DIY: Homemade Vanilla Extract

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I don’t know about you, but I go through vanilla extract like water. A couple of years ago, I stopped messing around with the small bottles from the grocery store and started buying the 32-ounce bottle from King Arthur Flour. SO much easier than going to the store at least once a week for an insanely overpriced small bottle! I’ve finally taken it the DIY route and made my own, which is ridiculously easy. All you need are some good vanilla beans, your favorite bottle of vodka, and a little bit of patience.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Actually making the extract could not be easier. All you need to do is slice up some vanilla beans, combine them with vodka, place in a jar, and… wait. The mixture needs to sit for at least six weeks to be infused, but is even better if you stand to wait a little longer, say a few months. The smell of fresh vanilla extract is positively intoxicating!

When you’re ready to use the extract (or want to give it as a gift), simply strain it through coffee filters or cheesecloth and fill clean bottles (I bought 4-ounce clear Boston round bottles from SpecialtyBottles.com). You could even drop a couple of vanilla bean pieces into a bottle to keep the infusion going, if you’d like.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Homemade vanilla extract is such a perfect gift, not only for the holidays, but also has a hostess gift. There are tons of free printable labels online, as well, to spruce up your bottle.

With Christmas a little less than two months away, now is the perfect time to get started on some homemade vanilla extract!

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Two years ago: Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Three years ago: Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Four years ago: Perfect Scrambled Eggs
Six years ago: Peanut Butter Dog Treats

DIY: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Yield: 8 ounces

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 6 to 10 weeks

Making your own vanilla extract could not be easier! Grab some vanilla beans, your favorite bottle of vodka and get started!

Ingredients:

8 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka

Directions:

1. Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Using the tip of the paring knife or a spoon, scrape out the seeds and transfer to a small saucepan. Cut the empty bean pods into 1-inch pieces and add them to the saucepan.

2. Add the vodka, cover and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is hot and steaming, about 2 minutes. (Do not open the lid while the pot is over the flame or the alcohol will ignite.)

3. Pour the mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and let cool to room temperature. Cover with the lid and store in a dark place for at least 6 weeks (the longer, the better!), shaking the jar gently once a week.

4. Line a fine-mesh strainer with 2 coffee filters or 2 layers of cheesecloth, and place over a liquid measuring cup. Strain the vanilla through the filters, then transfer from the measuring cup to a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. The vanilla extract will keep indefinitely at room temperature.

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113 Responses to “DIY: Homemade Vanilla Extract”

  1. Mediterranean Baby on November 4, 2013 at 12:34 am

    I never knew that vanilla extract was made with vodka!!! It makes total sense, but I just never knew! Thank you for such a great gift idea. With Christmas only seven weeks away, I have just enough time to make this for my loved ones before Christmas!!

    Reply

  2. Ellen on November 4, 2013 at 2:38 am

    I love having this on hand! I also like decanting some off early in the process to keep in the freezer as lightly vanilla flavored vodka. Makes for mean White Russian or espresso martini;)

    Reply

  3. Caroline on November 4, 2013 at 3:32 am

    I have had my own jar brewing for years that I feed with vanilla sticks that are left after scraping out the seeds for other recipes. I also have a jar brewed in jack daniels which is amazing in cakes and other desserts as well. Oh and it’s just as easy to make other extracts. I also keep chocolate extract on hand using cocoa beans bought at the health good store :-)

    Reply

    • Cathy on November 4th, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Caroline. Do you make almond extract? If so, can you please share your recipe/process? Thanks

      Reply

      • Cheryl F on November 4th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        I was thinking that exact thing, Cathy. I use a lot of almond extract and would love to make it.

        Reply

      • Tara on November 4th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        Do you make cinnamon extract? I have tried making cinnamon simple syrup, but it doesn’t have a a strong-enough cinnamon flavor for me.

        Reply

      • caroline on November 5th, 2013 at 10:49 am

        Hi Cheryl,
        I haven’t made the almond extract. Just vanilla, chocolate, lemon & orange. Now that you mention it, I also use a lot of almond so knowing how to make that would be quite useful!

        Reply

  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks on November 4, 2013 at 3:35 am

    I’ve been making my own vanilla for a couple years. LOVE IT. Much cheaper in the long run. I have a batch I started about 15 months ago that I originally intended to give away but after aging it so long, it’s like a fine wine and I’ll be darned if I’m going to give that away. LOL I make mine with rum, vodka, bourbon, and whiskey. I use a variety of beans, usually madagascar but mix it up depending on how much $$ I want to invest per bottle. Great post, Michelle!

