Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Let’s say you’re like me and you bake a ton of cookies around the holidays (or just in general) and an ingredient that is always used is Vanilla Extract, so you go to the store in search of some, and are shocked by the price (I know I was…$19+ for 8oz of Pure Vanilla Extract..that’s crazy in my opinion). So right there in the isle of the grocery store, I thought ‘how hard can it be to make Vanilla Extract’ and took out my handy dandy smartphone and googled it, and viola, I read that it takes all of 2 ingredients and a little patience. I bought some vanilla beans, some cheap vodka, and set out making Homemade Vanilla Extract. Once you make your own, you will NEVER buy another bottle of store bought imitation vanilla extract again, and you will be amazed at the wonderful flavors (seriously, the flavor is so much better than anything you can buy!) And best of all, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make. Again, I can’t stress enough how easy it is to make!

After making some with vanilla beans I got at the store, I found this awesome website that sells beans at a cheaper price. Here is a link to Beanilla, they also sell cute bottles. The bottles I used I had around the house so there was no expense there, I just cleaned them really well (think mason jars and empty bottles of previous store bough items such as extracts.) You can also play around with different bean combinations, I did a lot of combinations, and my favorite thus far is a Burbon Vanilla extract or Burbon-Madagascar bean combination. I created some labels and those can be found here: Homemade Vanilla Extract Labels

This would make a great DIY present for the upcoming Holidays. I host a cookie exchange every year that has prizes and all, I’m thinking this would make a perfect little inclusion in the gift bag!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8oz bottles
Ingredients
  • Empty Bottles
  • Vanilla Beans (5 beans per 8 oz vodka)
  • Vodka (bottom shelf cheap stuff is A-Ok, 8oz per 5 beans)
  • Labels
  • Funnel
Instructions
  1. Clean & dry your bottles very well.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut a slit in the vanilla bean, leaving just a little bit at the ends that you don't cut open.
  3. Scrape some of the seeds from the inside of the bean to loosen a little into the bottle that you will be using, then put the beans whole into the bottle. Cover beans with Vodka (8oz to 5 beans, but make sure the Vodka covers the beans, you can cut the beans in half for smaller bottles).
  4. Cover the bottle with lid, and attach label (make sure to label what kind of beans you used).
  5. Shake for a few seconds.
  6. Leave in a cold/dark place, and shake bottles every few days. Vanilla will be ready in 6 weeks (this is where the patience comes in haha). The longer it sits the darker and more flavorful it becomes, 6 weeks is the minimum.
  7. Best part about this is, once you have made the vanilla, simply add more vodka to it once you use it, and the beans will continue to provide delicious vanilla extract!
 

Homemade Vanilla Extract Labels Template from Sweetphi blog

 

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Showing 10 comments
  • Cheryl Chervitz
    Reply

    I have never thought to make my own. I will have to try this, thanks for sharing.

    • Sweetphi
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment Cheryl, it is really easy to make, it just takes a little patience with the waiting and shaking every few days for 6 weeks…but the end result and flavor make it SO worth trying 🙂

  • Lisa Marie Berry
    Reply

    Ive started making my own homemade food coloring. I never thought of this. What a great idea!

    • Sweetphi
      Reply

      That sounds like a great idea too Lisa, I may just have to make my own food coloring next!

  • Debra Holloway
    Reply

    Oh I have got to try this. I bet this even tastes better thank store bought. I love learning how to make these types of things. I would love to get some of this for Christmas, but I am also thinking on giving this as a gift too. The bottles are so cute.

    • Sweetphi
      Reply

      It definitely has the best vanilla flavor I’ve ever tried (much better than store bought) and is really not that difficult to make. I was surprised myself at how it only had two ingredients, because when I read the label at the store, there were all sorts of ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce in there!

  • Karen
    Reply

    A few years ago my husband worked with a wonderful Polish man. This sweet man liked to give gifts, and he gave my husband a nice bottle of Polish vodka. Well, my husband decided to use the vodka to make vanilla extract. We used an old soy sauce bottle and have been adding the occasional vanilla bean and vodka top-off ever since! It smells heavenly and is SO easy!

    • Sweetphi
      Reply

      What an awesome story Karen, thanks for sharing! And it truly is wonderful when one makes something that one thought was hard to do and then discovers how easy it is! And you’re absolutely right, it smells heavenly!

  • md kennedy
    Reply

    Although I only buy pure vanilla extract, I am always concerned about exactly what is in there – such as toxins or GMOs. I love the idea of making my own and controlling the ingredients.

    • Sweetphi
      Reply

      Well said, and I agree completely, and it was fascinating to me to see all the other (excuse my language) “crap” that was in store bought Vanilla when it was so simple to make! Thanks for the comment!

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