Vanillin is the primary flavour component of vanilla bean and natural vanilla extract, though hundreds of other flavours contribute to real vanilla flavour. Given the cost and limited supply of vanilla beans, artificial vanilla extract containing solely synthetic vanillin is a cost-effective alternative.

Health considerations

Vanillin has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which can help prevent fatty acids from oxidizing and becoming rancid or spoilage during storage; vanillin also provides a strong enough flavour to mask some off-flavours arising from oxidation. Vanillin is commonly associated with scent-triggering of migraines, and may trigger migraines when consumed. Vanillin has been shown to suppress growth of cancer cells in animal and cell-based studies.

Keep in mind

Vanillin may be naturally occurring or synthetic.

May be found in

Artificial vanilla extract, vanilla extract, vanilla paste, baked goods, chocolate, ice cream, desserts, sweets, puddings, flavoured milk, cakes, cookies, coffee, maple syrup, whole grains, oatmeal, raspberries, olive oil, butter, lychees


Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
International Journal of Food Microbiology
Cephalagia: an International Journal of Headache
Food and Chemical Toxicology
European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Alternative Spellings and Names

Vanilla extract, artificial

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