Saturday, June 8, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making your own Vanilla Extract is very easy and economical.  If you buy Pure Vanilla Extract in the store it can get very expensive, but you can make your own at a fraction of the cost.  It makes wonderful gifts as well. 

Pure Vanilla Extract only has three ingredients. 
  1. Alcohol
  2. Vanilla Beans
  3. Water
When you make your own you will need to buy only 2 things.

  1. Alcohol.  I buy Vodka, but you can use other kinds.  Vodka will not leave any other taste in your finished product.  You won't add water.  Vodka has water in it already.  I buy Smirnoff, 80 proof.

2.  Vanilla Beans.  I buy Premium Madagascar Vanilla Beans.  This give you that creamy vanilla taste. 

How much you buy depends on how much you want to make. suggests 5 beans per 8 oz of alcohol.  I used 35 beans and did 1/2 gallon.

I decided to use the jug that my vodka came in to make mine since it was a nice glass jug.  I poured a little bit of the alcohol into a glass to make room for the beans.

Next I got out my cutting board and a sharp knife.  I sliced my beans down the center leaving both ends intact.

Then opened them up so that the seeds would be exposed

I put the beans into the vodka as I opened them up.   Once I had 35 beans in the jar I put back the alcohol that I had taken out until the jug was full again.  Put on the lid and put in my closet.  At least once a week I will give it a good shake. 

You can use the extract after 8 weeks if needed, but it will get better if you let it sit longer.  I will let mine sit for 5 to 6 months. 

Make sure that you keep the beans covered with alcohol at all times.  If you use the extract you can add more alcohol.  Here's my finished jug before I stored it away.

I got this information from about the different kinds of beans you can buy to get different flavors of extract.  
Do you prefer bold and smokey? If so, try Mexican vanilla beans. Rich and creamy? Use Madagascar Vanilla Beans! Floral aroma and unique cherry-chocolate? Venture to the Tahitian vanilla beans. Each type is excellent for homemade vanilla extract.  You can even blend various varieties together.  The floral, fruity, cherry like notes of the Tahitian variety blend wonderfully with the nutty-chocolate character of the Bourbon varieties.

For more information about making your own vanilla extract click the link below.


  1. Ordered my vanilla beans today...gotta figure how to get the vodka now, lol

  2. are like me. I got someone to buy it for me. I guess that old "Let not your good be evil spoken of" thing was on my mind. I believe Sam's Club sells it.