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Classic Vanilla VS Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 

Classic Vanilla VS Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 

Ice cream is one of the most demanding desserts in this world. There is a saying “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy ice cream”.

Throughout the world, ice cream is consumed on its own as well as with different kinds of desserts e.g., Molten lava cake, brownies, ice cream cakes, waffles, and many more. Vanilla is a classic and an all-time favorite flavor. Another mouth-watering flavor that comes from vanilla is vanilla bean ice cream.

The classic vanilla flavor is what we usually get from ice cream stores. It uses artificial flavor, unlike vanilla bean ice cream which uses raw vanilla beans to make the flavor richer. This makes vanilla bean ice cream more expensive than classic vanilla.

Vanilla is thought to be the most basic flavor for ice cream; however, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t subtleties to the traditional sweet! If you’ve ever browsed the aisles of ice cream you’ve probably noticed that some brands have a vanilla bean, and others simply state vanilla. What’s the difference between them?

What is vanilla bean ice cream? 

Ice cream in a bowl
Vanilla bean is rich in flavor

Vanilla bean ice cream is packed with more vanilla flavor than classic vanilla. This is due to the raw vanilla beans added to the ice cream in the making process.

Vanilla beans come from vanilla orchids and are hand-harvested due to their delicacy and demanding form. These beans are loaded with vanilla flavor which intensifies the vanilla flavor in vanilla bean ice cream.

Is it the same as vanilla? 

The question here arises; is it the same as vanilla?

No, it is not. It may look similar but is not exactly the same. Even though both of them contain similar products, the taste is quite different.

Most people call vanilla bean ice cream the real one as it has a creamier texture and is packed with more vanilla flavor in it. The main reason these two flavors are not the same is because of one thing which is added in both flavors but is added more in vanilla bean ice cream; vanilla bean itself. Unprocessed grains in the pod are added to the vanilla bean ice cream while the only liquid extract is used in classic vanilla which is why vanilla bean ice cream is more expensive than classic vanilla flavor and a little hard to find.

How are they different in taste?  

ice cream
Classic vanilla ice cream is made with vanilla extract

Vanilla bean ice cream is creamier, softer, and enriched with vanilla beans with those little black seeds, which can be seen in the ice cream itself. On the other hand, classic vanilla ice cream is weaker in terms of flavor than vanilla bean but still contains a pleasant vanilla scent with an off-white color.

Since it is made with a vanilla extract which is extracted from vanilla beans but is not very rich in terms of flavor, it is less flavorful as compared to vanilla beans. 

Vanilla bean ice cream is very expensive and very hard to find because vanilla beans are very rare and are grown in only a few areas, like:

  • Madagascar
  • Mexico
  • Tahiti

This is also the only expensive crop grown by hand and needs special care.

Most of the vanilla extract is created from vanillin, which is a chemical and has the same features as vanilla beans but is not natural. Also, most of the vanilla ice cream in the world is made from this extract which makes it not as good as vanilla bean ice cream. 

Regular Vanilla Ice Cream

The majority of ice cream sold in shops or at milk bars, as well as in restaurants is vanilla ice cream. This kind of ice cream is typically mass-produced, and either raw vanilla extracts or processed vanilla flavoring are added to enhance the flavor. 

Because vanilla extracts that are concentrated are employed, it is impossible to discern the vanilla flavor with your naked eye. Vanilla ice cream that is regular in flavor is typically off-white or white. Vanilla extract is used to make regular ice cream and may also be utilized in recipes for muffins, cakes, and various sweet baked goods.

The majority of brands of vanilla ice cream don’t contain genuine vanilla beans. Instead, vanilla ice cream is usually flavored using vanilla extract (and sometimes not pure vanilla extract).

What is the difference between old-fashioned vanilla and vanilla bean ice cream? 

Vanilla bean ice cream is rarer and more expensive than vanilla ice cream. Vanilla ice cream tends to be more artificial in flavor whereas vanilla bean ice cream carries a more natural flavor.

This means that vanilla ice cream is likely to have a more subtle vanilla flavor. However, that doesn’t mean that vanilla ice cream won’t taste delicious, some brands provide excellent vanilla Ice Cream. However, indeed, the majority of vanilla ice cream brands will not offer as full and rich of a flavor as vanilla bean-flavored ice cream.

Vanilla ice cream which is regular in flavor is one of the most loved flavors within the US. If you purchase vanilla ice cream from a restaurant or ice cream shop, it is likely what you will get.

Comparison between Classic Vanilla and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Have a quick look at this table for a summary of their difference:

Classic vanilla ice cream Vanilla bean ice cream 
Artificial flavor Natural flavor 
Easily accessible Hard to find 
Off-white color Light brown color 
Cheap Expensive 
Lumpy Creamy
The difference between vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream

Here is a comparison of both vanilla and vanilla bean ice cream in a single video, which will help you gain a much better understanding of their differences:

A video on different vanilla ice cream

French vanilla VS classic vanilla

There is a third vanilla ice cream that people recently gained interest in and it is French vanilla ice cream.

The name French vanilla comes from the traditional style French use to produce ice cream using egg yolks to make a custard base. That doesn’t mean wherever you buy a scoop of French vanilla ice cream it was imported from France!

French vanilla ice cream is yellow. It is created just like classic vanilla ice cream with a minor adjustment.

Classic vanilla uses a cream base and French vanilla uses an egg custard base. It has a smoother consistency than classic vanilla but couldn’t beat vanilla bean in this. French vanilla has a custardy taste and wins the battle in thickness over both classic and vanilla beans. 

Two ice cream in a metal container
French vanilla is used in other food products

French vanilla and classic vanilla are not only used in ice cream it has more uses than you think. It is used in flavoring coffee creamers and a whole bunch of fragrances to air fresheners. 


  • Vanilla ice cream is enjoyed worldwide, either alone or with other desserts.
  • Vanilla bean ice cream has a richer flavor due to the use of raw vanilla beans.
  • Vanilla bean ice cream is pricier and less common due to the inclusion of vanilla beans.
  • Classic vanilla ice cream typically uses artificial flavoring and is more widely available.
  • French vanilla ice cream has a smoother consistency and unique flavor. It is because of its custard base.
  • Both classic vanilla and vanilla bean ice cream have diverse uses beyond desserts.
  • Many prefer vanilla bean ice cream for its natural richness and creaminess.
  • Personal taste greatly influences the choice between classic vanilla and vanilla bean ice cream.

Other Articles

A web story that differentiates these two ice cream flavors can be found here.

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