    Reply

  5. barbara on November 4, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Started a new bottle last week. I am still using from my last making but did not want to run out

    Reply

  6. LeAnna on November 4, 2013 at 6:37 am

    We have been making our own vanilla for years. We mainly use vodka, but we always make one batch with cognac to use in chocolate things. There’s something about the cognac vanilla that makes the chocolate items taste so good.

    Reply

  7. Emily on November 4, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Question: if you use this in an uncooked recipe, like frosting, for example, will it give it a strong vodka flavor?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 4th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Emily, No, not at all. Vodka is a pretty neutral-flavored liquor, which is why it is used. It picks up all of the vanilla flavor. All pure extracts are made with alcohol, so it would be no different than the bottle you buy at the store.

      Reply

  8. marie @ little kitchie on November 4, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Homemade vanilla is the best! This reminded me I need to make some for the holidays!

    Reply

  9. Leia on November 4, 2013 at 7:13 am

    We started some limoncello, apple pie moonshine, and vanilla for gift giving this year. In a few days we will finish the limoncello, the moonshine will be ready to taste but the vanilla will have to continue for a while longer. It is much more interesting to say to others, “I made this myself.”

    Reply

    • Gina Dobitas on December 17th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Leia your ideas for gifts sound great. are you willing to share your recipes?

      Reply

  10. Jodi Pavlik on November 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I started making my own about 2 years ago, it’s definitely the best baking decision!!

    Reply

  11. Theresa Murphy on November 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I also used to get the 32-oz jugs of vanilla from KAF, but it was getting pretty pricey. I actually started my DIY vanilla after my 32-oz bottle of vanilla bean paste ran out. There were still alot of vanilla seeds along the inside of the bottle that wouldn’t pour out. I did not want to throw them out so I poured in some vodka and swished around to release them from the sides of the bottle then added some chopped vanilla beans and more vodka and let it sit. I also have a large bottle of vodka that I added chopped vanilla beans to and that has become by “mother” vanilla. When the 32-oz bottle gets down to about half full, I top it off with the some of the “mother” and then add more vodka to the “mother”. About once a year, I throw in a couple more chopped vanilla beans to the “mother” bottle and I basically have an endless supply of vanilla this way. Just a tip, you do not have to split and scrape your beans to do this; Just chop the beans into about 1 – 2″ pieces and throw them in the bottle. This is a lot less time consuming than the slicing and scraping of lots of beans!

    Reply

    • Wendy on November 4th, 2013 at 8:20 am

      That’s a GREAT tip about chopping the beans. Thanks!

      Reply

    • Michelle on December 13th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      So we don’t need too cook it at all? I was just thinking of getting a bottle of vodka and just throwing a bunch of beans in there.

      Reply

  12. nancy K on November 4, 2013 at 8:00 am

    This looks so easy. I just bought a bottle of vodka this summer for ice cream making purposes…just need to get the beans. I use a fair amount of vanilla as well and have taken to purchasing 16oz bottles at either Costco or BJ’s…they run $6.99-7.99…much better than the tiny expensive bottles at the grocery store. Both stores sell McCormack as well as a store brand. I have tried both and there is not really any difference taste wise.

    Reply

  13. ENID LUCHETTI on November 4, 2013 at 8:10 am

    if you don’t want to make Amazon.com sells the Bourbon Nielson Massey Vanilla at good prices

    Reply

  14. Melanie @ Carmel Moments on November 4, 2013 at 8:35 am

    My sister in law told me about making vanilla extract with Vodka. I finally got my vanilla beans (at Costco). I’m so excited. It’s the little things… :)

    Reply

  15. Betsy on November 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Just placed my bean order! Been meaning to do that and YOU were the motivator!! WHOO!

    Reply

  16. Navar on November 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I see others have already posted… but we make it with good Bourbon rather than Vodka. I’ll have to try it in Cognac! That sounds like it would be amazing….

    Reply

  17. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate on November 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

    This isn’t the first time I have seen a tutorial like this but I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. I am on a vanilla bean paste kick, it is my favorite form to use in desserts!

    Reply

  18. BG on November 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Just bought a 1/2 lb of beans from http://www.saffron.com/ for $25+ ship. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the idea!

    Reply

  19. Tasha on November 4, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I came across this last week and have already ordered my vanilla beans. I’m so excited to make these as Christmas gifts for the women in my family this year.

