What’s the Difference Between a Flavor Oil, Concentrate, Extract, & Powder?

Bill The Flavor Guy answers the question, “What’s the difference between flavor oils, extracts, concentrates, and powders?” And recommends which type of flavoring to use.

At Nature’s Flavors, we offer a large library of flavors and many kinds of flavors applications. We offer flavor concentrates, flavor extracts, flavor oils, and flavor powders. And those are the four primary or major groups.

There are many more in between but today in this video, The Flavor Guy talks about a lemon concentrate, which is an emulsion. Also, lemon oil which is a lemon flavor soluble in an oil format, and then a lemon extract. And last a lemon powder.

So flavor concentrates are used primarily for baking. A flavor concentrate is an oil emulsified in gum Acacia or gum Arabic and you can use them for baking, for beverages, for ice creams. This type of flavoring is probably the most versatile of all the flavors that Nature’s Flavors carries.

Next, we have a flavor oil. A flavor oil is really limited on its usage. The flavoring is carried by vegetable oil, like sunflower oil. This type of flavoring method can only be used in an oil-soluble application. Some people use flavor oils for baking and you can if you want to, it’s old school, but there are much better ways. Using a flavor concentrate is by far the best for baking.

So what can we use the flavor oils for? Well, lip balm is an option. If you were making something with olive oil and you wanted to mix another oil into it. Everything that you mix with this flavor must be oil-soluble or you’ll have to emulsify it.

That’s a lot of work so which is why we offer flavor concentrates.

Also, flavor oils can be used in candles if you wanted a real fruit flavor. They can be used to flavor or fragrance a candle.

Now we have the extracts. An extract is really just the flavor oil that’s been extracted using alcohol, water, and salts. Then we remove the terpenes, a plant’s aromatic characteristics, and the bitter notes. We do this to make the flavor more appealing not bitter with a gross aftertaste. We make sure the flavor is clean and fresh.

Flavor extracts are great for making a clear beverage or anything where you need a clear finish. Although it’s common to bake with an extract, they’re not the best flavor application for baking. We recommend you stick with the flavor concentrates. They can be used but because of their alcohol content, their flavor cannot withstand heat as well as a concentrate.

Extracts are best to flavor a clear beverage, so like 7-up, Sprite, and sparkling water.

Last, we have a flavor powder. Flavor powders actually date back to hundreds of years ago. Our ancestors used flavor powders for almost every type of flavoring. Today, we recommend using a flavor powder when you have a powdered formulation and it must stay dry. For example, a dry muffin mix with a longer shelf life. You can even add flavor powders to a protein drink or to a homemade Kool-Aid made with natural colors and natural flavors.

You don’t want to bake with flavor powder since they’re not very strong and withstand heat, unlike a flavor concentrate. Because of this, flavor powders are limited in use.

One more thing about flavor oils: if you’re making lip balms or even candles and you wanted a real fruit flavor, you can use this to flavor or fragrance a candle.

Finally, that completes our demonstration of which flavor to use. If you have anymore questions feel free to leave us a comment.

Join the Conversation

  1. o.venegaskalaw says:

    All of our products are natural and derived from plant and vegetable extracts.

  2. o.venegaskalaw says:

    Great question Annie! We recommend our Coffee and Tea Flavorings 🙂

  3. Which one do you recommend for a dried herbal tea blend?

  4. Mary Ann Slobin says:

    Question, which of your products are the closest to being all natural, meaning not tweaked chemically?

  5. Hi I am making Indian sweets like donuts to dip them in syrup, what should I use for syrup please , is the cost is in usa dollers

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