Is pure vanilla extract equal to double-strength imitation vanilla? Are they interchangeable? —P.R., Burt, MichiganActually, it’s just the reverse. Double-strength imitation vanilla is double the strength of pure or imitation vanilla. So if you are using double-strength imitation vanilla, add only half of the amount of vanilla called for in a recipe. Regular-strength imitation vanilla can be used interchangeably with pure vanilla extract. However, imitation vanilla does not have the smooth flavor of pure vanilla extract and is best used in strong or spiced foods.