homemade pure vanilla extract

There’s just something special about pure vanilla extract.  The sweet, floral aroma…  the cozy richness…  the depth…

The draw we all have to add it to just about everything we bake…

 The thing is…  there really is a difference between good vanilla and mediocre vanilla.

If, like me, you have ever been to Mexico before… you have likely picked up a big bottle or two of very cheap vanilla extract.  Or you have bought some tiny bottles at your grocery store for a ridiculously high price!

But do we really have any idea what’s in those vanilla extracts we buy?  And isn’t it always just more fun to know exactly where something is coming from and saving a bunch of money while you’re at it??

This homemade vanilla extract is so incredibly simple!  You put a few vanilla beans in a bottle and cover them with vodka.  Let it sit for 2-3 months or more and you’ve got amazing homemade vanilla extract!

And the best part??  When you make vanilla extract this way, as the bottle gets low (say 1/3 of it is used up!), you just top it off with fresh vodka and there you go!  Genius!!

Are you wondering why I have a need for 24 bottles of vanilla extract?  Well, besides my love for it… I am working on Christmas gifts!  (So please…  if you are a family member who usually gets a gift from us, please forget that you ever saw this post!)  :o)

Also, I am running low on vanilla extract myself…  which turned out to be great motivation to get started on my Christmas gifts early this year!

(I also made a few bottles of rum-soaked vanilla for myself…  thinking that will make some yummy whipped cream flavoring this winter, not to mention the Gluten Free factor!)

homemade pure vanilla extract

Ingredients

Directions

Cut the vanilla beans in half crosswise and then slice them in half again lengthwise. Place several pieces (I use 6 pieces - or 1 1/2 whole beans worth - in my 4oz bottles) in a glass bottle or jar. Fill completely to cover the beans with vodka.

Cover tightly and place in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months or longer for best flavor!

I left the quantities out of this recipe on purpose. It's not an exact science! I bought a 1/2 pound of really amazing madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and two big bottles of semi-cheap vodka and that made 24-4oz bottles of vanilla with about 1/4 pound of vanilla beans leftover (don't worry I have lots of plans for those beans!).

http://sweetannas.com/2011/09/homemade-pure-vanilla-extract.html

adapted from Bethany Actually

((By the way, I got my vanilla beans here…  

vanilla beans

my cute little glass bottles here…  

bottles

and my vodka at the local liquor store!))

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  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.huneycutt.39 Melissa Huneycutt

    Are these 4oz or 8oz bottles?

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      I used these 4oz bottles for gifts, but you can use any size you’s like!

      • AmyK

        If I used the 8 oz size bottles would I double the amount of vanilla used?

        • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

          Absolutely! There is really no hard and fast rule on the beans to alcohol ratio, but the fewer beans you use the longer it will take for the extract to ‘mature’!

  • detroit313

    What do you do with all the floaties from the beans?

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      use them! That’s where all the flavor is. Yum!

    • Detroit313

      Glad to hear! Super excited! Thanks!!

  • Scott

    Also, I’ve done this with beans that I’ve already scraped out. Just double the amount of unscraped beans.

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  • Peggy

    I live in a small town in Oregon with a large Hispanic community. I buy my vanilla extract from a local market. It is hands down 500% better than the ‘top of the line’ vanilla (McCormick) you get from the grocery store! I think I’ll try this recipe though. I have the vanilla beans and had not figured out how to use them. This is perfect.

    Oh, and the floaties from the beans? Eat them. Ever had French vanilla ice cream with the little black specks? That’s from the vanilla bean.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judy.bass.5 Judy Bass

    I went to the liquor store the other day..LOL..they could really tell I was new to this. I ask where I would find the vodka and she referred me to the entire wall behind me. I was worried about the flavor of the liquor interfering with the vanilla flavor. Well, come to find out, there is a vanilla flavored vodka. Is this a good one to use since it already has a vanilla flavor? I haven’t tasted it because my stomach doesn’t do well with alcohol so I never even sip it. Should this be a good one to use for my vanilla extract.??

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      Well, I don’t suppose it would hurt… But I’m guessing they use artificial vanilla flavor which might drown out the good vanilla beans? I probably wouldn’t use it, myself!

  • http://www.facebook.com/susanroze Susan Yuhaniak

    Thank you for your great ideas! This is so nice to have these DIY ideas that work so great! Have a Happy Blessed New Year!

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  • Daniel Burney

    so how yu do the rum soaked?

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      Exactly the same, just use rum instead of vodka!

  • kissbeads

    How many beans you get in half a pound?

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      LOTS kissbeads! Sorry I missed this question! You will have more than enough (for even a gallon of vanilla!)

  • oliviane

    Thank for this receipe !! This years , in France my familly will have good gift !!

  • Metabea

    I bought beans back in July and made some vanilla should be ready to use end of Sept. I thought I got a good deal on beans then but this is even better deal! 1/2 lb for $30.16 (according to the reviews on the page is about 50 beans) WOW makes my 12 for $16 seem like peanuts. I also got free shipping. Woot love a deal. As for my bottles I buy wine in the small 4 pack bottles (use the red for roasts) So these get saved and I will pour the vanilla in and add a pretty label and bow. So once my new order of beans gets here I’ll go out and buy 2 bottles of vodka for the gifts. Added bonus if they bring their bottles over on their birthday they get a refill :) I will never go back to store bought vanilla.

  • Amber Owens

    bourbon makes really good vanilla too

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      Yes, it does! My FAVORITE! (But pricey!)

  • Victoria Eden Keen

    Does it expire?

    • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

      Not any more than alcohol would expire on its own!

  • http://arthomas.blogspot.com annaliseree

    Oooo! Anise extract sounds good!!

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  • Mari

    So I got all the supplies to make this. Just have one question: I don’t need to cook the alcohol? I read on another site that they cook the alcohol…. What do you think?

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  • Saly LeBarnes

    there must be some point where you have to remove/replace the beans right???