Vanillin: benefits and properties

Vanillin – is a crystalline powder (colorless needle-shaped crystals) with a characteristic taste of vanilla and a pleasant smell. Vanillin is found in the plant vanilla, cane sugar, Peruvian balsam, dew incense, potato husk, raw alcohol, etc. Vanillin, often used as a substitute for vanilla, is easily dissolved in hot water, alcohol and ether.

In modern reality, vanillin continues to be among the most expensive spices in the world. And this is due not only to the difficulty of growing such a culture as vanilla, which consists in the fact that the plant requires artificial pollination, since only half of the flowers give fruit. The difficulty also lies in the long, technologically complex process of its development. Vanillin in small amounts (1-3%) is contained in the fruits of vanilla in the form of glucoside, which is associated with the high cost of its production and the need to develop a synthetic substitute. However, like any substitute, vanillin does not completely repeat the whole gamma of the delicate aroma of real vanilla, because of the minor odor components in vanilla essential oil.

Modern vanillin production

The birthplace of natural vanilla Mexico City, where the vine grows orchids with fruits Vanilla planifola, from which they produce vanillin. Now this plant is distributed in tropical forests around the world and the main producer of natural vanillin is Madagascar. The fruits of vanilla are collected still green, in this form of vanilla smell they do not have and contain vanillin in the form of a glycoside. After harvesting, the fruits are kept for several months until a characteristic odor appears.


World demand for vanillin significantly exceeds its actual amount produced from vanilla pods. According to statistics, for example, the need for vanilla in 2001 was 12,000 tons, and only 1,800 tons were produced in a natural way. Accordingly, all the missing vanillin was created artificially, that is, chemically synthesized. Vanillin was first synthesized in the 19th century.

Vanillin found application in cooking, perfumery, liquor and in the manufacture of medicines.


Cooking Vanillin

Vanilla flavor is considered the most popular and widely used flavor in the production of beverages and food. The modern food industry uses vanillin to flavor products, enhance the intensity of other flavors, and to soften or mask an undesirable taste.


Popular forms of vanillin

Crystal vanillin. It has a classic vanilla scent. It is resistant to high processing temperatures, does not lose its qualities for 25 minutes even at a temperature of 220-250 ° C. It is actively used in bakery and the manufacture of flour confectionery, in the production of ice cream. It dissolves in water at 75 ° C, and in alcohol at 20 ° C.

Powdered Vanillin. This is, in fact, a mixture of vanillin with aromatic substances and various enhancing additives based on lactose, dextrose, maltodextrins, etc. If we compare powdered vanillin with crystalline, the powder is finer, which is good, for example, for the production of chocolate, since in this case its crystals are already crushed and have a more intense smell. Such vanillin already exudes intense aroma at room temperature. This type of vanillin is more technological, since it is more easily soluble in water. In addition, due to the possibility of introducing a wide variety of aromatic additives, you can achieve a wide range of flavorings with different shades of aromas, which can be fruit, berry and others.

Liquid vanilla flavors. Some technologies suggest the presence of only liquid components (both in fat-soluble and water-soluble forms), which dictates the need for vanillin also in liquid form. Liquid vanilla flavor is crystalline vanillin dissolved in ethanol, propylene glycol, triacetin. The main parameters for dissolving vanillin are the concentration and temperature of the solvent itself. For example, propylene glycol has a high boiling point of 180 ° C, due to which liquid flavorings made on its basis also have high heat resistance and are used for the preparation of dairy products, drinks and confectionery. In the preparation of products with a predominant fatty medium, triacetin is used as the basis for the vanilla flavor, which most fully reveals the aroma in the finished product.


Features of using vanillin

The amount of vanillin used is determined by the preparation stage at which vanillin is added, the processing temperature and other parameters, the combination of which determines the optimal dosage of vanillin. It is important that there is no overdose of vanillin, because this can give a bitter taste to the product.

For the manufacture of chocolate used crystalline and powdered vanillin due to the fact that these forms do not change the viscosity of the product.

To flavor products containing milk (desserts, ice cream, yoghurts), vanillin is used in powder and liquid form and it is recommended to use from 0.5 g to 3 g of vanillin per kilogram of product.


Vanillin is used to make some types of fortified wines and liquors, which gives the drinks a pleasant soft note, improving the aroma.

The widespread use of vanillin extends even to animal feed. Due to its ability to mask odors and flavors, vanillin is used in the production of animal feed. Even a small concentration of vanillin in the feed increases its consumption in animals.

The use of vanillin in perfumes is understandable, thanks to the delicate and charming aroma. The ability of vanillin to drown out unpleasant odors and tastes of medicines is used in pharmacology and in the manufacture of detergents.