Can You Put Vanilla Extract in Candles?

  • By: Carl
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Candle-making is a popular and fun craft that many people enjoy. It’s perfect for creating beautiful decorations or gifts, as well as filling your home with wonderful scents. One of the questions candle makers often ask is whether vanilla extract can be used in candles.

Vanilla extract should not be used in candles. Vanilla extract contains alcohol, sugar, and water which makes it unsuitable for use for candles. While vanilla scent can enhance a candle’s aroma, using vanilla extract can actually cause a variety of problems for your candles.

It can also spread the scent of vanilla to spread quickly, which may at first seem like a good idea. However, the alcohol in the vanilla extract can make candles burn quickly and unevenly. The sugar content can also cause the wick to clog, affecting how well the candle burns and its aroma. Let’s take a closer look at how vanilla extract performs in candles.

Risks of Using Vanilla Extract In Candles

The main risk of using vanilla extract in candles is that the alcohol can make candles burn too quickly, leading to a decrease in their burning time and erratic burn profile. This can also cause an uneven burn and affect the intensity of the scent released by the candle. The sugar content may also lead to wick clogging and soot build-up on the walls of the candle container.

When all of these issues begin to occur you will see a lot of soot coming from your candle, a flickering flame, popping, tunneling, and a variety of other burn-related problems.

These are all problems that candle makers struggle to correct even when using the proper candle-making supplies.

Vanilla Extract Substitutes For Candles

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to using vanilla extract in candles. There are a variety of scented oils available specifically designed for use in candles. These are typically a blend of natural and synthetic fragrances that provide an even burn and consistent release of scent. Using these specifically designed scented oils will reduce the risk of your candles running into problems.

Another option is to use vanilla-scented fragrance oils, which are specifically designed to work with candles. These are often sweeter and less intense than the essential oils available, but they provide a consistent scent that can be used in any kind of candle.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla Essential Oil

Vanilla essential oils are a much better option than vanilla extract, particularly if you want to keep your ingredients more natural than what you would find in fragrance oils.

Vanilla essential oils are made from pure, natural vanilla beans which have been extracted to make a concentrate. However, this is far less concentrated than the extract, so you will need to use a larger amount if you want your candle to be strongly scented with vanilla. The good news is that this also makes it easier to measure and produce quality candles with confirmed recipes that are easily found online.

Making candles with vanilla essential oil also yields a much more consistent and even burn than using vanilla extract in candles. The result is a candle that burns evenly and releases its scent consistently.

Essential Oil Alternatives For Vanilla Extract

You have a lot of options when looking for vanilla essential oils, you will also find that tons of vanilla blends exist to meet any need that you may have.

  • Madagascar Vanilla
  • Tahitian Vanilla
  • Mexican Vanilla
  • Vanilla Bean

You can also find a variety of vanilla essential oil blends available for candle making. These can include combinations of any of the above-mentioned vanillas as well as a variety of other scents like amber, sandalwood, and musk.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla Fragrance Oils

Vanilla fragrance oils are another great alternative to vanilla extract in candle making. If you are not tied to the idea of making all-natural candles you can get some amazing vanilla scents and blends as fragrance oils.

For me, vanilla fragrance oils are where things start to get really exciting. Vanilla frosting is one of my all-time favorite fragrances for candles.

Fragrance Oils Alternatives For Vanilla Extract

  • Vanilla Bean Noel
  • White Vanilla Cupcake
  • Madagascar Vanilla
  • Cake Batter Fudge
  • Vanilla Caramel Swirl
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Vanilla Bean Fudge

These are all amazing fragrance oils that will provide your candle with a great scent.

Use Quality Candle Making Ingredients

While it is tempting to use vanilla extract or other things you may have sitting around the house as shortcuts to make your candles it will be worth it, in the long run, to use quality candle-making ingredients that come from candle-making suppliers such as candle science or candlewic.

With the right ingredients, you can make beautiful all-natural candles that burn evenly and consistently. The results will be worth the extra effort, and you can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that your candles are made with only top-quality ingredients.

It is even more important to use quality ingredients if you ever want to sell candles because you are somewhat liable if something happens with one of your products and someone gets hurt or their property is damaged because you used something in your candles you shouldn’t have. You need to protect yourself from that liability.

Vanilla Extract In Wax Warmers

Yes, you can put vanilla extract in wax warmers. Wax warmers are designed to melt and release the fragrance from wax melts or essential oils, but they can also be used with other fragrant liquids, such as vanilla extract.

To use vanilla extract in a wax warmer, you can add a few drops of the extract to the melted wax or to a dish above the wax warmer’s heating element. It’s important to note that vanilla extract is a water-based liquid, so it may not mix well with the wax. However, adding a few drops to the dish above the heating element will allow the heat to vaporize the extract, releasing its fragrance into the air.

It’s important to use caution when using vanilla extract in a wax warmer. Make sure to monitor the amount of extract you add, as too much can overwhelm the senses and be overpowering. Also, keep in mind that using vanilla extract may cause discoloration of the wax or the dish above the heating element.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vanilla extract go bad?

Yes, vanilla extract does go bad over time and should be stored in a cool, dry place. If stored properly, it can last up to a year.

Can you use vanilla extract in place of vanilla essential oil or fragrance oils?

No, you cannot use vanilla extract in place of vanilla essential oil or fragrance oils when making candles.

Can vanilla extract be used in wax melts?

Yes, you can use vanilla extract in wax melts. However, it’s important to note that this may cause discoloration of the wax and should be used with caution.

Is vanilla extract organic?

Yes, many brands of vanilla extract are organic and can be found in your local health food store.

Is vanilla extract safe for aroma beads?

Yes, you can use vanilla extract in aroma beads. However, it’s important to note that the scent will not last as long and may cause discoloration of the beads over time.


In conclusion, vanilla extract should not be used in candles due to the risks of uneven burning, wick clogging, and soot buildup. However, there are many alternatives available, including scented oils, vanilla-scented fragrance oils, vanilla essential oils, and vanilla fragrance oils. Vanilla extract can be used in wax warmers, but caution should be used to avoid overpowering fragrances or discoloration.

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