that’s a pretty penny to pay for a single ingredient, but considering there’s a worldwide vanilla shortage, the extract hardly ever goes on sale. (Fun fact: It’s the second-most expensive spice after saffron.) Garten has even gone on the record saying it’s her favorite flavor of all time, so you know it must be good.
We’ll do anything for Ina—including stalking those vanilla prices for a good sale.
This article reflects prices at publication that may change.