Are you the type of person who looks at the entire ice cream menu and chooses vanilla over rocky road, cookies and cream or strawberry every single time? Us too. In fact, we think vanilla is underrated. It’s subtle, sweet and makes absolutely everything taste better, from fluffy cupcakes to tender cookies and silky panna cotta. To prove are point, we’ve gathered up the best vanilla desserts that are anything but boring. (Wait until you try the birthday-cake pie.)

RELATED: We Taste-Tested 9 of the Best Vanilla Ice-Cream Brands & Graded Them from ‘Passable’ to ‘Ate the Whole Pint’

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

1. Vanilla Bean Icebox Cookies

The beauty of these simple cookies (other than that they taste amazing) is that the dough can be made ahead of time, stashed in the freezer and baked whenever a craving strikes.

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The Cookie Book

2. Vanilla Bean Thumbprint Cookies with Dulce de Leche

Cool party trick: Gently simmer a can of sweetened condensed milk and it’ll turn into dulce de leche. That’s the filling for these delicate thumbprint cookies—yum.

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Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

3. The Ultimate White Cake

This simple two-layer cake is pretty enough for a special occasion, but not so fancy or huge that it couldn’t be made just because (which is what we’re doing tonight).

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A Cookie Named Desire

4. Homemade Vanilla Pudding

It’s like the pudding cups of your childhood lunches, only a thousand times better.

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A Classic Twist

5. Vanilla Pound Cake

Think of this simple, buttery cake as a blank slate for toppings. You could add berries, whipped cream, ice cream…or all three.

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Grandbaby Cakes

6. Vanilla Cupcakes

There’s something about a cupcake that makes us want to squeal with delight. These are no exception.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

7. Sweet Vanilla Bean Biscotti

The melted white chocolate is creamy and sweet but won’t overwhelm the delicate vanilla flavor.

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Spoon Fork Bacon

8. Soft and Fluffy Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Frosting

You know those fluffy, frosted cookies they sell in packs at the store? These are the homemade version.

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Broma Bakery

9. Vanilla Bean Cinnamon Buns

We’re powerless against a vanilla-bean-flecked frosting. (The secret trick is to use vanilla paste instead of extract.)

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A Cookie Named Desire

10. Vanilla Milkshake

A cold, creamy vanilla milkshake is a very beautiful thing. The key to the best texture is to use more ice cream than milk (but you knew that).

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

11. Vanilla Sheet Cake

This one will never go out of style.

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Spoon Fork Bacon

12. Simple Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Panna cotta gives off fancy restaurant vibes, but it’s so simple to make at home and pairs with any flavor of topping.

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How Sweet Eats

13. Smoky Vanilla Bourbon Pretzels

They look like plain old pretzels, but one bite and you’ll know they’re way more special than that. (Good luck stopping at just one.)

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So Much Food

14. Philadelphia-Style Ice Cream

Philly ice cream is eggless, so the vanilla flavor can really shine through.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

15. The Best Vanilla Cake

It’s tender, fluffy, buttery, moist and extra flavorful. So yeah, it really is the best.

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Snixy Kitchen

16. Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Now is your chance to break out your blow torch (and if you don’t have one, to splurge).

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A Cookie Named Desire

17. Vanilla Mug Cake

When you need a treat and you need it now, this mug cake will do the trick. It’s ready to eat in, like, five minutes.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

18. Very Vanilla Cupcakes

They’re sooo much better than the kind from a box, thanks to that real vanilla bean in the frosting.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

19. Watercolor Doughnuts

The frosting is a feast for your eyes and the sweet vanilla flavor is a feast for your tastebuds.

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Also the Crumbs Please

20. Homemade Marshmallows

If you’ve never had a homemade marshmallow, you’re in a for a treat. They’re fluffier, softer and more vanilla-y than any store-bought puff could ever be.

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Grandbaby Cakes

21. Vanilla Buttermilk Pie

This silky, tangy Southern pie is a classic for a reason: It doesn’t rely on seasonal ingredients, so you can make it all year.

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Minimalist Baker

22. No-Bake Vanilla Cake Bites

Bonus, they’re made with only six ingredients and are (shhh) actually good for you.

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Grandbaby Cakes

23. Vanilla New York Cheesecake

You can make a cheesecake better than any restaurant, promise.

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Mark Weinberg/The Book on Pie

24. Birthday-Cake Pie

Whose birthday is it? Well, no one’s…but who cares?

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Photo/Styling: Katherine Gillen

25. 3-Ingredient Ice Cream

At its core, this no-churn wonder requires just heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. The sprinkles are optional, but the vanilla is not.

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RELATED: 40 Mini Desserts That Are Almost Too Cute to Eat (Almost)

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