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Great Tips for Flavorings and Extracts

Updated on June 29, 2011

uses for flavorings and extracts

I use a lot of flavorings and extracts because I’ve never been fond of bland foods. I love foods rich in tempting flavors and tantalizing aromas! An easy way to accomplish this is to keep your pantry shelves and refrigerator stocked with your favorite flavorings and extracts, along with other ingredients that can liven up your dishes.

Below are my favorite extracts and flavorings, with information about how I use them:

Granulated chicken bullion – I prefer the granulated bullion to the cubes because it dissolves much faster. It’s great for seasoning vegetables, dried beans, rice, mashed potatoes, and soups.

Granulated beef bullion – This is great for adding to rice, soups, stews, and pot roasts.

Dry Ranch dressing mix – Of course, you can make dips and salad dressing with this, but it’s also great for coating chicken wings and adding to meat loafs and burgers.

Beer – I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t drink beer. I do, however, use it for cooking. I like it for steaming hot dogs, crabs, and shrimp. I also add it to hushpuppies and sometimes to cornbread. Blend it with melted cheddar for a tasty pretzel dip.

Concentrated ham flavoring – If you like the taste of smoked ham in your veggies, but don’t want to add extra fat, try this. It also gives a wonderful taste and aroma to soups, stews, and dried beans.

Butter pecan flavoring – Add this to cakes, cookies, ice creams, and pies. It also gives pumpkin and winter squash a delightful flavor.

Irish cream flavoring – This turns boring chocolate pudding into a tasty dessert! It’s also great in ice creams, coffees, hot cocoa, milkshakes, pies, and mixed drinks.

Jamaican rum flavoring – A great option when you want the flavor but not the alcohol of real rum. Use it in cakes, pies, drinks, and ice cream. Plump raisins in a few drops with water before adding to your oatmeal cookie dough.

Maple flavoring – Add the taste and smell of maple syrup without the cost. I often add this to cheap table syrup. Use it in frostings, cakes, pies, and custards, too.

Peach flavoring – A good quality peach flavoring smells and tastes just like real peaches. Add it to orange juice for a virgin Fuzzy Navel, or to vanilla ice cream for a distinctively Southern taste.

Pina colada flavoring – Add this to plain ol’ vanilla pudding for a tropical treat. It’s also good in vanilla ice cream, drinks, and milkshakes.

Wild cherry flavoring – This makes the perfect cherry coke. It’s also great in lemonade. I sometimes make a paste of cherry flavoring, ground cloves, and brown sugar and use it as a rub for cured ham. Delicious!

Grated horseradish – I always keep this in the fridge for when we have shrimp or oysters, as it’s a must in cocktail sauce. It’s also great mixed with a little mayonnaise, sour cream, and sugar and served with roast beef.

Dehydrated onion flakes – I use this all the time when I’m in a hurry or out of fresh onions. These little flakes pack a lot of flavor. Just soak them in a little warm water, and voila! You have finely chopped onions to add to your dishes.

Minced garlic – I always keep this is the fridge. It’s much easier to use that peeling, chopping, and crushing cloves of fresh garlic. The refrigerated minced garlic maintains its flavor and aroma for a long time.

Liquid smoke – This gives meats a great smoky smell and taste. I use it on steaks when I’m craving a wood-fired piece of beef but can’t grill outdoors because of inclement weather. It’s also good in beef stew and chili, and it adds smoky flavor to green beans, dried beans, and cooked greens. Add it to gravies and barbecue sauces, too!

Bubblegum flavor extract – This is a favorite with the grandkids. It turns vanilla ice cream into bubblegum ice cream. Use it to flavor frosting, then use the frosting on cupcakes. Top with a few bubblegum balls, and you’re a hero to the kids!

Ginger extract – I often use this instead of ground or fresh ginger. Mix a couple of drops with brown sugar and try it on grilled peaches. Use it in cookies, gingerbread, and in Asian stir fries.

Orange extract – Orange extract gives a fresh orange flavor to cookies, frosting, cakes, and ice creams. Add it to a vanilla milkshake to turn it into a Creamsicle. It gives chicken a nice citrus flavor, also.

Peppermint extract – The grandkids love this added to chocolate ice cream for a “Peppermint Pattie” effect. It’s also good for making candies, cookies, and frosting.

Vanilla extract – This is a must for anyone who bakes.

Buying and Storing Flavorings and Extracts

You can find a few flavorings and extracts at your local grocery store, but to see many more choices, shop online. You’ll find scores of all kinds of neat flavors! Be bold and experiment until you find your perfect flavor additions for foods and drinks. If you’re using the extracts or liquid flavorings in cooked dishes, wait until cooking is almost finished before adding.

Extracts and liquid flavorings have a long shelf life. Just make sure to close the bottles tightly after using, and don’t leave the top off any longer than you have to. Also, store the bottles in a cool, dark place, away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Experiment often with different flavorings and extracts to discover your favorites.



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    • Autumn Vines profile image

      Autumn Vines 5 years ago from Arizona


    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      That's what good cooking is all about, Nancy!

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for all these great tips. I have many of these in my kitchen. Now I have great new ideas of how to use them.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Glad you stopped by, Chevy!

    • tchevyman39 profile image

      tchevyman39 7 years ago

      Very informational hub! My favorites are minced garlic and liquid smoke.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sorry, RM. I got the HM and the contest confused!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      You're welcome, Lee!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Veronica, I'm not sure I could survive without garlic! lol

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Pam!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Me, too, Buckie. I'm kinda tired of herbs and spices!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      It's great, JEn!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Great to see ya, HH!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Lol, Sam! You'll hafta lock up your cooking beer!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Austin, thanks for the extra info!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      This hub is posted in the HM thread, but is not in the RSS, so is not HubMob. Sorry.

    • Lee B profile image

      Lee Barton 7 years ago from New Mexico

      Cooking with beer--good idea! Thank you for the great info.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hands down, minced garlic and peppermint are my favorites\.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Habee, This is a great list to choose from. I have many of those in my cupboard. very good hub

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      I love to cook with wines and beers - and sometimes I even put a little in the food as the joke on my fridge says...not really! Beer is a great thing to add to stews and soups and I use a lot of Marsala, vermouth, all kinds of stuff - but again, nice to see something non-herb! I think I became fixated!

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 7 years ago

      I love butter pecan flavoring, but I just never thought of putting it in cakes or cookies. I'll have to give that a try!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A great trip through the world of spices. Thanks for the info.

    • samboiam profile image

      samboiam 7 years ago from Texas

      habee, thanks for so many wonderful tips. I shared with my wife the section about beer. Neither one of drink either, but the beer in hush puppies and cornbread sounds kinda good. My 15 year old thought it was a good idea as well. :-)

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Buy pure Mexican vanilla extract for baking, french vanilla for ice cream and dairy, Madagascar bourbon vanilla for fudges and mixed drinks, and Tahitian vanilla for sorbets. I loves my vanilla!