Homemade Vanilla Extract


Making Vanilla Extract RecipeCrafty cousin Trish sent me an intriguing picture on my cell phone recently. It looked like a row of bottles sitting on her window sill. I texted her back, “What in the world is THAT?” To which she replied that she was making vanilla extract. BRILLIANT! I am soooo making some vanilla extract! Pure vanilla extract is so expensive and most commercial vanilla has additives that I can certainly live without. With the holidays coming up, and baking season in high gear, how could I not? I did a little bit of research and  found that Tip Nut had a quite a bit of information about making your own vanilla extract.

Because of my classic impatience, I purchased my vanilla beans for $3.99 each at my local farmer’s market. I just had to get a batch started! I ended up ordering 32 more Madagascar vanilla beans from My Spice Sage for a much better price. I’ve heard of others finding them for an even better price, but again, patience is not my strong point. Hopefully I will get my order shortly and can start a bigger batch. I’m envisioning dark, rich homemade vanilla extract bottled in dark amber bottles with cute, customized labels. Super Holiday gifts! However, if you’re not wanting to make large batches, I’ve read that as you use the extract, you can top off your bottle with more vodka until the scent of the vanilla bean is gone – at which point you will want to add another vanilla bean or two. According to Food Network, the extract can sit at room temperature indefinitely and like wine, just gets better with age. So, just one small batch could become your home’s never-ending supply of good quality, natural vanilla extract!

Make your own Vanilla Extract InstructionsAfter just 2 short hours and a quick shake, we are already getting somewhere! This next 4 to 8 weeks is going to go by so slowly, but I’ll be sure to give it a shake and a sniff test daily –  the sniff test isn’t all that pleasant right now, but it’s supposed to lose the vodka smell after a short time.

I’ll report back in a month or so, but wanted to make sure to post the recipe I used now, so if you’re equally excited about homemade vanilla extract, you could be ready for holiday baking and gift giving as well!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Making Vanilla Extract...
Recipe Type: Extract
Serves: 200
Preparation Time: 
Total Time: 
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 3 vanilla beans
  1. Place 1 cup of vodka into a sterilized canning jar or any bottle.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half width wise then in half again length wise and place into the vodka making sure the beans are completely submerged.
  3. Place in a cool dark area of your house such as a cabinet or pantry.
  4. Shake daily and allow vanilla to infuse the vodka for at least 4 to 8 weeks.






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  1. Posted October 12, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Fabulous! Thanks for the links! MUST make.

    • Carli
      Posted October 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome! Enjoy and let us know how it goes! ;-)

  2. Posted October 12, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    What a great idea! I will have to try this.

  3. Posted October 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never made vanilla extract but it sounds so easy that I must try it. A couple of times I’ve made home made berry liqueur using all kinds of berries, sugar and vodka & rum. You can start making this “Tutti Frutti” in July when strawberries ripen.Take a large glass jar. Fill 1/4 of the jar with strawberries. Pure sugar so that half of the strawberries will be covered. Then pour vodka and/or rum and/or brandy so that strawberries will be covered. Put the jar in the fridge. Shake the jar few times a week. In late July add 1/4 blueberries the same way like you did with strawberries, sugar and alcohol. In early August add 1/4 raspberries and in late August add 1/4 cherries. Now your jar is full of different berries, sugar and alcohol. Remember to shake the jar every so often. In December filter the liqueur into a beautiful glass bottle. I’ve put the berries to compost but I suppose you could use them if you bake something. But anyway, you’ll have great tasting home made Tutti Frutti at Christmas =o)

    • Carli
      Posted October 13, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      That sounds AMAZING, Hanna! Gosh, makes me want to start some now even if we don’t have it in time for Christmas! I have to admit, I’ve never had or even heard of Tutti Frutti. Thanks for sharing that recipe with us!


  4. Barbara Bagley
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Nice to see this recipe. We sure have some crafty kids in our family.
    Back to the basic’s is best.

  5. Erin
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I am so excited to try this. And what a great idea to give some away as Christmas presents! Thanks!

    • Mom
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      You’re so welcome! Now to find a source for pretty bottles…

  6. Carli
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Okay I have to give an update! I ended up getting my Madagascar vanilla beans a few days after posting and started a new batch. As promised, I’ve been shaking and sniffing almost daily and the scent of vodka is just about totally gone. The scent of vanilla is taking over and it smells SO delicious! I’m resisting the urge to use it – I know it’s not done yet but it looks and smells SOOO done! Yum! Here’s my picture from today. Completely opaque and did I mention how good it smells?!


    • Mom
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      That looks so good Carli! Is one of those jars mine? ;-)

One Trackback

  1. [...] 20. Homemade Vanilla What’s the one ingredient most holiday goodies call for? Vanilla. Show them your gourmet savvy by whipping up a batch of your own. Just keep in mind, it takes about 4 weeks to set. So, get those beans moving! Learn how to make it here. [...]

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