    Reply

  20. Daniel Baer on November 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I have been making my own vanilla extract for years now, a fifth at a time! No need to boil it, Just split the beans, throw them in the vodka bottle and WAIT. Takes about 3 months to full strength.

    Reply

  21. Kristen on November 4, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I love my homemade vanilla extract. So easy to make and I think my baking tastes better because of it

    Reply

  22. Allison on November 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I’ve got 8 jars started to give as gifts this year. The recipes that use a certain number of beans bother me a bit as not all beans are equal. I go by weight to be consistent – 1oz of vanilla beans to 8oz of vodka (40%). With the beans I have going now, it ended up being around 15 beans per ounce. Grade B are actually better to use when making extract as they have less water content. My recipes have you cut the beans into slices around 1 inch long and shake the bottles each day for about a month. (Some say daily the first week and then a few times a week for the next 6 weeks or so.) This current batch is only a few days old, but it already smells divine. I still have about 1/2 the bottle of vodka left, so I am thinking about ordering another 1/4 pound of beans in a different variety and making that as a large batch. For me, the bottles were the most expensive part, and mainly due to shipping costs.

    Reply

  23. Molly on November 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Where does everyone get their vanilla beans from? Looking for advice on the best sources. Thanks!!

    Reply

  24. Marcie on November 4, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I bought my beans here: http://www.amadeusvanillabeans.com/store/organic/extraction_beans.php, mostly because the fair trade aspect was important to me. Also, they sell extraction grade beans (not as pretty) for cheaper than their normal ones.

    I also purchased beans from here: http://www.beanilla.com/vanilla-bean-sampler.

    Reply

    • Tasha on February 9th, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Buying Madagascar Bourbon beans for Uganda is contradicting since they are suppose to come from a specify area of islands which obviously doesn’t include Uganda since it is land locked and nearly 1700 miles away. Free trade or not thats false information. Plus why pay nearly double the price of what is on Beanilla for the real thing?

      Reply

  25. Marcie on November 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

    The Beanilla beans aren’t fair trade, but I wanted to run an experiment to see if I could tell the difference in the type of bean. :D The experiment will be commencing at the end of the month!

    Reply

  26. Kate on November 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    The CHEAPEST way to go about this is by always saving the vanilla pods after using them. They may seem empty, but there’s still tons of flavor. Throw em into liquor (vodka, bourbon, whiskey) and leave to infuse. It seems like a waste to use whole beans. Oh and straining? Not necessary unless you’re crazy and don’t like to see the specks of bean.

    Reply

  27. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent on November 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Love the idea of making your own vanilla extract :)

    Reply

  28. Jennifer on November 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    8 vanilla beans to only 1 cup of vodka? That seems like a disproportionate amount?!?!

    Reply

    • Jena on December 15th, 2013 at 8:00 am

      That’s what I was thinking, too.

      Reply

  29. Snapdabble on November 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I want to try this! Im curious with all the flavored vodka out there if i could use like a Candy Bar vodka and make a special vanilla out out that for random experiments.

    Reply

  30. Bernadette on November 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Do you know where I could possibly purchase organic vodka? This would be very helpful.
    Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Janis on November 4th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Blue Ice (made in the USA) Vodka comes in an Organic version (made from wheat). You might have to ask your local liquor store to special order it. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1046668 is just one place that will give you an idea of description and price.

      Reply

      • Bernadette on November 4th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Thank you so much for the lead. :)

        Reply

    • Michelle on November 4th, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Hi Bernadette, I do not, but it looks like Janis has a good lead for you above!

      Reply

      • Bernadette on November 4th, 2013 at 8:30 pm

        That’s okay, thanks for getting back to me, I appreciate it. :)

        Reply

    • Joyce Yamamoto on December 11th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      COSTCO in Minnesota: sells an organic vodka called PRAIRIE: certified handcrafted and distributed by the Phillips Company
      AND
      you can buy your Madagascar vanilla beans there, too!

      Reply

  31. Allison on November 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I get my beans from this seller on ebay http://stores.ebay.com/Vanilla-Products-USA?_trksid=p2047675.l2563 or from saffron.com.

    Reply

  32. Angie | Big Bear's Wife on November 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I need to order some Vanilla Beans! I’ve been wanting to do this forever!

    Reply

  33. Emilie on November 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Great post, Michelle. And like Allison, I get my beans on ebay from Vanilla Products USA. They are really great beans for a great price. I’m curious about one thing, though. I’ve been using only homemade vanilla for several years (always have several bottles in different stages of “brewing,” but have never strained it. I always figured that the vanilla seeds in the finished extract just make it better. So I’m wondering if the purpose in pouring the liquid through cheesecloth is to get rid of the flecks that might be undesirable in a buttercream, etc., or is there another reason? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 4th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Emilie, It’s just to remove the flecks. If you don’t mind them, then no need to strain!

      Reply

    • Vadigor on November 17th, 2013 at 6:48 am

      Just like Allison and Emille, I bought my beans from Vanilla Products USA. I got my first and so far only batch over two years ago and they’re still going strong. I use the high grade ones for recipes and used the free extract beans you get with a certain volume to make my extract.
      They also provide an extract recipe that is quite a bit simpler than the one listed here, even though that’s fairly simply as well. Basically, just cut up the beans (scraping the seeds is a waste of time), add to vodka (1/4 pound beans per quart, use weight rather than units) and store. Shake daily for a few weeks, then once a week. The extract will improve for several more months, taking the beans out is optional.
      I would also caution you to use neither an expensive nor an inexpensive bottle of vodka. Expensive ones may be more delicate and introduce distinct flavours similar to other strong liquors while (really) cheap vodka can contain chemical notes. A Smirnoff or something similar is ideal in my opinion.

      Reply

  34. Julie on November 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    The stuff I buy (and pay quite a bit for since I also go through it like water) is quite a bit darker than in your picture. What causes the extract to be darker/lighter? Does it get darker the longer it sits?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 4th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Julie, Yes, it does get significantly darker the longer it sits.

      Reply

  35. Terry on November 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing!…been making Bailey’s and or Kahlua but love this to bake with!

    Reply

  36. sowmya on November 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I always wanted to make one at home :)

    Reply

  37. Karen on November 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Such perfect timing! I was just thinking over the weekend that I wanted to try making my own vanilla extract this year. Thank you!

    Reply

  38. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts on November 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Wow, this looks awesome!!

    Reply

  39. Valerie Staley on November 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I have a 2 oz jar of ground vanilla beans that I was wondering what to do with. Can I try your recipe with good results? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 5th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Valerie, I think that would work, I’ve never seen ground vanilla beans!

      Reply

      • Valerie on November 6th, 2013 at 6:14 pm

        Williams-Sonoma sells it for $11.95 for 1.9 oz but I found an organic .5 oz jar for much cheaper at HomeGoods. I tried your recipe today using the ground vanilla. Will keep you posted. Thanks for the great idea.

        Reply

        • Jena on December 15th, 2013 at 8:05 am

          Eager to know if this works–my local organic/bulk store had ground vanilla bean powder, and I’d never heard of it. Been tempted to try it, but suspect it might be like cardamom–the pods are better than the ground powder…?

          Reply

          • Michelle on December 16th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

            Hi Jena, I’m not sure how powder would work, I’ve never worked with it. I do think you get the most flavor from the actual vanilla bean, though.

            Reply

          • Boomer on April 6th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

            In Greece, they don’t use liquid vanilla, but use a powder. One sachet is equivalent to 1tsp liquid vanilla. I bet the powder you see is this alternative. It would not be worth trying to make “homemade vanilla” out of it

            Reply

      • Valerie staley on February 3rd, 2014 at 12:13 pm

        Well I made your recipe with ground organic vanilla the day the recipe was posted. Luck would have it, that I ran out of vanilla as my daughter and I were making Christmas cookies. My homemade vanilla got its last shake before I transferred it into the empty store bought vanilla bottle. I did not strain the contents. I thought it was very good but next time I’ll use a bit more ground vanilla to the vanilla recipe. Thx!

        Reply

  40. Martha in KS on November 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t strain mine – love the little bean flecks in the vanilla. Stick used beans in a container of sugar for Vanilla Sugar.
    I buy beans from Arizona Vanilla – they’ve got 20% off right now.
    ” To help you with your year end shopping we are offering 20% off all orders over $20.00 on all your vanilla, spices, sugar-free syrups and flavorings orders !! This great sale will end at the end of November!! So don’t miss out!! Just use coupon code Thanksgiving2013 in your shopping cart!!!”

    Reply

  41. Cindi on November 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I make my own vanilla. I just put the vanilla beans in a bottle of vodka and let it sit for 6 weeks before I start using it. I don’t boil it.

    Cindi

    Reply

    • Margaret on December 22nd, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Cindi…. any hints on how many beans per how much vodka/ And do you chop your beans up

      thanks

      Reply

  42. Kammie on November 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I started making my own vanilla this past summer…I’ve ordered vanilla beans from http://www.olivenation.com after seeing some good reviews about them.
    They have great beans, pricing, and fast shipping.

    Reply

  43. Mandy on November 5, 2013 at 1:00 am

    I buy a big bottle of the house brand at BJ’s and Costco, but this looks like a fun project. Never realized vodka was in it but it makes complete sense.

    Reply

  44. Margotgn on November 5, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Somewhere somebody mentioned making sure you got food-safe bottles. They seem to be harder to find at a reasonable price (it’s usually the shipping that’s the killer). Do you know what makes the bottle food-safe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 5th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Hi Margotgn, I’m not sure, if you are talking about plastic, you’d want to make sure it’s food-safe, but if you use glass you can use any glass bottle, just make sure they are washed well (either in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water) before using. I linked to the bottles I used above in the blog post.

      Reply

  45. Margaret on November 5, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Can you use empty clean wine bottles?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 5th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Sure, I don’t see why not!

      Reply

  46. Michelle on November 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    If you don’t mind me asking, but which brand of vodka do you prefer to use when you make a really nice batch of vanilla extract? And which beans?

    Reply

  47. Jenny W. on November 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve made my own vanilla before from a different recipe and it didn’t state to cook the mixture. Does cooking it help to infuse the flavors? Or cook off some of the alcohol?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Hi Jenny, The folks at America’s Test Kitchen say that heating it helps the extraction process go even faster.

      Reply

  48. Arthur in the Garden! on November 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I actually reuse the beans several times by refilling the jar when it nearly empty.

    Reply

  49. Farah on November 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    This sucks. I live in a Muslim country. I’m not a Muslim, but that doesn’t mean alcohol is easy to come by, or cheap for that matter. I can’t try out this recipe! Isn’t there another way to make vanilla extract, without, you know, getting arrested for possessing or purchasing alcohol? :(

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Hi Farah, Unfortunately, extract is made with alcohol, I don’t know any other way around it.

      Reply

    • marcella on November 22nd, 2013 at 7:08 am

      Hi if you google (how to make vanilla extract fugal living) the fugal living option has a non alcohol recipe. it uses veg. glycerin instead of alcohol. I haven’t tried it, but it looks almost the same just thicker.

      Reply

  50. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile on November 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    This is such a brilliant idea!! Thanks xx

    Reply

  51. jocelyn on November 6, 2013 at 11:38 am

    wu….i never know vanilla extract was made with alcohol. this is my first visit here, by searching for muffin recipes. thanks Michelle for your recipes ! I will come here more often. After read this i am planing to made my own vanilla extract….yahoo!!!!!!!! can’t wait it. ‘-‘ v

    Reply

  52. Tracey on November 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Every year I intend to make vanilla extract to give as gifts at the holidays but I never start in time. Thanks for the reminder – I need to get going on it asap!!

    Reply

  53. Eva on November 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks so much! Would love to try this soon!

    Reply

  54. Laura Dembowski on November 6, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I go through vanilla like crazy too. Haven’t tried to make my own yet but now I will for sure!

    Reply

  55. Bethany on November 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Awesome! Making this ASAP and I love that it makes two bottles – one for a gift and one for me. :) Beautiful pictures as always.
    I’ve had pewter measuring cups & spoons on my wish list for a while now and so this whole post ended up triggering a very exciting Christmas gift idea for some special bakers in my life.

    Reply

  56. Ryan on November 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    I was wondering if you should use the same measurements if using bourbon instead of vodka?

    Reply

  57. cynthia on November 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I can’t seem to find bottles locally. I looked online, but “small” order fees make it too expensive. Also, 8 beans per cup? I want to make gifts, so…4oz. bottle gift would be 1/2 cup and 4 beans? Seems like a lot!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 24th, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Cynthia, Yes, for 4 ounces, you would use ½ cup vodka and 4 vanilla beans.

      Reply

  58. Kristen on November 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I actually made some vanilla extract 2 years ago now, and it’s awesome!! I, however, just bought a 750ml bottle of vodka and took a bit out, cut 11 or 12 beans up the middle, leaving the last 1/2 inch uncut and placed them in the bottle. The ratio you have here would cost so much more!! It took about 3 months and it was ready to use! I didn’t have to cook anything and I never strain it when I use it. I too go through it like water. Just ordered a pound of beans from beanilla. Now I just need 7-10 bottles of vodka/bourbon…may have to try the Jack Daniels like someone mentioned above.

    Reply

  59. Temizlik Şirketleri on December 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    It was soo good…Thanks for share it !

    Reply

  60. Nic on December 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Vanilla beans last for years. You don’t need a ton to make a good extract. 4-8 beans in a liter will do. After 3 months or so you’ll have a good extract. As you use the vanilla, add more vodka back in to fill your bottle. Keep doing this as you use it for years, 5-7!

    Reply

  61. Molly on December 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    So, is this always dark brown in color? How do you get the clear vanilla extract-so good for wedding cake frosting?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 16th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Molly, Yes, the vanilla beans impart a brown color. It is my understanding that clear vanilla extract is made with artificial ingredients, as there is no way to strip out the color from the infused vanilla beans.

      Reply

  62. Jo on December 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Hello, I just made my own vanilla extract, and I am just wondering if the straining step is essential?

    Thank you for sharing

    Jo

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 20th, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Jo, Straining will get rid of the vanilla bean flecks, which give you a cleaner extract, but if you don’t mind the flecks, you don’t need to strain.

      Reply

  63. SuzM on December 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    How about vanilla powder? Does that work? That’s what’s sold in the stores around where I live..just 2 vanilla beans for 4$ doesn’t make sense at this point to me, anyway. I’m trying this for the first time

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 29th, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Suz, I am not sure that vanilla powder would work, since it’s already a byproduct of vanilla beans itself. It is certainly not economical to make homemade vanilla extract with beans purchased from the grocery store; that is why I recommend buying them in bulk online.

      Reply

  64. SuzM on December 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    If this works, then I have (3)20g per vial..So what can I do with this?

    Reply

  65. Brooke on January 4, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    This is a great resource! I’m thinking about doing this for favors for my wedding. I want to make 160 small bottles- do you think I could use less vanilla if I let it extract longer (I’m trying to save cost)? I have 7 months until the wedding so I could really let it go for a long time. If anyone has tried using less beans per cup, I’d love to hear more!

    Reply

  66. Jessica on January 9, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Question: can i make this with bourbon instead of vodka? or will it only work with the vodka? thanks!

    Reply

  67. Matthew on January 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures and information. Inspiring! We have a year until next Christmas and are getting started now. We ordered some beans from Vanilla Products USA and are chopping them up into 2″-ish pieces and putting them in 750 milliliter bottles of vodka and bourbon. At 20 beans per bottle, that’s a little less than the 8 beans per cup ratio in the article here but it seems like it should be enough, especially given the longer amount of time.

    Any advice on how long is too long for the beans to infuse in the liquor? Should we strain them out after 6 months or so, or is there no such thing as too long?

    Thanks again!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 11th, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Matthew, I don’t think there’s such a thing as too long! Enjoy!

      Reply

  68. Migs on April 16, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Is it normal for the vanilla extract to smell more like vodka for the first few days?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Yes, definitely. It takes awhile for the vanilla flavor to infuse, which is why it should sit for so long.

      Reply

  69. louise on July 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Ive seen numerous recipes for making vanilla extract, but yours ia the first one that mentions heating it. Everyone else just splits the beans then combines the beans and the vodka, shakes and places in a dark place. Why do you heat yours?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 15th, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Hi Louise, The heat helps to jump-start the infusion process, so that less time is needed in the long run.

      Reply

  70. amanda on July 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I notice it is cheaper to buy them in bulk. Do they freeze well? Also, how long before vanilla extract expires?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 26th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Amanda, I have never tried freezing vanilla beans. As long as you keep them packaged well, they should not dry out. Vanilla extract, because it’s essentially alcohol, can last indefinitely, however, I’ve heard that the flavor starts to become compromised after about a year.

      Reply

  71. Lynne on October 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I noticed that KA had a DIY kit for this, and I remembered that you had a recipe/technique for this, and I was thinking of making some. I have a couple of questions – is it really 8 vanilla beans per 8oz? Where do you buy your beans? KA sells Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract in bulk for $9.23 for 8oz, so in order to make it cheaper than they sell it, you’d have to buy beans at 78 cents each (or use less beans. I’m using average price of vodka is $3 a cup). Also, what proof vodka do you use (if it matters)? The cheapest I could find vanilla beans was on the ebay site mentioned above at 80 cents ea. I know I could get vodka a little cheaper by buying in bulk too, but hardly seems worth it if it’s cheaper to buy in bulk at KA or Amazon. Also, wondering if you saw on American Test Kitchen that they rated plain old McCormack’s as the best vanilla to use in baking?

    Reply

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